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Bruce Johnson 
Leather Tools LLC

Knives, Cutting Tools, and Spoke Shaves

Sections below include -

  • Knives
  • String Bleeders, Horn Trimmers, and Misc Cutting Tools
  • Rein Trimmers
  • Spoke Shaves

Please click on the small thumbnail pictures to open them up in a larger size and read the description.


The traditional and one of the most versatile pattern for leather cutting and skiving is the round knife. I occasionally have other knife styles but the round knife is far and away the most common. 

String Bleeders, Horn Trimmers, and Miscellaneous Cutting Tools

Miscellaneous cutting tools such as string bleeders and horn trimmers. String bleeders are used to cut slits for saddle string "bleed knots". Horn trimmers are used to to trim and profile the edges of saddle horns after they are sewn.

Rein Trimmers

Rein trimmers need a little explaining. Yes, they look like an overgrown common edger. They can be used for trimming excess linings from chrome tan to woolskins and edge beveling heavy leathers. They also can be turned so the cutting edge is vertical and used like a knife. Hold them with the bottom next to cut and they track straight. Turn them "toes-in" and they cut a smooth curve (think hand cut English points on straps for instance). The cutting edge is protected in the notch and they will not cut into underlying leather. There is a reason that every old time saddle and harness maker back in the day had one.

Wood Handle Spoke Shaves

Wood handle spoke shaves are used in several trades. In leather work they are mostly used to true up edges of multiple layers of leather and some saddle makers used them in shaping groundseats. These are all sharpened and ready to work.