Since 2016


May 23, 2023 3 min read

by Monique Youzwa

Monique has been a full-time freelance writer for over 5 years, plus has a few fiction credits under her belt and is currently working on a novel. When not writing, she spends her time reading, playing video games, hiking, and camping with her husband and daughter.


Skiving is a processing technique for leather used by skilled workers for specialized products. This method allows individuals to split specific areas of the leather to make it easier to work with for the projects they have in mind. Though a valuable practice, skiving isn’t as common as it used to be, which is why so few individuals are aware of the technique. So, what is skived leather? Let’s find out.

What Is Skived Leather?

Leather skiving is a technique involving the use of special tools to trim leather. It allows an individual to create varying thicknesses in leather pieces, particularly those used for layered items, like leather wallets. The result is a thinner, more compact product. Skiving the edges of the layered pieces makes them easier to stitch for a cleaner finish.

Skiving leather also allows leatherworkers to create different textures or finishes. For instance, diagonal skiving creates a subtle texture, while pebble grain skiving adds a rugged finish.

How Is Skived Leather Made?

Skived leather is created using specialized skiving tools that allow the leatherworker to alter the material as needed for the project they are working on. One option is hand skivers, which come in two types.

Push skivers resemble vegetable peelers and are pushed against the leather to trim off the material. Pull skivers are pulled toward the user instead. They are more stable and easier to use, especially for beginners.

Skiver knives are also hand tools, though they have fixed blades of steel or carbon. Several sizes and shapes are available, including curved, straight, or beveled blades. Each tool is used for specific shaving techniques, allowing a range of thicknesses or finishes. Prices for skiver knives vary, so you don’t need to spend a fortune on a decent set of tools.

Skiving machines are the largest and most expensive option for creating skived leather and are used more often by leather companies than hobbyists. These machines are powerful and can handle skiving both thin and thick leather. The results are uniform and more professional than hand skiving tools.

Pros Of Skived Leather

Skived leather has several benefits that other types of leather can’t compare with. First, it is an inexpensive method for altering the thickness of the leather, costing less than other processes. Despite the low price, it is still extremely durable, withstanding high levels of wear.

After skiving, leather has a textured surface that increases glue adhesion for a smooth and consistent look. The thinner pieces are easier to stitch when layering leather for wallets, bags, and shoes.

Another advantage of skiving leather is the efficiency of the process. It takes simple tools, and little time, to skive a piece of leather, so you can complete your projects quickly. The tools make it easy to create uniform shaved layers.

The smooth finish on the skived areas doesn’t affect the material surface, so you can still create various textures or patterns to match your designs. As well as adding to the structural appeal of the leather, it also affects its visual charm.

PHYSICAL - The Admiral Moto

PHYSICAL - The Suede Double Rider

PHYSICAL - The Technical Bomber

Cons Of Skived Leather

Though skiving leather is easier than other splitting methods, it takes time to learn the skill. Doing so requires a lot of practice and several ruined pieces of leather before beginners get the hang of the process.

There is also a learning curve on how to use the tools. It includes how each tool shaves the leather and how deep of a cut to make without going through. Maintaining the tools is somewhat time-consuming to ensure the blades are sharp enough to create those evenly shaved pieces. Those sharp edges are also dangerous, so should be handled carefully to prevent cuts.

Skived Leather

Final Word

Skiving is a practice only used for particular projects, which is why it isn’t a technique most leatherworkers require. Its main purpose is to reduce bulk when layering several pieces of leather, which is why this skill has become so uncommon. Despite its rare use, skived leather is still essential, so won’t be forgotten any time soon.

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