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Scabbard lining advice

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Hi again, folks.

I am working on a wooden scabbard for one of my blades, using 3 part construction: Two flat pieces and a third outline piece in the middle, all 1/4" pine.  My goal is to also then wrap the whole thing in leather.  (This is all mostly a practice run for a blade/scabbard I want to do later.)  I'm running into some issues, though.

Tracing out the blade and cutting the wood was easy.  When I glued the first side to the outline, though, (just basic wood glue) it of course fit not-quite-perfectly.  It was slightly tight (probably I had it not perfectly positioned when clamping it), but I was able to address that by filing the inside of the outline piece with a thin file until it fit nicely.  However, I also wanted to do a liner on it to help keep the blade in place since it's not a perfect fit on the sides the way my previous gouge-out scabbards have been.  Easy enough, get some simple felt and glue that in, then glue felt to the other side before gluing that on.

Of course, that ran into two problems.  First, that meant the scabbard is now too small for the blade by the thickness of the felt.  (Obvious in hindsight, I know.)  Second, in testing sheathing and drawing the blade the point is constantly getting caught in the felt and tearing it.  This is clearly not desirable.  I tried ripping out the lining at the edges and it sort of fits, but that means less protection and doesn't solve the tip-catching problem.  (In fact, it was so tight that the edge of the blade cut off the felt on the blade side while I was testing inserting and removing it.)

At this point I am probably going to need to start over on it, which I'm fine with as I haven't spent much time or materials on it yet and this is supposed to be a learning project.  However, I'm looking for advice on how to better handle the lining and sizing.  Any good tutorials on this sort of construction? Anything that's obvious in hindsight but I probably wouldn't think of until I've screwed it up a few more times?

Some pictures for reference:

This is my trace outline.  Inner line is traced from the blade, outer line is my hand drawn approximation of the thickness I want.


With one half glued:


The felt liner, after I tried ripping out the edges.  Yes, it doesn't go all the way down.  That's again due to the felt thickness meaning that the blade doesn't fit, so I tried doing it just at the top so it would still grip at the top.  It didn't work. :-)



On the plus side, it does hold the blade exactly the right snugness!  It just fails in every other way. :-)

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I made a few of these in a similiar style for some kitchen knives I made as Christmas presents. To keep the point from tearing at the felt I ramped the initial opening so that it was about two to three times the blade thickness. Also, be careful in your choice of glue. I used spray adhesive for the liner and regular wood glue for the two halves, and the knife would develop small rust spots if left in the scabbard for more than a few hours. Even after being coated with mineral oil before I put it in. 


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Yeah, I would use only Elmer's or hide glue for this.  Titebonds 2 and 3 are notorious for causing rust, and apparently some spray adhesives do as well.  Didn't know that one.

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@Charles du Preez  Thanks.  I saw that thread before, but if I follow it correctly that's a different technique.  He's doing a 2 part scabbard, folded over the blade.  I'm doing a 3-flat-piece construction, or attempting to.

@Alan Longmire Good to know on the glue! I'd been using Titebond wood glue.  I didn't think that would be an issue, but I guess I'll avoid it then.  So just basic Elmer's white glue would be safer/sufficient?

@Will Drake When you say you ramped up the initial opening, can you clarify what you mean?  Just make the hole thicker than it needs to be and taper to smaller inside?  Or do you mean in the direction with the blade? 

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Thanks folks.  So here's my new plan for attempt 2:

1) Wrap the blade in felt first, then trace the outline of that for the inner layer.  Then flare the tracing out a little on the opening (1mm or so, down maybe a half inch?), then hand-trace a margin around that for the outer cut.

2) Cut out the inner layer and two outer layers.

3) Use a file to flare the outer layers wider, again about 1mm thick for a half inch.  So it's now 2 mm wider in both directions at the top, tapering back into a tight fit.

4) Using Elmer's wood glue, put one outer layer on the inner layer, let it dry, then line with felt on the 3 sides.

5) Affix felt to the other outer layer for where it will fit into the other.

6) Glue the second outer layer on.

7) Sand to taste.

8) Learn how to do leather wrapping for a scabbard. :-)


Sound about right?  How far down the scabbard should the felt go?  All the way to the tip or does it not need to go all the way?

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