leather craft

The Best Xacto Knife and a New Awesome Purse Zipper

Are you looking for the best Xacto Knife to use on your leather craft projects?  I have used a large barreled Xacto knife handle for years.  I get a ton of questions and emails about where I get them and what blades I use in them.  I found a new place to get them and while I was there, I also found some really great purse zippers to use in our shop.  These zippers are really classy looking and in my opinion they look much better than just the normal YKK zippers that we all use.

Why do you need an Xacto Knife

I have been a full time saddle maker and LeatherSlinger for over 15 years.  During that time I have purchased and modified many types of leather craft knives.  All of which served a particular purpose and usually worked well.  But when it comes to what knives I carry in my work belt for everyday use, the Xacto knife is one of the knives I can not function without.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This particular knife handle features a large barrel diameter allowing you to use the injector blades that you use in your safety skiver.  This cuts down on the different razor blades you have to purchase.  The knife handle comes with a sharp point Xacto blade if you prefer to use that (they sell other style blades as well), but I don’t like those blades personally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every professional craftsman has his/her favorite blade to wield in their shops.  Some might look down upon my little “Crafting” blade, but for me this the best Xacto knife and I use it everyday proudly.

There are many leather projects that require a super sharp and flexible knife to allow you to make those compound curve cuts with ease.  And let’s be honest, unless you are an expert at sharpening knives, using a traditional Round Knife for these cuts can be frustrating… and dangerous at times.  This type of knife is also a fantastic knife for trimming off that excess liner on belts, bags as well as cutting the slot for zippers like we did in our Wristlet Purse Project.

Where to get one

Now that you know my reasons for using this knife so much, where can you get one?

For years, I have purchased these knife handles at Hobby Lobby.  They are not that easy to find, but our Hobby Lobby store usually had them.  I sent many LeatherHeads to Hobby Lobby to get them and many times their store didn’t have them in stock.  I don’t know if this is a special item that they only get occasionally or if maybe only some stores carry them.

Whatever the reason, I needed to find a reliable resource to refer customers to so that they can pick one of these up.  Of course Amazon won this race again.  Here is my affiliate link (I get a few pennies if you buy using this link) to the exact Xacto knife that I use in my shop:  https://amzn.to/2QMJ0ya

Disclaimer:  This particular knife has not been in many of my past videos.  I go through one of these knives about ever other year… the end wears out and gets to where it will not tighten on the blade real well over time so I have to throw them and get another one.  The last time mine wore out, I could only find the off brand one I have been using in most of the recent videos… I didn’t like it as much as the Xacto brand that I am referring you to here.  The Xacto brand knife is better in my opinion.  I threw my old knife away when these new ones came in and so now I’m back with the one I like!

Amazon is a great resource for easily finding tools and supplies that may be hard to find depending on where you live.  Plus you don’t have to wear a mask and social distance when shopping on Amazon so I prefer that route anytime that I can.  But if you have a Hobby Lobby or craft store in your area, check there first.  Just make sure you find the large barrel Xacto (or any other brand) knife handle so that the injector blades will fit in there.

No matter where you decide to get one of these knife handles, you will find this to be one of your most used knives in your workshop.

Be careful cutting compound curves or real tight curves with an injector blade in this handle.  These blades will curve and bend beautifully as you make curved cuts, but they will break if you bend them too tightly.  This can cause the broken piece of the blade to fly out and it could hit you in the face or eye.  Use caution in tight areas and just be mindful… the blades don’t care if they cut leather or your skin, it’s a knife. 

My New Favorite Purse Zipper

While I was rambling around in my Amazon app, hunting these knife handles, I ran across maybe the coolest zippers for purse projects.  If you have made our Round Crossbody Purse or the Wristlet purse mentioned above, then you know that we use a 9″ zipper for the closure.  I wanted to find a style of zipper that had a little more pizazz than the normal bright brass zipper.

Let me introduce you to my new favorite zipper for purses…

I really like the antiqued brass finish because it isn’t so bright and shiny and it seems to look a lot better on a tooled leather purse.

Here is my amazon affiliate link for this zipper if you want to purchase them and give them a shot:  https://amzn.to/2EMfBlr

 

 

 

 

 

I also love the ring style zipper pull.  This allows for much easier access when opening the purse as well as a great place to make a leather pull.  I think these two features make this zipper perfect for any purse project.  The only trick is finding antique brass hardware to match the zipper.  I recommend Ohio Travel Bag company since they have tons of hardware available in this finish.

 

Conclusion

I hope that you can find a use for these two items in your shop.  The main purpose of this blog post was to pass along the info on the best Xacto knife for leather craft since we get many questions about how to get one.  It really is a very useful tool and I believe it should be a part of any LeatherSmith’s arsenal.  The zippers were just a bonus!

If you are looking for a good supplier of injector blades for your safety skiver and your new Xacto knife, visit Maker’s Leather Supply or give them a call.  While you are there, spend some time checking out all the other supplies, tools, and leather that they keep in stock.  These guys are a great resource for craftsmen of any skill level.

How to Make a Saddle Bag Crossbody Purse

  This video shows how to make a new crossbody purse that I just came up with.  The design is based on a real saddle bag design altered to work as a crossbody purse.  I think the design of this purse is really nice and would be popular with many.   This would be a great project to offer to your customers for gift ideas.  You also may want to make one of these for that special lady in your life.  

This crossbody purse goes together very well and has a lot of room to do floral tooling and personalization.   

If you would like to purchase the pattern pack for this project, then Click Here to get that.   The pattern pack is a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD in a PDF format that you print out on your own printer.  The pack includes all the cut patterns as well as 6 different floral patterns.   

How to make a Pistol Case with Maker’s Leather Supply

pistol caseThe product line at DG Saddlery over the years has included many types of leather goods.  We have designed and created knife scabbards, pistol holsters, belts, home decor, harness, tack and of course saddles.  One type of item that we attempted many times are zippered type bags.  This item not being my area of expertise, we were able to make something that worked but wasn’t at the level that we wanted to create.  Because of this, we as a company many times would stay away from taking orders on any type of zippered bag.

I have recently decided that I would like to finally gain the skill set needed to be able to create projects with zippers incorporated.  We were in Waco, TX recently to make a video with Aaron at Maker’s Leather supply on Sewing Machine Selection.  While we were there, Aaron and I decided to do a collaboration video together building a project.  He came up with the perfect project for our visit.

This video is our collaboration on the making of a pistol case.  This particular pistol case holds two pistols and zips closed.  This was a great project that allowed me to gain more knowledge about installing zippers in bag design. Continue reading

Dyeing the Background on a Leather Floral Pattern

This video shows how to dye the background of a leather floral pattern.  We are dyeing the horse head floral piece from our July Tooling series for this tutorial.  Yes, I am aware that it is September… I like to think this one is fashionably late.

In this video I am using Black Fiebings Pro Oil Dye and Dark Brown Antique Paste also by Fiebings.

If you would like to tool the pattern from this tooling series, here is a link to a FREE copy of this pattern Click Here.

Just enter your email address and we will shoot that out to you.  It is a PDF file that you can download and print on your own printer.

This is video #4 in this series.  You can find Video #1 by Clicking Here.

 

 

 

 


 

Quick Tips to Easily Edge Leather Straps and Strips

In this video, I show you some tricks I have learned to easily edge leather straps and strips.  Strips of leather that are wider don’t seem to be as challenging, but those that are narrow can be a problem.  Sometimes even dangerous.

Having a sharp edger is the first step in getting the quality edges that you want to see in your work.  But there are some things that you can do to make your job a lot easier.

The edger that I am using in this video is the #3 Ron’s Edger.  I upgraded my old set of Osbourne edgers (which I used for many years) last year and I love them.  If you are interested in trying some, give Aaron at Maker’s Leather Supply a call.