Author Topic: Round Knife: Yes or No  (Read 14597 times)

Offline JD Alan

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Round Knife: Yes or No
« on: March 15, 2010, 11:40:36 am »
Good day Gentlemen.

I've been considering the purchase of a round knife for some time now. I've had several opportunities to use a couple of different sizes and shapes; once while attending Chan Geer's class, and again at the recent holster class put on by Bobby Rose. In addition I've had the opportunity to watch both of these guys and a number of other people use them with skill and good success. Last of all I've got John B's holster DVD set, where he goes into the use of the round knife, and demonstrates it.

I'm at 2 years of working with leather, minus about 5 months in the middle for a little stoke break. I'm enjoying it and I plan to continue, having made 4 holsters in the last three weeks, plus a couple more in the process. 

So, what to do think about using a round knife? Yes, No, Maybe, and Why? I'm currently cutting everything with a utility knife. I appreciate and respect your experience and advice.

Thanks, JD 

   
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Offline cowboywc

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2010, 02:10:46 pm »
Howdy JD
I use one to cut almost everything. Used a utility knife but have to make a couple of passes in thick leather. One pass witht he head knife.
I have an Osborne and a Weaver. I like the Weaver the best. I just got the New one from Tandy that they claim is Damascus. It's better that anything they've had before but not the best I've used. Way over priced for what it is.
Just my $.02 worth.
WC
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Offline cowboy316

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2010, 02:47:23 pm »
JD 
i got a round knife and trim knife awhile back from a dear friend and fellow holster maker and thats all ive used since then and just love it so my .02 cents worth is invest in a good one and just take your time erning how to use it smoothly and safely
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Offline Kid Terico

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2010, 02:49:18 pm »
WC thanks for the info. Your 2 cents is worth a Dollar any time. KT

Offline Dalton Masterson

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2010, 03:08:23 pm »
I have a few older round knives, but have only used them a few times. I use a couple of different fixed blade utility knives mainly. I have found that a carpet blade, the one with the hooks on the end, work great for going slow and pulling towards you. I can do pretty tight turns with it and not have the choppy cut I do with a regular blade.

BUT, I do like my round knives, and once I can get them sharpened up properly, hope to use them more than I do.

WC, does the Damascus one appear to be real damascus? The one I looked at looked like it was just an acid wash. Was still pretty nice tho.

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Offline cowboywc

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2010, 05:55:41 pm »
Howdy DM
I was told by Tandy they are being made in Japan in a factory that has been making swords for 100's of years and that they are.
I had a couple of custom knife makers look at it and they think they are damascus stainless. So I don't know for sure.
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Offline Dave Cole

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2010, 06:14:38 pm »
I haven't had the chance of using a round knife yet, and may try one soon.My take on the Tandy damascus  knives  having not seen one in person is  even if they are real damascus I would be concerned about the quality of the steel used.That price is just too low for quality Damascus, especially stainless damascus.Most damascus makers I know in the US would charge 2-3X  that just for the billet, and then you would have to pay to have the knife made.Dave

Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2010, 06:38:19 pm »
Thanks everyone (so far, still looking for comments :D)

WC, I called Weaver but they were closed for the day. I will try again tomorrow. Nice talking to you and Sandi by phone.
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Offline Freedom

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2010, 08:51:36 pm »
Just my opinion. ;)... But with-out a doubt!! The head/round knife is the Only way to cut leather. I have no idea where my utility knife is anymore..The head is such a part of my craft now, that I would probly throw in the towel if you took away my round/head knives.

Just never nevernevernevernever EVER lead with your free hand... I have a good friend  (he has made just short of 1000 saddles on his own :o) that disregaurded this rule about a month ago and the resulting cut to the back of his hand cannot be described. :-\ :-\

Oh, and expect to ruin a few things during the learning curve..

Get a thin blade for cutting heavy stuff and a wider/thicker blade for skiving..( you will break the lighter one if you lay it on it's side and press hard).. at least I did. ;D ::)

I use a punch for tight inside corners and I have found that it works real well to moisten my leather and run the pattern lines with a swivel knife before cutting them with the round knife. I can get a hole pattern, in 15/16oz. leather, cut with one pass using this method.

I have a cheap "Al Stohlman" that I like since it has such a fine/thin blade.

Weaver now has a little fat short handled one that  cuts well. A friend of mine just got one and I think I will be adding one to my collection soon.
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Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 10:58:22 pm »
Thanks freedom, I appreciate your experience and perspective. WC also recommends the Weaver round knife. Skiving with a round knife is a little scary franly!

Anyone else?
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Offline Devil Anse Hatfield

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2010, 09:58:13 pm »
In the early 90's I bought a coustom made round knife I wish I had back. It went with the shop when I got out.
It wasnt normal  shaped it had a longer taper to point on one end than the other. It was like having a point knife and a head knife at same time. I hate a razor knife

Offline goodtime annie

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2010, 10:53:39 pm »
My head knife is a Danny Marlin, Middle of the road as far as pricing. it is smaller in size so it is less intimating than some of the larger one. He makes them in several shapes and sizes
Goodtime Annie

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Offline Ten Wolves Fiveshooter

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 11:23:16 pm »
 Howdy Annie

     Do you have a link to Danny Marlin, do you know who sells his knives? it sounds like that knife might be worth looking at, I'd like to have a smaller one my self.

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Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 11:45:30 pm »
I ordered a Weaver round knife today, based largely on WC’s advice, which as far as I’m concerned is good as gold. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I am sure looking forward to it. 

Thanks for all the advice, and keep it coming!
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Offline goodtime annie

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2010, 11:54:32 pm »
Danny R Marlin
1550 County Road 207
Blanket, TX 76432-5601
(254) 842-5405

this was the last address I known for him.

Goodtime Annie

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Offline panhead pete

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2010, 06:09:23 am »
Howdy JD & Co.,

When you get that knife, sharpen it until you can shave your arms with it.  Oil stones work best, then strop it on a piece of leather with rosin on it like the old time barbers.  I have found that good leather like Wickett & Craig's, cut much easier than some of the Tandy leathers I have used.  For tight corners, use a round punch and cut "out" of the hole along your cut line.

Happy carving,

Panhead

Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2010, 08:13:04 am »
Thanks for that advice Pete. One thing WC mentioned was that the Weaver knife came sharp and ready to use from the factory, whereas the other knives he had experience with had to have an edge put on them before they could be used. Of course any knife will need attention on a regular basis. 
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Offline Slowhand Bob

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2010, 09:01:22 am »
JD, I will just say to keep that knife sharper than sharp and always keep the off hand behind the cutting edge.  Also remember that the working surface under your leather can be an accident waiting to happen also if it causes the knife to catch and skip.   As I have stated several times over the past couple of years, my poor habits made the Head Knife a poor choice for me.  Over a period of  years I skived myself seriously more than a couple of times and finally decided that the benefits of the head knife were not worth it for me.  I kept several knives at hand and still always seemed to be needing to stop work and sharpen constantly or else resort to my utility knife anyway.  I know we often think of the head knife or round knife as a pros tool but I do know of at least a few old salts who have elected to go with, or stay with, the box (utility) knife after a lifetime of leather work.  Be very careful while learning to use it and never get lax on the safety rules that apply to pushing that blade.

Something funny, I had three or four Osborn head knives that were just alike and yet had a favorite and 'least favorite' between them??  I also favored the half blades (it looks similar to a carpet knife in profile) BUT they require twice as much edge dressing!!

Once again be careful as it is hard to work with leather while you are wearing a big bloody bandage on yore pointer fer a week or so.   

Offline Ned Buckshot

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2010, 09:14:17 am »
I learned to do leather with a Hyde brand knife. Basically a Utility Knife with an angled head. Very easy to cahnge blades just unscrew the end cap and twist it open!

Now that I changed to Bi Metal blades I only have change once where I used to 3 times!

I never felt the need to spend money on a tool to replace one that did a perfectly cut edge on all but the thickest leather.

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Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2010, 09:16:40 am »
Point taken Robby, and I appreciate your perspective. I have gravitated towards heavier leather, say 10-12 oz, and even a little heavier in some cases. I’m making several passes with the utility knife to get it cut.

Ned, I respect and appreciate your perspective as well. I use the angled knife that Tandy sells, and use the Bi metal blades, and it works fine for the lighter leather.

Once I had an opportunity to use a well sharpened round knife a few times I began to wonder why I didn’t have one. For me at least it has nothing to do with wanting to do things the way certain pros may do it.

So it seems there are folks who don’t want to do leather without one, and other who do just fine without one. As the Bible says “Let each one be fully persuaded in his own mind”    

Actually, I found a great deal on a round knife at a leather show about 1 1/2 years ago, and bought one. After a while I decided I wasn't ready for it and gave it away. Now I'm ready to try it again.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2010, 09:27:07 am by JD Alan »
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Offline cowboy316

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2010, 09:31:04 am »
and the man that recieved that gift is blessed to have a great pard like you JD
Cowboy316 ;D

Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2010, 09:36:08 am »
That's been a while ago Tim; glad you could put them to good use.
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Offline Ten Wolves Fiveshooter

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2010, 10:05:19 am »
Danny R Marlin
1550 County Road 207
Blanket, TX 76432-5601
(254) 842-5405

this was the last address I known for him.



     Hello Annie

        Thanks for posting this information

               tEN wOLVES  :D
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Offline Springfield Slim

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2010, 10:35:10 am »
I have found that with a new blade of the thicker type in my utility knife that I can cut through 10-12 oz leather in one pass. If the curve gets too small I switch to the hooked blade. I do mostly holsters so I don't have too many long straight cuts. If I did saddles maybe I would use a head knife, but I just don't feel the need. The trick with the utility knife is to change the blades often, they're cheap and it saves time sharpening. If I feel the need to sharpen something I takes out my pocket knives. And I REALLY don't need another too around here that can maim me, I have enough trouble with my lathe, drill press, radial arm saw and such as it is!
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Offline JD Alan

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Re: Round Knife: Yes or No
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2010, 11:19:43 am »
Jim, I appreciate you sharing. I've been gravitating towards thinner blades, like the Stanley paper blade, which seems to cut better than the standard width blades. Then I read about the Bi metal blades and now I use those. I'll give a heavier blade a try for the heavier leather. Thanks, JD
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