Leather strap cutters can be used to make surprisingly accurate and consistent cuts. If you’re looking to make straps for bags, belts, or even thin strips for crafting or other projects, this is an essential tool.
The best leather strap cutter, for most folks, is the Tandy Leather Craftool Strap Cutter (click here to see it on Amazon). It is sturdy, has an adjustable width, measurement markings, and a blade that is mostly concealed. While there are more, and less expensive options, this is a quality tool that has been around for years.
In most cases, a manual strap cutter, pulled or pushed by hand, will be all that one needs. In some cases, a strap cutting machine will come in handy. Let’s explore some about the options.
Strap Cutter Overview
Strap cutters are tools, with sharp blades, used to cut long lengths of leather material into consistent widths. For example, if you have a large leather hide and want to turn it into 2″ wide straps for belts, this is the tool for the job. Most have interchangeable blades, so over time a fresh one can be put in to help ensure the cutting edge is sharp, making cuts smooth and easy.
Types of Strap Cutters
Push Cutters (Plough Cutters)
Some are designed to cut leather by pushing the tool through the leather away from the body. While less common than the pull-style, it is personal preference as to if someone prefers this type. These often also go by the name of “plough”.
These are designed to be used by pulling the tool through the leather, towards the body. Often, these provide good control which helps promote a smooth, even cut. The most commonly used cutters are of the pull style.
Machine cutters are electric-powered tools where the leather is fed through blades that are mechanically turned. These work fast, and consistent. If one is doing a lot of strap cutting, or running a production line for products that involve straps, this can be helpful. They are usually large, heavy, and expensive.
Best Strap Cutters
The Tandy Leather Craftool Strap Cutter (click here to see it on Amazon) is an excellent choice. It is made from wood, has etched measurement markings, a mostly-protected cutting blade, and is somewhat of a standard for this type of tool.
There are other, and sometimes less expensive options available, though build quality might be questionable, some have the cutting blade fully exposed, and their overall durability can vary. This is a solid, sturdy tool that has been used for this exact purpose, successfully for years.
Push-Type (Plough Cutter)
If you’re looking for this particular style, prices will usually be higher. Fewer of these styles are manufactured, though the quality materials used are often necessary to make this push-style tool be effective (the cutting mechanics of push vs. pull are a little different).
Here is a great option in the Vergez Blanchard Strap & Belt Plough Cutter (click here to see it on RM Leather). Most of it is constructed from brass, making it a heavier and pricier tool. It certainly looks as beautiful as it performs. It’s definitely not necessary to do quality work, though if you’re looking for something that will perform consistently and last decades or more with proper care, this is a nice option.
Strap Cutter Machine
If you’re looking to do high-volume, production work and want to cruise through hides and make straps and straps and more straps :), a strap cutter machine is likely the way to go. Here, the COBRA AK 20 is an excellent choice (click here to see it on Leather Machine Co.).
This is a heav-duty machine, variable spacers, 15 cutting blades, and a 3/4 HP motor. It is much more expensive than the manual options, though could be very much worth the price, produce fast, consistent results, and save a tremendous amount of time if your shop does a lot of volume.
Making leather straps can actually be a fun part of a project. In most cases, a manual, pull style tool with work great and last for years. And as with any tool, personal preference plays a large role, so trying the different ones out will help one decide what’s their favorite for use in the shop.