Definition of Skiving

Skiving is the process of thinning the thickness of leather. It's done by removing the underside of the leather using a special tool called a skiving knife or a leather plane. 

Skiving thins leather in specific areas where it's too thick or where it needs to be flexible. The process creates a seamless finish on leather edges, such as on belts or straps, wallets and card holders.

The smooth and seamless edges created are important for both aesthetics and functionality, as rough edges fray over time. 

Skiving also adds dimension and depth to leather products by creating areas of varying thickness.

To skive leather by hand, dry leather is held in place with a clamp, then a line is marked where the thinning will begin. With the knife’s edge facing away from the artisan, smooth and consistent motions are applied to thin out the leather.

If using a machine, a conveyor belt guides the leather through a thinning blade where it’s thinned. Such machines can be manual or electric. 

While hand skiving is a time-consuming process that requires a high level of skill and precision, it allows for more control and results in a higher quality finished product than using a machine.

The table below highlights various leather products where skiving is commonly applied.

Leather Product Description Benefits
Belts Skiving creates smooth and seamless edges, enhancing the appearance and fit Prevents fraying, improved comfort
Wallets Skived edges provide a refined finish and prevent fraying over time Increased durability, professional look
Card Holders Skiving ensures thin, flexible compartments for easy card insertion and removal Enhanced functionality, slim design
Shoes Skiving allows for flexibility in critical areas, such as shoe uppers. Better movement, improved comfort
Watch Straps Skived edges result in a sleek and comfortable fit around the wrist Enhanced aesthetics, reduced bulkiness

Example of Skiving in a sentence

“Skiving leather is an important skill you should learn if you’re interested in leatherwork.” 


Thinning, paring, chamfering.

Related terms for Skiving