Sheath Makin Hatin Club

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Justin, the thread I use is white Tandy brand I buy from Springfield leather. I've bought their brand but it's kind of an off white color so I use Tandy brand...#1220. I believe it's #5 in size.
I use a #5 and #6 stitching wheel to mark my stitch holes and I use an awl to punch my holes, it's seems like I'm alone in the part of using an awl instead of a drill but that's the way I've been doing it for years and I'm happy with the way I do it and the results I get. it takes me about 5 min. to make my holes in a standard sheath.

As far as the roughness on the inside, when the leather is flat I use a little gum tragacanth and rub it on the rough side and smooth it down with a piece of smooth bone. I also use the gum to finish the edges, I believe it works better than plain water.
speaking of water, I only use distilled water, no tap or well water.

When I have everything cut out and sanded-shaped just how I want it, I lay it out and put a moderate amount of neetsfoot oil on it, the next day it will look like you never did it...but it's in there, and it helps to keep the leather supple and not get funky or have creases at the bends, I also think it helps with applying the stain. I use a dauber for the stain and apply 4-5 coats, almost to where it won't take anymore and wipe the last coat with some paper towels.

After everything dries up it's ready to glue up and stitch. when it's finished I use and old cotton tee shirt and rub the daylights out of it to remove any dye pigment on the surface.
At the very end, I use an airbrush and put a couple light coats of resolene. I let that dry until the next day, then I put on a coat of Montana pitch blend, I let it sit for another day then hand buff it with a clean piece of tee shirt.

While my process differs from others....because everybody does things differently and seems to be drawn out and takes a few days, I'm happy with the finished product. and like knife making...this is no race to the finish.
if someone is paying big bucks for a knife they expect a nice sheath to go with it. that's why I say sheaths help sell knives.
I've seen people at shows with knives for sale with no sheath at all, while that's probably better that having a crappy sheath sitting next to it I just don't get that business model.

I've been carving some of my sheaths with a swivel knife and trying inlays and I believe their getting better, it just takes time and trying different things just like knife making.
Everybody's got their favorite knife they make but we all know change is good. it's the same doing leather, you just got to keep at it. even if it may not be as interesting or as fun as making a knife, I believe the end product is a direct refection on your over all knife making skills.

And to that......I hope to see more fellow knifemakers here jump on the leather band wagon and add more tips for us that do leatherwork.

EDIT: I also use the harness needles that Gene posted above....
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Justin, the thread I use is white Tandy brand I buy from Springfield leather. I've bought their brand but it's kind of an off white color so I use Tandy brand...#1220. I believe it's #5 in size.
I use a #5 and #6 stitching wheel to mark my stitch holes and I use an awl to punch my holes, it's seems like I'm alone in the part of using an awl instead of a drill but that's the way I've been doing it for years and I'm happy with the way I do it and the results I get. it takes me about 5 min. to make my holes in a standard sheath.

As far as the roughness on the inside, when the leather is flat I use a little gum tragacanth and rub it on the rough side and smooth it down with a piece of smooth bone. I also use the gum to finish the edges, I believe it works better than plain water.
speaking of water, I only use distilled water, no tap or well water.

When I have everything cut out and sanded-shaped just how I want it, I lay it out and put a moderate amount of neetsfoot oil on it, the next day it will look like you never did it...but it's in there, and it helps to keep the leather supple and not get funky or have creases at the bends, I also think it helps with applying the stain. I use a dauber for the stain and apply 4-5 coats, almost to where it won't take anymore and wipe the last coat with some paper towels.

After everything dries up it's ready to glue up and stitch. when it's finished I use and old cotton tee shirt and rub the daylights out of it to remove any dye pigment on the surface.
At the very end, I use an airbrush and put a couple light coats of resolene. I let that dry until the next day, then I put on a coat of Montana pitch blend, I let it sit for another day then hand buff it with a clean piece of tee shirt.

While my process differs from others....because everybody does things differently and seems to be drawn out and takes a few days, I'm happy with the finished product. and like knife making...this is no race to the finish.
if someone is paying big bucks for a knife they expect a nice sheath to go with it. that's why I say sheaths help sell knives.
I've seen people at shows with knives for sale with no sheath at all, while that's probably better that having a crappy sheath sitting next to it I just don't get that business model.

I've been carving some of my sheaths with a swivel knife and trying inlays and I believe their getting better, it just takes time and trying different things just like knife making.
Everybody's got their favorite knife they make but we all know change is good. it's the same doing leather, you just got to keep at it. even if it may not be as interesting or as fun as making a knife, I believe the end product is a direct refection on your over all knife making skills.

And to that......I hope to see more fellow knifemakers here jump on the leather band wagon and add more tips for us that do leatherwork.

EDIT: I also use the harness needles that Gene posted above....
Good post with good info. I agree a sheath is an important part and a direct reflection of the knife and skill. Thanks for the info and motivation to get better!
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
I believe the end product is a direct refection on your over all knife making skills.
I should have worded that differently, I'm only trying to convey that if your selling quality knives a quality, well fitting sheath should go with it.
It doesn't need to be an elaborate piece of art, but it also shouldn't be something haphazardly stitched together with a poor fit, that's why some knifemakers have others make them for them, they simply don't have time or space for doing it or they feel they can have a sheath that better reflects their craftsmanship in making knives finished by others.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
I should have worded that differently, I'm only trying to convey that if your selling quality knives a quality, well fitting sheath should go with it.
It doesn't need to be an elaborate piece of art, but it also shouldn't be something haphazardly stitched together with a poor fit, that's why some knifemakers have others make them for them, they simply don't have time or space for doing it or they feel they can have a sheath that better reflects their craftsmanship in making knives finished by others.
I think you are on track, I feel we all probably have the skill to do it if we are making knives. It's the patience to slow down and for me to learn as much about sheath making as I know about Knifemaking and take the time to practice the sheath making.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Can anyone recommend a good place online to order smaller (e.g. 12" x 12" or so) pieces of tooling leather for making knife sheaths? I'm thinking I want 7-9 oz? I went online looking and was surprised that I wasn't finding much.

thanks, andy
I just left Hobby Lobvy and they have a small leather section. Not sure if you have one close or if you can order online but they had a small bag of leather big enough for sheaths and holsters for $34 and you can use one of there 40% of coupons. Might be an option.
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Done!! Thank God I learned a few things on this sheath. Stitching pony is a must...why the heck did I not do that sooner.
Here is my favorite tip I seen in one of the videos you guys linked. I seem to have always had a problem stabbing the thread and I put the second needle through the hole. The trick to it is as your pushing the second needle through the hole you pull on the other thread in the same direction as you are pushing the needle through....did not stab the other thread once on this big sheath!
68693
 

Justin Presson

Well-Known Member
Also what is the best technique for finishing your stitch? I always seem to back watch a couple and tie then together and singe the ends.
Would like to know what the proper techniglque is.
 

Von Gruff

KNIFE MAKER
I doube stitch through the top two holes then stitch down the length of the seam and back up 3 to 5 stitches and cut off flush on the back. Make sure everything is tight before starting the return stitches and pull it tight with a pair of piers before cutting with a scalpel. The hot waxing may or may not help but I have never had a problem doing it like that
 

TimGinMN

Well-Known Member
Also what is the best technique for finishing your stitch? I always seem to back watch a couple and tie then together and singe the ends.
Would like to know what the proper techniglque is.
I wonder if adding just a tiny drop of superglue just before the last tug on the last return/securing stitch would help secure it inside the hole? Maybe not necessary... ?
 

coachk

Member
I wonder if adding just a tiny drop of superglue just before the last tug on the last return/securing stitch would help secure it inside the hole? Maybe not necessary... ?
Paul Long uses a drop of regular Elmer's glue on both sides before pulling last stitch all the way through and cutting off the ends...I've been following his advice and havent had any problems yet!
 

chrisstaniar

Well-Known Member
I do the back stitch and then pull both threads through to one side. Then I just burn the ends flush. Seems to work pretty well. Sometimes I also put some crazy glue in there to lock it down.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Thank you guys.

Ok now here's the bad part, I almost ran off the edge on the one side on the back. Glad this one is staying with me.

This was not how I originally wanted to do the back and the belt loop. I think I have it figured out on the next one.

That little boo boo ain't nothin. If that was all I messed up on a sheath like that I would be very happy.
 
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