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Roughout Sheath Toutorial

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Horsewright, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    By Jason's @Diomedes Industries special request and seconded by others, a tutorial on roughout sheath making, at least how I do it. As always just because I, or someone else does it this way, doesn't mean it is the only way, its just my way and what works in my shop, for me.

    Just about every batch of sheaths that I do I have a customer's request or two for a roughout sheath. Being a little dense, it took me a while to start doing some of my "In Stock" knives with roughout sheaths too. After a few years I caught on and now do a few in each batch on In Stock knives too. Interestingly, I've noticed that on the website, whether a knife has a roughout sheath or not, does not seem to affect how fast it sells. In person, at a show though, where the customer can pick up and handle the knife and sheath, the knives with roughout sheaths almost always sell first.

    Ok here we go:

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    In this batch there were 68 sheaths to do. The roughout ones are circled in blue. Some have already been laid out thats why they are crossed off.

    First step is to lay your leather down on your cutting table or surface. I will layout the roughout ones first. Then I'll flip the side and go to laying out the smoothout sheaths. This is Herman Oak 7/8 oz veggie tan and was one of the nicest sides I have seen from them in a long time. What you are looking for here is the same on the smoothout, obvious blemishes, weaknesses, holes, wrinkles, scars etc Now a lot of scars and range marks look really cool in roughout, as long as they are not weakening the leather. One other thing to look for with roughout is that tanneries will mark the back of the side with codes, sq footages etc and use templates with spray paint for this, usually silver. Thats why I lay out the roughout first.

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    Here are most of the 68 sheaths cut out with 6 of the 7 roughout sheaths yet to be cut out. That many sheaths will basically eat up a whole side. The darker ones in the middle are the sheaths that will be flower carved. They are Wickett and Craig 8/10 oz russet saddle leather.

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    All thats left of that side. I layout (on both roughout and smoothout) with a pencil and cut out using a roundknife.

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    Here's a quick little video of me using the roundknife to cut out some of these roughout sheaths.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjA922hh64Q/?taken-by=horsewrightclothing

    Roughout will sometimes be a little rougher (sorry for the pun) to cut out than smooth out. It seems like its a little grippier on the knife blade. Keep it sharp and strop often, ya'll get er done. Stropping is really the key to cutting leather, don't let a sharp knife get dull. I sharpen my roundknives maybe every 3 or 4 months but strop 4 or 5 licks every 3 or 4 sheaths.

    So here is one of the pancake sheaths that we'll be following throughout. If you haven't already, check out the tutorial I did in the stickies at the top of Sheaths and Such page on Pancake Sheaths.

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    I'll build any of my sheaths roughout. This is a Horizontal Sheath for this little Poco knife with red oak. Knife and sheath were an order. I'm marking where the welt will go.

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    Simple stamping will work on roughout, so your makers mark, border stamps, basket etc works. Intricate carving not so much. Ya'll find ya might have to whack your tool just a little harder. Doing the maker's mark on the back of this pancake.

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    I transfer the welt line through the leather by scoring with my red pokey tool there. This mark from the other side will become the basis for marking the inside welt stitch line and also how I will know how much excess to trim off of the sheath.

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    If your roughout is a little uneven ya can sand with a sanding block. I seldom do this with veggie tan. It just doesn't make all that much difference and when these sheaths were all said and done I couldn't tell which one I had sanded.

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    However, on other projects I will often do this. On this pair of chaps the yokes and the pocket flaps were sanded to bring a much more uniform surface to the roughout side of the leather.

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    Construction follows on pretty much as normal. When I do anything like marking stitch lines, tooling, marking welts etc I always allow the sheaths to dry before sewing.

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    Another little video of the border stamping:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjGEvHThqAb/?taken-by=horsewrightclothing

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    Glue em up and sew like normal.

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    A little video of the sewing too.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BjQb8uWhIXJ/?taken-by=horsewrightclothing

    After sewing all the sheaths are wet molded. They are placed in my water container and allowed to sink. Once they sink I remove em and put em on a towel. Its important now that they are wet, to handle them carefully to prevent marking, dirt stains, scratching etc. I will punch the slots on all sheaths that need them at this time. I put a piece of scrap chap leather underneath the sheath to prevent any stray marks from the well used cutting board.

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    And then I sand the edges flush. I keep a dedicated 120 grit belt just for leather sanding.

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    I will continue this tutorial here shortly. Hope you are enjoying our little trip and questions and comments always welcome. This is the first multimedia little tutorial deal I've done, whadya think?
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2018
  2. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Ok continuing on with our roughout sheath construction. After sanding I use a #3 edger on the sheaths, and a #2 turnback edger on the bottom of the slots. I will rub out any stray sewing, marks or other marks the sheath might have collected along the way and then I will rub the edges. With roughout sheaths I will rub the edges extra carefully cause this is the only time I will do that. With regular smoothout sheaths I will rub the edges again with Wyo Quick Slik after drying. But I do NOT do this with the roughout. Edge rubbing products can leave splotches on roughout. I use only the dampness in the leather already to rub. After I rub the edges, I fit the knife to the sheath. I will always use these needle nose pliers to open the sheath up and make sure the sheath is straight. It is very easy to put your knife through the wet leather and into your hand maybe, if the sheath is not straight. Ask me how I know this.

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    Once the knife is in the sheath, I will mold it with my ligum vitae block.

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    I do the back first and about 80 to 90 percent of the molding there and the rest on the front.

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    After molding they all go in the oven for a bit at 175 degrees. This was covered in the tutorial on pancake sheaths. Give this a try, ya'll like how your sheaths come out but there are some dangers. Read the tutorial first.

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    After baking I oil all the sheaths. I use pure neatsfoot oil and have warmed it first in a dedicated crock pot. I oil the roughout leather a little heavier than the smoothout. Its still a light coat though.

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    After oiling I'll haul em in and let em sit on the kitchen counter overnight at least, and sometimes longer. This allows the drying process to complete and also for the oil to set.

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    Once the oil is set, you are done on a roughout sheath. I don't rub the edges further and I don't use any finish on a roughout sheath.

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    Well thats about it for this guy. Just remember to turn your leather over and you can make a roughout sheath. Thanks for following along.
     
    Justin.P, bike4fun919, Daado and 5 others like this.
  3. Wild Bill 1

    Wild Bill 1 Gold Member Gold Member

    93
    Aug 7, 2013
    Dave , Thank you for sharing your work .It helps so much to see how to do it.WB
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  4. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Awesome ! Thanks for sharing

    Only hope my process becomes that smooth one day :)
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  5. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks @Wild Bill 1 and you are welcome. Yep I'm a visual learner too.

    Ya bet @duramax! Keep at it. Ya'll get smooth too. With smoothness comes quickness. I just have had the opportunity to work at higher volumes than most. Since that batch last week I've made 7 more sheaths, a pair of leggings, a pair of buffalo hair on Pommel Bags with holster and I will finish off two more pair of leggings today. Always busy around here.
     
  6. ANovinc

    ANovinc Basic Member Basic Member

    290
    Sep 21, 2016
    Thank you, thank you, Thank you! I've been wondering how to go about this. Very helpful.
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  7. Azula Gun Holsters

    Azula Gun Holsters KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    549
    Sep 19, 2016
    Outstanding tutorial
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  8. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
  9. Gary W. Graley

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

    Mar 2, 1999
    Wow, very nice Dave, also started following you on Instagram, too new at this internet thing ;)
    G2
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  10. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Cool Gary. Ya'll like the IG thing, particularly with your interest in cowboy stuff. Thanks
     
    Gary W. Graley likes this.
  11. You look like you’ve done this a few times ;). Thanks a bunch for taking the time to post this.

    I really like that round leather cutting knife. I’d you make that? Id like to make one for my own personal use(if you don’t mind me using the design for personal use that is). It certainly is different from anything I’ve made before. Any advise on grinding the bevels? Also, do you have anymore pics of it by chance?

    Oh and what kind of sowing machine is that? I’d like to get into a decent leather sowing machine, but am entirely unaware of the route to go. From my brief research I know they can get expensive. Would you have an opinion as to what might be a decent entry level machine? Or possibly an older used model to keep my eye out for in the local classifieds?

    Thanks again for all the info.
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  12. Horsewright

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

    Oct 4, 2011
    Ya bet JG @JG Custom Metal Works

    I've made quite a few roundknives over the past few years. For some tips etc read this WIP by TK:https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/a-round-knife-wip.1540597/ Pictures there as well. biggest hint I can give ya is start with very thin stock. .040ish works great.

    I use a Ferdco 440. Can't recommend it as it had a very high learning curve and is dated. Without a doubt I would look at a Cobra 4 or Cobra 3. Used sewing machines is usually worse than use cars. You will almost always end up with someone else's problems. Both of these machines will handle sheath work perfectly. Unfortunately you will find that there is no "one" machine that will do it all. Those Cobras mentioned will take care of the heavier stuff but if eventually you get into inlays etc or like me do a lot of say belts, leggings etc you'll need a lighter machine too. Cobra 18 without a doubt.

    Couple pics of some of my roundknives.


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