Sunday, October 2, 2011

Basic Leatherwork - Part 2

Here's part 2 of doing some basic leatherwork.  This time we'll make a simple sheath to hold a pocketknife.  The knife I picked was a Opinel but the basic design could be modified to fit folding knives, flashlights, etc.

We'll start by laying out everything we need.  Since I'm extremely cheap and like to make as many of my own tools as I can, You can see my 4 prong "Leather Punch" was formally a heavy duty fork purchased at the Salvation Army for 25 cents.  I just flattened it out, sharpened up the tips and wrapped some tape around the end.  It allows you to punch 4 holes at once and helps to keep your stitches straight.

The leather were starting with is approx. 3 and 1/2 times the length of the knife. Here we fold it into and "S" shape and put a clothespin on it to hold it together. This forms the pocket for the knife and the loop for the belt.

Here's the sideview.

Now we'll mark where the leather overlaps itself, this is so we know where to put our stitching.

Now we'll lay out our leather strap and and mark the lines..  Make 2 lines with either chalk or a pencil where you want the stitching to go. You can either punch the stitch holes by hand with an awl or use our homemade stitching punch.

Now we start stitching, start by sewing one way, then reverse and start sewing the other direction which will double up the stitches. When you finish, don't worry about knotting it, just go back through a few previous stitches, pull it tight and cut it off.  It won't unravel.

Here's both sides of our sheath after the stitching is done.

Now we'll mold the sheath to fit the knife, Just like the previous tutorial, we soak the leather for a few minutes in warm water.  This time we'll take the knife, wrap it up in some plastic wrap to protect it and put it in the sheath.  It should fit tightly. Set it aside and let it dry.

After it dries, remove the plastic wrap from the knife and Taa Daaa.... You now have a homemade sheath that is custom fit to your knife.  If you like a more finished professional look, you can round the edges with some sandpaper and rub a candle along them to wax the edges.  I like the homemade look so I'll leave this one as it is.

Professional leather workers would probably laugh at some of these techniques, But who cares.. We've just made ourselves something useful that will last a long time.  Give it a shot and let me know how and what you decide to make.

Thanks for reading,

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