sheath 5

Molding leather around an object, in this case a knife, is called Bone Folding. I suppose the name comes from the old days when polished bones were used but now days they are mostly plastic. I use my own hand made bone folder made from micarta that I have polished on both ends. The idea is to case the leather (get it wet so it is pliable and will stretch a little) and mold it around the object using the bone folder. It’s really pretty easy and adds a nice touch.

With the knife in place and the leather wet from the Pro-Carve, I start to push in, stretching the leather to form around the bolster of the knife. It only takes a couple minutes to get a nice form. I will fold it around the top of the finger guard so it will help to hold the knife in and if I’m lucky, give the sheath a nice little pop when I put the knife into it.

Here you can see the outline of the bolster in the leather and where I wrapped it around the top of the finger guard. It almost looks molded to the knife.

Now we have lot’s of raw edges left and raw leather showing from the stitch groover and possibly a few scratches here and there. I use antique leather stain and go over the entire sheath paying attention to the stitch groove and edges. It make take a couple coats. This will not dramatically change the color of your dye. It will color the raw edges and add a slightly darker tint to the leather that has a good coating of dye already. It’s pretty neat stuff. The bottle on the left is Super Shene. A Tandy product but there are several others on the market. It gives the leather, well, a sheen. A personal preference if you want it or not. I like it.

Once it’s antiqued, I throw it in the food dehydrator to dry off. It only takes a couple minutes. I use a food dehydrator all the time making sheaths. If I want a very hard leather sheath, I get it fairly damp, almost dripping wet and put it in the dehydrator at 145 degrees. It will come out very hard. Leather undergoes a change at 145 degrees and up to make it very hard. You probably won’t want to make sheaths this way as regular stiffness leather is often preferable. After the stain is dry, I’ll put on a couple light coats of Super Sheen and toss it back in for a couple minutes to dry. Super Sheen tends to leave streaks so apply it in smooth strokes. I just a small cotton rag to wipe it on and clean off excess with a dry rag.

The final step is to buff it up with some wax. I use Bri-wax furniture natural color wax. This stuff is great. I coat everything with it including my entire knives before I ship them. It cleans and gives a nice, deep luster. On a sheath, I’ll buff it in but there is always a little extra white residue after it dries. When that happens, I’ll warm it with my heat gun to melt it in and wipe off the rest with a dry cloth.

Here you can see the side of the sheath and if you count carefully, 5 layers of leather. You can see the extra 1” build up we added during the trial fitting.

The back side. Looking closely, you can see the edge crease marks for finishing detail.

And here’s the finished product. I think it came out OK.

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