wax treating a sheath?

Joined
Mar 22, 2006
Messages
5,944
I recently made little pocket style neck sheath for my opinel with a 2nd pocket for a scout fire steel..It looks cool but THe leather is soft I was thinking about wax treating it..I usd to have a leather mora sheath that ragnar wax treated for me that was real cool...Any thoughts oon whether or not I should do it, and how i can go about it? Thanks
 
Joined
Mar 26, 2007
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2,798
Yes, do it! It will make your sheath weatherproof, and you will be glad you did.

If you don't have beeswax, you can use "sno-seal" which is a beeswax based waterproofer for boots and shoes. Or you can get beeswax from places that sell candle making supplies, like Michael's.

There's two ways to do it:

* Rub the stuff on the leather and use a hair dryer to melt it into the leather. This works well and is not very messy, especially if you are using "sno-seal"

* Melt the wax in a double boiler, and dip the sheath in quickly, pull out and wipe down with a lint free rag. Do it quickly though if you don't want to make your sheath hard like plastic.


Whatever you choose, practice on a scrap piece of leather to be sure you get the desired results.

I hope this helps, good luck. Oh, and pics are always welcome...:)
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2007
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Lots of ways to do this. Some good some bad. As far as what to use beeswax is good and some people will melt beeswax and also add things like mink oil. What I use is beeswax with a little bit of candle wax and a spoonful of Tandy Leather Hide Rejuvenator. Sno Seal is also good but there are lots of things that will work

I melt it in an old pan and then let it cool down. You want it to be liquid but not incredibly hot. I use a wool dauber to cover the sheath. If you have a heat gun or hair dryer those make it easy to melt the wax into the sheath. I don't have either so I put mine in the toaster oven on a low heat setting and watch it carefully. As the wax heats up it gets sucked into the leather. Just be sure you don't get it too hot or you will deep fry your leather and it will be hard as a rock.
 
Joined
Sep 14, 2006
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4,409
I have hot waxed lots of sheaths. Here is how I do it:

I use Gulf Wax, which is used in canning, candle making, lots of other stuff. You can buy it wherever canning supplies are sold, and it is cheap.

Use a double boiler, which is a double pan set up where the bottom pan contains water, and the upper pan floats in the water. Put the wax into the top pan, and turn the water below on to boil.

The hot water in the bottom pan will melt the wax in the top pan. Make sure that you have enough wax in the top pan to completely submerge the sheath or whatever.

When the wax is completely melted, gently place the sheath into the wax, and push it down so that the wax can flow into the interior of the sheath.

Let the sheath sit in the wax for a couple of minutes so the leather can heat, and the wax will be able to soak into the leather. Turn the sheath over a couple of times. I like to use wooden shish-kebab skewers for this.

When the sheath has soaked in the wax long enough, slip one of the skewers into the interior of the sheath, and slowly pick it up out of the wax, allowing the hot, liquid wax to flow out of the sheath back into the pan.

I use a clamp to hold the end of the skewer so the sheath will be held vertical. The hot wax will drain out of the interior of the sheath, mostly.

The wax will harden up fairly quickly, but because the leather is warm, this take a few minutes. I like to insert the knife back into the sheath while the leather is still warm and the wax is fairly soft. This will allow the knife to hot form the wax and sheath to the shape of the knife, and it will make a more secure fit. I also use a soft cloth to wipe down the exterior of the sheath and remove any excess wax from stitching, etc. It wipes off easily while the leather is still warm.

The leather will harden up when the wax and sheath completely cool. This is a good thing, because the sheath will be tougher and hold its form better. The knife will almost have a snap fit after a good hot waxing. If the leather is too soft after hot waxing, the wax will bend and crack, and you will be able to see it. The leather will be almost like plastic when you are done, but that's OK.

Andy
 
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Messages
1,011
I have written a couple of published articles on the process my shop uses... complete with step-by-step photos and instruction. I will try to see if it is on the net somewhere for a link.

I keep the recipe simple; pure beeswax/pure neatsfoot oil combination. I avoid paraffin and all petroleum products for many reasons. I melt and maintain the mixture in a large crockpot affair (large enough to submerge large sheaths).

It is possible to cook your leather! Yep, I ruined a couple of sheaths because I was not paying attention to the clock or temperature.
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