Knife Sheath Making for Dummies
Okay, this is my first ever attempt at leather crafting, thus Sheath Making for Dummies. ;) I have a beautiful Randy Porter Bowie knife and I wanted a sheath for it.
Glasshartt sent me a beautiful piece of 1/4" saddle leather and that will be the material for the sheath. It is thick and quality goods.
The first thing was to gather the materials. I had the leather, now the search was on for the stuff to make it into something. Tandy Leather has a pretty good website, so that's where I went.
I ordered lacing, waxed thread, leather needles and on the recommendation of a member here, Barge Cement.
It turns out that Tandy had the supplies shipped from a local store 2-3 miles from my house, so I drove over there to check my thinking.
It's a good thing I did. I bought the wrong lacing and the needles were too small for my hands with ten thumbs. So, the nice lady fixed me up.
Here's a pic of the stuff:
The first thing was to place the knife on some heavy paper and make a pattern. This is my second attempt, the first one was too small. I used a ruler as a straight edge and freehanded and prayed my way around the curves.
Here's the pattern laid out on the back side of the leather:
This is the outline and the rough cut leather. I used a Sharpie to outline the pattern and eyeballed it as best I could. I allowed about a half an inch around the outside edges to allow for trimming. It will be glued and whip stitched together. The belt slide will be sewn onto the back of the sheath before it's assembled.
Here's the leather, front and back sides:
Next was to soak the leather in cold water to make it pliable. It's thick stuff and even soaking wet, it didn't want to fold. The lady at Tandy told me to only soak it in cold water because hot water does something to the oils. I can't remember if it leeches the oil from the leather or what, just that it's not good.
Here's a pic of the wet leather wrapped around the knife. After this pic, I put a box of brass on top of it to weight it down to force it to fold. If that doesn't get it tight enough, I'll cut a wedge out of the inside of the leather where the knife's spine is to help it fold better.
The leather wouldn't fold enough for me, so I made three relief cuts in the center where the knife's spine is. Then I covered it with a towel and pounded the heck out of it. That flattened the spine area pretty well.
Then I folded the belt loop tab down into position and weighted the whole thing down. If I have to get it all flatter, I'll re-wet the leather and repeat the process.
It's in the process of drying out.
Next I'll glue and stitch the belt loop to the back. Then glue and lace the open side.
But first I have to do some research on how to start and end a whip stitch. I want it to be stout.
The leather is dry, so I did the final trimming today. This is probably not recommended and was kind of a pain, but I used my belt sander to do the final shaping and smoothing of the edges. :eek:
Then I drilled the holes where the belt loop will be stitched & glued and the holes for the leather lace whip stitching around the outside edge.
The Barge cement is applied to both surfaces to be glued. I glued and clamped the belt loop in place and will let it set until tomorrow, then, I will stitch it in place. After that, I'll be able to glue and clamp the outside edge and let it set for twenty four hours. Then I will lace it.
I will be putting a brass Chicago Screw on the top corner to help prevent it from opening up after some use. The rest of it should hold up pretty well between the glue and the stitches and lacing.
Here's a pic of the belt loop glued and clamped in place and a shot showing the drilled holes for the lacing.
I used waxed thread to stitch the belt loop in place and that part is done. Next was to soak the lacing in cold water.
I wound up back at Tandy to buy a lacing needle/tool. It has a rounded point and the other end is hollow and threaded internally. The lace is cut into a point and "screwed" into the hollow end.
The needle is threaded through the hole in the sheath and then, I grasped the lace with a needlenose pliers to pull it the rest of the way. Then I looped the lace around back and laced through again creating a whipstitch.
I didn't know how to finish the lacing at the last stitch and how to secure it, so I looped the excess under the last stitch and then trimmed it.
This is the second attempt at lacing the sheath. My first attempt didn't go so well because I cut the lacing too short to complete the job.
I've learned some stuff through this project and if I ever do another it will turn out better. This sheath is functional, but it ain't much on fancy. Overall, I'm pleased and it will do the job.
I hope my explanation is helpful for someone undertaking a similar project.
Oh yeah, one last thing. I'm waiting for the sheath to dry where the wet lacing was stitched and then I'll attach the Chicago screw in the top hole.
Completed sheath with the Chicago screw in place:
I have made several holsters & a phone case a few years ago. I like to use a Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl, the stuff I make is not real pretty, I'm more of a form follows function guy, but all are still working very well. I don't know much about crafting with leather, so to fold the phone case into a small rectangle box shape, I just took a hammer & pounded it into submission on my vice, then I sewed it together & that worked fine.
At the risk that my Avatar might be changed to some 400 lb fat man in a pink tutu,
Why don't you upload to the forum gallery then post so I don't have to go to photobucket to view your pics? ;)
Oh.........That project is looking very professional CA!! Beautiful knife, Randy!!
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