I love a good looking sheath for any knife, especially a leather one. I had a look at buying one, but as most of you create lot can appreciate there’s nothing better than something you’ve made yourself. I thought about whether it was necessarily needed for my newly upcycled kitchen knife, but I thought it might be a nice addition to it.
I looked about for some sheets of leather on eBay and Amazon, looking for something with a 3mm thickness based off of sheaths I’ve had in the past. Also, I thought if it’s too stiff then that would be better than if it were too thin. Lo and behold, my sister kindly saved an old leather notebook and suggested it in place of buying leather and waiting for it to arrive. Smart thinking! It was about 2mm thick which turned out to be just right.
The outer cover of the notebook was ideal for the sheath. It was the largest piece of the notebook and covered the entire length of the knife. Therefore, I set about cutting off the outer cover with no.20 scalpel blade and did so just before the seam line so as to save as much of the leather cover as possible.
It took a fair bit of time, mostly out of caution so as to not slip and cut a digit. I need my dexterity for my lab work afterall!
I cut the sheets into 95mm wide strips and cleaned up some of the straggling thread. The width was optimised to remove as much of the glued regions as possible with the scalpel, whilst still allowing enough for the sheath.
It just so happened that the ferrule of the knife aligned nicely with one of the seam lines of the leather strips whilst allowing enough for a seam line to be installed at the blade tip. I cut along this existing seam line to create the top part of the sheath which needed to be shorter. My initial design only required one of the strips to be cut like this.
Next, it was a matter of creating holes along the edges of the leather strips to stitch the leather strips together. Ever stitched leather without punching holes first?! Total! Total! Total nightmare!! I actually punched the holes in each strip separately rather than holding them flush and punching them. I tried my best to keep the distance between holes the same and luckily for me it worked out. Next time, I’ll punch them together.
I doubled up some waxed linen thread as this would provide the strength I needed for the sheath.
This took a little more time than I expected, but was worth it as I couldn’t tighten the stitch too tightly to avoid rupturing the separation between holes. After completing the right edge, I started on the tip end and decided an angle on the left side would follow the shape of the blade so I stitched it first and then cut the bottom right corner off.
I found that stitching the left edge with the knife in the sheath made it easier to approximate the final edge and the tightness I wanted. However, the top leather strip wasn’t as tight as I would have liked so used the seam line to hold the top and bottom strips together to more easily tighten the strip over the blade.
As I hinted at before, it was at this point that I thought it better to cut off the leather strip which extended under the handle of the knife.
Something Coco Chanel once said has always stayed with me:
” Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off “Coco Chanel
I’ve always tried to apply this to everything I do. What I mean by that, is I use it to help me to know when enough is enough. With the sheath finished, I pondered whether a belt loop would be of use or if it would add anything to the design. With Coco in mind, I decided against it. I did, however, decide that some sort of attachment might be good to have to at least help secure the blade in the sheath. So, I stitched one in as a final edit to the design. I got to use my needle holders from my arsenal of surgical instruments. I use them for some surgical-based work I’m doing.
And that was it. the sheath was finished and worked really quite well!
As always, let me know what you refurbish or renovate. Ever worked with leather before? Please let me know any advice on using it or maybe even of any ideas for future leather work.