Sheath loosening

Alden Cole

Well-Known Member
I've been carrying one of my knives every day for a while. I had to make a sheath for it a while back because its original sheath was to loose. Now the sheath that I just made is loose again, enough that the knife will almost fall out if held upside down. The sheath was nice and tight when I made it. This is a waterformed foldover sheath made with good quality 8/10 oz. veg tan leather. I can send pics if needed. My questions are, how do I make sheaths that don't loosen up over time, and why are they loosening up? Maybe I have been waterforming wrong? Any help appreciated.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I once made a sheath for a pocket knife by soaking some leather and forming it to my knife then drying it out in an oven so the leather got very hard. Is that what you meant by water forming? If you want dimensional stability consistently then Kydex or other like material may give better service longevity. Even the parts of a kydex sheath will wear and provide a lesser fit over time and usage due to friction and wearing of material though.
 

Alden Cole

Well-Known Member
tkroenlein: If I remember right, it was snug when I made it even before wet forming.

Chris: Good idea. I hear that's how they make leather armor. I wonder if doing it like you said would make the sheath less likely to get scratches, indentations, etc, and what (if any) trade offs there are.

I know I have a long ways to go with leatherwork. Retention of the knife is one of the neccesary basics, and I know I need to get this figured out ASAP.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
I remember getting the idea off of a youtube video on making a sheath for a folding knife. I remember cutting a piece of leather and wet forming it around my knife. I also remember using a staple gun to fasten the leather to a board. While I used leather spoons to form the leather. Then I baked it dry. I will try to find the video for you. It works well.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
This is my limited understanding of what is happening based on my even more limited experience.

You fit a sheath that is "snug." Then you wet it and you stretch it around the shape by pressing it. So when that leather starts to loosen up from that form, you're left with a looser fit than it was. Now, if you wetform like @Chris Railey describes, you are making that form tight and stitching afterwards. Does that make any sense?
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
What I do is make the sheath so the knife barely fits, if at all where the handle enters it.
wax the knife and blade, wrap it good in Reynolds wrap, dunk the whole sheath in a tub of water for about a count of 4-5 sec. then work the knife into it, and leave it in until the leather is dry.
I do this at the end, the sheath has been stitched and dyed. this has worked good for me.
most all of my sheaths are taco style though with a snap closure.
on knives that work loose overtime you can glue a small patch of thin suede on the inside.


 

Austin Thrasher

Well-Known Member
If your using carbon steel, wet leather can do bad things to carbon steel. To mitigate or completely eliminate corrosion or staining, I’ve always used alcohol to wet form with instead of water. I also usually wrap my knife with a thin wrap of Saran Wrap for a little extra protection. It dries faster too with the alcohol.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
What I do is make the sheath so the knife barely fits, if at all where the handle enters it.
wax the knife and blade, wrap it good in Reynolds wrap, dunk the whole sheath in a tub of water for about a count of 4-5 sec. then work the knife into it, and leave it in until the leather is dry.
I do this at the end, the sheath has been stitched and dyed. this has worked good for me.
most all of my sheaths are taco style though with a snap closure.
on knives that work loose overtime you can glue a small patch of thin suede on the inside.


That is exactly how I "wet form."
 

Alden Cole

Well-Known Member
Alrighty, that sounds like the way I want to go. Thanks guys, if I have this problem in the future I'll be back.
 
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