Why Beveled Edges Make a Better Leather Belt Learn How
What is beveling? Is it necessary? How does it make the belt more comfortable? What else has to be done to the edges?
These questions and others will be discussed in this article.
What is Beveling?
Once a leather belt strip is cut from the hide, the cut edges are sharp and rough. A Beveler, shown here, is used to remove the sharp corners from the edge of the belt. It is done all around the belt and on the top and bottom (inside) as well.
The little scraps are the pieces that are removed which rounds off the edges making the belt more comfortable.
Not all handmade belt makers take the time to do this and it is just the first step in smoothing off the edges. The edges are now rounded, but they are still a little rough. Now it is time to apply the tragacanth and burnish the edges.
This step is not required and as I said, many handmade belt makers don’t bother…I think beveling makes a better belt…what do you think?
Read to to find out what else makes a better belt….
Burnishing What is it, and How Does it Help Make a Better Belt?
Next, we want to make the edges silky smooth so they will glide through the belt loops rather than catch. This is another step that is often ignored by many belt makers. If the belt is made from sewing two different types of leather together, the leather is often too thin to bevel or even burnish. The edges remain straight cut and rough.
The belt edges are dyed, then the Tragacanth is rubbed on the edges first. This will help keep the edges matted down. A Wooden Burnisher attached to a Drill Press is used to smooth the edges. The belt is moved along as the burnisher turns matting down the rough fibers along the cut edges. This process continues until the edges are silky smooth.
Check out the brief video to see more about this process.
How Skiving Reduces Bulk and Increases Comfort on Leather Belts
Skiving is done at the buckle end of the belt to thin the leather where the belt will fold. This reduces bulk and prevents the belt from sticking out to dig into your stomach. The Bell Skiver is the equipment used for this process. The belt could be thinned with a hand skiver, but this takes time. Since belts are my best sellers and I make lots of them, this piece of equipment was worth the investment.
The picture on the right shows a skived (left) and unskived (right) belt strip. Notice the edges are NOT beveled, dyed, burnished, or skived on either piece. Can you see the rough fibers and sharp edges?
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I started creating handmade leather products back in 1977. Once I discovered leather as a medium, it became my passion…
My product lines increased as I set out to find solutions for customers who were looking for unique leather products to help them.
I started making belts in all widths for people of all sizes and they soon became my best sellers. The intricately tooled designs also set these belts apart from others on the market.