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Horizontal Sheath for a Buck 112 - WIP

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Gary W. Graley, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    This is a bit more detailed step by step, also see this Thread for some info regarding the tools and some recommended fellows that are excellent leathersmiths.

    EDITED TO ADD: Another fellow from across the pond gave this tutorial a try out and came back with something that
    I had failed to make mention, it's in the design phase of the project.

    Where do you end the sheath? and also something that I didn't talk about was, making sure you can get your
    knife IN and OUT of the sheath, it may sound simple but if you are not careful you could end up with a lot
    of time spent and no sheath to show for it.
    What I mean by the above;
    When starting to shape the leather over the knife, you see I have the leather up above the blade where the swedge
    starts down to the point, that's important for retention, but if I had it further, I might not be able to get the knife
    into the sheath! or if I had it further back, the knife would not be held in place well.

    Also, some knives have a LOT of contour, if you shape the top section tightly around it, it will fit VERY snug, but,
    if you ALSO SEW right along those tight contours, you would not get the knife in or out of that sheath, you've sewn
    it too tightly due to the contours. SO the answer for this scenario is to form it tight, but sew not as close, which allows
    the leather to spring out as the knife passes by and retains it very strongly, but you can still get it out.


    In this tutorial, we have as lovely a folder as you are likely to find, an Elk horn scaled Buck 112
    came in for a fitup this week. So I thought I'd start recording from start
    to finish, as best I can, the process of this, bare with me on the photos
    as it isn't easy to work and take pictures at the same time ;)

    To start I cut out a section of leather for what I call the top section
    that forms over the top of the knife, clever term eh?
    The weight of that is 6/7 oz that I get from Wickett & Craig
    for the rest of the sheath I'll use 7/8 oz

    [​IMG]

    I then square up one end for the opening of the sheath
    (notice the nice Tony Bose knife to do the slicin')

    [​IMG]

    Then I take a groove tool to cut in my groove across the top, a few passes to make it deeper

    [​IMG]

    Then I use the edge tool, from Weaver leather it's a #1 size

    [​IMG]

    I wrap the knife in plastic wrap to prevent moisture from weeping from the leather
    into the knife, see the green wrap around the knife here.
    I hold the leather under running hot water until it feels pliable

    [​IMG]

    Using a bone folder, the square/rounded edge end, I start forming the leather
    around the knife, first I'll press around with my fingers to get it started, a tip
    on this is to keep those fingernails trimmed!

    [​IMG]

    Work the bone folder along the outer edges of the knife

    [​IMG]

    and while holding down what you've formed already, I press along the edge
    of the handle and on top of the blade to form that 'shelf' of leather

    [​IMG]

    More to follow, time for the sheath to dry a little, about 20 to 30 minutes between sessions
    of forming. The leather wants to go back to it's original form, flat, so you have
    to keep working it to make it stretch and this will aid in retention later on.

    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  2. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Ok, continuing on;

    The sheath as you can just make out is kind of trying to pull back,
    [​IMG]

    I continue to work around the sheath, especially near the end, important to press down
    very hard to make it conform;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I take the pointier end of the bone folder and run that inside of the groove, it burnishes
    it and gives it a more finished look, you do want to wait until it's partially dry to do this;
    in this shot you can see where I've run the plastic in the groove and near the edge going down
    it's still kind of flattened, so you can see the before and after in this shot

    [​IMG]

    I trim off the sides, using a small ruler as a guide

    [​IMG]

    I'll keep working the leather until the surface becomes light coloured again, indicating it
    is finally almost dry, once dry I would do any tooling or embossing at that point.

    [​IMG]

    Hmm the colours on this photo set look better than the first, ah well...
    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  3. TekSec

    TekSec Böse Messer

    Dec 8, 2006
    Yet another excellent tutorial! Just love your pictorials! :thumbup:
     
  4. Greg45

    Greg45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Great stuff, Gary! :cool:
     
  5. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Thanks Erik and Greg, here are a few more shots, tomorrow will be time to dye
    the sheath and start to glue it up, I don't use ovens or blow dryers on the sheaths
    to speed things along, which may be why the have they have such good retention
    from the repeated shaping I do while it goes through the drying process...

    Next up the top section is in good enough shape that I can cut the next layer of leather
    that will be glued to it.
    You will notice that I layed a piece of white paper down now,
    this is to help keep the knife cleaner during the final processes, as well as the leather.

    [​IMG]

    Carefully removing the top section, I will pencil around the knife to know where I need to
    rough up the leather surface so the glue will adhere properly

    [​IMG]

    Ending up with this outline

    [​IMG]

    and then using some coarse sand paper, in this case 60 grit, to rough up the surface
    the top section won't need that as the underside is not finished and glue will stick to that ok

    [​IMG]

    And more to follow tomorrow,
    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2009
  6. AFCOP82

    AFCOP82

    108
    Dec 1, 2005
    Gary--awesome work. I am dabbling in leather work and this tutorial has taught me so much. looking forward to the rest of the tutorial.

    AFCOP82
     
  7. Keith Montgomery

    Keith Montgomery

    May 9, 2000
    Thanks for putting this thread together, Gary. I always enjoy WIP threads of any kind.
     
  8. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Thanks guys, the other thread at the top of this forum is similar, but on this one
    I am trying to capture all the steps as best I can, if I start something, then that
    tells me, photograph it and so I will try to do that. Today the top section is dry
    and I'll dye it later on and then glue it down to that one piece of leather.
    Which is an extra layer most folks don't use, but for me I feel that it strengthens
    the entire sheath and aids in retention, as the back side now doesn't have as much
    'give' as it would with a single layer behind the knife. Makes for just a little more work
    and a bit of leather and glue, but worth the trouble.
    The vertical sheaths are a different sort, I may do a tutorial on one of those next.
    G2
     
  9. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Ok heading into the next phase, with the top section now dry, I would emboss
    but in this case the fellow didn't chose to have any embossing, which is fine
    as the contours of the knife provide a nice subtle look all by itself;

    [​IMG]

    Using Light brown Fiebings oil dye, leather is funny how it dyes, not haha funny
    but in a way that makes you tilt your head, kinda like how a dog sometimes
    looks at you when you do something silly...
    Basically it has a mind of it's own, or actually the leather is more likely the culprit.
    On the edging where I was pressing down hard, it will take the dye less, since
    it's compressed, so you will see highlights and dark areas, the best thing I can
    tell you about dyeing, is patience, dye and wait...

    [​IMG]

    Applying the glue to the roughed up area of the base piece of leather;

    [​IMG]

    And onto the underside of the top section, I use barge cement for the contact glue
    EDITED to say that I've since change from barge to Weldwood contact cement, very
    inexpensive and easily gotten at wally world and works VERY good!


    [​IMG]

    Once both are dry, about 20 minutes should do, lay the knife down in the clean area of the leather

    [​IMG]

    then carefully set the top section over the knife, making sure not to move the knife in the process

    [​IMG]

    Press around the outside of the sheath to make the two pieces bond better

    [​IMG]

    See next post...
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  10. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Once the two sections are now glued up, I walk around the outer edges of the sheath
    with my stitching prongs, I have three types, a 2, 3 and 4 prong.
    I mainly use the 2 and 4, the 4 is for long straight stretches and the 2 is for
    going around or into corners.
    Once I make the first set of holes, I start the next set by putting the last prong
    in the last hole, helps to keep the spacing the same around the work.
    I also will pencil around the work to help me keep things as straight as I can;

    [​IMG]

    I use the bone folder to press down on the sheath in order to rock the 4 prong tool free from the leather

    [​IMG]

    Here is the 2 prong going around the bend, kinda like Grandpa on a Saturday night

    [​IMG]

    This will be a Right Hand side carry sheath, so the top side of the sheath needs
    to be trimmed now to it's final shape, I cut along the edge, giving myself a little
    fudge room as I'll sand it all even in the next step

    [​IMG]

    Ah, the infamous or is it in famous, I forget, I guess I watched the Three Amigos one to many times,
    but here is a shot of the disk sander that I made, lo these many years now.
    when we put in our counter top, I took the part where the sink was cut out and
    made a 9" diameter piece, using self adhesive sanding paper, it works well.
    In the back you can see the sanding drum for contours
    After I sand it down, I'll take it back into the house and dye that portion and
    burnish it with the bone folder to get it as smooth as I can, also will apply some
    gum tragacanth to help that burnishing process.

    [​IMG]

    and an end view of the sanding disk and sanding drum, I also have a much smaller drum for tight inside curves

    [​IMG]

    That's it for now.
    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  11. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Ok a few more for tonight, sewing it up tomorrow;

    One tip about the top section assembly, I DO NOT run the edger down the back side
    after I sand the edges even, what I want to have is as flush a fit to the next layer as I can
    SO, I take the bone folder and fluff the scraggly edges from the sanding along the bottom
    out to the side as much as possible and then CAREFULLY, always carefully, slice that ragged
    edge of leather off;

    [​IMG]

    This fellow wants to have the sheath ride at a little tilt or angle while on his belt, so the
    next layer has a curve that reaches out past the entrance, this way when you fold it down
    it will provide the necessary tilt you need. I set the top section onto that and mark it's place
    with a pencil and then dye just over the edge and off to the end of what will become the belt loop

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    close to the line I will take a knife to rough the leather up as near to the pencil line as possible,
    without going over it of course, the sand paper isn't as fine a tool for this operation;

    [​IMG]

    Glue the two sides and wait for them to become tacky

    [​IMG]

    Carefully, there's that word again, set the top section down along that pencil line
    rubbing along the top and inside with the bone folder to press it down tight to the bottom
    piece of leather

    [​IMG]

    I use a small screw driver that I ground down into an awl shape to put the holes through
    this new layer of leather, necessary before I hand sew the sheath up

    [​IMG]

    and tomorrow we'll be sewing it up.

    Nite folks,
    G2
     
  12. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    Dang bubba!
    You good :D

    Thanx for all the effort and great photo's.
    I'm learning a bunch.
     
  13. Diomedes Industries

    Diomedes Industries KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 19, 2007
    Man - I wish I had this whole tutorial when I started making sheaths. Quite a few of the steps you have explained I have either wondered about - or learned on my own.

    NICE G2. Thank you so much for passing this along - you certainly did not have to.

    Concerning the Light Brown stain - I agree - it has a mind of its own. I can see why you use Black as much as you do. It tends to stain evenly, if you have a light spot - it simply turns black - not a darker and uneven like Brown tends to.

    However, when you get brown right - it looks so nice and mottled. Like you instantly antiqued it.

    May I ask one question: Why not use a stitch groover before you set the holes for the stitches? Wouldn't that set the stitches lower and prevent cutting?

    I am sure you have reasons for this - I am just curious.

    TF
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  14. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Thanks Ebbtide and TF,
    as for using black, it's the customers choice, my favourite dye is the Burgundy
    or rather Mahogany as Fiebings calls it, a nice rich colour with some red in it,
    not something you see all the time so I like that for a sheath myself.

    Plus the Saddle tan is the other fav I have as well.

    Some leather you get from suppliers can REALLY not dye well, I'll not mention
    them here, but just stick with the Wickett & Craig that I use and recommend :)
    G2

    edited to reply to your added question about the thread groove thingy
    I never have used that, it may be something needed for fixed blade sheaths, maybe?
    but on folder sheaths the way I make them, you'd be hard pressed to have something rub
    against the threads when you have the raised section of the sheath.
    Plus I can imagine that it's a bit tricky to keep that groove cutter straight unless you have
    a finished edge to ride it along, so I just use that tool for the accent across the opening
    of the sheath, it gives it a more framed look to the overall sheath.

    I don't like weakening the leather just to lower the threads myself,
    when I sew them I pull down tight so they really don't stick up very much.
    And then I use the bone folder to press them even flatter.
    Which we will see later on tonight when we get to the sewing portion
    of this tutorial, down the final stretch so to speak ;)


    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  15. Greg45

    Greg45 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    Another awesome tutorial, Gary. Already looking forward to the next installment! :D
     
  16. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Thanks Greg, glad to help.

    Ok, continuing on, the next 4 post will cover up to the stitching
    I use an Awl-n-Awl, which has a handle, with a needle, I make the thread in this case
    To be about 6 feet long, three feet on either side of the sheath.
    Need to start by making a hole to slip the thread through the sheath so you have equal amounts
    On both sides, the Awl-n-Awl comes with a little spool that fits in the area beneath the needle
    Throw that away, I’ve never had much use for that, ever…

    [​IMG]

    The needle has a smooth side and a slotted side, shown here;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The thread wants to be off of the smooth side when you put the thread through the sheath

    [​IMG]

    Push the needle through the hole, then pull back a little to make a loop

    [​IMG]

    Slip the top side end of the thread through that loop, making sure that the loop is on the smooth side of the needle

    [​IMG]

    Pull tight and pull the thread back down through the sheath

    [​IMG]

    You can see the way it hooks together here

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    Pull the thread/knot back into the leather until you feel that it’s about mid way through

    [​IMG]

    Stitch around to near the bottom of the sheath, stop there as we need to fold down the belt loop piece now

    [​IMG]

    I rub the threads down with a bone folder at this point, it smooths out the ripples and gives it a more finished look

    [​IMG]

    I usually have about 2 to 2 ½” wide across the top of the belt loops, here we trim off to meet that width,
    notice that the rest of the leather that forms the belt loop runs the entire length of the sheath,
    so it’s not just a small piece folded down, but it gives the sheath a little more strength
    Edited to say that lately I now make that a small arc cut for the transition point
    and not perpendicular, adds to strength and looks nicer too
    :)

    [​IMG]

    I then dye along the area where the leather will bend to form the loop, otherwise it’s kinda stiff to continue.
    You want to take great care that the loose ends of both sides of thread do NOT come in contact
    with any area that you just dyed, we want to keep the thread nice and white, at least on top of the sheath

    [​IMG]

    Using your fingers, bend over the leather and squeeze it down to make the belt loop

    [​IMG]

    To burnish the edge of the belt loop, I use the end piece from the bone folder,
    removed from the bone folder so you can snuggle up tight to the sheath

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  18. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    I ask the person that wants the sheath a few questions,
    one being how wide and thick a belt would they wear this on,
    and then I make a mock up of that belt so I can shape the belt loop on the sheath.
    Here I slip that in and then lightly mark down a line for reference and then I lay it
    flat on the table on top of the mock belt so I can apply more even pressure to make the leather step down to form the belt loop

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I mark the sheath where the belt loop crosses so I will know where to apply the glue;

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then I emboss my G2 stamp, the Month and Year and a Right Foot print, the foot print is
    just something I have done for a while now, it means when ever you put on your sheath,
    always go out on your ‘Right Foot’ in what ever you do, quirky maybe, but, that’s me in a leather nut shell.

    [​IMG]

    Once glued down, I rub it with the bone folder to make a good and tight bond

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2009
  19. Gary W. Graley

    Gary W. Graley “Imagination is more important than knowledge" Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 2, 1999
    I then punch the holes through the added layer of the belt loop,
    which ends up being 4 layers of leather along the bottom of the sheath
    I use the awl to enlarge two holes just behind the last hole.
    This will be so I can do what is called a back stitch, it locks the thread into the sheath.

    [​IMG]

    Here you can see I reached the end and now will go back two places,
    stitching back over the previous stitches, the enlarging of the holes helps get that needled back through the leather

    [​IMG]

    I use a swiss army knife scissors to trim the thread very close to the sheath, I use to use a small knife,
    but you can get carried away with that, so I recommend using the scissors!

    [​IMG]

    Then I turn the sheath over and pull the back side thread, which will draw that little stub of thread on the top,
    down into the sheath, do this VERY carefully, hmm there’s that word again ;)

    [​IMG]

    More to follow tomorrow, final edgeing of the sheath, wax coating and then the packaging to head back to it’s owner :)

    G2
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2009
  20. bleev3

    bleev3

    241
    Nov 21, 2008
    What a treat to see how these sheaths are constructed. I sent a Bradley Mayhem to Gary for a custom sheath due to arrive at his place tomorrow. Can't wait to get it back...maybe I'll post some image to this forum when he finishes.

    Blessings....and thanks for walking us through the steps Gary.
     

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