Instructables

Cheap, easy home-made leather knife sheath from used leather

Picture of Cheap, easy home-made leather knife sheath from used leather
I went backpacking in Alaska a couple of years ago, and, of course, bought the obligatory huge Bowie knife. I bought a 14" Winchester. The knife was a great deal: cheap, pretty good steel, nice heft. Unfortunately, it came with a cheap looking nylon sheath. This wasn't a huge problem for me, though, since it was a right-handed sheath and I was left handed. I just packed it away in my pack (where it could be quickly dug out if needed to battle a grizzly !). I survived the trip, but, without a proper sheath, the knife was seldom used again for my forays into the local woods.

One night recently, I came across the knife again and decided to see if I could build myself a proper-looking, left handed sheath. I had no experience with leather work, but figured (rightly so) that it couldn't be that hard. This is the result. Looks great. Works nice. Cost nothing.  
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Get the leather

Picture of Get the leather

I told my wife about my idea for a sheath and she told me that she had an old leather jacket that had been stained and was destined for the trash can. The jacket was made of fine, soft leather in a buckskin color. It was thin and pliable.

This is what I used, but it is easy to get cheap leather in a number of ways. You can buy a large old purse, suitcase, briefcase, jacket, pair of boots, shaving kit, or leather whatever at a garage sale, junk store, Goodwill, or wherever. Slice the leather from the rest of the lining, case, or whatever and use what you can. 

 I am even keeping my eyes out for a junk leather couch or chair that I can salvage leather from! Check dumpsters behind furniture store for a good chance at a score. Use your imagination! 

I cut off the sleeve and carefully removed the lining. Try to keep the leather in the largest possible single piece. Watch seams, button holes, rivets, etc. I used a heavy pair of scissors to do the dirty work, but you may have to use a knife is your leather is heavier. If it is really heavy, you may have to put the leather on a board and use a utility knife. Be careful, that big, old Bowie isn't the only sharpie that can bring blood and leave your finger laying on the table while your hand follows you down the hall.


rofus1 year ago
i had one of those knives. i broke the blade right off splitting a piece of wood. when i looked at it it had a kinda like a v shaped notch in the metal just inside the handle almost like it was meant to break. not a very good knife to me...

Mine did the same thing

overblast1 year ago
Never store your knife in leather. Good for carriage but not for long term storage, leather has acids and salts that will corrode your blade. I store mine in carboard sheathes and only use leather for travel.
judgeyoung (author)  overblast1 year ago
All true, but in this case, the actual part of the sheath that comes in actual contact with the blade is the original plastic/composit sheath that I covered with leather, so it is no problem here. Thanks for the input.
stevenh4292 years ago
I also have a bowie knife, but its 10 in. :D
henster223 years ago
cool knife!!!
nice. i been wanting one of the fancy Guatemalan machete sheaths but idk where to get one except for going to Guatemala
(YOUR N3 years ago
OO88
LoneWolf4 years ago
"The jacket was made of fine, soft leather in a buckskin color. It was thin and pliable." Ummm.....that's one thing you DON'T want. The main purpose of a sheath is to make it easy to carrry around a knife withought cutting yourself. The fact is, if the leather is pliable, then when your out hiking or climbing or you fall and the leather bends - the knife won't - and the blade will poke through your sheath and possibly into you.
judgeyoung (author)  LoneWolf4 years ago
Of course that is correct.... if you are making the sheath only of the leather. I bought a piece of very heavy leather to make another one from. You will note that on this one, I actually only covered the hard plastic sheath that came with the knife. My objective was to make it look more "rustic" and, mainly, to convert it to a left handed belt mount. Thanks for looking! Randy
Oh, sorry I didn't realize that. Now you've given me a good idea!!! I was gonna make a sheath for a knife I just ordered - but instead of making a whole new one, I'll just cover the one that came with it with leather!!!!
imakeknives4 years ago
i happen to own that very same knife. u did a good job on the sheath.
Greg C.4 years ago
 That original sheath is really not that cheap-looking. But, like you said, if it's meant to be a right-handed sheath, it's very awkward for a left handed person, and vise-versa. Very nice knife by the way.
Thanks for the 'Ible!
Greg