how to make a knife sheath
Part 1 of 6: Getting ready to do the project
Find and prepare the workspace. Before you begin this project, prepare a large workspace. Locate a space with lots of natural light or strong artificial lighting. Make sure your workspace has a large flat surface and enough space to lay out all the materials and tools needed for this project.
Gather the materials. To make a knife sheath, you will need to gather the following materials:
- 8 or 9 ounces of leather
- graph paper
- cardboard or cardboard
- scotch tape
- leather dye
- waxed thread
- ox foot oil
Gather the tools. If you want to make a sheath for the knife, you will need to gather the following tools:
- multi-purpose thin blade knife
- awl (a pointed tool used to puncture leather)
- overcasting wheel (a wheel with sharp points used to even score seam holes)
- drill and 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) bit
- wood rasp (a file used to shape and remove wood)
- belt sander
- two needles
- spray bottle filled with water
- contact cement for gluing
- cotton stick or dauber (a stick with a cotton ball attached to one end used to apply dye)
- 220 grit sandpaper
- fine sandpaper
- clean cloths
Part 2 Part 2 of 6: Design, trace, and cut the pillowcase pattern
- Divide up a piece of graph paper. Make your custom knife sheath pattern on a piece of graph paper. Use a ruler to locate the center of the paper. Draw a line down the center of the sheet from top to bottom to divide the paper in half. This line represents the fold of the cover.
Position and draw the outline of the knife. Place the knife on the graph paper to the left of the center line. Position the top of the blade about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm) from the center line, the sharp side will be facing away from the center line.
- Use a pencil to trace the sharp side of the knife. Start on the center line about ⅛ inch (0.3 cm) from the tip of the blade. Following the curve of the blade, draw a line up and around the sharp side of the knife. Continue the line ⅔ of the way up the handle. Do not trace directly along the handle. Since this is thicker than the blade, you will need additional material to cover it.
- Measure and draw the trim. The trim is an additional piece of leather placed inside the sheath. It goes along the sharp side of the knife to prevent it from going through the sheath. Make a second curved line that is 9/16 to ⅝ inch (1.4 to 1.6 cm) away from the first curved line.
- Design a smooth top line to connect the outer curved line of the pattern to the straight center line. Locate and mark a point on the center line that is about 1 inch (2.5 cm) above the top of the outer curved line. Connect this point to the top of the curved second line, this connecting line should gradually rise from the bottom horizontal line to the top horizontal line.
- Make the belt loop. Move the center line to the left ¼ inch (0.6 cm) and extend it from the top of the handle to 4 ½ inches (11.5 cm). Connect the original centerline to the offset centerline in the form of a slight curve. Draw a straight horizontal line 3/4 inch from the center line offset to the left. Connect the second curved line on the holster to the top horizontal line on the belt loop at a 45° angle.
Cut the pattern. Fold the paper along the original center line. Unfold the paper and cut out the left side of the pattern, making sure to stop at the center line. Fold the pattern again and carefully cut along the edges of the holster pattern, the right side of the holster pattern will not include the belt loop pattern.
Place the pattern of the cover on the leather. When making a sheath for your knife, 8 to 9 ounce leather is ideal.
- Lay the leather on your work surface so that the smooth side is facing up.
- Determine if you are going to wear the holster on the right or on the left. If you are right handed, you can use the holster to the right of the belt. Flip the pattern so that the belt loop is on the right side of the pattern. If you’re left-handed, you may want to wear the holster to the left of your belt. Flip the pattern over so that the belt loop is on the left side of the pattern.
- Place the pattern on the leather and secure it with tape.
- Use a pencil to trace the pattern on the leather directly over the duct tape.
- Use a thin bladed knife to cut out the pattern.
Create a pattern for the trim in the pattern of the original pillowcase. The area between the two curved lines in the original pattern represents the trim.
- When making the edging pattern, you need to cut along the inside curved line of the original pattern. Cut ¼ inch (0.5 cm) beyond the center line.
- Place the trim on the leather and secure it with tape.
- Trace the welt pattern onto the leather with a pencil and cut it out with the utility knife.
Drill a hole and create a slit in the bottom of the pillowcase. In order for the trim to fit properly, it is necessary to cut the bottom of the cover along the center line. Punch a hole in the leather along the center line 9/16 to ⅝ inch (1.4 to 1.6 cm) from the bottom. Use the blade to cut the leather along the center line from the bottom of the circle to the bottom of the holster.
Part 3 Part 3 of 6: Prepare and attach the belt loop
Draw the dotted lines on the belt loop in the shape of a square. A dotted line will keep the stitches straight. To make the dotted lines, you will need a pencil and a ruler.
- Use a ruler to draw a straight horizontal line 1 ¾ inches (4.5 cm) from the top of the belt loop, starting and ending the line ¼ inch (0.5 cm) from each side. This will be the bottom dotted line.
- Place the pencil at the far right of the horizontal line. Move the pencil to the top of the belt loop, draw a 1 ½ inch (3.8 cm) straight vertical line. Repeat the same step on the left side.
- Connect the vertical lines with a straight horizontal line.
Mark the points with an awl and an overcasting wheel. To ensure even stitches, it is best to mark the stitches before pricking the leather.
- Run a damp rag over the dotted line to slightly dampen the leather.
- Use an awl, a sharp pointed tool, to mark the first stitch in the lower left corner of the seam line.
- Place one end of the overcasting wheel, a wheel with sharp points used to mark seam holes, in the hole you created with the awl. Turn the wheel along the seam line to make a series of evenly spaced stitches along the seam lines.
Set the dot holes with a drill bit or awl. Place the sleeve on a piece of wood, this will prevent the drill or punch from piercing the work surface. Individually puncture each hole with a drill bit or awl by inserting the tool through the leather and into the wood.
- When using a drill, make the holes with a 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) drill bit.
Mark and scratch fixing places. The belt is attached directly to the smooth side of the leather. You will attach the belt loop with glue and dots. In order for the glue to adhere to the leather, you must scrape the leather at the joint points.
- Hold the belt 2 inches (5.1 cm) from the top of the leather strap and fold the belt loop ½ inch (1.2 cm) above the base toward the smooth side of the leather.
- Use a pencil to trace the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the leather strap to indicate where the belt will sit on the holster.
- Scrape down the attachment spot with sandpaper, a utility knife, or a wood rasp. Using your tool of choice, carefully mark the top 2 inches (5 cm) of the belt loop and the area within the pencil marks on the holster.
Apply glue to the fixing places. Cover the fixing places with a thin layer of contact cement. Set the sleeve aside and let the glue dry. When it’s dry to the touch, you can continue. Moisten the leather at the fold of the belt with a spray bottle. Bend the belt loop and line up the attachment locations. Press these places firmly.
Make the holes with a drill bit or an awl. Place the unfolded sleeve on top of a piece of wood. Use a drill or punch to individually re-drill the existing belt loop holes. Make sure the drill or awl goes through both layers of leather and the wood.
Sew the belt loop to the sheath. To attach the belt loop to the sheath, you will need a waxed thread and two needles.
- Cut a length of waxed thread that is 5 times as long as the seam line. Thread a needle into each end of the thread. To prevent the thread from slipping out, pull an inch (2.5 cm) of thread through the needle hole and fold it over.
- Insert a needle (needle A) into the hole in the upper left corner. Thread the needle through the hole until you have an even amount of thread on each side of the cover. The other needle (needle B) will stay on the opposite side.
- Insert needle A to the next hole (move to the right) and pull it out. Needle A is now on the same side as needle B. Insert needle B into the same hole and pull on it. Needles A and B are now on opposite sides. Pull firmly on the thread to make a tight stitch. Repeat this process until it returns to the first hole. Make a point later. Insert the needles individually into opposite sides of the first hole and pull them through.
- Make 2 stitches backwards. Reverses the direction of the points. Insert the needles individually into opposite sides of the last stitch, continuing through the penultimate hole.
- Insert the needle into the inside of the sheath (leather side) through the third hole. Needles A and B are both on the outside of the sheath. Cut the ends close to the leather. Use a lighter to melt the threads in the second and third holes to the last.
Part 4 Part 4 of 6: Attach the trim
Trace the piping line on each side of the pillowcase. Lay the holster on a flat workspace with the leather side facing up. Align the edge along the right side of the sleeve and trace the inside line with a pencil. Do the same on the left side of the case.
Apply contact cement to each side of the sleeve and each side of the trim. Cover the area of the sleeve between the edge and the pencil marks you just made with a thin, even layer of contact cement. Cover each side of the trim with a thin, even layer of contact cement as well. Set the pieces aside and let the glue dry. When it’s dry to the touch, you can continue.
Place the trim on one side. Place the top edge of the trim along the top edge of the pillowcase. Working from top to bottom, carefully place the trim along the edge of the pillowcase. When you get to the bottom, force the trim, which was intentionally cut lengthwise, through the slit.
Moisten, fold, and press the cover and edges. Precision is the key to folding the sleeve and aligning the edges.
- Moisten the leather. When the leather is dry, it is difficult to mold and the risk of splitting increases. Use a spray bottle to moisten the edges of the cover. Also, moisten the center line of the cover. Wipe off excess water with a damp cloth.
- Fold the pillowcase along the center line. Align the top corners of the case. Hold the edges with your fingers to bring the corners together.
- After lining up a small section of the sleeve’s edges, press down firmly with your fingers to secure it in place. Repeat the same process until you reach the end.
Cut the trim. Cutting the trim to the correct size will give the crease a straight, clean appearance along the center line. Grab a sharp pair of scissors or a utility knife. Cut the trim so it is flush with the cover.
Part 5 Part 5 of 6:Sewing the cover and shaping the leather
Mark the dotted line with a compass. The dotted line will go down the center of the border. This will help ensure that the trim stays in place. Set the compass to ¼ inch (0.5 cm). Start at the top of the case. Place the compass along the edge of the case and the pencil on the leather. Slide the compass over the edge. Continue around the lower curve until you reach the center line.
Mark the holes with an awl and an overcasting wheel. A straight line and even a dotted line will give the case a professional finish. Run a damp rag over the dotted line to slightly dampen the leather. Use an awl to mark the first stitch at the top of the seam line. Place one of the ends of the overcasting wheel in the first hole you made with the awl. Spin the overcasting wheel along the seam line.
Make the holes with a punch or drill. To make the marks left by the overlock wheel more visible, widen and deepen each mark with an awl. Place the sleeve on top of a piece of wood. Use a 1/16 inch (1.5 mm) drill bit to individually drill the holes. Make sure the drill or awl goes through both layers of leather and into the wood.
Make the main seam. The main seam is long and thick, the needle must go through three layers of leather. Cut the extra long thread and have a pair of needle-nose pliers handy to push the needles through the holes.
- Cut a length of waxed thread 6 to 7 times longer than the seam line. Thread each end of the waxed thread through the separate needles.
- Insert a needle (needle A) into the hole at the top of the sheath. Thread the needle through the hole until there is an even amount of thread on each side of the cover. The other needle (needle B) will stay on the opposite side.
- Insert needle A into the next hole and pull through. Needle A is now on the same side as needle B. Insert needle B into the same hole and pull on it. Needles A and B are now on opposite sides. Pull on the yarn to create a tight stitch. Repeat this process until you reach the last hole.
- stitching Reverses the direction of the points. Insert the needles individually into opposite sides of the last stitch, followed by the second and then the third hole to the last. Insert a needle through the fourth hole so that both needles are on the same side of the cover.
- Cut the ends close to the leather.
- Use a lighter to melt the threads in the second and third holes to the last.
hape the leather. To ensure that the knife fits securely in the sheath, you must mold or knife-shape the leather.
- Moisten the leather. To shape the leather into a knife, it must be moist. Use a spray bottle to moisten both sides of the cover. Let the water soak into the leather. Continue wetting the leather until it is easy to mould. Wipe off excess water with a damp cloth.
- Shape the leather around the knife. Insert the knife into the wet sheath, make sure the tip of the knife reaches the bottom. Use your fingers to press the leather around the blade and handle. Pull the knife out and reinsert it 5-6 times to make sure it is seated properly. Once the leather is shaped, remove the knife and hang the sheath up to dry.
Part 6 Part 6 of 6: Make additional touch-ups
Stain the leather. After cutting the cover from the leather, you have the option of dyeing the cover.
- Prepare the workspace. Cover your workspace with 2-3 layers of newspaper. Lay the cover on top of the newspaper, making sure the smooth side of the leather is facing up. Put on a pair of disposable rubber gloves.
- Apply an even layer of stain to the smooth side. Pour the dye into a small disposable cup. Dip a dauber (a stick with a cotton ball on the end) in the dye. Gently squeeze out any excess dye before applying a thin, even layer of dye to the leather. Re-dip the stick with the cotton ball in the dye, as needed.
- While the dye dries, use a dry rag to buff the leather. This will remove any excess dye and residue.
Apply an even layer of dye to the side of the leather. Flip the case over so the leather side is facing up. When applying the dye to the side of the leather, be careful to leave a 9/16 inch (1.5 cm) strip of undyed leather around the edge of the cover. You will attach the trim to this area with the glue. As the dye dries, buff the leather with a dry cloth.
Sand and stain the edges. After the cover is hand-stitched, you have the option of sanding and staining the edges.
- Use a spray bottle to moisten the edges of the case with water. Clean the edge with a damp cloth.
- Shape the edges with sandpaper or a wood rasp. She then uses 80-grit sandpaper to level out the three layers of leather. Once the layers are even, she uses 220-grit sandpaper to smooth the edge. Touch up any rough spots with a piece of fine sandpaper.
- Stain the edge to match the cover. Cover your workspace with 2-3 layers of newspaper and put on a pair of disposable rubber gloves. Pour the dye into a small disposable container. Dip a cotton stick in the dye. Apply a thin, even layer of dye to the leather with the cotton stick. Re-dip the stick with cotton as needed. While the stain dries, remove any excess stain and residue with a dry rag.
Polish the leather and treat it with oil. To increase the useful life of the cover, it polishes and waterproofs the leather. Polish the leather case by rubbing it with a clean, dry cloth. Pour the clean foot oil into a shallow bowl. The oil seals the leather and protects it from water damage. Submerge the leather case in the oil, then hang it up to dry.