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Pancake Sheaths and how I go about them. (PIC HEAVY)

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Horsewright, Feb 17, 2015.

  1. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I'd had a couple of requests about more info on how I build Pancake Sheaths. I had one to build for a knife I'd already sold and the customer wanted this sheath instead of what came with it. Thought I'd pictorially document the steps I go through.

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    Here I've grabbed a front and a back from my stash of die cut sheath shapes. Leather is Herman Oak holster leather, 7/8 oz and the die cutting is done by Weaver. I've quickly dunked in my water bucket that has a solution of water and Pro Carv in it. This is really fast in and out. Now I'm allowing some of the color to come back. We will be making a right hand, crossdraw sheath to be worn above the left front pocket. I will post this and add as we go. I've been having trouble with everything that I've written going away when I go to get another pic. So you'll see a lot of edits.

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    This is probably one of the most important steps and getting this right is vital for the fit and retention of the sheath. I mark with a Sharpie the basic outline of the knife with extra. This is going to be the pocket that the knife will sit in when the sheath is completed. Very important to get that finger guard and the point of the welt just right. That is the widest part of the blade and it has to slide past that welt when inserting the knife. About 3/8" clearance is what I'm looking for here.

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    I take my pokey tool and scribe hard on the lines, 3 to 4 times. This transfers the line to the other side.

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    So here we see the lines on the front side of the sheath. These lines are how I base trimming to fit the sheath to the knife, (always looking to be as compact as possible). They also tell me where to put my stitching grooves.

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    Here I'm using my roundknife to trim the excess off of the front of the sheath. I do this by eye and experience, lots of experience. I havn't always got it right but its been quite a while since I've screwed it up. The hazard here is not leaving enough room for your slots to fit in after you've done your stitching grooves.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
    Knife devotee and Eric J.S. like this.
  2. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    Always cool to see how others do it.
     
  3. Zidfeldts

    Zidfeldts Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 28, 2010
    Subscribed.
     
  4. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Here we go with a little more: I'll be adding throughtout the day. Got two pair of leggings, a belt, a rifle scabbard and 25 knives calling my name.

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    Here I'm slicking the leather down. I use a piece of ligum vitae wood with the corners rounded. Lots of folks use a piece of glass and then its called glassing. But I've gone to using this piece of wood. Slicking smoothes out a lot of surface imperfections and makes the leather more uniform for stamping. I do this after I mark the lines because slicking makes it harder to scribe the lines through to the front.

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    Here I'm using the top upside down against the bottom to scribe the top edge. That is all the trimming the bottom piece will receive at this stage. Iwant to make sure too that the bottom extends past the top all the way around. Again I know this from experience, but a guy that hasn't done it a bunch may have to do some more trimming to the top piece.

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    Now I've used two different groovers to get my stitching grooves marked. Both of these are Tandy products I beleive. I've had the red handled one for over 30 years and the other one probably 12-15 years. I keep that one set at this adjustment all the time. It is for sheaths. If I am doing something else I have another groover that I adjust back and forth as needed for that particular project.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  5. harronek

    harronek Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    I love threads like this .


    Ken
     
  6. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    [​IMG]

    Now I've edged (both sides) and creased, (just the top side) of the front part of the sheath. I use a #1 Barry King edger for this operation. The creaser is one that Nichole bought and didn't like so traded me out when she stole my Osborne. I think cresaing is one of those little operations that a lot of folks don't do that add just a touch of professionalism to a project.

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    Now I've slicked, edged and creased the bottom side of the sheath. Again only the top edge gets the edging and creasing as the rest of the sheath will be edged later. I'm getting ready to stamp my makers mark on the bottom of the sheath. I'm estimating and trying to get it on the pocket so it will be in between the two stitching lines when we stitch up this sheath.

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    Nice clean stamp and it looks like we got er in the right spot.

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    Then I take both pieces over to the lathe. I have a full size wood turning lathe with a piece of rosewood chucked up. The rosewood has grooves of various sizes turned in it. An occasional dab of beeswax keeps the leather from burning. Its an adjustable speed lathe and I have it set at warp speed. All I'm doing at this stage is the tops of both pieces. I don't use any gum at this stage just the dampness that is already in the leather. If ya look close in the pic you can see the burnishing already looking pretty good. Total time 5 seconds each maybe.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  7. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I forgot to mention comments and questions are of course welcome.

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    Starting the border stamp. I do each of these corners first and then stamp from one to the other.

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    Border stamp completed and then scribing the line for the basket stamping. I know this is backwards from what a lot of folks will do or what several books recommend but it is what works for me. Basket stamping and then doing the border after just didn't work that well for me, I spent a lot of time cleaning up afterwards.

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    Basket stamping finished. One thing I like to do is make sure the stamping is at as a uniform depth as possible. Pretty happy with this effort.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
    Gary W. Graley likes this.
  8. Macan

    Macan

    282
    Apr 7, 2014
    If you ask me, I don't mind even if you make live video stream from your workshop,
    I could watch this whole day :thumbup:
     
  9. bflying

    bflying Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    Thank you for taking the time to document. I absolutely love watching the process of creation of something functional in leather.
     
  10. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    Dave, about the creasing. You just freehand the inland (for lack of a better term) areas, that is, the parts that don't follow the edge? Which tool do you use for that? I have a creaser that looks like a flattened spoon as well as a modeler exactly like yours. I really want to get away from grooving the lines and creasing them instead. Paul has a tool that fits into a swivel knife handle that looks awesome too.

    Feel free to wait until the end to respond. I just didn't want to forget the question. :eek:
     
  11. Gary W. Graley

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

    Mar 2, 1999
    Very nice sir, good to see how things get done and also an inspiration for others to maybe try their hand at it as well.

    Those round knives, I never thought they'd be much good, but I was thinking wrong about how to use them, I'll have to check one out sometime.

    G2
     
  12. schmittie

    schmittie

    Nov 28, 2009
    I love threads like this too!

    Can I ask a question about stamping? How do you get a partial stamp on the edges?
     
  13. vilePossum

    vilePossum

    Jan 14, 2015
    thank you for taking your time to provide this thread. stickie?!

    as for the partial stamps, the video from tandy leather about stamping shows pretty well how he angles the stamp, though i guess this actually takes a lot of experience.

    also interested about the creasing question, as to me grooving seems to suboptimal sometimes...
     
  14. harronek

    harronek Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 29, 2013
    Dave,

    I applaud you for posting this up , I personally devour information like this and up until now Gary Graley was really the only maker providing step by step , this is how it's done threads .
    I have admired and thanked Gary on numerous occasions since I found this place , I now have to add you to the list :thumbup:
    I have already learned some new ideas from your posts and the sheath isn't finished yet .

    Thank you .

    Ken
     
  15. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks guys! My pleasure. Kinda fun.

    Strig buddy, its the red handled tool in the pic immediately above Ken's first comment. Yes I freehand that. I'm trying to stay say a 1/4" to the inside of the edge of the welt which is outlined by the scribed line showing through on the front side. They are stitching goovers and very old so they create a cross between a crease and a groove. Nichole used them the other day and was giving me heck. Asked me when the last time I'd changed the blades on those. Told her I've never changed the blades on those. She has a brand new groover and it leaves a very crisp groove.

    Schmittie leaning the tool is indeed how to get the basket stamping close to the edges. Sometimes I get a little too close and then go back with the camo border tool and re stamp over the border. If I have to do that I do the whole border again. Makes it more even that way. I still find that quicker than the traditional way of doing the basket first and then coming in with the border. It is practice. Maybe five minutes to stamp this sheath. By the way I don't cut a border and bevel it as I feel that weakens the project in this application. I do do that on some projects but not sheaths. I don't mark a line for the border either. Too hard to get that line to go away.

    Ken, in that book on horsemanship I wrote, I talk about knowledge to me being like pearls. You pick up a pearl here, you pick up a pearl there, as you're kicking on down the road. A pearl by itself, or even a handful isn't particularly valuable. But you string those pearls on a string and you have something valuable indeed. If you've picked up a pearl or two from me I'm honored.

    Gary, got a little deal coming up with the roundknife that I won't try with any other type of knife. I"ve screwed it up too many times with catastrophic results. Roundknife easy peasy.


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    Ok we're getting ready to add the welt. I have a welt shape pattern that when cut out gives me a welt for 90 percent of my sheaths. The welt here is already trimmed to fit. I tried to get a pic of how I fit the welt and mark it for trimming but needed two hands for that and then didn't have an extra one to push the button on the camera. Basically I lay the welt on the sheath on the welt side and then use my Sharpie to mark that interior line. I'll then cut the welt and check it by laying it back on the sheath. I only put the welt on the bottom side or knife edge side of the sheath. The only time I will put a welt in on the top side if I'm making a sheath for someone else's knife with an upswept point. Then the upper welt is only about half of the top and I skive the edge of it to zero.

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    Now I've glued the welt in. I've skived this edge prior to glueing but I don't always get it right. Here's where I can't do this well with any other knife Gary. I'm actually pushing the knife away at the angle the center of the knife is pointing to. This obligue slicing angle then skives the welt without touching the sheath body. If I did not have a roundknife, I would peel back the welt, re skive and re glue. I've ruined too many sheaths not doing it with a roundknife that I simply will not try skivving in place with any other tool. Skivving the edge of the welt to zero is important for your stitching later. It prevents odd sized stitches. If you are coming down off the welt you will have a couple of long stitches, if going up onto the welt a couple of short ones. Skivving this edge to zero eliminates that and helps my OCD. A walking foot machine really helps with that too but doesn't eliminate it completely, You just have to look a lot closer. Skive the edge for a finished product.

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    Here is the sheath with the welt glued in from the top side. I use this hammer to tap the edges to get a good bond with the glue. I keep the face of this hammer dressed clean. It is also only used for this purpose. This prevents marking up your project. You can see how the welt is just a little to the inside of the inside stitching groove. Perfect.

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    OK I've trimmed the welt and then glued up the top and bottom piece of the sheath. This pic shows the skive coming down from the welt. I use Weldwood contact cement. The kind that comes in the green can. No smell and incredible bond. Thin with water and very little gunky build up like other contact cements. I keep it in a .99 cent store ketchup bottle and then will squirt a little into that plastic cup pictured and spread it out with that disposable foamy brush. Another thing about using this glue is that it drys very quickly, literally by the time you have one side glued the other has dried. Just a few seconds. Important when you work in batches like I tend too.

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    Line up the top edges, make sure the bottom is sticking out all around and tap together.

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    Set the sheath in the sun for a few minutes. You don't want it damp when you sew. Will make marks you can't rub out.

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    Next step is to throw the ball for your maniac, landshark of a cowdog, (the UPS man keeps a box of dog treats on his dash, he throws the treat to Canella, he says handing a treat to her is like hand feeding a piranha). This ball throwing step is vey important becuase it allows the sheath to dry for the proper amount of time. She'll bring it back to you.

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    Then she'll kill it and you need a new tennis ball.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  16. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
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    Time to sew. I've had this machine for many years. It a good machine but it had a high learning curve. After about 15 to 20 years I'm kinda getting its quirks down.

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    Stitching it together. I start on the welt side where the two stiching lines come together. Back stitch the first two to lock them down and then motor on. When I come to the end here I will back stitch two again.

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    I use a fine tipped soldering iron to melt/cut the strings.

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    Time for wet forming. I toss the sheath into my water bucket. My water always has the Pro Carv in it. Once I started using this stuff, I have never been without it. This is a new batch of water and is still a little sudsy. Ideally the water should be pretty warm but not very hot. I like it so I can stick my hand in without too much discomfort. If the water has been sitting for a while I will put it in the microwave for a minute or two. Anyhoo, I like to let the sheath sit in the water till it sinks. Thats when I pull it out. This absorption level seems just about right for the work I still have to do to it before forming.

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    First thing I do is punch the belt slots. I use a 2" bag punch for this. I recently got this Weaver punch and it is far superior to the one's I've used over the years. I try to get the slots as far apart as possible and as close to parallel as possible. Getting them far apart allows the sheath to ride at an angle. The further apart they are the closer to horizontal the sheath will ride. This sheath will ride at about a 45 degree cant. If you don't get the slots close to parallel the belt will wad up under the sheath and not lay flat.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  17. vilePossum

    vilePossum

    Jan 14, 2015
    such a wealth of information. thank you very much. also cute dog, even though she is obviously crazy ;)
    sadly i have exchange a lot of things due to availability over here.
    as far as pearls go, i think this forum provides a wealth of them. thank you all so much.
     
  18. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Yeah Vilepossum she is crazy but a really, really good cow dog. She earns her keep at the ranch.

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    Now I'm trimming the excess of the bottom piece off the sheath. I don't want to move the sheath around too much on the cutting board. It can get scratched up quite a bit when wet like this. I try to hold it pretty darn steady so it doesn't move around.

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    I take the sheath outside and sand the edges smooth. I use a 120 grit ceramic belt for this on my 6 x 48. This belt is only used for leather so that it doesn't leave any stray color or dinge marks when sanding. I get all the layers even and round off the two pointy corners.

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    Here I'm using my bent back tip edger to edge the inside of the slots on the bottom side. This is a # 2 JWP edger and this is about the only thing I use it for. Then I rub the inside of the slots with a small stick that will fit in there. Then I take my ligum vitae stick and slick the bottom side getting any stray marks out. I'm rubbing out teeth marks from the sewing machine and any scratches from the cutting board and from punching the slots.

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    Next step is to edge the sheath top and bottom. I use a #3 Osborne for this but have a #3 Barry King on my want list. I edge all the parts that I sanded. Remeber the top or throat of the sheath has already been edged prior to assembly. So basically I'm edging along the stitching.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
  19. camaroless

    camaroless

    66
    Feb 8, 2015
    you are truly an artist. threads like this are outstanding learning tools. any thoughts on doing a step by step pouch sheath ? i'll take all the tips i can get.
     
  20. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    JB, I sent you an email.
     

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