A proper swivel knife is essential for great leather carving results. No matter how skilled you are, if you don’t use the best swivel knife, your leather carving projects won’t have a professional look.
The problem is that there aren’t many models available online and even fewer quality ones. So which one should you go for?
We will help you get an answer to that question with our list of the 4 best swivel knife models. Along with the list, we’ve included an informative guide where you can learn more about swivel knives and their features.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Best Swivel Knife – Reviews
Since swivel knives aren’t that popular today, there aren’t many different models that you can get online. Still, we have scoured the internet for the best swivel knives, and we were able to find 4 models that passed our rigorous standards. Those 5 swivel knives are sharp, affordable, and quality-made. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
OWDEN Swivel Knife
Blade: Stainless Steel
Handle: Black Brass
Weight: 2.08 ounces
The OWDEN Swivel knife has the best performance and customization for the price. It’s overall the best swivel knife and is suitable for both beginners and more experienced carvers.
This swivel knife comes with two different stainless steel blades, a large and a small one. The large blade is 10mm wide and is excellent for rough carving work where you don’t need to carve the fine details. The smaller 8mm blade is perfect for precise carving work where accuracy is important. Both of the blades are razor sharp and cut through the leather with ease!
This combination of blades allows you to make your work more professional-like. You can be much more expressive with two different blade sizes and really make your work stand out.
While the two blades give you more freedom when carving, the handle is the reason why this knife got to the first place on our list. It is so versatile and can be adjusted to a preferable length or size for anyone.
The thing we really love about it is that you can choose between 3 sizes of barrels. So many times we see top-notch knives come in only one size, which makes them unusable for people with smaller or larger hands. That’s not the case with this knife, as you can choose between the S, M, and L handles diameter.
The S handle diameter is 10mm, the M handle diameter is 11.5mm, and the L handle diameter is 13mm. The different sizes mean that this knife can fit everyone.
The handle is made of brass that is processed into black color. It has an excellent texture that provides great grip and keeps your middle finger and the thumb securely on the barrel.
The adjustable height is a feature that is so essential and yet absent on so many models. This handle has this feature that will make your life so much easier. The flexibility of this handle is amazing for this price range.
This is the perfect knife to get if you’re just starting or want to add a versatile swivel knife to your collection. The price is really a bargain when you consider all the features you get. Go for it, and you won’t be sorry!
Tandy Pro Swivel Knife
Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Size: 3/8″ small, 1/2″ big
Weight: 2.39 ounces
Tandy is one of the high-end swivel knife manufacturers that are still actively producing quality swivel knives aimed at professionals. The quality of their knives is top-notch, and this model is one of their best swivel knives they ever produced. It is made with quality in mind.
The first thing we love about this knife is that it is available in two sizes. We might have preferred one more size in the middle, but considering most swivel knives come in just one size, this is great.
The small model is the one we’re reviewing, and it has a barrel diameter of 9.5 mm or 3/8 inches along with a 6.3mm wide blade. The large model has a barrel diameter of 12.7 mm or 1/2 inches and a blade that is 9.5 mm or 3/8 inches wide. If you prefer the larger model, you can check it out on Amazon here.
The whole body and the blade are made of high-grade stainless steel that is extremely sturdy and corrosion-resistant. The blade is super sharp right out of the box and cuts the leather with ease. It holds its edge excellently, and you can expect it to last a long, long time.
The yoke or the finger rest is very well made. It turns smoothly and allows you to make curved cuts with ease. The quality of it is professional-like, and it really makes work easier, especially if you have a lot of carving experience already.
The textured handle feels great and provides you with additional grip. No fatigue occurs even after extended use of the knife.
The weight of the handle is excellently balanced and makes the knife do the cutting. This is where many cheaper models fail, but the balance on this knife shows Tandy knows what they’re doing. Handling the knife feels truly effortless.
This is a professional-grade knife made for those that appreciate leather carving and do it regularly. It performs wonderful and is made of high-quality materials that will make it last for decades!
Tandy Leather Al Stohlman Round Leathercraft Knife
Material: Stainless Steel
Weight: 1.41 ounces
Blade Length: 4 3/8 inch
The Tandy Leather Al Stohlman Round Leathercraft Knife is by far the most versatile knife on our list. It has all the features you would want in a swivel knife and performs great to cut and scribe leather making it the best round swivel knife you can buy.
It comes with a Japanese style 4 3/8″ stainless steel blade that is sharp out of the box and cuts through leather and scribes leather well. It has a mirror-finish so it can glide onto thick skin easier.
It’s round blade allows you to cut and roll leather off. It has a comfortable handle to give you a simple and safe grip so you can work faster with full control.
We like that the knife is very easy to hold and comfortable to use for extended periods of time. It has a contoured handle for an easy non-slip grip. Al Stohlman’s name has always stood for the best in leathercraft.
All in all, this swivel knife is a great choice for you if you are familiar with working with leather and are looking for an easier way to do it.
Mtsooning Swivel Knife
Body: High-Carbon Steel
The last knife on our list is the Mtsooning budget swivel knife that surprised us with its solid performance. It’s by far the best swivel knife in its price range and has some unique features that even more expensive models don’t have.
The thing we love the most about this swivel knife is the blade. It’s a ceramic blade that impressed us with its performance on leather. We at Boostuphome are huge fans of ceramic knives because of their corrosion resistance and no maintenance.
You don’t ever need to treat ceramic blades as they can’t rust and don’t require lubrication at all.
The blade will require some work to get it to the desired sharpness as it doesn’t come sharp out of the box. After 15-20 minutes of work with it, it will cut through the leather like butter.
The yoke spins pretty smoothly, so you’ll be able to make some nice rounded cuts with this swivel knife.
The body of this swivel knife is another surprise as it is made from high carbon that you just don’t find in this price range. The barrel has a nice feel and grips excellently, although the weight balance could be better. Overall, the handle is what we expected.
This is a solid knife for very little money. It might require some work to make it perform as it should, but when you get there, you won’t be disappointed!
What To Look For When Choosing Swivel Knife
Swivel knives are specifically designed for carving and are most commonly used for leather carving and sometimes for wood carving. They have been around for quite some time, but their popularity slowly diminishes as the interest in leather carving becomes lower.
A swivel knife is designed with a rotating yoke or finger rest that helps with applying the pressure and making curved cuts to the leather. The finger that is resting on it is supposed to be the index or the forefinger.
The next unique feature of these knives lies at the handle and is called the barrel. The barrel is designed to be textured for improved grip and is usually held with the middle finger and the thumb. Those two fingers use the barrel to rotate the swivel knife.
The blade is usually short and needs to be very sharp so that it can glide through the leather as you pull the knife towards yourself.
A good high-quality blade is essential for a proper swivel knife. The material that is mostly used for the blade on higher-quality models is stainless steel, while we can sometimes even see carbon steel that requires sharpening less often.
On some models, we can sometimes find ceramic blades that are also a solid choice. Unlike stainless and carbon steel, ceramics aren’t prone to rust or corrosion and don’t require knife lube.
For leather carving, there isn’t a set size of the blade that works for everything. We recommend getting at least two different smaller and bigger blades so that you can do both precise and rough work.
Before ergonomics and grip, the most important thing to look for in a swivel knife handle is the diameter.
Picking the right diameter for your hand size is crucial for the best leather carving experience. If you go for a handle too big or too small, you’ll find yourself fighting to get a good grip and apply the pressure correctly.
Fortunately, there are a few models that come in different handle diameters so that you can choose one that fits your hand the best.
We recommend experimenting with the handle diameter to see which one feels the most natural for your hand.
- Blade: High Grade Stainless Steel
- 3 Handle Sizes: Small, Medium And Large
- Material: Corrosion Resistant Black Brass
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Knife Safety Tips
In this section, we will give you some advice on how to maintain your swivel knife, as well as some safety tips to avoid injuries.
Dull Knife Is A Dangerous Knife
Dull knives have probably caused more injuries than sharp ones. A dull knife doesn’t cut like it’s supposed to which makes it unpredictable, and whenever a knife is unpredictable, you raise your chances of injury dramatically.
Dull knives can slip and make rapid movements since they require more force to cut and slice than sharpened knives. Always make sure you’ve properly sharpened your knife.
Never Leave Your Knife Wet
Seriously, this is the number one reason for corrosion in knives. Even the highest quality stainless steel knives can be prone to rusting if you leave them wet for long enough.
You can get away with this only if you use a ceramic blade swivel knife as it’s not prone to rust and corrosion.
After use, always clean your knife and apply oil to it. It will prolong its lifetime and make it easier to use. Unless you want your new knife to become an old knife for disposal.
After Use – Store It
To prevent yourself or anyone else from getting injured, as well as prolonging your knife life, you should always appropriately store your sharp swivel knife.
It’s best to keep the knife in a container away from the reach of the kids. If you can get a container with a locking mechanism, go for it!
The knife should be stored separately, in a safe dry place where there is no humidity. Storing the knife improperly can reduce its lifetime significantly.
That about covers it for everything you need to know about the best swivel knives.
Because of the lack of demand, there aren’t that many models produced today.
Still, we were able to find 4 that were high-quality, durable, and sharp. Go for any of those, and you won’t be sorry!