The Felsted Skiver

A razor blade paring machine for the bookbinder

The Felsted Skiver

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:


Disappearing spine binding in black leather and metallic grey buckram
Notebook with Disappearing Spine binding in black leather and metallic grey buckram. 175H x 190W x 12mm. Malcolm Raggett.
Disappearing Spine binding with leather spine
Coffee journal with Disappearing Spine binding in light tan leather and metallic red buckram. 150H x 115W x 24mm. Malcolm Raggett.
Rebound paperback with Disappearing Spine binding
Guide to Bees and Honey by Ted Hooper. Paperback rebound with cream leather spine and dyed leather hexagon inlay, red bookcloth with original book cover in deboss. 217H x 140W x 23mm. Malcolm Raggett.

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:

boxed skiver

Buy a Felsted Skiver

The current batch of Felsted Skivers is sold out.

The next batch is due by the end of November 2017. If you would like to reserve one from the November batch please email me ( to add your name to the waiting list. If you want to be kept informed of Felsted Skiver developments you can sign up to the newsletter.

Additional anvil for the Felsted Skiver

anvil for the Felsted Skiver

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)

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The Magnipulator

The Magnipulator stylus for safer hadling or razor blades

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.

Buy a Magnipulator magnetic stylus:

Buy using Paypal or credit/debit card. Select the region you live in and tell me where to send it:

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Razor blades for paring leather

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)

recommended razor blade brands