How to Cut Leather

    by eHow Contributor

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    Most leather-working projects require that the leather be cut, but cutting a piece of leather requires a sharp mind and a sharp blade. You will need to measure and mark the area and cut it on a flat surface. You must also keep the leather damp while you work it so it's easier to manipulate. Either spray the entire piece lightly and evenly with a spray bottle of water or dampen it with a sponge.

    Things You'll Need

    • Flat work surface
    • Rubber mat
    • Leather
    • Pencil
    • French curve
    • Yardstick
    • Metal ruler
    • Utility knife

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    Lay the leather out on a flat work surface. Protect the surface with a rubber mat made especially for leather working. This mat will also help protect your tools from being blunted or damaged by contact with the surface.

    Use a pencil and a ruler or yardstick to make the cutting line along the leather's surface. Make very light pencil marks that don't score the leather.

    Use a French curve or other rounded edge to trace a curved line.

    Place a straightedge, such as a metal ruler, along the drawn line. A thick straightedge provides stability for the cutting blade.

    Draw the tip of a utility knife along the straightedge, cutting into the leather as you go. Keep the blade pushed against the straightedge as you move it.

    Cut only as deep as you can while still being able to control the blade. Take as many cutting passes as necessary to cut through the leather.

    Cut curved lines in the same manner. If you draw your curve freehand, position your razor so it's perpendicular to the leather's surface. Make several light passes with the razor along the drawn line until the leather is cut.

    • Use leather shears to cut suede and garment leather.
    • Change the knife blade as often as needed. One blade should last for the duration of a project.
    • If a few drops of water spill onto the piece, then wet the entire piece again to prevent water spots.