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Will Drake

Simple and Inexpensive Scabbard WIP

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I made several kitchen knives as Christmas presents last year and I also made some scabbards so the recipients could keep them in a drawer or on the counter without having to worry about the blade being exposed.  Unfortunately, the glues I chose to use (Titebond II and Loctite spray adhesive) ended up  causing rust on the blade.   I wasn't sure which it was until someone else posted a question about a making a similar scabbard in this sub-forum.   After learning that Titebond II (and III as well) was the likely rusting culprit, I decided to make a new one for a knife I have kept in the house and have been using as a box cutter.  First, because the knife needs one as it has been unceremoniously been subjected to  storage in a makeshift sheath, and secondly because it would give me the chance to verify if the spray adhesive I had used originally had contributed to the rusting problem.

First off I cut two  6 1/2 inch long pieces from  3" x 48" poplar board that was 1/4 inch thick.   You can get it your local big box home improvement stores for less than $5.  After tracing out the shape of the knife blade on the scabbard blanks I routed them out with a Dremel tool.  My Dremel came with a routing attachment and I have used it far more than I thought I would.  I set the depth of the dremel cutter to equal my blade width, the reason will be explained a little later in the WIP.  After the hollow was routed I took a wood rasp and ramped the opening so that it would be almost twice the blade  width. This helps get the blade in the scabbard without tearing at the felt.  If you look closely at the picture you can see the slope of the opening.

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After testing the blade fit I moved on to gluing in the felt. 

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For this I used the pieces you can get at Walmart for 23 cents. I cut out pieces that would fit over each of the sides.

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I then taped off the area that I didn't want to get spray adhesive on with painters tape. 

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After spraying with adhesive I put the pieces of felt on then worked it into the corners and tip with the back end of a carpenters pencil.  I'm sure just about anything would work but it happened to be in front of me.

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Let the adhesive dry and then cut out the excess felt.

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I used a little CA glue here at the opening for a little bit of insurance and to get the felt folded over the mouth a bit more.   I didn't get any pictures of this next step but I then clamped the two sides together and slid the knife into scabbard. It was really loose as I had routed each side to the a depth of the blade thickness. I covered the felt with more painters tape and took the pieces to the belt grinder using a 120 grit belt to take  material off of the inside of each side until I could hold the scabbard upside down without the knife falling out.  Doing it this way allows you to adjust exactly how tight you want the scabbard to hold the blade.  After this I clamped the sides together again (without gluing at this point) and left it overnight with the knife inside.   After I pulled it out the next day there was no rust or discoloration so I was good to go.   

Then it was time to glue the sides together. Since the only wood glue I had was the aforementioned stuff that caused a knife to rust in the first place, I mixed up some G-Flex epoxy and used that instead. It took very little to get the job done.

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Let the epoxy cure, then traced the knife profile on the outside and took it to the bandsaw to cut the profile.  One of the cuts on the bandsaw was to shave off a little under an 1/8th of an inch from the opening to get remaining felt flaps off and even up the top between the two halves. 

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After it was cut out I inserted a piece of cardboard into the opening to keep sawdust out and took it to the belt grinder to round it all off and smooth it out a bit. After I finished shaping it I hand sanded it with 220 grit paper.

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Next up was staining. I used the closest thing I had to match but it's a little off. The handle is Mahogany with Tru-Oil and the scabbard is poplar with espresso stain. If anyone has any tips on the best way to match wood stains without buying 15 different stains I would greatly appreciate them. 

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After the stain dried put on a coat of semi-gloss poly and let it cure.

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All done. Holding it upside down to be sure it doesn't fall out.

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The longest part of the process was waiting for the glue/epoxy/stain/poly to dry. Other than that, I think I have about 45 minutes and 4 dollars into this thing.  On a side note, don't judge too harshly on the knife. It was my first cable damascus and there were some weld flaws, I just liked the way the shape turned out and the other side looks much better. I couldn't bring myself to toss it after all the work I put into it and it does make an excellent box cutter for the house. Oh, and please excuse the shop, it is an island of misfit and half finished projects at the moment. 



Edited by Will Drake
Edited cause I suck at spelling and to remove an extra pic.
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