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Basic Sheath tutorial

Chuddy Bear Apr 27, 2008

  1. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    This is how I make the pouch type sheath for the BATAC, this one is going to be Dr. Lundes, I am sure he could have taken better pictures.:D

    First thing is tools you will need. From left to right, a skiver, a # 2 edger, knife, compass, pen, ruler.

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    Make a template out of thin cardboard, I set the knife down and trace the outside contour with the compass making the template about 1/2 inch larger than the knife. I then tweak the template so it looks nice. Trace the knife onto the template.

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    Lay the teamplate on top of your leather and cut the pieces out, one of them is reversed for the back side. The front is missing from this pic as I had already wet it at this point and I forgot about it. :D This picture also shows the belt loop which I will sew on the back later.

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    Set the knife on the backer piece (not the back piece) this will make sense as we go along. This should be skin side up.

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    Press the handle into the leather so you can see the outline of the handle. Mark it and cut it out also leaving room for the handle to slide in and out.

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  2. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Now we will get another piece and cut the welt out. Trace the knife again making sure you line it up with your bottom and back pieces. I like the main welt piece (the one that contacts the edge) to be one solid piece of leather. There are other ways to do this and none are wrong.

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    Now cut out the welt. This will leave a knife blade shaped piece of leather which I use to make two additional welt pieces to help build up the thickness of the sheath, due to the thickness of the blade. You want the welt to be the same thickness as your blade. Just lay your first welt on top of the knife shaped leather and trace and cut. Next the additional welt will need to be skived.

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    Check for fit.

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    We are now onto the front piece of leather which I cut a little oversize to allow for wet forming. I put this in warm water (about 110-115%) for about 5 minutes. Take it out and pat it dry, and then let it sit for about 30-45 minutes. Then put it on top of your knife and other pieces you have stacked and wet form it using your fingers. If you have long nails cut them. Only use the pads of your fingers and push and smooth it to shape. This should take about five minutes. Take that wet piece of leather and set it somewhere to dry. I make sure it is all the way dry before I mess with it again. A dehydrator will work on low setting to dry it in a few hours also or just let it set out overnight. It is dry when the color is back to normal and it does not feel cool to the touch.
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    Now clean dry and oil your knife.
     
    samhain73 likes this.
  3. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Part 3.

    I am dying this one black, so I usually dye it now. For other lighter colors I dye more towards the end. Black is by far the easiest color to deal with. It is almost screw up proof.

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    Ok now we are going to deal with the belt loop. I use 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Rub the edges and get them nice and smooth. Then take the damp paper towel and slightly dampen the edges and sand the edges again with worn out 400 grit. This will shine it up nicely.

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    Next we are going to mark the back panel for placement of the loop. I use a scratch awl and make slight dimples inside of the outline of the loop. Then connect the dots so you know where to put the contact cement. Let them both dry for a few minutes and put them together. Contact cement is just that, once the pieces make contact you have about 2 seconds to shift them a little and then they are stuck. Be careful and dont slop it on, if it gets on leather where you dont want it, give it a minute to set a little then rub it off with your fingers.

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    Stick the two pieces together.

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    Next glue up the welts. Do a dry fit and mark the longer welt at the end of the shorter one so you know where to put the cement.

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    Give them a few minutes and stick them together.

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    Next we are going to cement the welt to the backing piece. Do a dry fit and trace the outline of the welts onto the backing piece. Then cement. I do this with the knife inside as this sheath is very dependant on the fit. The welts at the talon hole are going to help hold this one in. In the third picture you will see that the welt is slanted, this is done for a reason, that being that it gets a little harder to slip the knife in the farther in it goes and pops into place. If you look at the third picture this should all make sense.


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  4. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Ok, we are ready to groove the loop for stitching. Use your groover and make the groove. I use a straght edge and a free hand groover for the straight line across the back. Use a stitching wheel and mark where you want the holes for the stitches. I use an awl to make these holes, but you can drill them if you want.

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    Get your groover back out and groove the other side on the back piece where your holes came through for the loop.

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    Use a saddle stitch and stitch up the loop to the back.

    We are now going to cement the backing piece to the back piece. Do a dry fit and trace the outline on the opening of the backer piece to the flesh side of the back piece. This is so you know where to put the cement. Let them dry and stick them together. I use the knife in this process also as this is your last chance to make sure they fit right. If you screw this up you did a lot of work for nothing.


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    We are now going to deal with the front piece. Put the knife in the sheath then cover it with the front piece and make sure it snugs up to the handle. Pick it up and mark the sides that we left oversized to be trimed. Trim the pieces from the sides.

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    Set the knife and sheath down and make sure again that the front piece is on correctly, pick the knife straight up holding the knife and the front piece together. Trace the outline of the blade onto the front piece. Draw lines where the welts will contact the front piece. You will need to seal the inside of the sheath before you glue them up. I used super shene. Any sealer will work though.

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    Ok, almost there. Cement the front piece to the rest.

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  5. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Now wait at least a couple of hours. Take the sheath and sand the sides with a belt sander, I start with 80 grit, then 120 and finish with a worn out 120. Make sure the sides stay even and perpendicular.

    Once that is done, I get my number 2 edger out and do the edges. Make sure your edger is very sharp so it does not make a jagged looking edge, this will save time later.

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    I also trim up around the mouth of the sheath now. With a sharp blade. I use a utility knife which I sharpen on my sharpmaker. Make sure your knives stay very sharp.

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    Your edges and sides should look pretty decent now.

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    Groove the front of the sheath. Then mark the stitching holes. On dark colored sheaths I go back and touch a marker to each stitch mark to make it easier to see when drilling. On light colored sheaths I suck it up and strain my eyes.

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    I started off only using an awl to make the holes. It works nicely but is very tough on the hands with thicker sheaths. I now use a drill press or dremmel for the main sheath holes.
    I make a wooden template for every sheath I do. If there is something on the back like the loop on this sheath, I make a cut out so the sheath will stay flat end even. This is very important for the holes on the back side. I set the press so that the drill bit almost touches the wood. This will make little reverse dimples on the back side of the sheath which you will run your groover over later.

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    The dimples on the back side. Run your groover over the dimples and uncover the holes.

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    Stitch the sheath.

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  6. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    whew, these things are alot of work.:D

    Ok, we are almost done.:eek:

    get you 400 grit paper and damp paper towel back out and do the sides and edges, they should be looking really good when you are done. I am going to put edge coat on this, but I feel better knowing the edge is nice underneath it. Your edges should look like the second picture. If you are going to leave the edges with just dye, or you are doing a natural color sheath, you will need to spend more time working your edges. I am not going to cover that now.

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    Next I dye the outside of the sheath again, this will cover up all of the stitch holes and bare spots. I also dye the edges.

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    After you dye it make sure you rub it with a soft cloth after it dries to get the powdery stuff off and make it shine a little.

    I use tandy super shene to seal the leather. If you use super shene, put it on lightly as it tends to streak. After the super shene dries. I put black edge coat on the sides. Let that dry and finish it off with one coat of atom wax.

    I just remembered that I forgot to mention that I sealed the inside of the sheath before I cemented the front piece on. I will go back and fix that part.

    This is it finished. This was a little more work than I thought it would be. I hope it helps someone out there. :D

    These two pics were taken by Dr. Ken Lunde. He has some serious photography skills.
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    Judy Schmitt, droid, Manganr and 2 others like this.
  7. leatherman

    leatherman Beelzebub's Leathersmith Knife Maker or Craftsman Super Moderator Brigade Member

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    :urock:

    Thanks for doing this bro. :D
     
  8. Warthog

    Warthog Enormous member

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    Thank you!

    That was very detailed and obviously a lot of work.:nathan:

    Thanks for posting it. :ronl:
     
  9. ster91b

    ster91b Paloozster! Brigade Member

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    That was great thank you
     
  10. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Enormous member

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    Oh hell yeah! Sweet! Thx for the 'walk' through!:thefinger
     
  11. TheBadGuy

    TheBadGuy NATURE'S FINEST Super Moderator

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    Wow, I will be honest, I never realized how much WORK goes into these sheaths. How much actual time was spent doing it from start to finish if you had to guess?
     
  12. westllen

    westllen Enormous member

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    Excellent Post, Thanks Chuddy!
     
  13. moon

    moon knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Great post,people will be using this one for a long time.One thing I like to do is put a leather spacer between the sheath and the loop,lets the belt slide through a little smoother.Moon
     
  14. BARKER

    BARKER knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Great tutorial! Thanks!
    -John
     
  15. tmik

    tmik Midwest Knifemaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    really nice. great attention to fit and finish. great looking sheaths on your web site also. great job.
     
  16. Chuddy Bear

    Chuddy Bear Sheathmaker Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Thanks for the comments guys.

    To answer a few questions.

    I would guess that I have right around 3 hours of hands on work in that sheath. It takes longer to make due to drying time from the wet molding and cement.

    As to the spacers, I have pretty much moved on from the belt attachment shown in this tutorial. I make almost all Randall style sheaths with some sort of X back now, which allows for many more carry options.

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    I no longer cement any of the attachments to the sheath prior to drilling. I drill the holes first and then fit the attachments. I am a bit anal about making my stitching look good on the front and back.
     
  17. bigmark408

    bigmark408 BANNED Fucktard

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    Cool post CB !!
     
  18. leatherman

    leatherman Beelzebub's Leathersmith Knife Maker or Craftsman Super Moderator Brigade Member

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    Good responses here! It is really amazing how much work is in one simple looking sheath.

    Reguarding the X loop, its one of my favorite carry methods. One guy found out that if his belt was thin enough he could put it through at an angle and have canted carry too! :manganr:
     
  19. Manganr

    Manganr Devils Supermoderator Super Moderator

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    Superb tutorial Chuddy.

    I will be sure to follow it step by step when I get to that stage........

    I just gotta finish making the knife first.:manganr:
     
  20. Sandy Morrissey

    Sandy Morrissey a gentleman leather craftsmen Knife Maker or Craftsman

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    Interesting!
     

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