Sharpening leather with the Schärffix

The Original: The Schärffix® is a device for sharpening leather products, especially leather book covers. A sharp blade and the matching pressure roller ensure the thinning of the leather on the inside of the cover. This makes it easier to fold or join the leather in these areas. The Schärffix is small and handy and comes in a case. It includes spare blades, various pressure rollers and tools. For the processing of leather, we have many tools, such as sharpening knives, sharpening stone, leather scissors, leather dyes, leather care products.

1 Sharpen leather for what?

To sharpen leather for book covers, you need leather sharpening knives or a leather sharpening device such as the Schärffix. The outer edges of the leather must be skived so that they become thinner towards the edge and can be folded over later in the wrapping process. However, the Schärffix can also be used to sharpen/thin out the entire surface of leather.

2 Step by step leather sharpening

We show you in just six steps how to sharpen your leather with the Schärffix. Besides the description below, the process is also shown step by step in the following video:

Note: Enable subtitles for a description of the work steps.

Step 1: Fasten the Schärffix

To start sharpening the leather, first attach the Schärffix to the work table. Then insert a new blade into the Schärffix and fasten it. (Replacement blades as well as the various pressure rollers are supplied in the set)

Step 2: Adjust Schärffix to the leather

Now the Schärffix can be adjusted to the respective leather. There are two central settings here:

  1. Material thickness/thickness: this setting is made via the large wheel.
  2. The inclination of the blade: via the smaller wheel.

It is also important to mention: If you are unsure or have not had much practice, please test in advance with a leftover piece of leather which is the optimal setting so as not to accidentally take off too much of the leather.

Schaerffix Tutorial
Schaerffix Tutorial

Step 3: Marking areas on the leather

With the finished blanket boards and the back insert, the leather is cut to fit. And mark the areas to be sharpened.

Schaerffix Tutorial

Step 4: Sharpening edges

Now you can start sharpening the edges. For this purpose, the leather should be guided sensitively and with even pressure over the entire surface of the pressure roller into the knife.

Schaerffix Tutorial

Step 5: Sharpen fold

To sharpen the fold, the pressure roller must first be replaced. Different widths are supplied for a wide range of fold widths. After the exchange, the sharpening process can be started as usual. Only the area of the pressure roller is now sharpened.

Step 6: Smoothing edges

A sharpening knife is now used to smooth the raised edges and cut off the corners. A final check is made: Can the edges be folded over well? 

Schaerffix Tutorial
Schaerffix Tutorial
Schaerffix Tutorial

The result is impressive

It requires some practice at the beginning to work with the Schärffix. This means that you should not immediately process the most expensive leather and expect to achieve very good results immediately.

Schaerffix Tutorial

3 What materials & tools are needed?

Especially when it comes to working with leather, it is important to use high-quality and appropriate materials and tools to achieve a high-quality end product. Leather is a natural material and offers a unique aesthetic, feel and durability that makes it a popular material for book covers. However, to work with leather, you need special tools that allow you to precisely sharpen, cut, dye, and maintain the leather. Below you can see an excerpt of our materials and tools for working with leather.

4 Leather selection 

To achieve a high quality result when bookbinding with leather, it is of great importance to use high quality leather. We offer leather in different varieties & colours. Our focus here is on goatskin, as it is ideal for bookbinding due to its natural stretch and flexibility. It fits well around the edges of the book cover and supports the fold formation in the spine. We offer thicker Oase goatskin and thinner (already split) Capra goatskin here, and in a wide variety of colours.

Book calf - natural
Leather for bookbinding and restoration

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €163.80* to €204.75*
Calf parchment - unpolished
for bookbinders - approx. 0.26 - 0.4 mm thick
Colour [2] : light, antique

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €154.48* to €174.06*
%
Calf parchment - unpolished | special offer
for bookbinders - approx. 0.26 - 0.4 mm thick

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€267.62*
€317.18*
Calf parchment - both sides polished
white - 0.15 - 0.25 mm thick

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €193.42* to €217.94*
%
Corona - Bonded leather
made of 70 % leather fibres
Colour: black | Type: Standard - Steer

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€17.00*
€27.00*
%
Corona - Bonded leather
made of 70 % leather fibres
Colour: black | Type: Standard - Wolf

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€17.00*
€27.00*
%
Corona - Bonded leather
made of 70 % leather fibres
Colour: light brown | Type: Senssimo Thermo - Impala

In stock, deliverable at short notice

€14.00*
€22.00*
Eurobond - bonded leather
Roll width: approx. 145 cm
Colour: 6344 - dark green | Emboss finish: Aristo

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €29.26* to €40.00*
Eurobond - bonded leather
Roll width: approx. 145 cm
Colour: 7443 - honey | Emboss finish: Sedona

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €29.26* to €40.00*
Eurobond - bonded leather
Roll width: approx. 145 cm
Colour: 7377 - brown | Emboss finish: Basque

In stock, deliverable at short notice

from €29.26* to €40.00*

5 Examples of use

In addition to book covers, the Schärffix can also be used for many other leather products:

  • Notebooks
  • Keychain
  • Diaries
  • Smartphone cover
  • Bicycle saddle

6 Frequently asked questions

Our Schärffix works on all types of leather, but especially on softer leathers. The only difficulty with napa leather is that you must always have very sharp blades (our Schärffix comes with replacement blades, so this should not be a problem) and you must be very precise. With some of the harder leathers, additional moisture needs to be added to make them more flexible and ensure a good result.
Our Schärffix is as easy to use as it looks, but you definitely need to practice with it since it is a manual device. And yes, the Schärffix helps to work on larger surfaces faster and above all more precisely than with a knife. (Very smooth and even results) For the corners you still need a leather paring knife, and here it really comes down to your preferences (what you have learned is best to use). For starters, we can recommend the Asian model, as it is very affordable and still good to use.
With the Schärffix you get a complete set from us: 1 standard roller for full surface processing, 3 lifter rollers with 4mm, 8mm and 12mm width and 1 set of replacement blades (10 blades). If customers have an older version of the Schärffix, then they must purchase additional accessories or replacement blades. 
High quality leather should not show cracks or breaks. The better the quality of the leather, the more tear resistant and stable it is.
All types of leather can be used to cover a book. However, goatskin is the best leather for book covers - it has no aesthetic defects such as scars or uneven coloring. Goatskin is supple, yet has little stretch. This is important so that you can easily process the leather with the sharpening fix.

One speaks of leather splitting when the complete piece of leather is to be thinned to a few millimeters. In contrast, when leather is sharpened, it is not the hide itself that is made thinner, but the edge of the leather. This is important for bookbinding, among other things, so that the edge can be folded over well. The sharpening fix can be used for both leather splitting and leather sharpening. However, working an entire surface with the sharpening fix can be very tedious.