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Re: [BKARTS] Paring Knife

In terms of paring knives, all styles have their advantages and ultimately
the kind of paring you do will depend upon:

Your skill and practice
The sharpness of the blade and your ability to hone it
The kind of leather you work with.

One thing I will say is don't buy anything because it's the cheapest,
especially hand tools like paring knives. A cheap knife, regardless of
style, will not hold an edge and frustrate beyond belief. Buy the best you
can't afford. It'll last a life time.

Comparing styles, I learned on a cheap German (like the English but with a
wooden handle and rounded tip. From there I went to the Swiss and I haven't
looked back. The advantage of the Swiss is that I can (and do) pare on both
sides, and that you can push the blade (like a spokeshave). I have several,
including one I let students try. Don't EVER let them use your primary one.
The one I got is the Ascona knife. While I got mine there I believe TALAS
and Bookmakers also carry them. There is also a cheaper version. Avoid it.
Ultimately, you will be able to pare with any of them. See what feels best
in your hands and stick with it.

Then, practice, practice, practice. Expect to shread at least one skin. The
scraps will be great for "millimeter" bindings.


At 11:41 AM 9/19/2003 -0700, you wrote:
I'm about to invest in a leather paring knife.  I have been using a swiss
style leather paring knife at the studio of the bookbinder I work with.
However, I find I just use one side of curve of the knife which seems to
waste one of the advantages of this style of knife.  Can anyone rundown the
advantages of the types of leather paring knife for me, at the moment I am
considring purchasing the English style mainly because it seems to be the

Many thanks,
Julia Bradshaw


Peter D. Verheyen
Bookbinder & Conservator
The Book Arts Web & Book_Arts-L Listserv

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