Introduction: Woodsman Knife Sheath

Picture of Woodsman Knife Sheath

I made a file knife and thought this might be a good instructional on how I make sheaths.

Step 1: Cutting Out Leather

Picture of Cutting Out Leather

Cut out all your pieces of leather. I am using 3.4mm embossing leather for the front, sides and gusset and 2.5mm for the backing to support the suede.

I used a stanley knife and leather scissors to cut these pieces.

Step 2: Belt Loop Hole

Picture of Belt Loop Hole

Make any necessary belt holes you think you might need now. I have made two slots for the sheath to be worn on the back or the belt as well as side carry. You can buy these punches at leather shops or you could use a Stanley knife instead.

Step 3: Pencil Design

Picture of Pencil Design

The next step is to start marking out your border on your face piece so that you can draw your design out. Here I am using a tool called a saddle makers groover. This cuts a nice little line for you and is adjustable from the edge of the leather. The purpose of this tool is to set your border and to set the stitching into a protected area.

Begin being creative and map out a design. I like old 1920s patterns, they always seem to be fun to do.

Step 4: Cut Out Out the Cutouts (hehe!)

Picture of Cut Out Out the Cutouts (hehe!)

Next I have picked a few spots on my design to cut the leather away and these will become my feature effect in suede. Keep these and cut them out carefully as they will need to be fairly neat.

Once cut run your edges with an edge groover. This tool creates a nice small bevel on cut edges.

Step 5: Embossing!!

Picture of Embossing!!

Now the fun starts. Wet your face piece of leather down with a cloth or spray bottle.

I am using a swivel knife here which makes little "V" grooves in leather. It is a very useful tool and fun to use. Follow your pencil lines with this to create your base pattern. A good tip is to not make your design too tight in its design. Swivel knives take a bit of getting used to and don't do sharp turns and tight circles easily, however are great for setting clear lines.

Step 6: Edging

Picture of Edging

When your basic design is cut its time to use a small tool called a beveler. It is used to press the leather down to create a raised effect on your patterns. You can also use this tool to pattern the edge of lines.

Step 7: Pearing Tool

Picture of Pearing Tool

Use this tool to create dents in your leather on your flowers and alike. The tool next to it is a small circle pattern tool and I used it to decorate the flowers and make seed pods.

Step 8: Backgrounding

Picture of Backgrounding

Add any more details to your flowers you desire and border your cutouts with the swivel knife. Then move onto using your backgrounder to fill in all the space around your flowers and cutouts for the suede. When using a backgrounder try to rotate the tool to prevent any pattern of tool marks forming.

Step 9: Cutouts and Staining

Picture of Cutouts and Staining

Cut around the edge of the pieces you removed from the face so that they are slightly smaller and edge bevel them. I just bevelled on one side.

Next get some gloves ready to stain. I am using an antique here. This means it will stain anything embossed really dark and anything high not so much. You can see in the picture.

Step 10: Stitching

Picture of Stitching

Here I used a stitching awl to punch holes through the leather to run my thread through. I used waxed linen thread and hand sewing leather needles.

I ran the suede between the cut-out pieces and the main face of the sheath, adding a 2.5mm backing piece. I then stitched them together around the cutout shapes.

Step 11: Welt

Picture of Welt

Once your cutouts are in and stitched, it's time to prepare the welt by running the stitching awl through it and the backing piece.

The welt is important for a knife because it helps to provide a better fitting sheath and protects the stitching from the knife's edge.

Step 12: Tying It All Together

Picture of Tying It All Together

Run your stitching all around your sheath including your strap that will become a loop on the back for belt carry and back carry.

Funny that little bugs always seem to come visit.

Step 13: Cover Suede Clean Edges

Picture of Cover Suede Clean Edges

Cut duct tape to cover your suede. Use a stanley knife and heavy sandpaper to even and clean up the edges.

Give the sheath a coat of Antique stain and then a leather dressing.

Step 14: Handle Clasp

Picture of Handle Clasp

Cut a thin strip of leather, about 20mm in width, and stitch this on for the clasp.

Sew the belt loop in place using awl first to punch holes.

Lastly use a rivet setter and a press button set to finish your new sheath off.

Step 15: Finished

Picture of Finished

All done!

Here's a few ways you can carry your new sheath.

Hope you enjoyed.



inukiba (author)2016-05-06

I want that knife and sheath. they are gorgeous!

ccgeek (author)2015-06-02

that is a knife that jumped out of a fairy tail

IanM5 (author)2015-04-23

It was awesome. I modified it and made a runic design and had a mountain man version, that was so cool. Thanks for making this.

PowellMade (author)IanM52015-04-23

Awesome!! Have you got a picture? I would really love to see it.

IanM5 (author)PowellMade2015-04-25

I'll take a picture. I made it as a gift though, for a friend of mine who is backpacking, so it might take a while. Instead of your green, it had maroon, and instead of black, it was standard brown leather.

talhamk58 (author)2015-01-05

Hi awesome build but can't find anything on the knife and particularly the handle. I want know what u used for handle.

PowellMade (author)talhamk582015-01-06

Hey there buddy. There are some videos below that you can watch to find out a bit more about how I made the handle. This handle has Sambar stag, brass , compressed washers. Glue them all together over the tang and secure with a brass pin (also glued in). Let me know if you want to know more stuff and I can help you make your own. :)

mmmaraca (author)2014-10-27

Great tutuorial, thanks for taking the time to make it. Beautiful work.

errol.brizuela (author)2014-10-27

Just take my money already.

judith.hodgkinson.1 (author)2014-10-26

Good design... interesting the steps and instruments in making the sheath... fascinating... seems learnable... lot of good work to it I can see....

judith.hodgkinson.1 (author)2014-10-26

Good design... interesting the steps and instruments in making the sheath... fascinating... seems learnable... lot of good work to it I can see....

lisa.stanley.503 (author)2014-10-25

Amazing piece of craftsmanship.

spylock (author)2014-10-22

Nice job on the sheath,I would like to know a little more about the blade,looks like a lot of skill went into that as well.Also looks like something I would like to own.

PowellMade (author)spylock2014-10-22

Hi there the Knife is made from a Bellota hoof file/rasp. Its an old one. The company started back in 1908. Some skill is involved in making a file knife because you need to shape the blade while keeping the file cool, otherwise you will destroy the temper of the steel. The handle is called a "stacked handle" because its made by layering different materials over the tang of the knife. In this case I used Sambar stag for the pommel and white spacers. The other spacers are compressed black paper, brass and dyed silky oak (local tree here). Stacked handles date back a long time to many countries. I know the persians and the greeks made them way back and the americans have continued their popularity.

I hope this helps you. In future I plan to do a tutorial to help people make one.

Kind regards


spylock (author)PowellMade2014-10-23

-Ive made a dozen of so nice knives over the years ,most out of carbon steel,a couple out of damascus,so I know a good knife by site.It normally takes me about six weeks to turn one out(carbon)working on it a couple hours of the evening.I hate to bother you,and I know that cant be your first,do you sell them?I also wanted to ask about the paper as a spacer,I normally make my knives with the scales pinned to the blade with brass,but have seen custom blades in your style done with leather,but this is the first ever ever herd of it being done with paper,if you could tell me the advantage.I either give away,and have sold a few of my knives,I was wondering if there was any way I could see more of your work.No hurry here,just interested,nothing gets my attention like a nice blade,except maybe a nicer gun.

PowellMade (author)spylock2014-10-23

Here is the first stacked handle knife I have made." frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

The woodsman knife is my 5th stacked handle.

You asked about paper. I like paper because the epoxy used in between layers (See video) soaks into the paper making a hard epoxy disc that is coloured. The red discs in the video above are whats called "spacer material'. You can buy it from knife making websites in all sorts of colours and it is very hard wearing a strong.

I would love to see your knives post some pics here if you have them.

I'm currently working on a website to sell them. Finding time is tricky with a small family to support but I will get there. Just keep swimming just keep swimming.

Kind regards


spylock (author)PowellMade2014-10-24

You are very skilled,and look like youre still a young man yet.If you keep it up you are going to do some great things,and your work will command top price,I would like to own one of your blades when you get everything going,while I can still maybe afford one lol,I will check back from time to time to see how things are going.I will try to get my buddy Steve to bring by the last knife I made so I can get a photo for you,like I said earlier,my style is a little different,and Im not as good as you are,but I give it what I got,with what Ive got to give it with.Again Top notch work.

PowellMade (author)spylock2014-10-24

I am so blown away by the positive feedback I have received on here. All your comments and everyone's have been super encouraging for me and I thank you for that. I will contact you when I have the site up and running and put you first in line for a Powellmade knife. You will like the edge holding ability of them as I normally use powder metallurgy steels. Thank you so much.

Kind regards


spylock (author)PowellMade2014-10-25

Awesome looking forward to it.

Lethrwolf (author)2014-10-24

Nicely done on both knife and sheath. Only a couple things you might want to do different in the future... 1st: use rivets in the top corners of the sheath were the stitching gets the most stress, especially with larger knives. 2nd: punch two slits where the keeper stitches to the sheath and run it BEHIND the leather loop. If you have a very sharp knife, and it looks like this is, it could cut the leather. It also makes the keeper open up wider allowing less drag when removing and less likely to cut the stitching. Oh, one more thing... you mentioned not having unsightly knots in the stitching when coming to the end... back space 3 or 4 holes and them lightly pound it flat... the holes when they shrink will tighten around the stitching and keep it from coming loose, just cut the threads off flush in the back of the sheath. Hope this helps. Again, great work.


PowellMade (author)Lethrwolf2014-10-24

Thank you for those great suggestions! I like that keeper idea! This is such a great site!! Can't believe I only just found it. Thank you for your great input.


firstchef (author)2014-10-21

Well done Nick, better looking than anything I've seen at a store or gun show. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the info.

PowellMade (author)firstchef2014-10-23

Thank you for that message very kind of you and your welcome.

jess.larche (author)2014-10-22

no where near as fancy as yours but i did this one for my hunting knife

PowellMade (author)jess.larche2014-10-22

Well done. All hand stitched also!! The main thing is it holds your knife and protects the blade and you. Yours certainly would do this. Great to see a pic thanks for posting.

Smaj (author)2014-10-22

This is absolutely stunning, well done!

I think you've just given me enough inspiration to get into leather working! And tips?

PowellMade (author)Smaj2014-10-22

Hi and thank you for you lovely message!! For tips I would say start off small. I have only leather worked for a small time and the small projects have taught me a lot. I've made about 10 wallets 10 belts and 5 knife sheaths. Buy a small kit. Swivel knife, Edger (the tool not saddle makers groover) backgrounder and pearing tool. Start with Embossing leather or veg tan. It's easy to work and can be dyed moulded and shaped easily. Check out Caracodas bag. It is very professional and shows a good use of tools.

kibukun (author)2014-10-21

Love the design, very elven.

firstchef (author)2014-10-21

Well done Nick, better looking than anything I've seen at a store or gun show. Thanks for the inspiration. Keep up the good work. Thanks for the info.

ctwistedpair (author)2014-10-21

This is sweet! I have a short sword, sting, from the hobbit. Beautiful sword, lousy scabbard. Gonna give this a try.

PowellMade (author)ctwistedpair2014-10-21

Cool!! What a good idea. I'd be excited to see your end result. Blue glow fabric! Thanks for your comments message me anytime if you need help along the way.


nqtronix (author)2014-10-19

Want. This. So Badly.

Man, this is absolutly great, looks fantastic. Also a huge thumbs up for the instructable itself. I've rarely seen such professional photos. Great job. I guess you just got a new follower ;)

PowellMade (author)nqtronix2014-10-20

Very kind words. hopefully In the future I will set a website where people can come to look at and buy my knives. I love making knives its a passion for me.

DarkOneSS (author)2014-10-18

Good tutorial. I like your leather carving. Though it does bother me slightly that you called the welt a gusset... It's really only a terminology issue which makes me sound a bit pedantic. This is a good tutorial though.

PowellMade (author)DarkOneSS2014-10-19

Thank you for your correction. I want this to be a good tutorial so I've changed that so its easier to understand.

Kind regards


hunter999 (author)2014-10-19

Wow! This is very impressive, thanks for sharing :-)

Logan Hanssen (author)2014-10-19

Amazing sheath and knife! I can't wait for the knife inscrutable.

smorgsborg (author)2014-10-18

Wow! Beautiful work!

K.hall86 (author)2014-10-18

that knife looks like it used to be an old mill file.

Samuel kos (author)2014-10-18

The knife and sheath look like you stole it off of one of the elves in lord of the rings! Btw both sheath and knife look amazing

enelson8 (author)2014-10-18

I love the design of this! It turned out amazing!
You mentioned in the beginning that you made the knife, maybe you should make an instructable on how you made that.

PowellMade (author)enelson82014-10-18

Thank you. Great idea, I'll plan on making a knife one soon.

Thanks for the encouragement!


Nacho Drew (author)2014-10-18

I agree with enelson8, an in-depth tutorial for a knife would be incredible

PowellMade (author)Nacho Drew2014-10-18

Good idea. When I get some time I will endeavor to make one and post it up.

Thank you for making a comment


kakashibatosi (author)2014-10-18

Can you dye the leather before attaching it to the suede?

PowellMade (author)kakashibatosi2014-10-18

You surely can dye it first. I did a first Antique and then a touch up at the end.

Antique is a funny dye if you re-coat it strips off some of the first coat. Try it you will love working with it.

Kind regards


kingwolf44 (author)2014-10-18

Really well made tutorial I wish everybody did it this good!

PowellMade (author)kingwolf442014-10-18

Thank you so much for your nice comment. I really appreciate your kind words and that you went to effort of writing them.

MsSweetSatisfaction (author)2014-10-18

Woah! It's so pretty! You did an awesome job explaining your process, I need a knife so that I have an excuse to make this!

Thank you so much for your lovely comment. I will make a knife tutorial so you can make one of your own. :) thanks again


About This Instructable




Bio: My Name is Nick and I love making things!! Learning about everything is something I like to do. I have been a carpenter here in ... More »
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