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  1. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    I have had several people ask me to do a WIP for sheaths. I am sure Paul Long could do this 1000 times better, and he actually has... Most of the stuff that you will see here will be information that is taken in one form or another from Paul's "basic pouch sheath" dvd, which I highly recommend. My wife actually bought me his "advanced sheath" dvd for Christmas, and although it is the season of giving, she wont let me preview it now. Anyways, feel free to watch as I add to this WIP, however, if you want to really make great sheaths, I can't recommend Paul's dvd enough.

    So I make a pattern for nearly every knife I make. I started doing it on graph paper until I ran out, but now I just do it on regular drawing paper. That large graph paper is kind of hard to come by. I keep all my welts at 1/2" (as per Paul Long) and do some work later that will allow me to see from the outside where the welt ends. I hand stitch all my sheaths, although an Artisan 3000 is my next major purchase.

    Here is a pic of the knife and the finished drawing.

    [​IMG]

    The next pic is of the pattern, cut out, on the leather. I buy leather from Wickett and Craig. I cannot recommend them enough. What you see here is about 1/15th of the entire piece, maybe less. My rug is about 4x7 or 4x8 and the leather completely covers it with about a foot hanging off each end. It takes tooling really well. I bought from Tandy for a while, and although they are good, and you can make a fine sheath from their leather, I like talking to the guys at Wickett and Craig. They give good advice, help pick out the stuff and really know their stuff.

    Anyways, I cut out the pieces quite a bit over the lines, then trim them down. I use a utility knife because I haven't bought a round knife yet. I find if I try to cut things right down from the get-go, I waste more leather. I tend to screw things up that way and have to start over. I use mistakes for welts, but would rather not make them at all.

    I have another sheath for a different knife I am trying. It is the one laid out in yellow.

    [​IMG]

    That is about enough for tonight. I am going to bed. I plan on doing more work on them tomorrow and will try to document it as thoroughly as possible.
     
  2. Mudbug007

    Mudbug007

    Nov 29, 2010
    Thanks for doing this Matt. I think I was one of the ones who asked for it. Your sheaths are awesome!

    I have all 3 of Paul's Video's (Chris just released "Tips from a Master"). I'd highly recommend that your Wife add that one to your Christmas stocking as well!

    Looking forward to following your WIP on sheaths.
     
  3. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    OK, here is the next step. Remember what I said about not wanting to make mistakes. On that other sheath that was with the yellow pattern, I ended up screwing up the top piece...twice. I cut it so the back of the leather was facing out two times. Yeah, I am really proud of that. Anyways, I have the leather cut out to the right specs, and I bevel the edges of the belt loop.
    [​IMG]

    Here I am measuring my gouging tool so that I have it set at 1/2". Remember when I said that I could tell where the inside of my welt is? I cut the first decorative gouge at 1/2". I am always afraid that I will put a stitch in the sheath and miss the welt. Then I would have a stitch there inside my sheath, just waiting to get cut by the blade. This allows me to have a good idea where everything is. I sometimes move the welt in or out a bit in order to make the knife fit just right, but it gives me a good idea where things are.
    [​IMG]

    Here are just a few shots of me running the decorative border (holy crap I have hairy hands)
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here is the sheath with the lines run
    [​IMG]

    This is what some would call cheating. Yes, I take a sharpie and run it in the grooves to accent the lines it left.
    [​IMG]

    This is just the sheath wet out ready for tooling.
    [​IMG]

    This is my first line that I use to get the basket weave pattern all lined up. On a side note here, in the video I mentioned earlier, it is amazing to watch Paul run perfect lines with a tooling stamp. It is easy to see his years and years of experience doing something that looks easy, but is incredibly difficult. At least to get it to look like he gets it to look. FYI I am not a Paul Long stalker, I am just very impressed with his work and his attitude toward doing his best at all times.
    [​IMG]

    More in a bit.
     
  4. Burton Harruff

    Burton Harruff

    Oct 1, 2007
    Nice WIP Matt.
     
  5. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    Now I am beginning my tooling stamp. I run it pretty close to the edge and try not to let the edge of the stamp run across the black lines. I bought the stamp a few years back, and for the life of me could not figure out how to make it look like a basket weave. I ended up asking George Trout at the Ohio Knife show and he happily showed me how to do it. It is easy now, but I really could not figure it out at first.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Here the basket weave is done and I am going to start the edging
    [​IMG]

    This is the beginning of the edging, just following the black lines again.
    [​IMG]

    The first round is done here I am going to add a little accent mark between the border tool marks.
    [​IMG]

    Me at work. The headgear, apart from making me look extremely cool, really puts the light right where I need it. My wife likes it so much she wants me to wear it for the family Christmas photo. I cannot count the times she has called me "dork" when I put it on.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Can you see the little triangles between the border stamps? It makes it look more 3 dimensional...at least to me.
    [​IMG]

    My daughter wanted to do a little leather work also. She joins me quite often when I am doing sheath work at the table.
    [​IMG]

    Here is her doggie and kitty.
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    Ok, Here I am putting some Feibings leather dye. I use oil dye (also suggested by George Trout) I have used both the eco-flow, which ended up eco-flowing down the drain. It looked awful. Then I tried the alcohol based dyes and they were ok, but tended to leave streaks a bit. After I tried the oil dyes, I bought them in the large containers. I fortunately had a couple freshly emptied eco-flow containers left so I used them and just keep adding to them as they get low. It is easier to get the dauber into the dye with the smaller containers, but it is cheaper (in the long run) to buy them in the larger containers. On a side note, if you get some of the oil dye on your skin, it will be with you for a while. I got a little mark on my wrist tonight, that I can look forward to explaining to my students at school for the remainder of the week. I use the wool daubers, and carefully run it around the edge trying very hard not to get it past the black line.
    [​IMG]

    I am getting ready now for the highlighter. It fills in the tooling and really makes it stand out. I recently decided to try some pre-dyed leather from Wickett and Craig. It is drum dyed a nice deep brown. The highlighter still works, but the contrast between the highlighter and the dyed leather is not as extreme as the contrast between the highlighter and undyed leather. It is, however, enough that I still use it and think it does make the tooling stand out a bit better. I keep a paper towel on hand because, as you will see, I put the highlighter on pretty thick and will need to wipe it all off.
    [​IMG]

    Here it is all covered in the highlighter. It is really on very thick. I cover the whole sheath with a lot of the highlighter and once it is on, I wipe over the whole thing with a paper towel to take off the excess. This allows the highlighter to stay in the recesses of the tooling, and leaves the high parts highlighter free.
    [​IMG]

    Last part for tonight. I bought a decent food dehydrator a while ago. I set it on low (which basically just moves some warm air) and put the sheaths in for about 1/2 hour or so to dry everything out.
    [​IMG]

    Tomorrow I will fold over the loop and get the welt in place, maybe even get it ready for stitching. I have about an hour into it tonight, maybe a bit more and about 20 minutes into it yesterday. When I put 15 hours into a knife, I want the sheath to look good also. The nice thing about sheath making, is that I dont have to get into my old work clothes and can even stay in the nice warm house and watch TV at the same time. Even though, at first, I hated making sheaths, I now rather enjoy it.
     
  7. TCurry

    TCurry

    271
    Dec 29, 2010
    Very nice Matt!!
     
  8. Dezmond

    Dezmond

    80
    Jun 5, 2009
    Love these how to's. Learned a lot already from this.. :) Thanks Matt!!
     
  9. defaultuser

    defaultuser

    May 3, 2006
    Subscribed. Thank you very much for doing this WIP - I learned a lot already!
     
  10. Mykel

    Mykel

    132
    Mar 21, 2011
    Matt thanks for the clas ,just what Ive been looking for. Loved the doggy and kitty.
     
  11. Mitchell Knives

    Mitchell Knives Knifemaker Moderator

    May 21, 2000
    Outstanding work so far!

    I may have to try making a leather sheath after this!
     
  12. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    Thanks everyone, I forgot to mention that I used the time after dying the edges to mark the little groove around the opening. It is not cut in with a groover, instead it is just put in with an edger... at least I think that is what it is called. It looks like two little leaves next to each other. You run one over the edge of the leather and the other pushes a groove in the leather. It doesnt cut, it presses. I also use that time to smooth the leather of the opening. I bought a round edger a while ago. It is like a piece of nylon, about 1 and a half inches in diameter that I use to smooth out the edges of the leather in what will be the opening of the sheath.

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I hope this is helpful to someone. Please dont think that this is the only way to do things, or even that it is the best way. It is the way I do things at this point. Things may change as time goes on and eventually I may change how I make things.

    On a side note, I have a lot of kydex, and I have not made a kydex sheath for quite some time. I think leather is much more attractive, and if treated correctly, is nearly as durable. Frankly, nothing against kydex, but if I have a sheath that performs well, and a sheath that performs well and looks great, I will buy the good looking one. I am guessing I am not alone on that. On the other hand, I can make a kydex sheath in a half an hour, and I can barely get the pattern cut out and cleaned up on a leather sheath in that time.
     
  13. rwn2000

    rwn2000

    713
    Jan 6, 2003
    food dehydrator to dry sheaths? Does your jerky taste like leather or does your sheaths smell like jerky? Just kidding, LOL. That is an excellent idea, it beats laying the leather over an AC vent overnight to dry out. I'll have to dig out my dehydrator and try this.

    randy
     
  14. Bailey Knives

    Bailey Knives

    Oct 18, 2004
    Actually, I bought the dehydrator specifically to dry leather, but I would love to make some jerky... I love that stuff. I wish I could live on jerky and some Sam Adams.
     
  15. 308sniper

    308sniper

    808
    Jan 6, 2007
    Very Nice, Thanks for posting
     
  16. Mudbug007

    Mudbug007

    Nov 29, 2010
    Great stuff Matt! Learned a few things tonight that I didn't see in Paul's video's.

    Looking forward to seeing more.
     
  17. Mike Turner

    Mike Turner

    Dec 8, 2005
    Nice WIP Matt thanks for taking the time to put this up.
     
  18. Wulf

    Wulf

    May 10, 2000
    This is outstanding - thanks Matt.

    By the way isn't it great when your kid comes and joins you for arts & crafts time? This past spring while I was working on a leather sheath my girls wanted to get involved too - they loved the tooling stamps - and the next thing I knew we were all wearing our own handmade leather bracelets, complete with decorative tooling and little metal snaps.
     
  19. rwn2000

    rwn2000

    713
    Jan 6, 2003
    My heart doctor keeps preaching "low sodium, low fat, more chicken" so my dehydrator is sitting idle for the most part. Of course what happens on my once a year fishing trip is 100% off the record, lol.
     
  20. GrizzlyBear

    GrizzlyBear

    Dec 5, 2009
    Anxiously waiting the rest of this How-To. You should post a copy of this in the Sheaths & Such forum.

    Great job so far!
     

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