What Are a Quarter Moon Knives? Step by step Guide To Sharpen Them

Quarter Moon Knife

Today I’m going to give you a comprehensive guide for Quarter Moon Knives, Some times it Called Round Knife or Round Leather Knife but the most popular name of it is Quarter Moon Knife.

I will show you exactly what quarter moon knives are, How to use these knives to their full potential, Why these knives make leatherwork and floor welding 10x easier, A step-by-step guide on how to sharpen a quarter moon knife and finally, I will show you which Quarter Moon Knife is that best to own.

Let’s get started.

What are Quarter Moon Knives?

Go to the streets and ask people, “have you ever seen a quarter moon knife before?” You’ll be lucky to find one person that has.

These are odd knives. Almost no one outside leatherwork and floor welding have even heard of them. So what are they exactly?

Quarter moon knives are ergonomic knives designed for cutting leather, flooring, and rubber. Their blade is shaped like a head knife cut in half, thus the name quarter moon. They also feature a hook on their heel for cutting wires and a dull back for pressing down.

You’ll also notice that they aren’t exactly a halved head knife. While head knives have a smooth, even curve, quarter moon knives feature a straight edge and tip.

How do these differences affect performance?

Let’s find out in:

How to Use a Quarter Moon Knife?

It may surprise you, but quarter moon knives are quite versatile.

This is especially true when it comes to cutting leather.

With a knife like this, you can go for pull cuts, push cuts, and roll cuts. The razor-edge and thick belly of this knife allow you to cut deep into the leather in one stroke. You can also press down on the blunt back if you need more power.

This design also allows you to create wave cuts. There’s a lot of patterns in leatherwork, which is why having a knife that can cut side to side smoothly is so important.

Thanks to the flat tip of the blade, you can also skive leather with this knife. You can shave your thick slab of leather into thin slices. That’s why having one of these will make your leatherwork 10x easier.

What if you aren’t into leatherwork?

For floor welders, this knife does a simple yet super important job. Whenever you’re vinyl welding floors, there’s bound to be some excess vinyl. With a quarter moon knife, you can slice these off super easily, as shown in this video:

Quarter moon knives are strong and sharp enough to cut vinyl floorboards. Creating round cuts in thick materials like this is always challenging. But with this speciality knife, this job will be a breeze.

You get the idea.

Quarter moon knives are perfect for cutting anything that is thick and needs smooth curves. While these are common in leather and flooring, you can use them for a lot of other things.

But why use a quarter moon knife instead of, say, a regular head knife?

Advantages of Quarter Moon Knives

If you search for quarter moon knives online, you’ll find a lot of head knives instead. These two knives are similar, yes, but they’re not the same.

What makes them different?


For one, quarter moon knives have a much thicker belly. This makes them more solid, allowing them to cut thicker and harder materials.

Head knives, while they are great for cutting leather, don’t excel with harder materials such as vinyl flooring.


Quarter moons are also better at cutting hard materials because of their blunt back. With this, you can press down if you need extra power.

To make things better, this blunt back is also curved. Thanks to this shape, pressing down on roll cuts will be more natural.

With head knives, you’ll always have to be extra careful if you want to press down. If not, there’s a big chance you’ll cut yourself.


The curve of quarter moons is not as smooth as head knives. While neither is better than the other, the straighter parts of quarter moons have some perks.

The straight tip is what allows you to slice off excess vinyl from the flooring. It also makes your pull and pushes cut more solid.

This also makes skiving easier. Head knives can also skive leather, but it’s not too easy to do this because of their curves. That’s why a quarter moon works better for this.

Quarter moons do a very decent job at roll cuts. Not as good as head knives for sure, but they don’t lack anything for this.

So you see, quarter moons are not the same as head knives. They are special in their own way, which is a great thing.

Unfortunately, this also means that they can’t be sharpened like a head knife.

How to Sharpen Quarter Moon Knives?

You can find several tutorials on how to sharpen a head knife, but none for quarter moons.

Don’t worry, all it takes is four easy steps to sharpen your quarter moon knives.


Step 1: Inspect

Let me just get this out there,

You don’t always have to sharpen your quarter moon knife.

If you’ve bought a good carbon-steel quarter moon, it will keep its edge for a long, long time. Chances are, all you’ll need is some honing.

Inspect your knife first. Sharpening this blade isn’t easy, so you can save yourself a headache by honing it instead (we’ll take a look at how to do this in a bit).

If you find that this doesn’t work, then it’s time to sharpen.

Step 2: Choose Sharpener

Like every knife, there’s a bunch of sharpeners you can use to sharpen your quarter moon.

I always recommend using a good old school method which is using a sharpening stone. But you can use water sandpaper or a sanding belt if you want to. Just be careful with electric belts as they can eat up your knife before you know it.

What you don’t want to use is those “easy slide through” sharpeners. These electric sharpeners aren’t great for kitchen knives, and they’re terrible for special knives. Stay away from these.

Once you have your sharpener, you’re ready to begin.

Step 3: Sharpen!

You want to sharpen your quarter moon in three separate segments.

First work on the edge. Sharpen this the way you would work on a normal blade.

The correct angle differs from knife to knife. Generally, you’ll want to keep it somewhere around 25 degrees. This angle allows the blade to slice right through thick materials.

As always, rub it in slow and steady strokes. Stop after a few strokes and feel for a burr. This is the best way to know if your knife is already sharp.

Then move on to the next segment – the curve. Instead of stroking this straight against your sharpener, you want to go with the curve.

This takes some practice. Make sure the edge is always in contact with the sharpener at the correct angle. If you do, you’ll get a great sharp curve.

Finally, the tip. Sharpen this the way you sharpened the edge, and you’re good to go.

Keep in mind that if your quarter moon is single-bevelled, you only need to sharpen the side with an angle. If it’s double-bevelled, you should work on both sides.

Step 4: Hone

Last but not least, honing.

This is basically a repeat of step 3. Only this time, you use either a super fine grit sharpener or a leather strop.

A lot of people skip this step, and that’s very sad. Honing doesn’t only polish your knife; it’s what turns a sharp knife into a razor-sharp knife.

Don’t skip this step.

Bonus: Cheat Sheet For Safety Sharpening

• Don’t sharpen without inspecting. Maybe all you need is a hone.
• Use a sharpening stone, sandpaper, belt sander, or anything except those easy swipe sharpeners.
• If you’re unsure about the angle, take a sharpie and draw on the edge. This way, you can see the angle of the blade a lot better.
• Remember the three segments: edge, curve, and tip. Sharpen these separately.
• Use gloves to avoid injury.
• Slow and steady wins the race! Remember you’re not in a hurry.
• Feel for a burr after every few strokes. You’ll never over sharpen if you do this.
• Always hone for the best results.
• To check sharpness, try the paper test. If your quarter moon can slice through the paper without getting stuck, you know it’s ready to go.
• Practice makes perfect. It takes a lot of effort to master the sharpening technique. But the only way to learn is to try!

My Recommendation For The Best Quarter Moon Knife

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Quarter moon knives are truly unique blades. They’re so unique that there’s very little information about them available on the internet. And that’s plain annoying.

But I hope by now all your questions about this odd knife have been answered. I hope you now know why they’re special, and exactly how to sharpen them.


I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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