Leather groovers are so helpful for marking stitch lines or creating nice visual elements in finished leather pieces. And, they don’t have to be expensive. Some recommendations include paid links to products that I trust.
I have an really like the Kyoshin Elle Pro Edge Creaser and Groover (click here to see on RMLeather). It’s a step above the entry level types that might have issues with reliability or sharpness. It also feels solid, works smoothly, and produces nice results. If I were to buy a first or upgraded groover again, it would be this one.
It’s helpful to know the cases when a groover would be helpful, as well as when to use a stitch groover and a scratch groover. Let’s explore a bit.
When to Use a Leather Groover
Leather groovers are tools used to cut grooves into leather. Grooves can be used just for marking lines. For example pulling the groover with light pressure will cut a light line into the leather. Grooves can also be cut deeper, creating a channel in which stitching can be set. Since the final stitched will rest within the groove, below the surface of the leather, they will be less susceptible to abrasions and tearing.
One can also place grooves where they want to create a fold line in the leather material. Or, cut grooves into leather for decorative purposes. For example, adding a groove along either side of a belt. Groovers are generally available as stitching or scratch groovers, each with its potential benefits.
Leather Working Stitching Groover
Stitching groovers are generally configured with a grooving tip connected to a wooden handle. Running through the base of the tool near the tip is an edge guide.
The edge guide is a piece of metal that extends and pushes up against the edge of the leather being grooved. It can be adjusted for different widths, then fixed securely in position so it does not move. As the tool is drawn towards you, the edge guide runs along the leather edge, ensuring the groove is at a fixed distance the entire length of the groove.
Since the edge guide is adjustable, multiple grooves can be cut, if desired, into leather creating a wide array of possible design and visually exciting options. With the edge guide removed, the tool can also be used free-hand to make any design one might want in the leather. The leather stitching groover is a very helpful too that you’ll likely have in your leather working tool kit.
Lower cost options are definitely available, such as this generic brand (click here to view it on amazon). However for not much more, options are available that will provide quality and reliable cutting for years. The one I have and what I recommend is the Kyoshin Elle Pro Edge Creaser and Groover (click here to see on RMLeather).
What I might one day evolve to, and experienced leather crafters highly recommend, is either the Versa Stitch Groover (click here to see on RMLeather) or the Barry King Stitch Groover (click here to see it on RMLeather). The Versa has a more modern, sleek look and feel. The Barry King a more classic look with a wooden handle. Both perform exceptionally well.
Leather Working Scratch Groover
A scratch groover is used to cut shallow grooves into leather. Essentially a simplified version of the stitching groover, the scratch groover can be used free-hand to make grooves in leather. They can be used to prepare for stitching, cut decorative grooves, mark light cut lines, or remove leather material at a fold or crease point.
A separate scratch groover is likely not necessary, if you have a stitching groover with a removable edge guide, as without the edge guide, the stitching groover acts just as a scratch groover. If you find you primarily scratch groover, and prefer an array of sizes easily available, one or more scratch groovers might work well for you.
For a scratch groover, any of the above suggestions should work well. My preference is the Kyoshin Elle for this tool.
Leather groovers are fun tools that are functional, and also make it easy to add some style to finished pieces. Adding one to a leather tool set is definitely a great addition.