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Thread: Make your own sheath or send it out?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    North central montana
    Posts
    601

    Make your own sheath or send it out?

    How many of you knife makers make your own sheaths?

    Why or why not? Advantages/disadvantages?

    Thanks,
    Ted
    Thanks,
    Smallshop (AKA Ted Hauser)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God puts the iron in the ground and the highlights in the wood....it's His stuff, we just get to work with it....make it nice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    1,214
    Every knife that I make gets a sheath. Some leather, some kydex, depending on the style of knife.

    Pros: I do it myself because I wanted to learn how. Granted, my sheaths aren't Paul Long quality but they are nice and I'm proud of them. My customers really like them. Like anything else, the more you do something the better you get at it and the easier it becomes.

    Disadvantages? none for me. I'm not a full time maker, so it's not like the sheaths are taking me away from knife production. To me, the sheath and the knife are part of the same product. If I had to farm the sheaths out, I'd have to charge a lot more to cover it and I wouldn't necessarily make any more money.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Great Falls, Montana, USA
    Posts
    2,739
    I'm in the "Make my Own" arena. Personally I dislike sheath work the most of any aspect of knifemaking, but I am also so anal about my knives being "just right" that I can't accept a knife with my name on it going out the door without a sheath that does not "match" the knife in every aspect. To explain, I've tried a number of times over the years to out source sheaths, and one of two things is generally the result.....

    1. I get a low quality, light weight sheath, that I wouldn't put a knife purchased at Walmart in.
    (I've seen far too many very nice knives that were sold with a crappy sheath..... or vise-versa.... kinda like buying a Cadillac with retread tires.....they just don't go together)

    2. IF the sheath meets my required "quality level", it simply doesn't "match" the knife, meaning that it is very obvious that the knife and the sheath were produced by different individuals... another situation where the two things simply do not go together.

    Neither scenario is acceptable to me. Therefore I just "suck it up" and build my own sheaths, whether that be leather, kydex, or whatever.

    That being said, there are some very fine sheath makers out there, and while many makers have great success, and are very happy with their products, it's simply not something I do with my knives/business.

    One of the things that my business has been built on over the years is that folks know that when they order a knife from me, EVERYTHING, including the sheath, is done by me, and that's a trust that I'm not willing to jeopardize. At this point in my career, even if I could find a sheath maker that could "match" a sheath to the knife I made, I'm not sure I would do it.
    Last edited by EdCaffreyMS; 01-09-2017 at 08:42 PM.

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
    Visit me at Table 2Q at the Blade Show!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    105
    Yup , all in house from blade to sheath , Im actually liking leather work more and more all the time

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    North central montana
    Posts
    601
    Thanks guys!

    My instinct was that to really have design continuity you would want to make your own. Possibly you can find a sheath maker that has the same artistic bent...but good luck. I know in the gun world there have been famous collaborations between stock makers and metal workers....but that doesn't work for a lot of guys.


    On a fixed blade knife a sheath is part of how it works, and what it looks like, the feel, etc. I don't want to pay the overhead for something I do not really like.


    Time to learn leather working....sigh. but from the many you tube vids I have watched it seems easier than knife making/metal working....while sharing many of the same skill sets.


    Ed...do you have a local source of quality leather?

    Thanks again guys!
    Thanks,
    Smallshop (AKA Ted Hauser)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God puts the iron in the ground and the highlights in the wood....it's His stuff, we just get to work with it....make it nice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    1,112
    I make my own sheaths. Unlike others that have posted, I like to make leather sheaths. It generally means that I have finished a knife...

    Although it is not local, here is a really good place to get your leather. Starting with good leather is a must. Try theirs and you will understand why I like using it.



    http://wickett-craig.com/

    DeMo

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Great Falls, Montana, USA
    Posts
    2,739
    DeMo makes a very good point with that link!

    Be very thoughtful about the leather you buy. Generally if you go out and look for the least expensive, you'll likely get "chrome tanned" leather. This is leather that has been tanned with chomatic acids, which can never be fully removed once introduced..... ever see an older knife that had a leather sheath and "green goop" on the hardware? That's the result of using chrome tanned leather.

    It's hard to describe in print, but there is a definite difference in how a chrome tanned leather looks, feels, and works... versus those tanned with natural products, often referred to as "Oak Tanned" or "Vegetable Tanned" leathers. Stick with the naturally tanned leathers, and although they are going to be more expensive, everything else about them is superior to chrome tanned leathers.

    www.caffreyknives.net
    Caffreyknives@Gmail.com

    "Nobody cares what you know.....until they know you care."
    Visit me at Table 2Q at the Blade Show!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    North central montana
    Posts
    601
    Thanks DeMo and Ed.


    Ummm...sorry to make you guys work...just discovered the knife sheath forum...lol! I'll do some reading before I bomb you with more questions...
    Last edited by Smallshop; 01-10-2017 at 02:21 PM.
    Thanks,
    Smallshop (AKA Ted Hauser)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God puts the iron in the ground and the highlights in the wood....it's His stuff, we just get to work with it....make it nice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    La Cygne, KS
    Posts
    243
    I too do my own and I fall in with DeMo. I enjoy the leather, I can do kydex but I'm much better with leather. Truth be told, I have advanced my leather skills beyond my knifemaking. I even find myself doing more and more leather projects that aren't all all knife related.

    I would also add Hidehouse as a resource for leather. I would take their economy grade leather sight unseen over anything handpicked from the "premium" rack at Tandy.

    Chris

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    North central montana
    Posts
    601
    Thanks chris.
    Thanks,
    Smallshop (AKA Ted Hauser)


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God puts the iron in the ground and the highlights in the wood....it's His stuff, we just get to work with it....make it nice.

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