Using a Precision Knife Freehand – Leather Crafts

Cutting: Using a Precision Knife Freehand

Cutting leather freehand with a precision knife can be challenging, so it’s a good idea to hone your skills before working on an important project. Try making the Wine Tote for practice.




Mechanical pencil

Precision knife


Cutting mat


Adhere to all safety instructions included with your precision knife. Always know where your hands are, and never cut without control.

1 Mark the leather. Using a mechanical pencil, trace around the template, marking the leather with a thin line.

2 Clamp down the leather. Use a clamp to secure the leather to your work surface.

3 Position the knife. Hold the knife like a pencil, firmly and securely. Keep your hands safe, and keep your pinky finger tucked into your palm.

4 Begin cutting. Cut with enough pressure to go through the leather, but avoid cutting into the mat below.

5 Take breaks and re-position as needed. You may feel more confident cutting between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock on curves. Stop, rotate, and reposition your project when the knife gets below 3 o’clock, or to whatever range feels most comfortable and in control.

Always keep your precision blade sharp. Injuries happen more often with a dull blade, and replacement blades are inexpensive. Replace knife blades regularly.