Jump to content
Chris Christenberry

With or without a sheath?

Recommended Posts

I'm curious how many of you sell knives without sheaths.  I'm just getting into this hobby/sport/pastime/passion/obsession and don't really have any desire to learn leathercraft on top of everything else.  Do many bladesmiths "just" make knives and leave the leatherwork up to the purchaser?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When it comes to knives which I sell, I really only make two "types," hunting knives and kitchen knives. Both of these terms are loose, hunting knives could be skinners, gutting knives, filet knives, EDCs, etc. Kitchen knives could be chefs, paring knives, steak knives, etc. 

 

That being said, all of my hunting knives get leather sheaths. These knives are almost always carried into the field, so they need something to carry it in. 

 

Kitchen knives are not usually transported much, so I dont worry too much about sheaths unless they are specifically requested. Siyas are another interesting option for kitchen knives. But a sheath for a chefs knife can usually exclude the belt loop typically found on hunting sheaths, for reasons I dont think I need to explain :lol:.

 

Simple leather working doesnt really require many specialized tools. The most expensive part of the process is the leather itself, at least the way I do it. Leather tooling CAN get outrageous if you so choose to go that route. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, no, no.............(as I go kicking and screaming)...............I really don't want to get into sheath making.  :rolleyes:  And I don't know anyone who will make them for me for a decent fee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You could always use Kydex to make sheaths, the process of making a sheath seems easier that way. Though it may not look that great. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Conner, but I'm far too traditional for Kydex sheaths..............though they have their place.  If I were making a camp knife for rugged outdoor use, I'd go with Kydex for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nobody is twisting your arm to make sheaths. You dont HAVE to make sheaths, after all. 

 

But it's kind of like having a wrench without a tool box. Wheres it going to go when it's not in your hand? 

 

Food for thought.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I "get" that a knife has to have a sheath...................I just don't want to have to learn something new right now.  Guess it's all part of "it".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every knife I sell has a leather cover whether it is a full sheath for hunting/outdoor knives or a simple cover (sans belt loop) for kitchen knives and with the hot waxing for a firm fit I have provided the means of protection for every knife and the hands that reach for them or anything else that may be in the same place. Kitchen knives usually have a special place whether it is a knife block or special knife drawer but I need to know there is protection for the edge and fingers as it leaves my shed and whatever is done with it afterwards is up to the customer. I dont find the process of sheath making very arduous so it is no real time/material cost to make one and as there is usually a few to do at once the process is simplified. Having said that I have been doing leatherwork for near 60 years so do have a reasonable grasp on the concept.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I watched a video of you hot-waxing (paraffin?) some sheaths.  I wondered why you weren't using Bee's wax, Garry.

 

I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and learn how to make sheaths.  Just not something I considered when I initially thought about making knives.  That's all I need is another set of tools and setting out to learn a new skill.  Oh well, maybe the Boy Scouts has a merit badge for this one. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do have a badge for that. :lol:

And you don't have to get fancy. A simple pouch sheath is easy enough, and the only tools you need are needles and thread, a stitching groover, and a marking wheel.  You really don't need that, it just makes for neater stitch spacing.  Throw in a safety skive if you want (a sharp knife is just as good) and you're set.  Of all that, only the needles and thread are things you can't easily make. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yup.  Thanks,  Alan.  Been looking on-line for kits that assemble all the tools needed and some extra stuff that would be nice to have.  Sometimes it's just less expensive to order something like that and have it delivered rather than spending the time and money to drive all over town to find all the items.  We've got a Tandy about 40 miles from me but they are awfully expensive..............at least every time I've been there that's the way it has seemed to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Alan Longmire said:

only the needles and thread are things you can't easily make. 

 

I've actually been thinking about making some thick sewing needles for a while now. The eye for the thread would be the only real challenge. 

 

I was thinking about wrapping it around and welding it to itself. Otherwise you would need a mill and a tiny bit to slot it. Or a teeny tiny chisel to slit it :D.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For what it's worth unless a customer wants a knife in a custom wooden gift box for kitchen knives....it gets a sheath...plain no frills sheaths I include with the cost of the knife...if they want custom tooling or designs incorporated into a more artistic type of sheath then I charge for tooling costs...and yep boy scouts definitely have a leather working merit badge too

Edited by JeffM
add detail

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Will Wilcox said:

Or a teeny tiny chisel to slit it

 

That's the way it was done back in the day.  B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are there any decent leather working kits worth looking at, or should I just piecemeal an assortment of tools together myself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My advice would be to go with what Alan said above.  I would maybe swap the marking wheel for a single prong and a 4-prong stitching punch at your choice of spacing.  I prefer to punch my holes instead of drilling and I find it easier to keep the holes straight using the 4-prong punch whenever I can.

I bought a fair amount of tools the first time I walked in to Tandy, most of them I dont even touch anymore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I "get" that, Alex.  I always tell my wood carving students to leave the tool sets alone and buy tooling "project specific".  Thanks for the advice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm the kind of guy that likes making templates for everything. I have several for forging various knives, and a couple for standard sheaths.

For the typical hunter/skinner I make in a variety of styles and shapes, I have a simple sheath design that works for all of them.

The template is laid on the leather, traced, and cut out. The holes are drilled and it gets sewn together and dyed. done.

An exacto knife, a stitching layout roller, needle and thread are the only tools needed. It does help if you have a stitching pony or horse, but you can get by with a bench vice if you already have one mounted. I have the punches and lacing punches, but I rarely make anything that's held together with lacing anymore.

 

Now, if you want a nice line to put your stitching in you want a stitching groover or swivel knife. If you want nice rounded edges, get an edger too. Then you will want something to burnish the edge and make it smooth and shiny.

You see where this is headed?

Then you want to try tooling the leather......the rabbit hole widens. :o

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dangit!  That's exactly what I didn't want to get into.  <_<  Durned rabbit holes.  :wacko:  I've spent the last hour going through page after page of E-bay leather working tools. :o

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Dangit!  That's exactly what I didn't want to get into.  <_<  Durned rabbit holes.  :wacko:  I've spent the last hour going through page after page of E-bay leather working tools. :o

Yeah well......

I was a leather worker long before I was a metal worker. Honestly, anyone who works wood as well as you do is going to love leather working.

Right now, your knives are probably going to be fairly plain and only need a similarly plain sheath. Your experience with tools and handwork means you are going to accelerate very quickly in the craft. You are going to want to make sheaths that compliment the knives you make.

You may end up staying with the simple, yet elegant designs, without much pomp and pimping. In which case, your sheaths will stay in the same groove.

Start with a few items and see where it goes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember when I was first starting out working leather.

I was so poor I could barely afford the leather. I used a 6d finish nail to burn holes for stitching and #69 nylon thread from the drugstore to sew with.

I'd put the nail in the gas flames on the stove until it glowed and I burned the holes through oak tanned skin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank goodness I won't have to start that "Neanderthal-like". :lol:  I think I can afford a small batch of tools.  I'm sure I'll do okay, Josh...............just never gave thought to having to provide sheaths along with the knives.  This all started because my students wanted "Uncle Bob's wood carving knives" !!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ooh, that means you'll move on to tool rolls, eh? ;)

My leatherwork is rudimentary at best, but I  insist on the groover.  It just makes the end product look so much more professional. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Chris Christenberry said:

Thank goodness I won't have to start that "Neanderthal-like". :lol:  I think I can afford a small batch of tools.  I'm sure I'll do okay, Josh...............just never gave thought to having to provide sheaths along with the knives.  This all started because my students wanted "Uncle Bob's wood carving knives" !!!!!

So you jumped into this rabbit hole on your own and now have to explore ALL the tracks down here where many of us lurk to entice the unwary.B)

 

  Happy new year

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kinda feel as if I've been "taken"! ;)  You guys are terrible.

 

Happy New Year to you too, Garry.  Don't hurt yourself or anyone else tonight! :lol:  (or whenever your New Years Eve is!)

Edited by Chris Christenberry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...