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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some questions that we've been asked. Select the link corresponding to the question and you will be directed to the answer. If you have questions that are not answered here, please contact us.

1. What advantage does the SK-3 Swivel Knife have over its competitors to make it the most expensive knife on the market?

2. What type of life could one expect from the finish on the barrels? Will the color wear or chip off?

3. Can the barrel be modified to accept Tandy blades?

4. Do you make angle blades?

5. How does your alloy blade compare to ceramic blades?

6. Do you sell your blades by themselves? And do they fit in any swivel knife?

7. Do you make beader blades or hollow ground blades?

8. Why is your knife so light? Is it all aluminum?

9. Your swivel knife blades are a bit unique and I was wondering, do you have a sharpening guide that attaches to the swivel knife like Tandy's?

10. Regarding your two different swivel knife yokes, is there an advantage to the shape – either flat or saddle?

11. I have slightly small hands for a guy and they get a bit achy after a long carving session with my swivel knife... how can your swivel knife help with that?

12. Do you make your SK-3 swivel knife a specific length?

13. I am interested in the SK3 but don't know what is best for me as I haven't used too many swivel knives before. What do you recommend?

14. Does the ball bearing require any maintenance on your swivel knife?

15. Why can’t I order a SK-B Performance Essentials Swivel Knife with a large yoke?

16. Will you ever make concave blades?

17. Your knives with the ergonomic handle are beautifully made... I’m left-handed so I thought I would check whether that matters or not with your round and skiving knives? I'm assuming it's fine but so often tools are designed for right- handers.

18. I've been using a red strop for quite a while. Can you tell me why you prefer green?

19. I would love to have both your round knife and the skiving knife, but at this moment I can only afford one of them. Which one would serve me better as a novice leather worker?

20. Are there any benefits to the different blade shapes on the Guppy or is it just personal preference?


What advantage does the SK-3 Swivel Knife have over its competitors to make it the most expensive knife on the market?

What type of life could one expect from the finish on the barrels? Will the color wear or chip off?

The SK-3 Swivel Knife barrels are made of aerospace aluminum and are color-anodized with a protective oxide coating that is resistant to corrosion and abrasion. The coating is durable, will never peel, and will not wear through under normal conditions.

Can the barrel be modified to accept Tandy blades?

Sure, it could be drilled to fit the Tandy blades….but why would you want to do that?  This blade is smoother than any blade out there and will hold an edge longer, plus I have blades from 1/2” down to 1/8”.

Do you make angle blades?

We can custom grind any angle on any of our blade sizes, including a steep angle like the Tandy ceramic or a more shallow angle.

How does your alloy blade compare to ceramic blades?

There is no real way to compare steel alloy to ceramic blades. You can sharpen your steel blade but generally, ceramic blades cannot be sharpened. Our blade will perform as smooth or smoother than most ceramic blades, it will slice the leather rather than just dent it, and will hold a good, long cutting edge.

Do you sell your blades by themselves? And do they fit in any swivel knife?

Yes, we do sell our blades by themselves, and they are interchangeable with all our swivel knives (SK-3, SK-V, and SK-B). Our blades are designed to fit our swivel knives, but we can modify them to fit most any other barrel.

Do you make beader blades or hollow ground blades?

Not at this time, unfortunately.

Why is your knife so light? Is it all aluminum?

The SK-3 is not “all aluminum.” The barrel is 6061-T6 aerospace quality aluminum, which we anodize to make it harder at the surface, giving the added benefit of doing it in different colors. The SK-3 swivel knife is ultra lightweight – the 1/2” blade on a 1/2” barrel with a large yoke, only weighs 9/10 ounces – very easy on the hand when cutting for many hours!

Your swivel knife blades are a bit unique and I was wondering, do you have a sharpening guide that attaches to the swivel knife like Tandy's?

We carry the Keen Edge Sharpener (available through Tandy Leather), but we bore ours on one side to fit our blade. For those that already have a Tandy sharpener, we send a replacement Allen set screw for the jig that allows our blade to fit it for sharpening.

Regarding the SK-3 swivel knife yoke, is there an advantage to the shape – either flat or saddle?

The two swivel knife yoke shapes are designed for the user’s ease, comfort, and control of the SK-3. The rounded yoke tends to be preferred by people that have large hands and/or very wide fingers. It is most comfortable for people that use a push and pull technique when carving. The flat (or more traditional) yoke is preferred by people that like more of a snug fit or have an average-to-smaller sized hand or more slender fingers – they also tend to place the pad of their finger on the flat part of the yoke rather than the knuckle part of their finger.

I have slightly small hands for a guy and they get a bit achy after a long carving session with my swivel knife... how can your swivel knife help with that?

Several reasons can cause your hands to get achy after long carving sessions. Commonly, if the knife is too tall, it will strain the top part of the back of your hand; if it’s too short, the bottom part or inside of your hand will cramp. Also, how you hold your knife and how much pressure you apply when carving could cause discomfort. Our SK-3 is 1" height adjustable, remarkably lightweight, and the blade is extremely sharp – it will easily cut through leather without much pressure. Because of this, you can enjoy more carving time without fatigue and discomfort.

Do you make your SK-3 swivel knife a specific length?

Our SK-3 is 1” height adjustable. If that doesn’t work for you, we can make a swivel knife and blade combination that is to your specifications. Our SK-V swivel knife is the ultimate customization in size, material, and comfort.

I am interested in the SK-3 but don't know what is best for me as I haven't used too many swivel knives before. What do you recommend?

We custom build our swivel knife so you can pick the combination that fits best for you and for your style of work. The most popular combination for most anything smaller than saddle size carving is a 3/8” barrel with a 1/4" straight blade. You then get to pick from one of our many colors and the yoke that you think will best work with your hand.

Does the ball bearing require any maintenance on your swivel knife?

The ball bearing is lubricated and has a blue Teflon seal – so it keeps dust and other particles out – it is totally maintenance-free.

Why can’t I order a SK-B Performance Essentials Swivel Knife with a large yoke?

The purpose behind the Performance Essentials SK-B swivel knife was to be able to offer a very economical alternative to the SK-3. We had to make serious decisions on how to be able to do that without compromising its performance and quality. Our decision resulted in a brass barrel (which is considerably heavier than the SK-3) and eliminating as many options as possible — namely, the color and yoke.

Will you ever make concave blades?

After exhaustive study and critical testing, we found that the Appleseed or convex (or Moran edge) was the best grind for cutting harder or more durable tissue. The convex has been around for decades and has proved to be one of the more durable edges (axe, log splitter, etc.). We put what appears to be a flat grind, but really at the cutting edge, we have a convex cutting edge. This edge causes tissue to spread and cut with significantly less friction. Concave edges are really great for slicing through fiber and tissue in thin layers, but convex edges are more durable and hold an edge longer.

Your knives with the ergonomic handle are beautifully made... I’m left-handed so I thought I would check whether that matters or not with your round and skiving knives?  I'm assuming it's fine but so often tools are designed for right- handers. 

The handle on our round knives and skivers are ergonomically designed for a good fit and better control. The handle and blade are symmetrical and ambidextrous, designed to be used by left-handed and right-handed people with equal ease and comfort.

I've been using a red strop for quite a while. Can you tell me why you prefer green?

We only use the green polishing compound because it is made with chrome oxide and it is specifically made for hardened tool steel. The red polishing compound is made from iron oxide, which is much softer than the green, and is more appropriate for softer metals such as gold, silver, copper, etc. The red rouge will do a little bit but the green performs better, especially on the exotic alloy that we use in our knives.

I would love to have both your round knife and the skiving knife, but at this moment I can only afford one of them.  Which one would serve me better as a novice leather worker?

The round knife is one of the most versatile of all the knives on the leather crafter’s bench. You can make long cuts, curvy cuts, and skive with it as well. If you get into some specialty work where a large part of it requires skiving specifically, then a skiver will serve you better.

Are there any benefits to the different blade shapes on the Guppy or is it just personal preference?

A large part of it is just personal preference but some blade shapes lend themselves to certain tasks a little better than others. Following is a brief application of each blade style.



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