Track 7: The sound of making ‘press knives’ used to stamp out shapes from leather. Bending the knives into the shape, cutting the metal bars, welding the bars to the knives, stamping out a shape from leather using a 20 tonne press, hammering a letter stamp into the steel knife. Cactus Leather London, Leyton. 1:43

Steve Jones is the only maker of  ‘press knives’ in London. In simple terms a press knife is similar to a ‘cookie cutter’, except it is used to stamp out shapes from leather.  These are used to make leather parts for bags, shoes or even whole belts including the belt holes. Instead of hand cutting the leather one at a time, a knife can be used to cut out a shape up to 20 000 times.

A length of steel blade is bent and shaped to match the required design on a foot pedal controled bending machine. Metal bars are then cut and welded in place to strengthen the outline knife shape.

Steve mentioned that he is looking to pass his skills onto an apprentice.

After I had recorded the ‘Sounds of Making’ for the vinyl record I had a chat with Steve about his business that you can hear here.

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Cactus Leather London, Unit 18, Roxwell Trading Park, Argall Avenue, E10 7QY, tel 020 8556 6555