Mocivnik

Advice on leather for knife sheats

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Mocivnik   

Hey everyone!

 

I'm very fresh to the leatherwork, although my desire to work with leather is in me for a long time.
I'm really into knife sheats (also sheats for hatchets, axes and machetes) so I'd really like to find out some better advices about the leather itself.

 

I know there's been a lot written, but I....I'm a lazy person, please forgive me for that.

 

So, first things first: Thickness of leather? I'm currently having 5/6 oz. veg tan, that I'm dealing with, but someone (not so long ago, but I still managed to forgot, sorry :/ ) told me, that it's a little bit thin for the knife sheat and that I should use 7/8 oz. veg tan for all the work. How is with this thickness all about with knife sheats?

I'm thinking of such sheats (and simmilar):

58e24a7dd1d2574181f9dbb2f2a10986.jpg

 

Ok, next question: Which part of the cowhide is the best and which the worst, to sew stuff like this? My supplier demands 80-120€ for the whole cow (95$-140$) and I really don't know, if it's worth it, or should I just rather buy leather from ebay (China), where the 12x24" of 5/6 veg tan costs about 30$ including shipping.

 

DYEs: I'm using Fiebings for now, Fiebings PRO dye. What's the difference between PRO and OIL dye? Afterwards I'm using resolene and gum trag (for edges only). When  the product is finished, I "wax" it with seal's fat (the whole product, except for the leather belt, on the inner side).

Thanks for all the questions!

And PS: Don't be afraid, I've got tons more questions :)

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Fiebings pro oil and pro dye are the exact same product. They are currently producing only bottles labeled pro dye to eliminate confusion.

$30.00 for 2 square feet or $100 for 25 square feet. That is a no brainier.

5\6 ounce is fine for pocket slip sheaths or small belt sheaths.

Bigger knife? Go up to 7\8 ounce or even 9\10 ounce.

Spend some time here and you will learn all you need. But do a little research. People here have answered the basics a hundred times over (be respectful of their time and knowledge). Please keep that in mind.

If you search questions on Google it will lead you to dozens of responses here.

Good luck.

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Mocivnik   
14 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

Fiebings pro oil and pro dye are the exact same product. They are currently producing only bottles labeled pro dye to eliminate confusion.

$30.00 for 2 square feet or $100 for 25 square feet. That is a no brainier.

5\6 ounce is fine for pocket slip sheaths or small belt sheaths.

Bigger knife? Go up to 7\8 ounce or even 9\10 ounce.

Spend some time here and you will learn all you need. But do a little research. People here have answered the basics a hundred times over (be respectful of their time and knowledge). Please keep that in mind.

If you search questions on Google it will lead you to dozens of responses here.

Good luck.

Thank you so much the answer!

Okay, how about Leather dye, PRO dye and an Acrylic dye? What's the actual difference between them, which suits for what purpose? And LOW - VOC dye?

Yes, about the prices: But for those 2 sq feet you get the BEST leather, without any marks - a perfect sheet, while the other one is for..well, you have to cut away much.

5/6 oz. veg tan is fine? Sure? Isn't it too light or anything? (Sorry, just wanna be sure)

 

And a question, I'm a bit confused at: What part of a cowhide is used for what? I know, that back is thinner than belly, but which part is best suited for what products?

 

Jup, I'm reading forum over and over and I've already eliminated a lot of questions, I'd post here otherwise :)

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Ok, stick with the pro dye.

Water based ones seem to give people nothing but problems. There is thread after thread here about  a this or that problem with water dyes. I started with pro dye and have never had an issue (big enough to cause me to switch).

Acrylic dyes are water based. Acrylic paints are a different beast and I have no experience with them.

Any side of leather will have waste, period.

I don't know all the ins and outs of which part of the hide is for what....

I do know you want your strap goods from the upper part of the back. That section has the least amount of stretch.

Most people don't seem to want to use the bellies. But for less stressful items I think they are fine. Wallets, bracelets, coasters, whatever. 

 The first sheath (thing) I made was out of 5\6 ounce for a rat laser strike. Yes it was too light\thin. The second thing I made was a phone holder. It was fine for that. The third thing I made was a pocket knife sheath for a small fallkniven knife. It worked well for it too.

You can always laminate your leather to make it thicker and stiffer. Two pieces of 5 ounce becomes 10 ounce. This is achieved with contact cement.

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TonyRV2   

I also make sheaths as well as holsters.  I think most would recommend shoulders for making a sheath.  This is what I use.

 

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zuludog   

Basically you can use any part of the hide except the belly

Go to Tandy's home page and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on 'Leather Buying Guide' to see the parts of a hide. You can use Whole hide; Double or Single Shoulder; or Single Butt, but you will have to avoid the belly. If you buy a Bend or Double Bend the belly has been trimmed off for you

Scroll further down the page to 'Making Leather Products'. You can see that for sheaths you need 6 to 8 oz leather which is about 3 to 3,5 mm. You could go thicker for a heavy knife or an axe

You use vegetable tanned leather which you then dye and treat as you wish

Search YouTube for 'Making knife sheaths'. Videos by Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather and Jackloreknives are good

Edited by zuludog

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fredk   
On 01/09/2017 at 2:15 AM, Mocivnik said:

...

Yes, about the prices: But for those 2 sq feet you get the BEST leather, without any marks - a perfect sheet, while the other one is for..well, you have to cut away much.

A sheath, or anything, is an un-even shape which needs cutting out.

Even with a perfect 12 x 24 inch rectangle you will be cutting away some leather you cannot use.

With a bigger piece, a half hide, you can twist and turn your patterns around so you can cut out many more of them with much less waste

Homework for you; cut out, in paper, some knife sheath patterns. Lay them out on a 12 x 24 board/paper. See how much waste there is? Increase your base bit of board/paper, the bigger you make it the more sheaths you can put on it and the wastage becomes a smaller percentage

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zuludog   

FREDK

I haven't actually done it myself, but soon after I became interested in knife making and also wanted to make the sheaths I went on a sheath making course at The Identity Store. That exercise was demonstrated with paper patterns and various sized pieces of leather, going up to a full hide 

When you see it explained & demonstrated like that, it's obvious

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Mocivnik   
On 9/1/2017 at 2:55 AM, bikermutt07 said:

25.17€ for 2 square feet or 83.89€ for 25 square feet. That is a no brainier.

5\6 ounce is fine for pocket slip sheaths or small belt sheaths.

Well, that changed just recently, before I could make a first buy. The store stopped selling hides, only equipment and rivets from now on. Unfortunatelly.

But they got quality and cheap dyes for leather, they keep brand called Nero d'Inferno. 1dl costs about 6$ and as far as I've used it, it's looking great.

 

But for further leather, what's the actual price that is reasonable for non-dyed veg tan, thickness about 5/6 or 6/7 oz. veg tan?

 

ps: on the thickness you've recommended: I think that 6/7 would be just perfect for knife sheats as such:

60c97d48ee5daf05dbee07b223c83d9b--leathe

or 

e7df14aa24082864d93ae96759cdcb54--built-

while for axe sheats I'd use 6/7 or 7/8 veg tan, maybe different for different parts.

 

PS2: Thanks for your next comment.

On 9/1/2017 at 4:06 PM, TonyRV2 said:

I also make sheaths as well as holsters.  I think most would recommend shoulders for making a sheath.  This is what I use.

 

And what thickness do you use for it?

 

On 9/1/2017 at 4:47 PM, zuludog said:

Basically you can use any part of the hide except the belly

Go to Tandy's home page and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on 'Leather Buying Guide' to see the parts of a hide. You can use Whole hide; Double or Single Shoulder; or Single Butt, but you will have to avoid the belly. If you buy a Bend or Double Bend the belly has been trimmed off for you

Scroll further down the page to 'Making Leather Products'. You can see that for sheaths you need 6 to 8 oz leather which is about 3 to 3,5 mm. You could go thicker for a heavy knife or an axe

You use vegetable tanned leather which you then dye and treat as you wish

Search YouTube for 'Making knife sheaths'. Videos by Ian Atkinson/Leodis Leather and Jackloreknives are good

And what is so wrong with the belly? I really don't get it. Is it that, that the back is the thinnest, while the belly is the thickest or something?

I know for those vids, they are really good ones :)

 

On 9/2/2017 at 10:19 AM, fredk said:

A sheath, or anything, is an un-even shape which needs cutting out.

Even with a perfect 12 x 24 inch rectangle you will be cutting away some leather you cannot use.

With a bigger piece, a half hide, you can twist and turn your patterns around so you can cut out many more of them with much less waste

Homework for you; cut out, in paper, some knife sheath patterns. Lay them out on a 12 x 24 board/paper. See how much waste there is? Increase your base bit of board/paper, the bigger you make it the more sheaths you can put on it and the wastage becomes a smaller percentage

Yup, I know that :) I'm not expecting to have zero waste, don't worry :) I've done it few times already, I know that :) 

 

 

Edited by Mocivnik

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The bellies are more stretchy. And some times they have a loose grain to them. I haven't run into any problems using them for nonstressed items.

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Bellies are uneven in thickness, stretchy, more likely to have scars or insect bites. The backside of the leather is more furry, too.

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Mocivnik   

What is the normal price for a) full hide and b ) shoulders and back if we're talking about 6/7 oz. thickness?

I'm without the supplier currently and I'm searching for one..

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