Here's how I made a pocket/pack sheath for my
R.O. Easler small
Please note: Iíve done this from
the ďLook how easy this isĒ point of view. Iíve only done about 10 or
12 sheaths and my humble tutorial is not the end all instruction in sheathmaking.
In fact I welcome all of the accomplished leather workers input on how to
improve my work.
Make a cardboard template by tracing your knife. Note the
center line and how both sides of the knife butt up against it. Then
add space around the edge side of the knife for the welt.
template out of the cardboard and transfer it to the leather. I traced
the square shape with a black fine point marker. The sheath will be dyed
black, so the marker wonít show. Note the new tactical black Olfa
Do Remember that the template is the inside of the
Donít cut straight lines freehand, use a straight edge.
It will save work later.
Here the bottom and sides of the sheath have been trimmed. A
strip of the trimmed leather has been measured and cut for the welt. The
piece shown will be the bottom and another will be cut to size for the
The sheath is also marked where the welt will be glued in
place. Mark this on both sides and the bottom.
Do Trace the
actual welt leather that youíve cut. (Cut pieces can be larger or
smaller than the template.)
Donít Forget to check the fit with
After cutting the welt, it is time to test fit the knife. I have trimmed the top edge and test fit the knife.
The handle is
thicker than the blade and will be in the sheath. To keep the sheath
profile narrow, I decided to use wedges to build up the welt to
accommodate the thickness of the handle. (The alternative is to make the
pouch wider and use a thin welt. If you choose that route, make your
template from heavy paper and wrap the template around your knife before
you cut the leather).
Shown are the wedges and welt loosely held in
Do Test fit often.
Donít Wait until after it is
Cutting the stitching groove comes next. Dampen the leather
and use your cut welt to locate your groove. The groove should fall in the
middle of the welt.
Do Wet the leather, itíll make the groover
cut better lines.
Donít Get fingernail marks in the leather. When
it is damp, the leather takes impressions and marks easily.
Here the grooves are cut. The outer line is for the stitches
and the inner line will be part of the decorative pattern. If the groover
moves when you pick it up, always reset it at the point where you
Do Make the grooves deep and clean.
Groove the back side until After the needle holes are
Donít Make the mistake I made here (grooving the
Basket weave time. The leather is still damp. Strike the
stamp firmly, one time for each impression.
Do Measure &
count the number of impressions across so you wonít end up with 1/2
impressions on the ends.
Donít Make the first impressions
Here the basket weave is 1/2 done. You can see how the
initial crooked stamps have skewed the rest. If the first row isnít right,
youíll be playing catch up the whole way through.
Do Take your
time. Devote a lot of time to this step.
Do walk away from it
Donít Let it get to you if it isnít perfect the
first couple of tries. If itís a little off, it ain't the end of the
world, as weíll see later.
The inside of the sheath has been dyed and buffed with a
towel. Allow to dry overnight, then mask with white tape (any tape will
do) so the contact cement wonít make a huge mess in the sheath.
brushing the cement on, work from the tape onto the leather. This way the
glue wonít get under the tape. The wedges have been tapered, glued to the
welt and covered in contact cement.
Do Open a window, go
slow and thoroughly cover the surfaces to be joined.
the cement on or breathe the fumes.
Carefully (you only get one try with contact cement) lay the
welt in place. Then fold the sheath shut. If it was a large sheath you
could use wax paper to Ďslipsheetí the pieces. That is, cover most of the
glued area with a sheet of wax paper, start on one end and slip the paper
out as you go along. Clamp shut and let sit over night. I used spring
clamps, a vice would work too.
Do Cover the leather so the
clamps donít leave marks.
Mark the location of the needle holes. You could use a
stitching wheel, thonging chisel or just a good old ruler. I made a mark
every 1/4Ē. There are a lot of ways to put holes in leather. The real
leather workers use a diamond awl.
Iíve made all of ten sheaths and had
good results with my hand drill. This is the first sheath Iíve drilled
using my brand spanking new drill press. Some use the drill press with a
pointed nail and no power, just pushing the nail through the leather. I
used a 1/16Ē bit. Larger than Iíve used in the past, because I wanted to
try the heavy white waxed cord that I had on hand. Match the holes to the
size of your needles and thread. The needles should need to be pushed
through the holes, not fall through.
Pictured is the sheath with the
holes drilled and the edges dampened & sanded. I started with 220
grit and worked my way up to 800. Dampen and sand. Dampen and
sand. Youíll know youíre getting there when the leather takes a nice
Do Test holes on scraps first.
about your new tools before doing a tutorial example.
Despair if the hole arenít perfect from side to side. The stitching will
hide a lot. This is why waiting to groove the back is important. You can
make the groove fit the holes and it will look like you meant it all
Next, dampen the sheath and flood on the dye. I used Fiebings
leather dye and an old, clean paint brush.
Stick a pencil in the sheath
so you have something to hold on to. This will take a couple of
coats. Use a clamp on the pencil to stand it up between coats. After
it all looks evenly dyed, let it dry a couple of hours and buff with a
Saddle stitch with 2 needles. Measure your thread by covering
the area to be stitched 6x. You could probably do 5, but it stinks when
you run short. Thread is cheap and you wonít waste more than a couple of
One needle on each end of your thread, insert one needle in the
sheath and pull through to the center of the thread. From now on each
needle goes through the same hole, from opposite sides.
Start 2 holes
from an end, go to the nearest end then double back to the other end and
double back again for 2 more holes. Trim and melt the ends with a
A coat of SnoSeal or your favorite leather product and youíre
Do Pull the stitches good and tight.
Do Tap them
with your mallet when youíre done.
Donít End your stitches on the
front...like I did here... again!
Well, that's it. I've done a
couple better and a bunch worse, but this will get you
Give it a try, if I can do it, so can you!