Tool set Req’s For Sheaths?

Jfk742

New Member
I am starting some fixed blade edc’s. They’ll need sheaths. Having never done any leather work I am in need of some guidance.

I need a few tools to get started but don’t know where to start. I have watched quite a few videos and like anything else everyone has their own preferences towards tools. There are lots of “starter kits” online but the tools generally appear cheap and offer things I don’t need.

I figure I can make a round knife. Are there any other tools that are necessary for work that I could make? I have no lathe or mill so I’m a bit limited for fabricating things.

For leather, I’ve been looking at 9-10oz veg tanned shoulders. Not sure if going to 11-12oz is totally over kill. I would like to do some wet forming, does one weight better for that than another? Preferably it would hold it’s wet formed lines well.

Dyes are another thing. What is the most colorfast for dyes?

Anyway, here’s the rough design. Not forging at all for the last few months I’ve seem to forgotten everything about getting steel to go where I want it to. The first forge form helped me do much better on the second. Both have been normalized 3x’s. Hoping to get some time in front of the grinder tomorrow morning, but we’ll see. 1084 for the steel.

2009

2010
 

verndahl

AKA tintin
I would say that 11-12oz is too heavy. As for tools really any knife will work (i use a wood carving knife) even a X-acto style knife. It certainly would be cool to make your own round knife. You'll need Some harness needles (size 2) and thread. There are different methods of punching the holes so you would need either a set of stitching chisels ( which makes it easier to get even spaced holes) or a stitching awl (which requires some other tools to mark the holes but is a more traditional method) and some Bees wax. Though it can be done without it is also sure handy to have some sort of stitching pony to hold the work while you are stitching.
Make sure that you get some Veg tanned leather if you want to do wet molding.
I've had good luck with Feibings Pro dye.
A stitching groover is a must to make a nice channel for the stitches to set in.
As far as the weight of the leather, i use 5-6 oz. for things that need more detailed molding but that might be too light for knife sheaths (though i've used it)
Tandy leather is a good place to get supplies but Weaver leathers tools are higher quality IMHO

As far as making your own tools, i think about the easiest thing to make would be the stitching pony. Things like stitching chisels seem like they would takes some precision and awls and needles are cheap enough to buy (though i've made my own awl blades too).

If i think on any thing else i'll add it.
keep us informed on your progress!
 

cangooner

Cheese enthusiast
+1 to the pro dye recommendation. It has (for me at least) seemed to give more even colour, and more importantly will not rub off on clothing etc. as much as other dyes.

A round knife is on my "to make" list too. Also, a rotary cutter makes short work of longer cuts in heavy leather. That plus a cutting board would be my biggest cutting tool recommendation beyond an x-acto.

Stainless steel ruler for straight cuts - one with a cork backing will help keep it from slipping.

Burnisher (aka "slicker") for your edges. If you turn wood, it would be simple to make from hardwood, but otherwise any cheap one should do.

For sheaths I have had good luck with 9oz, but that was for pretty big camp knives. For anything smaller, I think it would be overkill and somewhere around 7oz would probably be better. Most places will sell small pieces (1-2 sqft), maybe get a few in different weights and see which would work best for you? I haven't noticed a big difference between weights in terms of wet molding and the leather holding its form.

+1 also to the stitching chisels suggestion. Punching with an awl is possible and some folks seems to make it really work well, but my one attempt was an embarrassment that ended up in the bin. They can be insanely expensive, but between that and the really cheap crap is a pretty broad sweet spot like the ones Vern linked. A cheap plastic cutting board from the dollar store works pretty well for a backing when punching.

One other thing that probably isn't needed so much with smaller sized projects like a sheath but was an absolute life-saver on a duffle bag I just finished are these little things:
Super, super handy when working on long stitch lines with pieces of leather that really don't want to line up on their own. I just wish I knew what to call them beyond the very AliExpress-ish "Leather Suture Positioning Needle DYI Tool Suture Fixed Position Needle Leather Fixed Suture Needle Craft Supplies". :D
 

Jfk742

New Member
Is there a good size (space between stitches) to get for the stitching chisels?

Glue was another question I forgot to ask. Is any old contact cement good enough?

Thank you for all the info, guys. This is really helpful. I think getting a few samples of different weights is probably the way to go for leather until I figure out what will work for my preferences.
 

verndahl

AKA tintin
Generally for leather they use Barge Cement which is a type of contact cement. I was going to mention that i use regular rubber cement to hold the pieces together for stitching. (coat both pieces and let dry till it's dull then stick together) this has the advantage of being able to pull the pieces apart easier if needed to reposition. They both have their purpose.

I use a stitch spacing of 6 per inch for most general utility type projects (not sure what that is in mm's)
 

cangooner

Cheese enthusiast
I use a stitch spacing of 6 per inch for most general utility type projects (not sure what that is in mm's)
That would be about 4mm. The first set of stitching punches I bought was 6mm and I found it way too wide. So I think 4 or 5mm (or equivalent) would be a good place to start.

I haven't used barge, but it's pretty much what everyone seems to use, so once my contact cement runs out I'll be trying that. There are also water-based glues that are much nicer to work with. I am currently using stuff called "Aquilim 315". I don't think it holds as strong as barge would, but it's more than enough to hold things in place for stitching.
 

32t

Active Member
but it's more than enough to hold things in place for stitching.
That is my thought. The stitching holds it but the glue saves trying to hold punch and stitch 3 layers etc.

Showing my inexperience.

How do the different glues effect the different dyes?
 

cangooner

Cheese enthusiast
How do the different glues effect the different dyes?
No idea! I think it's not so much how the glue affects the dye, but how the dye can affect the glue. The glued bits are going to be hidden, right? But it's a good idea to scuff any dyed or finished surface to give the glue something to adhere to. They make special tools for that, but I find sandpaper works fine.
 
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tcrideshd

Head Bouncer
I did make one based on Scott’s design and his help, but I made that one for my son-in-law law, this is one Scott gave me. And I love it!

So yes Tim you are correct
 

Bruno

Administrator
Staff member
I got a similar one, back when Scott and I had a bet on Mayweather vs McGregor.
I tried to get another bet going for the Tyson fight but couldn't find anyone to bet against Tyson.
 
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