Edgers are used in the crafting of so many leather goods. A great one will be a joy to use day in and day out and is well worth having a good one.
My recommended edger is the Kyoshin Elle #1 edger (click here to view on RMLeather). It’s fairly priced, made of quality materials in Japan, available in several sizes, and has a sharp blade. This will work very well for most day-to-day leather craft projects.
Some leather crafters have multiple edgers to fulfill a few needs. Let’s explore what the need might be for having more than one edger.
What to Consider in an Edger (Edge Beveler)
Edgers and bevelers are tools used to shave the square edges off of leather. This is both for functional an aesthetic purposes. Functionally, it removes the sharper square edges and leaves a more rounded edge to the leather. This makes it less likely to catch on other items during daily use. The rounded edges are also more comfortable on items that are handled frequently such as belts and wallets.
Aesthetically, the rounded edges on leather are generally more pleasing to the eye. They soften the look and also make it easier to seal the edges when they are burnished or edge-painted.
Edgers and burnishers come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. They are usually made with metal blades/tips attached to a wooden handle.One thing to keep in mind is that not all edgers are sized in the same way. A particular size from one brand or manufacturer might not match that from another manufacturer.
Similar to clothes, it’s best to try out the ones you’d like, and ensure the sizing meets your needs. In general, it is important to keep the edges sharp to ensure smooth, clean cuts.
Some have more of a “V” shape to the blade, offering more pointed edges. Some are more “U” shaped, offering more rounded edges. Others have more of a boxed edge, leading to more square/angled edges.
Edgers generally come in sizes such as 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. where the larger numbers take off more leather. However, the sizes are not universal across makers. For example, a size 1 from one tool maker might be a little different than a size 2 from another maker. It’s helpful to find a tool makers who’s edgers you like, then get the range of sizes and shapes that will be most useful to you.
Of course you can also have edgers from different manufacturers too, totally up to personal preference.
What Works Best
I initially got the Tandy #2 Edge Beveler (click here to see it on amazon), to get a feel for edger in general, and how they work. I also got a generic #1 edger (click here to see it on amazon). I found I used the #1 more often, and it cut much more smoothly than the Tandy. Both were OK, though neither felt like a fine tool, or an extension of the hand, working through leather.
An upgrade would be to the Kyoshin Elle edgers (click here to view on RMLeather). They are made in Japan and the experience I’ve had with the Kyoshin Elle brand has been quite nice. I’d see these being very reliable, consistent, and sharp.
For an exquisite tool that will last a lifetime and perform with the best, there’s Ron’s Montana Edgers (click here to see on RMLeather). They’re some of the best around, hold their edge well, handle well, and are made of fine wood, steel, and finishing materials. Barry King makes exceptional edgers as well. While Feng is newer to the market and their tools show promise.
Edgers are tools that can make the details of leather goods really stand out. Hopefully this help you find one that you love working with and produces great results.