Sheath making a must?

AkWildman

Well-Known Member
Yup learn to make them,as far as leather or Kydex its really up to you,they both require a learning curve and a initial investment in tools. As for myself I dont want one of my blades in a plastic sheath but have the equipment to make kydex if a customer wants it.
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
I have never attempted to work with Kydex. Never! I would not have a clue.

I have made lots of leather sheaths. The learning curve is not all that difficult. Google and Youtube are your best friend.

Sheath making is a lot like making knives. The first one you struggle on, but you get better, you have very few tools and only some waning ambition. By the tenth knife it gets a bit better. You struggle, you learn, you practice. The 25th knife gets a bit better, which leads to more struggles, more learning, more practice, perhaps a few more tools and then around 100 you finally think, I just might get better at this someday, maybe.

Start with simple sheaths and go from there. Lots of help online with build alongs, tips, techniques and such...
 

Mark Knapp

Dealer - Purveyor
Sheaths are not a must but they do make selling knives much easier. The first question a potential buyer always asks when deciding whether or not to buy a knife is "Where can I get a sheath and how much will it cost me." To me a sheath is an extension of the craft. It should reflect the style of the knife, compliment the knife ( I always include design elements from the knife in the sheath, like an inlay of the material the handle was made of, similar textures and colors) and protect it.

Kydex should be used when the style of the knife warrants it. If the knife is a tactical with stainless and G10 use Kydex. If the knife is a classic hunter with a stag handle, it should probably have a leather sheath.
 

Mark Barone

Well-Known Member
Ok all good info and lots of good points being made above. I think I might try leather first, since that was probably the original sheath material.
 

Gliden07

Well-Known Member
I was making mostly EDC/Personal Protection stuff liked the idea of Kydex. Since then I'm making a lot more Hunting type knives I just think they belong in a leather sheath so I started making those. I need a lot of work on the leather!!
 
I found the leather work more challenging than the knifemaking, probably because I am a gunsmith, but now I enjoy the leatherwork more. I can work on it and if a customer comes in, I just put it down and wait on them. Can't do that when working on knives in the workshop. I also find the leatherworking really relaxing. Like mentioned above, YouTube is great. Tandy also has a lot of instructional videos. (The problem with leather is it is more labor intensive. I can't get the rate I get for gunsmithing, so I use it as fill-in work when I don't have other more profitable work.)
 

izafireman

Well-Known Member
The thought of leather working triggers me like a millennial that found out there's no "safe space" at their new job.

I started doing kydex...under protest!

Sheaths are a necessity evil in knife making IMO.
Makes two of us then... I cannot do leather work as I have tendonitis in my arm which hurts like hell, as I type now it is as I went to the physio today.
It I bad enough hand sanding but hand sewing leather would finish me for sure. I would get a tendon op but means I cannot make knives for a good 10 weeks as arm would be in a cast for 6.

So I too do kydex, luckily I make mainly deer knives so the guys want them don't tend to mind as they can wash the kydex.

I am though looking to get a leather worker to make leather sheaths for me, jusy gives more choice.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
I enjoy working with leather....

BUT....

leather is "different"...lol. I love a nice leather sheath...so will learn to understand "different"...
 

BossDog

KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
Kydex is easy. Once you do one, you'll wonder what the deal was all about.

Leather is a complete skill set and takes practice. I've made way more sheaths than fixed blades. If you make a mistake with a knife, it just gets smaller. If you make a mistake with leather, you start over. On the up side, working with leather requires very modest tools and it can be done brilliantly with just a very few hand tools. Start with simple pouch style sheaths and you will be good for about everything.

Go to any knife show and look for a couple tables with typical 8" hunters. If they are about the same in finish and priced about the same, the one with the nicer sheath sells first.
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Go to any knife show and look for a couple tables with typical 8" hunters. If they are about the same in finish and priced about the same, the one with the nicer sheath sells first
That's very true, I've seen people go back and forth at shows, sometimes for hours, split on two or three knives from different makers, usually the one with the nicest sheath gets purchased.
I've also seen makers with a table of knives with no sheaths to go with them....I never understood that game plan.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
Kydex is versatile, inexpensive, easy to work with. So you’re probably asking why every sheath isn’t kydex.

1. It is challenging to make a kydex sheath look classy. Rugged, MILSPEC / tactical, primitive... kydex fits. However, a finely finished heirloom type knife in kydex is like putting ketchup on filet mignon. It looks wrong because it is wrong.

2. Kydex sheaths won’t work on every knife. The knife really needs to be designed with a kydex sheath in mind because kydex needs a “feature” to hold on to. In other words, the knife needs to have a notch, hump, hollow, etc that the kydex can form fit to so that when the knife is pushed into the sheath it snaps into place and holds the knife securely. You can’t just take any knife and make a kydex sheath for it. Well, you can, but it won’t always work.

3. functionality, primarily the belt attachment. This is where kydex presents a conundrum. You have a few options. You can buy the clamshell keepers, locks, hardware and use chicago screws to mount it all up. This is the MIL / tactical / modular crowd favorite. Or you can make a basic taco style sheath with a fold over piece for a belt loop. Very functional, but hard to make it look professional. The third way is to use rivets and/or slots all around as attachment points for beaded chain, paracord, etc.

Every maker ought to learn how to use kydex. It’s so cheap and easy, why wouldn’t you?

I provide a kydex blade cover with every kitchen knife I sell. People love them.
 
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