Introduction: Leatherman Wave Sheath

I have always wanted a Leatherman wave, it has all the useful tools I could ever ask for in my pocket. I recently acquired one for my birthday! I have also loved watching youtube videos from Tested, I'm sure many of you are familiar with the site. I'm sure you also know Adam Savage enjoys making things, and I saw him build this very sheath for his own Leatherman wave. So to make sure I'm clear, this whole project is based off an idea and design by Adam Savage. This is simply my interpretation and attempt at making my own Leatherman wave sheath from aluminum. This is my first instructable, hopefully it is helpful and inspiring for others to go out and make their own. The most exciting part of this whole project for me was the fact that I took an idea, and a piece of aluminum and actually made something. Pretty awesome I thought. So here goes.

Again, I want to make it clear this is just my attempt at making something. The idea as far as I know belongs to Adam Savage.

Step 1: Try to Plan It Out

Having watched the YouTube video of Adam Savage making his own, I had an idea of what I was going to be doing. here is the link to the YouTube video so you can watch him make his own. So after watching this video a half dozen times I started to think about where to start.

I decided to try using a piece of cardboard to map out the shape of my sheath. I happened to have a piece of thin cardboard available, similar to cardboard from a shoe box in thickness, which worked nicely as it was relatively the same thicknesses as the aluminum I was going to use.

So I traced out the wave on cardboard and simply used the tool itself as a guide for the inside width and the thickness of the sheath. The first picture represents my first attempt at this. Then I folded the cardboard at all the creases and just tried to put the wave in. My first attempt was not very successful.

After realizing that my dimensions were all a bit small, I used that pattern to help me draw a slightly larger model on a new piece of cardboard. After folding this I realized that the knife fit almost perfectly. It was just snug enough that it could hold the knife in place.

With the second attempt a success, I used it's measurements as a guide to help me draw up a plan. Once drawn, I used that plan to draw out a scale pattern on a piece of paper. I again folded the paper to make sure the knife still fit well and it did.

So after lots of thinking, and a bit of prototyping I was able to come up with a fairly decent model of what I planned to make from aluminum.

Step 2: Use Your Plans!

Having come up with a decent pattern for the sheath from paper, I needed to put it onto the aluminum.

By the way, I am using a piece of aluminum I bought from McMaster. Here is the description :Multipurpose 6061 Aluminum, Brushed Finish, 0.050" Thick, 6" X 6". I downloaded there app and ordered it that way. I believe it was about $7 for the aluminum and $7 for shipping.

So, I put the paper pattern on the aluminum and just traced it with a pencil. After tracing I took and cut out the outside shape using my jigsaw with a metal blade. I also used a small file to clean up the edges a little.

Step 3: Bending

This next step was the toughest I think. In the video, Adam has a real metal break and numerous tools at his disposal. I have an old vice, a hammer and some vice grips. It was an interesting experience to say the least, heres how it went.

Since I've never bent metal before in my life (at least not on purpose) I wasn't sure what to expect. Since I had a bit of scrap aluminum after my cuts I decided to test my Bending. I marked a straight line and clamped the aluminum in the vice at the mark I made. I then used a hammer to lightly tap the aluminum into a fold. My first attempt, I hammered to close to the bend and tore the metal a bit. So I tried again tapping about a half an inch farther away from the crease and had much better results.

Having an idea of how to get the aluminum to bend I decided to start Bending my sheath! I ran into all sorts of trouble with this. I realized the jaws on my bench vice were really thick so I couldn't bend the small edges first. So I decided to do the big bends first. I bent one side over, the slid the knife in to see if my marks were right. And actually, very similar to Adam, I found if I bent the metal at my marks I would have made it too big for the knife.

I wish I had taken better pictures of this part, but alas I did not. I had to set the metal in the vice prepared to be bent and I slid the knife in between the vice and the other bent side. All this to try and get a feel for the size of the knife and the sheath. Sorry for not having a decent explanation of this.

I did make the second bend though, but I couldn't get it bent to a 90° angle, again because the vice was rather large. So I cut a piece of wood to slide into the sheath so that I could hammer the side to close the gap without destroying what I had done so far.

Luckily, the knife fit!

Step 4: More Bending

For Bending in the edges, I tried quite a few things before I stumbled upon this pair of vice grips and chisel. First I tried to us a pair of pliers and a Cresent wrench to persuade the metal. And I tried to just hammer the it down but had no support for the rest of the side. So after some sifting through my tool box I realized that my chisel is the same width as my Leatherman! So I used a pair of vice grips to hold my chisel to the inside of my sheath and then I was able to hammer down the outside lips.

Step 5: Belt Loop

There seems to be many ways to make and fasten a belt loop. In the video Adam explains his first sheath had a leather loop attached with rivets, and his latest version has the loop built in by Bending out the metal in the sheath itself.
Now, I don't have a rivet gun... Or rivets... Or even leather. I also don't trust myself not to ruin my only piece of aluminum that I have already been lucky enough to have bent correctly the first time. So I decided to try and make a loop from the extra aluminum I had from my cutting to make a belt loop from.

So I first measured out the loop, and cut out a piece with my jigsaw. And then I made my first two bends. I soon realized though that my loop would not be big enough for my belt. So I tried to bend the aluminum back and actually broke it right at my bend. Now realizing that I need to be careful and to make the bends bigger, I worked carefully on what was left of my piece.

Step 6: Attach the Loop

After researching the Internet, I realized that JB weld is some pretty good stuff for holding two pieces of aluminum together. So I sanded down all parts to be joined, mixed my apoxy and set the pieces. I let them set overnight to cure the weld.

Step 7: Finishing

I took a small file and some 150 grit sand paper to soften all the edges of the sheath.

I proudly wore it to work!

Step 8: Done!

This isn't the prettiest thing in the world, but it is functional. And I am still really excited to think about the fact that this was just a flat piece of aluminum and now it's a 3D Leatherman holster! So exciting!

I want to thank Adam Savage for his great idea! Check him out on Tested. Com where you can watch him make some incredible things!

So here is my first instructable, it's a bit strange since this wasn't my idea. But I was really excited about the process. I was really excited about making something new, something that would house my new favorite pocket tool my Leatherman wave! Since I was so excited, I wanted to try and share my experience. I hope this is helpful,thanks for reading!


AbdonS1 made it! (author)2017-06-20

I made my own and I love it

yourbadneighbor (author)2016-12-04

If you are interested & need a brake I think there is an Instructable on how to make one on the very cheap with hinges and angle iron, also several awesome videos on YouTube for different size brakes. A friend and I made one to use once, worked great.
What are you going to make next?

Meglymoo87 (author)2016-05-19

Nice 'ible :)

bcronin (author)Meglymoo872016-05-20


gigin (author)2016-05-06

this project can be applied to another leatherman models?

bcronin (author)gigin2016-05-06

Absolutely! In Adam savages video he shows a version of this that he made for a Leatherman charge. It's just a matter of folding the metal to the right size. Using cardboard to start off with was a great tool to help with that. Good luck!

ParkerOssmann (author)2016-05-02

Adam savage??

bcronin (author)ParkerOssmann2016-05-02

Adam Savage is the guy from Mythbusters, if you do an Internet search I'm sure you'll find him.

awetherington1 (author)bcronin2016-05-05

Adam savage made this same thing on Tested

APACHESOLDIER (author)2016-05-02

Congrats on the WAVE, and great job on the carry sheath.
Bending can be a real pain with basic tools, I worked on a thin metal project a while back with similar limitations and struggles, and came up with 2 methods that you and others might find useful.

The first method involves two "T" handled #2 Phillips screwdrivers. Near the handle over both stemsyou place a small screw adjustable hose clamp, then your material, and a second hose clamp on the end. The advantage of this method is the T gives you turning leverage producing a slow smooth gentle curve as far as about 160° if you clamp or vise it 1/8" - 1/4" below the bend line, and possibly a full 360° with practice.

This second method gives you a tighter bend also to near 180° or even better with practice. It requires either 2 metal bars of varying widths, with bolt holes at each end to sandwich your material. As an alternative, two thick(ish) pieces of hardwood with bolt or screw holes at each end can be used in similar fashion. Hope this helps if you ever decide to create WAVE sheath v2.0 one day.

bcronin (author)APACHESOLDIER2016-05-02

That sounds like a good idea! Thank you for the suggestion!

About This Instructable




Bio: just a math teacher, working on fun projects to keep my sanity.
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