The $9 Leather sheath: Quick, easy, and actually good!

So today I finally went for it and made a leather sheath for my Sykco Dog Soldier.

Making a leather sheath is something I’ve wanted to do for many years. Seemed simple enough yet when watching tutorials and looking at all the stuff needed for leather work, the techniques, time… it kind of gets overwhelming.

Well, today I just went for it. Did a sheath the most simple, straight forward way possible. I expected very little given the basic method and tools used yet I couldn’t be happier with the results. Yes, I bought a cheap leather tool kit but didn’t use any of it, other than some of the waxed thread.

All you really need for this project is some thick leather, 2 or 3mm thick. I got some buffalo leather. It was 9 bucks shipped and the colour was pretty 🙂 .

Keep in mind this isnt by any stretch of the imagination the correct way of doing this. Its more of a redneck/ Jerry-rigged approach to it.

1)You should make a paper template although to be honest I didn’t bother and marked on the piece of leather the shape of the blade. Buy one that is at least 4 cm wider than the knife itself. Mark up to what point you want the sheath to cover the blade and where you want the belt loop to end up. I just did the best I could with the piece of leather I had, given that I use rather wide, riggers shooting belts daily in my pants. Leave about 5mm for the welt, meaning the piece of leather that goes between the two layers.

2)With the knife wrapped in plastic film, I placed the other piece of leather under the faucet and got it soaking wet. Once softened I placed it on top of the knife and moulded it with my fingers and using a spoon to mark the curvature of the grip. I gave it about 10mm overlapping the grip, over the choil and the finger guard so as to hold the knife in place. This would save me from having to use any snap buttons which I didn’t have.  I also placed a hair dryer and left it pointing towards the formed leather for it to dry up and harden.

3) On the bottom leather piece, the one I draw the shape of the blade, I soaked a bit the top section of leather that folds to form the belt loop and kept it down in place with a couple clips. I also used some sand paper on the section I would later glue and sew, so that the leather glue got a better grip on the surface. Once glued I kept it in place for a few minutes until it dried, then used an electric drill to drill a few holes with the smallest drill bit I had. I didn’t use any fancy stitches, just made an eight figure knot to keep the end of the thread in place, passed the thread to the end and then back on the same holes. I know this isnt the way you’re supposed to do it but oh well.

4)Now that I had my belt loop ready, I glued the welt to the bottom piece (sandpaper on the area before the glue), then glued the top one with the knife form on top of it and kept the three players in place with several clips. Before gluing check if the knife fits just keeping the pieces in place with the clips. This should give you somewhat of an idea of how it fits. Once glued and with the clips keeping everything in place I let it try for another 15 minutes or so.

5)Now I drill the holes along the edges, leaving a drain hole at the bottom of the sheath. I measure four lengths of thread per side of the sheath and sew all the way, then back the other way using the same holes. You’re supposed to use a technique using two needles but I just did it this way making sure everything was nice and tight. When I was done I hammered the thread to flatten the stitches.

6) I used a Dremel to sand down the sides, then using the hair dryer and some beeswax I worked the sides of the sheath, rolling a wooden handle to even and flatten the sides of the leather sheath. The wax presses and flattens the leather, keeping it from coming apart.

And that’s it. Not the best most sophisticated way of making a leather sheath but its cheap and relatively fast. Give it a try!

Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”


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