Some one needed some pictures of giraffe bone for a knife making news letter. I dug mine and took this one. For some scale, the ruler balanced on the leg bone is 12” long.


2-28-07 When I dye leather for sheaths, I usually dye an entire shoulder at a time. (I use double shoulder cut leather for sheaths. It’s a good thickness, doesn’t usually have a lot of range marks on it and is consistent in stiffness.) Here you can see the flesh side is dyed entirely. It just adds a finishing touch to a sheath instead of leaving it raw looking. I use a piece of terry towel soaked with dye and swap it. The flesh side doesn’t have to be perfect. It usually doesn’t even show that much. You are just covering up the raw look.


Here is the smooth side. I’ve dyed this piece two different colors so I can get a complimentary shade of leather to the knife. I spray the sheath with a light mist of water getting it slightly, uniformly damp to help the dye penetrate evenly. I never use the wool daubers included with the dye. They streak too bad. Use a piece of towel soaked and then wipe in the dye in broad even strokes.


A few quick shots of sheath in progress. Here the loop has already been completed and glued. Now I have to rough up a small patch on the back side of the sheath and the loop using sandpaper. This helps the glue bite. The loop is completely worked before it is mounted. This means it is trimmed to the size you want and the edges are all glazed for a finished look.


You can see the leather loop has been sewn onto the back of the sheath. The threads that are exposed inside of the sheath are exposed to a knife cut and need to be pushed into the leather. Dampen the leather with water of water/pro carve mixture and then run a stitching wheel back and forth to press the threads into the leather. They won’t get cut and if they do, the loop is glued anyway and all the stitches are glued in place so it won’t unravel.

Tanners Bond cement


Here you can see the back side of the sheath and the stitching. The rest of the sheath is then finished normally.


Here is a burl piece of wood from a Black Ash tree. This piece weighs 30lbs or so.


This monster burl piece weighs in at a hefty 50 pounds! For a sense of scale, my band saw is a 14” with a 12” riser post installed. This piece is huge and barely fit under the blade guides. I thought I might have to fire up the chain saw.

The to right are some quarter cuts. You have to orient the burl and cut it differently for most every piece to get the birds eye look. Burl doesn’t always have a specific grain orientation. You can also cut this stuff so it has a high contrast and attractive grain. I prefer the birds eye when ever I can get it. You can see the large checking in this block and the huge amount of waste there is to cut around this.


Below are some large blocks. These are 8” to 12” in size and show the birds eye and grain patterns. You have to watch how you are cutting these to get what you want from them.


Stabilized blocks of this Black Ash Burl is available at or you can click here...


These blocks are cut to size and ready to ship out to WSSI for stablizing.


Here is the finished batch of blocks. 35lbs of premium Black Ash Burl blocks reduced from 105lbs of raw chunks of burl. These were stabilized by WSSI and are available

for sale at


And finally here is a piece of that Black Ash Burl mounted on a knife I just finished. You can see some bark inclusions which is common in burl like this and I think desirable. When you are sanding these down, put some gap filling super glue in the voids and sand before it cures. The sanding dust sticks to the super glue and it all blends in very nicely and fills the void. I almost never completely fill little voids as you can see near the bolster. I think it adds some character. I will sand this down to 800 grit, then brushin tung oil for 30 minutes until it won’t soak in any more. Let it dry and then buff it with white compound and finally buff in some Bri-wax.

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Mickley Custom Knives