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Shaving or skiving leather

The leather has to reach the desired thickness in the tannery. To achieve this, the skin is first split on the splitting machine. Next a shaving machine, comprising knives arranged in a spiral formation, shaves the flesh side of the leather until the appropriate thickness is obtained. The fibres are cut to an even thickness. When shaving, the leather must contain residual moisture so that the shaving is even. The water content in each skin and across all skins must be the same in order to achieve equally good results. The process of shaving is also called "skiving".

The shaved leather fibres are then pressed and undergo a waste treatment process e.g. incineration. In some cases, shaved leather fibres are also used to produce bonded leather.

The accuracy of skiving is controlled by the moisture content of the leather, the set thickness per pass, the sharpening of the skiving knife, and the feed speed during entry into the skiving machine. A study found that the cutting speed of the skiving cylinder also affects the accuracy. Machines with a speed of 24.5m/s to 27.5m/s resulted in significantly better results for tough and elastic leather fiber structures compared to machines with a speed of 16.5m/s to 18.5m/s.

After shaving, the outer contour is trimmed if necessary if there are damaged areas. The trimming is done sparingly so as not to remove any usable area.


Shaving tannery.jpg

Shaving. Checking the thickness.


Shaving leather fibres.jpg

Leather fibres are shaved.


Video about the leather production

The leather production in a modern tannery.

Additional information

Process steps in the leather production
storage - soaking - liming - fleshing - splitting - pickling - tanning - neutralising - withering - sorting - shaving - dyeing - fatliquoring - retanning - drying - finish - softening - final check

Tanning methods
Chrome tanning - Vegetable-tanned leather - Synthetic tanning - Tanning with fats and oils