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Thread: My attempt at a rawhide sheath.

  1. #21
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    Once the rawhide cures this method is plenty strong.
    I may change to that method too, the deer does seem much more substantial than the goat and as long as the stiching was tight enough to not loosen up after the raw hide dries it should be good. I'll play around some more for sure.

  2. #22
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    Nicely done sir!

    A couple of notes:
    1) I seal my leather liners completely before applying the leather - I use either my period varnish or Deft. This prevent ANY moisture from being introduced into the leather by the wet rawhide. I had some "troubles" with moisture being retained by the leather after the rawhide dried and causing some rust problems.
    2) I also glue the damp rawhide to the liner along the center of the liner to hold it in place. Cheap super glue work great for this or you can be more PC and use hot hide glue (the room temp hide glue won't work for this). Hot hide glue can be purchased or just use scraps of rawhide and bring to a slow boil in enough water to just cover it. Once dissolved turn the heat down to low - it can be saved and used again.
    3) Like John I glue my liner parts together just as if I were making a regular sheath. When adding a braintan inner liner to the upper part of the sheath I glue it with a fabric glue (there are several brands I Like Tear Mender). To make sure there is no shifting I also use cut tacks aka carpet tacks of various length as needed - these are small square shank tacks found at any hardware store and clinch over very well - a great friend!
    4) Like you and John have found I like to round over the edge well instead of leaving the boxy. Besides a safety skiver you can use a #6 edge rounder or a 3/8-1/2" French skiver. If the edge transition isn't real smooth I use my belt sander to smooth things out. Before skiving if you dampen the leather a bit it will help keep things smooth.
    5) For belt loops - I keep several widths of 8/10 oz leather pieces and set into the belt loop while drying - it will form around the leather and leave a nice open loop.

    Also I wrote this tutorial on making a rawhide lined sheath with a braintan cover sometime back - most of the procedures can be applied to the veg tan liner/rawhide cover style
    http://knifenetwork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=38872

    Anyway again nice job!
    Last edited by Wild Rose; 04-02-2009 at 01:51 PM.

  3. #23
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    Thanks Wild Rose, I’m familiar with hide glue, I use it for building and restoring musical instruments. The French skiver is great, I use it often though the small round knife Tony Bell made me is getting more and more use.

    I look forward to trying out some of these techniques this weekend.

  4. #24
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    Thanks to all for a most informative series of posts. A thought and a question or two - I remember seeing some painted Apache rawhide sheathes decades ago back on the Rez - similar to Plains style parfleche, with tin cones or beads, even bits of horsehair (?) and felt fabric - have any of you tried anything similar? What paints would you suggest? I'm thinking of making a large sheath, but have liitle or no experience making 'em, just carrying 'em.

  5. #25
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    Water based acrylic paint works very well on veg. tanned I bet it would be fine on rawhide.

    I used acrylic on the seat I did for Miami Heavy Choppers show bike.


  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by w.t. anderson View Post
    Thanks to all for a most informative series of posts. A thought and a question or two - I remember seeing some painted Apache rawhide sheathes decades ago back on the Rez - similar to Plains style parfleche, with tin cones or beads, even bits of horsehair (?) and felt fabric - have any of you tried anything similar? What paints would you suggest? I'm thinking of making a large sheath, but have liitle or no experience making 'em, just carrying 'em.
    Like this?

    Being a traditionalist I used/use powdered earth pigments mixed with water and then fixed with hide glue or prickly pear juice. The paints can also be directly mixed with the glue and then applied. You can get the pigments from Crazy Crow and other Indian craft suppliers. Apply with VERY stiff bristle brushes, chewed willow stems, or bone "brushes".
    The braintan cuff and red stripes were colored with red ocher and the blue is another earth pigment.

    You can also do incised work like this

    or this


    I also do lots of beadwork and quillwork and also use cones and hair frequently - on the upper sheath and hawk handle I used horsehair, the lower sheath is buffalo (bison) hair. Crazy Crow sells a book on making Plains?western Indian style sheaths and I highly recommend it for folks interested in the how-to for the type of construction and decoration used.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Rose View Post
    ...Crazy Crow sells a book on making Plains?western Indian style sheaths and I highly recommend it for folks interested in the how-to for the type of construction and decoration used.
    GREAT! I'm going to check this out. It's the first book I've heard about on making sheaths! Are there others???
    .
    Phil Dwyer ó Earth Crafts & Applied Arts

  8. #28
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    I have this book also and highly recommend it!
    The DVD "Basic Rawhide Sheath Construction" now available! http://jmcknives.blademakers.com

  9. #29
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    You two are a constant inspiration. Amazing stuff, I've only read about the quill work I'm going to have to take a closer look at it.

  10. #30
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    I recived the Plains Indian Knife Sheaths from Crazy Crow and read it today. I have a lot to learn, I've got to find a good source of brain tanned deer.

    I bet all that beading takes a good amount of time.

    Anyhow I finished this last week for my BRKT Aurora;


  11. #31
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    I have several good sources for braintan, but I'll have to look them up for you - another option which is about half the price of good braintan (there is bad braintan FWIW) is the German Tan sold by Crazy Crow - it beads well and is virtually the same end product as braintan just a different method of getting there.

  12. #32
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    Thanks Wild Rose, I'll check out Crazy Crow today.

    I can peruse brain tanned at the rendezvous but that won't be until next Jan. I did read in the Plains Sheath book that not everyone does a good job of brain tanning. That's another skill I'll have to develop. I do worry about too much stretch in the leather, some of the stuff Iíve come across is way too elastic.

    I noticed in the book that the authors along with more modern sheath makers seem to be more intricate and fancier than the authentic samples, except in the case of quill work. Iíve been accused of possessing insane tediousness and patience, maybe I need to try my hand at quill work, I will focus on it at the next Alafia River Rendezvous. A few of our long time friends are proficient at this, I know it will take me some time to get good at it.

    I really like the looks of your work, beautiful. Iím not the kind of guy to try and reproduce the art of others, I would rather learn the basic skills and techniques then channel my sense of expression through them. Some of the beads Iím using are pretty lame but they can be changed once I build up my stock of old trade beads, some home made stuff and shells.

    Making the cones looks like it could be a good thing to try. I wonder what gauge sheet metal they use, 23 maybe 24, I guess the thinner the better, I'm not sure there are a lot of Tin cans around that would be good for this. I would rather purchase clean tin, copper and brass. I'll have to turn a mandrel for doing this but it may be worth it.

    Thanks for the help and encouragement.

  13. #33
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    Older, western fur trade era beadwork is generally "simpler" and often used 8/0 or at smallest 10/0 beads.
    The "Book of Buckskinning vol 8" has an excellent article on pre-1850 beadwork.
    "Arts of Diplomacy", Castle McLaughlin has several pieces of early beadwork
    Colin Taylor has a series of books on the Indians, including "Native American Weapons" and several have early samples
    "Early Knives & Beaded Sheath of the American Frontier" by John Baldwin
    "A Quillwork Companion" and a "A Beadwork Companion" Jean Heinbuch
    "Guide to Indian Quillwork" Christy Ann Hensler

    websites:
    http://www.splendidheritage.com/nindex.html
    http://anthro.amnh.org/anthropology/...rth_public.htm
    http://www.bbhc.org/collections/

    My work is mostly western oriented, but there is info on eastern work as well.

    re: Braintan being stretchy - I pre-stetch all my hides - dampen with water, and then stretch on a board and leave it that way for 48-72 hours out in the sun and wind if possible......
    some sources:
    www.braintan.com - they also have an excellent video on BT, tools, and a forum
    http://www.braintanninginnovations.com/ - they also have an excellent video on BT
    http://www.braintanbuckskin.com/
    Don Born - 719-495-8826 dborn@falconbroadband.net - Don sells, deer, elk, and pronghorn

    Cones: I buy them pre-made or make them from flattened real tin cans, whihc is what many originals were made from after 1810....

  14. #34
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    Thanks, It'll take me a while to digest all of that. I'll start looking up the books, I think I have a couple of them.

  15. #35
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    Husnell your sheaths are really looking good! I get a good many of my antique trade beads here: www.happymangobeads.com . Ebay is another good place to find them, depending on what you are looking for.
    The DVD "Basic Rawhide Sheath Construction" now available! http://jmcknives.blademakers.com

  16. #36
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    Thanks John, a young woman working the counter at West Marine asked me about my neck knife today. Her coworker called her a knife nut, she was interested in some custom sheath work so I gave her my web site address.

    Only about one out of 50 people ever seem to follow through but itís cool that a young woman is interested in blades and leather, especially down here in Miami.

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