The Felsted Skiver is a machine for paring leather in bookbinding. It uses standard double-edged razor blades and can be precisely adjusted for paring thickness and for shallow angles so that an even thickness or a taper can be pared. A detailed description of its use and maintenance can be read in the handbook and there are several videos available on Vimeo and YouTube demonstrating it in use:
Magnetic stylus for safer handling of razor blades
Additional anvil for shaping as required
If you are used to the traditional methods of preparing leather for binding a book using edge paring knives and spokeshaves but have not used a paring machine before, you can think of the Felsted Skiver as an alternative to the spokeshave: it can pare large areas and edges more accurately and more quickly than a spokeshave. You will still need knife skills for edge paring as even the sharpest razor blade will tear an edge if you get too close!
The Felsted Skiver is hand-made in The UK and comes complete with a storage box and toolkit, including a magnetic stylus. There is an area in the foam, upper right, left free for you to cut your own shape for such items as razor blades:
For those who already have tools or don't need the storage box, a bare bones version is also available. It's the same machine but without the box, tools, lubricant or printed Owner's Handbook (you can download the electronic version).
Some examples of work produced using The Felsted Skiver
The Felsted Skiver comes fully adjusted and tested so you should be able to use it straight out of the box (though you will have to add a razor blade of course!) You will receive a Felsted Skiver with a printed Owner's Handbook and a set of tools and lubricant all in a foam-lined custom storage box.
Or you can choose the 'bare bones' version. Still fully adjusted and tested but without the storage box, toolkit or printed instructions (you can download the electronic Owners Handbook free).
Although the prices are shown in Pounds Stirling, PayPal will convert from whichever currency you wish to pay in. If carriage to your country is not shown, please contact me for a quote first as there is considerable variation in shipping cost.
The standard anvil supplied with the Felsted Skiver has a straight surface that covers most of the operations like reducing the thickness of an area or tapering the edges of a skin. Where a narrow area needs to be reduced in thickness, such as the hinge areas near the spine, a shaped anvil can be an advantage. Additional anvils can be purchased for the user to shape to their requirements. Instructions for doing this are in the Felsted Skiver Handbook (PDF)
Handling razor blades is always a delicate business. To make the bookbinder's life a little safer in this regard I've developed a magnetic stylus that is included with the Felsted Skiver but also available separately. It has a small magnet at one end that can pick up individual blades from a work surface and a stronger magnet at the other end for when a blade is reluctant to leave its packaging. Price is £10 including postage in the UK or £12.50 including postage elsewhere in the world. A Magnipulator is included in the toolkit of the Felsted Skiver so you do not need to purchase it separately if you are buying a Skiver.
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I have evaluated a number of brands of razor blade for use in leather paring. The results are not just valid for the Felsted Skiver - if you have a machine already you could find it useful to read/download the report (PDF format)
The Felsted Skiver Newsletter tells you about developments and when new batches of machines are available for sale.