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Making a scabbard for a kukri (WIP thread)


Eric Bohnstedt

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Hi everyone, 

I recently decided I wanted to experiment with new leatherworking methods so I chose to make a small piece (in order not to waste too much leather if I messed up). I had this Kukri knife that I had from Nepal, where the scabbard was pretty scratched up during transport. I had come across a tooling technique in a 2017 post by Peter Johnsson which I was very interested in. Basically, it is using a hot awl to scorch and raise the leather (but I'll let Peter explain it here). 

 

Of course I forgot to document the making of the core, but basically it is made of using the veneer method (thin 8mm model airplane wood bound in glue) with the inside lined with felt (I use felt tape for this, which is a great material, as it is already adhesive and can cover whatever length you need). For the by-knives (Chakmak and Karda), I made two tiny (very cute) scabbards which were then glued on the main core. Traditionally they are in the back of the scabbard, but I wanted to experiment a bit and end up with a piece that could be a seen as a blade that was brought back from Asia and then given a more European medieval scabbard. Might not be for everyone, but I wanted this to be acting as a companion piece for another scabbard I am currently making for a Type XVIIIa sword. I covered the core in linen and then wrapped it in veg tan leather (sewn at the back). I used a bone knife to mould the leather around the by-knives and risers.

 

I then drew the design of 15th century-style acanthus tendrils with a felt tip ink pen and then used a swivel knife to cut the design into the leather.

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I then used a seeder stamp to do the background.

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I finally used an awl that I heated on a flame to pierce the leather in specific places to create the illusion of volume.

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This was my first try so it could have been better, but overall I am very happy with the result. For the belt attachment, I used a leather lace that goes around the back to provide a space for the belt, as I saw on a video by Tod from Tod Cutler. 

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Hope you guys enjoy it, I certainly had fun doing it! 

 

 

Edited by Eric Bohnstedt
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VERY nice job!  Perfect blend of late medieval scabbard with kukri blade.  When I first read the description I was thinking "Hmmmm....I don't know about that..." bat after seeing the finished product I'm blown away.  Tod and Peter would both be delighted. B)

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2 hours ago, Alan Longmire said:

VERY nice job!  Perfect blend of late medieval scabbard with kukri blade.  When I first read the description I was thinking "Hmmmm....I don't know about that..." bat after seeing the finished product I'm blown away.  Tod and Peter would both be delighted. B)

Thank you Alan. I know what you mean. I thought of recreating the old scabbard but I really liked the idea of having the knives in the front. Glad you liked it. 

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Eric this is really nice work and thanks for posting it, I missed the WIP from Peter J., so I am glad to see it and save it. 
MayI ask how you made and attached the metal chape at the bottom? Nickel Silver I assume and I guess a wooden form of some sort to shape it before applying to the sheath.

Thanks, 

Gary LT

"I Never Met A Knife I Didn't Like", (Will Rogers)

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6 hours ago, Gary LT said:

Eric this is really nice work and thanks for posting it, I missed the WIP from Peter J., so I am glad to see it and save it. 
MayI ask how you made and attached the metal chape at the bottom? Nickel Silver I assume and I guess a wooden form of some sort to shape it before applying to the sheath.

Thanks, 

Gary LT

Thank you Gary. Yes this thread was a phenomenal resource for me and I love how willing Peter is to share techniques. It is very inspirational to amateurs like me. 

 

The chape is actually the only element that I salvaged from the original scabbard. I did carve the core to fit it broadly, but yes I also used a wood form to round up some of the rougher edges. 

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Thank you Eric, biggest problem I have is joining the seams after I booger up the folds. In other words it’s one of many areas I need to improve on! This one I like the shape.

Gary LT

Edited by Gary LT
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"I Never Met A Knife I Didn't Like", (Will Rogers)

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On 11/19/2023 at 3:09 AM, Gary LT said:

Thank you Eric, biggest problem I have is joining the seams after I booger up the folds. In other words it’s one of many areas I need to improve on! This one I like the shape.

Gary LT

There is always something to learn, isn't there? I'm hoping to be able to do my own chapes one day, but I'm still a bit far off on that front. 

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