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Storing knife in leather sheath

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by SRWeldon, May 29, 2012.

  1. SRWeldon

    SRWeldon Platinum Member Platinum Member

    May 26, 2012
    I will be getting my BK2 in the mail today and will be ordering a new sheath for it. I have found a couple leather sheath that are made for them that have a fire steel holder on them that I really like. My question is for you guys that have leather sheaths, do you keep your knife in the sheath when you are not using it. Sounds like a crazy question. I have been told that leather sheaths gather moisture from the air and can make your blade rust. By the way this is a great forum here. I have been a knife nut ever since my dad let me buy my first little pocket knife for $3.14 at the local farm and home store when I was seven.
  2. tlovesknives

    tlovesknives Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 6, 2011
    leather does collect some moisture and causes weird oxidation on the blade. i typically store all of my blades outside the sheath in cardboard sheaths. or no sheath at all. :p
  3. MikeyJ


    Apr 30, 2010
    I think you'll find that opinions vary on this topic, so i'll just give you my .02. I've always been a huge fan of leather sheaths and therefore most of my knives ride in leather. When it comes to storage, I usually give my blades a nice thin coat of oil and put them right back into their sheaths. I have yet to find a spot of rust.

    Oiling the blades is more important for long term storage and certainly for high carbon blades like Beckers, but again, opinions vary. This has just been my experience! Best of luck with the BK2 and hop over to the Becker subforum and post up some pics of the new knife/sheath combo. We're always happy to see them!
  4. Chris Pierce

    Chris Pierce Basic Member Basic Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    I've not had any issues with leather sheaths and rust. I lived in a temperate rain forest and worked on boats for the last 6 years. No problems. I just moved to a very arid environment a few months ago, and I did get my Benchmade D2 Stryker to rust in my back pocket about a week ago.
  5. woody d

    woody d Banned BANNED

    Jan 29, 2010
    when wiped down with a light coat of oil, ive never had any problem withany of my knives. my old BK2 has been in the Skystorm sheath(i recommend you check their products out...great stuff) i bought for it for a couple weeks now and no issues so far. fwiw, ive always kept my pistols stored in their sheaths with no rust problems, and i carry all of em in leather.
  6. Alberta Ed

    Alberta Ed

    Jun 29, 1999
    I always take my leather sheaths apart, rub in two or three coats of SnowSeal, melted in with a hot air dryer, then re-stitch them with waxed nylon thread using a cobbler's stitch. This seals the leather against moisture absorption, stiffens the leather and helps make it last longer. I also treat stacked leather grips with SnowSeal.
  7. Oku


    Dec 2, 2002
    Nobody's mentioned it yet, so oddly enough, I will (Kydex guy).

    When shopping for a leather sheath, be sure the maker uses Vegetable Tanned material. While generally a bit more expensive, Vegetable tanned leather doesn't contain tannic acid which will indeed "eat" your blade.

    For the rest, yup, maintenance is VERY important and more so with high carbon blades. You'll need to pay more attention to that or perhaps less depending on where you live and what you're doing.
  8. Diomedes Industries

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

    Mar 19, 2007
    Mine all rusted in the sheath - I live in Houston though - where the humidity is often higher than the temp.

  9. Wild Rose

    Wild Rose

    Aug 23, 2002
    Sorry, not sure where you go that info, but that is total mis-information - ALL Vegetable or bark tanned leather has some residual tannic acid in it (all veg/bark tan is about 4.5 on the PH Scale - 7.0 is neutral). It is the tannic acid in the vegetable matter: whether it be bark, roots, leaves, etc. that tans the leather - in fact vegetable/bark tanning is the only "real" tanned leather since it uses tannic acid.

    Overall storing a knife or gun in leather is generally NOT recommended - get the leather wet and it will leach acid. Yes one can get away with it - I have more times than I should have, but IMO why take the chance? That's not just opinion but observation based on 50+ years not only making heavy duty using leather for outdoors men, LEOS, and combat vets, but also using my guns/knives/leather in all kinds of country and climates from the Pacific Northwest, the jungles of Central America, and the deserts and mountains of the SW where I currently live.
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  10. Oku


    Dec 2, 2002
    Thanks "W-R"! File corrected!

    Got the info from "the competition" a few years ago...*sigh*

    Again, I'm "a Kydex guy" so never bothered to research/verify.
  11. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator

    Nov 30, 2001
    It should be noted that the quality of the leather has a bit to do with how it will act with your blades when wet.

    A good quality leather has been thoroughly rinsed after the tanning process so most of the damaging tannins are not present.

    Cheap, badly tanned leathers will be full of who knows what, urine tanned leathers were a big problem a decade or so ago. The stuff literally smelled like urine when it got wet, not pleasant. In their hurry to put out the product, the cheaper tanneries will not rinse the leather well enough to get the tanning products out properly. You soak this leather in water it will turn it a reddish brown, a quality leather will not but barely shade the water.

    I've had mixed results storing my knives in the leather, some went well, some got a bit of a patina. But to this day I store my knives in their sheaths.

    The key is care for your steel and sheaths and follow common sense.
  12. Diomedes Industries

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

    Mar 19, 2007
    Common sense is so uncommon - it should be considered a super power. ;)

  13. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator

    Nov 30, 2001
    Your so close to the truth its scary. :p

    And I've heard that quote before, note sure where, but its a goodie! :D
  14. dschonbrun


    Mar 26, 2012
    What role does the die base have on the amount of water in the leather?

    I've been using water-based colors and polishes... will this impact my blades in the sheaths long term? Would I be any better using oil based?
  15. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator

    Nov 30, 2001
    If your using the Eco Flo, no, it will not affect the moisture content in your leather. The biggest factor is air conditions, humid or wet weather and your leather will have a high moisture content over what it does during a dry time.

    In my experience the water based dyes are not worth it, they don't penetrate well and they don't evenly color. Maddening to work with. But wonderful for use like water colors on leather, you can really get some nifty effects if you know how to manipulate the surface.

    Spirit based dyes tend to penetrate better, and the Pro Oil dyes seem to penetrate that much more as they add something that retards the dry time allowing the dye to even out at a slower rate over spirit based dyes. Those spirit dyes are notorious for flash soaking a small area if your not careful.

    Hope this helps a little. Anyone have more to add please do. :)
  16. cziv


    Nov 24, 2005
    Would I be correct in thinking that a lightly oiled Busse (uncoated stee)l knife would be fine in an armoralleather sheath if the knife is drawn once or twice a day to use (or admire)?

    If it could still patina the almost chrome-like finish I'll take it out at the end of the day and put it in it's cardboard sleeve.

    While I'm at it, what's a good outside preservative for an armoralleather sheath? I don't like sno-seal but I have various leather care lotions for cleaning and maintaining expensive leather shoes. I have saddle soap too.

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