Leather gouges are great tools to help remove material in leather items where there will be bends or folds. They come in a few helpful shapes.
The Tandy Leather Craftool Adjustable “V” Gouge is a solid all-around gouge tool, click here to see it on Amazon. It has a contoured wood handle and can adjust easily to variable depths, for cutting stitch lines and fold lines in leather. It cuts in the “V” pattern.
Let’s dive into the options available, helping find one that will work well on a variety of projects.
Types of Leather Gouges
Leather gauge tools come in a variety of configurations. The fixed type will generally be easier to cut consistent depths with, across projects over time. The adjustable can work very well too, if one can find a way to set the adjustment at the same position each time, if using it for different depths and going back to similar project work.
Adjustable gouges usually have a variable depth to the cutting blade which can be adjusted on the barrel of the tool. This functionality allows a single tool to be able to cut deeper, or shallower, cuts in the leather, depending on preference and project need.
Fixed gouges have a fixed blade of a set cutting depth (most often in the “V” or “U” shape). Since the blades are fixed in their depth, these tools can sometimes be of higher cutting quality, and also make for easier cutting of consistent depths, since it will always cut in the same way. If one want variable depths for projects, multiple fixed gouges would be needed.
The v-gouge is pushed into leather to carve out a consistent line and depth of material somewhat deeply into a piece of leather. The v-shape of the blade is often beneficial for and helpful in making sharp, right-angle folds in leather goods like bages, laptop cases, handbags, and other leather items with right angles in their design.
The u-gouge has a u-shaped blade that works well for cutting grooves into the leather’s surface. The groove it cuts will allow material to be more easily bent around corners, which helps on projects, especially bag making. The u-gouge can sometimes also be used as a stitch groover, adding to its versatility in the shop.
Best Leather Gouges
There are a few great options depending on personal preference and project needs, here are the recommended tools for great gouge work in the shop.
Best Leather V-Gouge – Adjustable
Tandy makes the Leather Craftool Adjustable “V” Gouge, click here to see it on Amazon. It is a nice, solid all-around gouge tool that has a contoured wood handle. It can adjust easily to variable depths, for cutting stitch lines and fold lines in leather. It cuts in the “V” pattern, and can be a reliable addition to the shop.
Best Leather U-Gouge – Adjustable
C.S. Osborne makes a quality Adjustable U-Gouge Tool, click here to see it on Amazon. It has an adjustable depth setting with integrated guard to help prevent cuts from going too deep. Sizing is 5/32″, this is a great adjustable option.
Best Leather U-Gouge – Fixed
Ron’s Tools make a round gouge in a beautiful design, click here to see it on Ron’s Tools. It makes a 7/64″ cut, and includes a shaped and contoured, wooden handle. This is a quality option that, with proper care, should last and perform well for a very long time.
Having the right gouge makes clean and consistent cuts and gooves much easier. Choosing a groover that fits with one’s crafting style can be an fun and very helpful addition to the shop.