tools

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.

What Leatherwork Tools do I Keep in my Tool Belt?

Everyone has their own way of organizing their leatherwork tools in their shops. In my shop, I have always worn a tool belt. My tool belt is where I keep my most used tools so that they are always close at hand.

When I am working on a saddle or helping Freddy with a repair job at his bench, I don’t want to have to hunt for my tape measure or knife if I need it. The tool belt allows me to always be prepared and helps me to be more efficient during the day.

Some of the tools in my tool belt are included in a blog article that we wrote called “Top 5 Essential Tools for the beginner Craftsman”

In this video, I show you all the tools that I keep in my tool belt.  These are the tools that I need daily to do my job as efficiently as possible.  Keeping them in a tool belt that I wear in the shop keeps them close at hand.  Check out this video and let me know if you wear a tool belt currently in your shop or if you prefer to keep them on your workbench.

Top 5 Essential Tools for the Beginner in Leathercraft

Leathercraft can be intimidating to the uninitiated.  The tools for the beginner can be hard to decide upon and even more difficult to find.  Since leatherwork is not a common trade skill, many of these tools can not be purchased from local hardware stores.

In this article I hope to give you some assistance in this area.  If you are new to leathercraft and are searching for the most essential tools to add to your workbench, then my hopes are that this blog post is for you.

Here are the Top 5 tools that, I believe, are essential for anyone beginning their leathercraft journey.  No, these are not the tools you will need to accomplish all aspects of leatherwork.  The size and scope of tools for different areas of the craft are vast and almost never ending.  The majority of tools used in leatherwork are subject greatly to personal choice and preferences.  Instead, this is a list of 5 tools that I think are foundational in every aspect of your work.

These tools are simply the tools that a craftsman, at any level, will need on a daily basis to work in this medium.  Some of these tools will seem arbitrary and may already be in your collection.  But this does not lessen their importance.  If you have never worked with leather, then you may not be aware of the attributes of the material, and you will find that these will be the tools most helpful in all of your projects.  Or in the very least, the most used tools on your bench. Continue reading

Undercuts in Floral Tooling

Leather stamping tools can be somewhat overwhelming when you look at all the different brands, styles and types that are available from all the different producers.  Then you try to figure out which tools you actually need versus the ones that are just nice to have.  There seems to be an infinite amount of choices in the “nice to have” category.  While there are many stamping tools that fall into the “nice to have” category, Undercuts are not one of these.

In my opinion, undercuts belong in the “must have” category for any tool collection.  I have seen many collections where the maker simply made his own version of undercuts but the fact is that he had a set.  Much like a beveler, the undercut is one of those tools that can make your job smooth or the lack of them can hinder your tooling progression.

In this article we will discuss the purpose of undercuts along with some of the ways to modify them to make them unique to your style of tooling.  If you have watched my video on My Tool Rollthen you have seen the types of undercuts that I use and the different sizes. Continue reading