Introduction: An Alternative Leatherman Sheath
About a year ago, I bought a Leatherman Charge TTi multitool which came with a rather bad leather sheath. The famous inventor of multitools once produced very fine leather sheaths, like the beautiful brown one that came with my first Leatherman Wave in 2003. But for some unknown reasons, their current sheaths (since 2004, actually) are either bulky, ugly or too stiff – and also do not really offer the space required for a Leatherman Charge TTi (or Wave 2004) and its bitholder. Everything fits inside but it takes a lot of force to pull the bitholder out. Also, there’s a hole at the bottom of the sheath which is supposed to be good + so that you can rest the opened tool inside the sheath. It's not that bad but I actually never used it.
I may not be the only one with this problem, and have in the past used a variety of other (+ nylon) sheaths to tackle this problem (tool & bitholder in one place). There seems to be a market for customized solutions, but I am based in Germany where it's very hard to find such ready-made sheaths, so I had to make my own. This time I wanted to make a sheath out of leather.
Step 1: Prepare Your Leather
First step was to surf around and check various online resources for inspirations. I actually already knew what I wanted to build – my first Leatherman Wave sheath from 2003 had set the standard for me. I wanted something like this…. but only bigger.
Next step: leather. Found a very nice & cheap offer for leather stripes (2-3 mm thickness) on eBay, which was exactly what I was looking for.
Ok, now how do I get this material into shape? Does it really require to be formed into shape? And when does this need to be done? Prior to or after sewing the parts together?
Sometimes you just have to do things your way. If it feels right, do it. So i dampened the leather, sealed the knife and bitholer in a plastic bag and placed it inside the leather which I then pressed into shape. Placed all of it on the heating in the bathroom and waited for it to dry up. Oh, and I used a stapler to hold it all together. This stapler method is rather primitive, but it gets the job done.
Step 2: Holes!
Next step: holes. Lots of them. I think there’s a wheel to mark the correct pitch between the holes, but since I do not own such an advanced tool, I just marked everything by rule of thumb and punched holes with an awl.
Step 3: Stitching...
After the first stitches with special leather yarn, I realized that the one I used is too thin (2x, left), so I went for the only thicker one I had (3x, right).
I may not be a professional and my seams may show that I am a bloody beginner, but at least I am using two needles.
Step 4: Finishing
I then dampened the leather again and used the wodden knob to flatten the edges of the leather. Again, I am no expert and maybe there’s a proper way for doing this (Dremel?), but I just looked at the old sheath and realized it had to work out somehow. Well, it did. Edges are smoothened now and quite shiny. Nice!
Step 5: Comparison
You may note the nylon sheaths. These are also fine but (except for the SCHRADE TOOL sheath) only accommodate the tool itself, not the bitholder. Again, I don’t know why Leatherman does not produce proper sheaths. Something like the dark brown LM Wave sheath (which imo is the best) from 2003, but bigger. You will also notice my beginner’s style and how dumb my own sheaths (noticed the blue one? :-) actually look when compared to the professional solutions.
One possible solution would probably have been to further apply some wax on the new sheath and darken it. Well, I polished it with some special leather wax, but also applied this (a bit too) dark brown leather colour onto it. Looks ok, but I also know what to improve on next time.