Skiving Belt Ends

One of the important steps I take to refine the comfort of your belt is to skive the buckle ends. Skiving is the process of removing some of the thickness of leather. This helps the leather fold in half in the area where the snaps are installed to keep your belt buckle secured. I remove the leather from the backside of the strap since this allows the strongest layer of dense leather fibers to remain with the belt. When the belt end is folded over and the buckle installed – it will not be as thick and provides a better feel on the hip.

Skiving is usually done in one of four ways in my shop. In the videos on this page I am using a very simple hand operated skiver. This is basically a large wedge shaped blade on top of a steel roller. The leather strap is placed between the two pieces, pressure is applied to the roller via a handle, and the strap is pulled outward. This is the cleanest and most uniform way to skive a belt end. It also allows me to apply a ‘gradient’ of skiving where I can ease into it.

Another form of skiving is a small hand-tool that kind of looks like a men’s shaving razor. This style of tool is better suited for edges of seams and bags where the edge may be rolled over. Even better for that task is a machine that looks similar to a sewing machine called a bell skiver. This allows you to run an edge through it to perfectly taper and skive off excess material. Now, the most brute way to skive is simply by using a belt sander. You press the leather down on it and use force in particular areas to help create the gradient. It creates a lot of dust, so it is recommended that some form of vacuum or filter is used to keep the air clean.

As your belt makes its way through my shop, I typically will clean up the edges with a razor and sharp scissors. I also do a bit of detailed beveling on the belt tips to get that refined look.

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