Snaps, studs, scratched blades.

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
I need some advice, pics, links, etc. When using snaps and studs, how do you keep the backside from contacting the knife? I've used snaps a lot, but I just go some Sam Browne studs in to try. I tried carving a little recess, but it still isn't below flush. I've got some thin pigskin that I thought about covering it with, but then I'm afraid the knife would catch on that when entering the sheath. I guess you would have to sew that pigskin in too. Short of lining the whole sheath, I'm struggling with how to do this the right way.
 

Vombrown

Banned
Here are some things I do and have done in the past. 1. Wherever you located the stud or snap, mold the snap into the leather to recess it. Soak it in water before setting the snap or stud and really put it in tight. Then mold around it when wet and cased. 2. Use a thin leather to cover. Think sheep skiver thin, pig skin is too thick. Something about the thickness of paper. I have also used tyvek, here's a hint on that. Priority USPS large envelopes are tyvek paper. Contact cement and it will never come off. 3. And this is the easiest...don't locate the snap where it will contact the blade if you don't plan to line it.
 
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John Wilson

Well-Known Member
I really like that tyvek idea because i’ve struggled with this same issue, as I’m sure everyone has. My leather work is crude at best, but you can see my approach here of using a top layer so that the head of the stud is captured between the layers.
 

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Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
Here is what I do, depending on the sheath style.

On larger knives, I try to incorporate a raised panel and I hide the snap between the leather. Like these sheaths. Just attach the lower portion of the snap to the raised panel and build the sheath around that accent.

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On smaller knives, with split sheaths, I use a liner to hide the back of the snap. Like on these sheaths. Sometimes, I only line the sheath about halfway down. Just enough to cover the snap, or so. Usually 2 oz. or thinner leather.

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On these two sheaths, I attached the strap to the sheath, the snap to the strap, and on the other end of the strap the other side to the snap. Again, the snap back to hidden between two pieces of leather.

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Sometimes, you have to get a little bit creative. I almost always try to sandwich the back of the snap between two pieces of leather and firmly attach it to the sheath. I know some makers will leave the snap end exposed in the pocket of the sheath and cover it with moleskin. I'm a little bit leery about the longevity of that fix. I don't like exposed backs to the snap coming into contact with the knife itself.

Hope this helped...
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Thanks a ton guys, lots of new ideas here. I've always made fold over style sheaths, so the second layer never occurred to me I guess. Here's the one I started roughing out, not sure if I can add a second layer on there and get it looking right. I am leery of putting a backer on the inside, afraid it will snag or come off eventually.20180820_131950.jpg
 

Vombrown

Banned
Leather work is all about problem solving. Adding accent pieces to cover or use certain pieces of hardware, lining or layering to keep metal away from steel is the most effective way to do it but sometimes it doesn't fit the intended design. That's when a backing piece comes in handy.

Another tool in the tool box is to split the thickness of leather that you intend to use. For instance, if you're using 10oz leather for the sheath make the facing piece from two layers of 5oz instead of one thickness of 10oz. This works especially well with fold over type sheaths. It allows you to have smooth leather on the inside and outside as well as cover snaps or metal fittings. It tools the same, has the same depth of tooling and carving but has a more finished look for roll over belt loops. Bonding with a high quality barge or contact cement, then proper edge dressing and no one will ever be able to tell what you did there. Another tip with that to avoid wrinkling is to bond the leather and shape it while the cement is still green. Giving it a shape or curve first and letting it dry into shape.
 

Dennis Morland

KNIFE MAKER
Anthony - I will make one suggestion. run with it if you like. On that sheath you could cut a diamond shape and attach it to your sheath with the back of the snap. Just big enough to hide the snap back and still have enough room to stitch. Don't go completely across the face of the sheath. Just a small square turned sideways for a diamond shape. Round would work also. Just a suggestion.

I can see the sheath finished in a dual coloring scheme. Dark edge, strap, diamond. Lighter color in center. Or vice versa. Whichever way you go. Off color for the stitches.
 

Vombrown

Banned
Thanks a ton guys, lots of new ideas here. I've always made fold over style sheaths, so the second layer never occurred to me I guess. Here's the one I started roughing out, not sure if I can add a second layer on there and get it looking right. I am leery of putting a backer on the inside, afraid it will snag or come off eventually.View attachment 64694
With that type of sheath it would be super simple to line it with a thin suede leather. Bond it after tooling and before molding into the final shape. For me it adds a very nice finished look and it protects the blade. Sheep skin skiver is another option as it is veg tanned most times and will take dye very well.
 

EdCaffreyMS

"The Montana Bladesmith"
I'm of the thought pattern that unless it's absolutely necessary (that's why most of my sheaths are "pouch" style), I do not use any hardware on a leather sheath..... all it does is ensure that sooner or later the client is gona be calling up, saying that they need their knife repaired because of a snap, rivet, etc. back scratching or damaging a blade. In instances where hardware is unavoidable, deep seating on the interior of the leather and a suede/leather "dot" over the interior part of the hardware is a must.
 

Smallshop

KNIFE MAKER
"I'm of the thought pattern that unless it's absolutely necessary (that's why most of my sheaths are "pouch" style), I do not use any hardware on a leather sheath."

I like what Ed said there....

I have been trying hard to make "soft rules" rules that I follow except when I "need" to break them. One of those rules is..."Do not design anything for the sake of aesthetics that can cause mechanical/practical problems." As I get farther ahead in knife/sheath design this rule becomes tougher to follow....because we all want to come up with new zestier designs....

Having a bunch of professionals on here makes it easier to establish sound thinking (rules)...if we listen to them...lol! I am committed to breaking the "rules" I invent carefully. I do sometimes put rivets on the perimeter of the sheath...for looks...even that's can be one more thing that can go wrong...(but low chance and no scratching the knife)

Mr Moreland...I love your leather work.
 

C Craft

Well-Known Member
Here is a tip I picked up from Chuck Borrows DVD, on leather sheaths. Take a razor knife and actually skive out where the back of the snap goes! Since you are working the leather while damp, when you sit the snap/button it will already be below the surface and as the leather dries back out! Or you can double the leather and like someone else said put another layer in the sheath!
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
I'm of the thought pattern that unless it's absolutely necessary (that's why most of my sheaths are "pouch" style), I do not use any hardware on a leather sheath..... all it does is ensure that sooner or later the client is gona be calling up, saying that they need their knife repaired because of a snap, rivet, etc. back scratching or damaging a blade. In instances where hardware is unavoidable, deep seating on the interior of the leather and a suede/leather "dot" over the interior part of the hardware is a must.
Yeah Ed, this particular knife didn't have a lot shape that would lend to good retention, I was afraid I couldn't keep it secure without a strap. I've still got a lot to learn on leather work!
 

Self Made Knives

Well-Known Member
Here is a tip I picked up from Chuck Borrows DVD, on leather sheaths. Take a razor knife and actually skive out where the back of the snap goes! Since you are working the leather while damp, when you sit the snap/button it will already be below the surface and as the leather dries back out! Or you can double the leather and like someone else said put another layer in the sheath!
I tried skiving the back on a test piece, still wasn't happy. Tried wetting the leather too, but problem there was it pulled down on both sides of the leather, still leaving it up. I'm going to try adding a little second layer circle or diamond on the outside next. Heck, I may end up just starting over, wouldn't be the first time, lol!
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
I need some advice, pics, links, etc. When using snaps and studs, how do you keep the backside from contacting the knife? I've used snaps a lot, but I just go some Sam Browne studs in to try. I tried carving a little recess, but it still isn't below flush. I've got some thin pigskin that I thought about covering it with, but then I'm afraid the knife would catch on that when entering the sheath. I guess you would have to sew that pigskin in too. Short of lining the whole sheath, I'm struggling with how to do this the right way.
 

Robert66

Well-Known Member
Double Cap Rivets

Every time I order them they come too short, it is dificult to get the EXACT lengths to fit your leather thicknesses.
I measure the thickness of leather I want to fasten and ask for that size but the seller works off the overall length of his double cap rivets.
 
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