Introduction: Leatherman Tool Case
I carry a Leatherman multitool every day. These tools are well made and very versatile, and having one on my belt saves me from constantly having to go to my tool box.
While the tools are well made, the cases they offer are not so good. I grew weary of having to replace their cases as they wore out, so I decided to make my own. I don't consider myself a real leather worker, although I do have a little experience making knife sheaths. In making this case, I used the following tools and supplies:
- shop knife
- leather punch
- stitching awl
- small mallet
- snap setter
- 3 oz vegetable tanned leather
- nylon stitching thread
- glue (I used white glue)
- one set of snaps
- bianchi clip (optional)
- leather dye
- neutral shoe wax
- scrap plywood
Step 1: Make a Mold for Forming the Pocket
I began by deciding the dimensions I needed for the "pocket" that the tool would ride in. Once I decided on the dimensions, I made a male mold using some scrap wood (on the right in the photo).
Next I made the female part of the mold using scrap wood (on the left side of the photo). I made the cutout for this part of the mold the width of the male part of the mold plus an allowance on three sides for the thickness of the leather. This allowance is important because you will be stretching the leather over these three sides.
Another important thing to note: Be sure to sand all the edges that will be contacting the leather -- it helps to round them over slightly, because you don't want this mold to dig into the leather.
Step 2: Form the Pocket
Take a piece of leather that has plenty of allowance on each side of the pocket (a couple of inches is a good idea) and soak this in water until it is thoroughly saturated. Place the wet leather (good side up) over the male part of the mold, and then place the female part over it.
Push the pieces of the mold together as much as you can, then clamp it on three sides to force the leather to follow the mold. Set this aside for 6-8 hours as it dries. After 6-8 hours, remove the leather from the mold and let it finish drying overnight.
Once it has dried, now is a good time to punch a hole for mounting the male part of the snap.
Step 3: Work on the Back of the Case
I like using a bianchi clip on cases like this, because it allows me to put the case on my belt without having to thread it on. If you don't want to go this route, you can just make a loop on the back.
I use two pieces of leather for the back. The outer piece I use to install the bianchi clip, then I glue it to the other piece. I make it a bit oversized so that when I attach it to the front (pocket), I can trim the case all at once.
Once the glue is dry, I sew a longer piece of leather to the top (3rd photo) -- this will become the closure for the case. I cut it a little oversize so I can trim it to fit after I've sewed everything together.
Step 4: Glue It All Together & Trim
Glue the pocket to the back, trim it using your shop knife, and punch holes for sewing. It's beginning to look like a case!
Step 5: Sew!
Sew the pieces together. I use a sewing awl, but you could also use a pair of leather sewing needles if you wish. Once the stitching is finished, I tie the nylon off and put a tiny drop of super glue on the knot to keep it from unraveling.
Step 6: Trim the Flap and Set the Snap
Place the tool in the case and measure how much to trim off of the flap -- be sure to leave enough room for the snap, with a little extra to make it easy to unsnap it. Then install the snap.
I then wet the leather of the flap and snap it shut. I do this so the flap gets formed over the top of the Leatherman tool. It's a good idea to use a plastic bag to keep moisture off the tool. Let this dry for several hours.
Step 7: Final Step
At this point you can add any decorative elements you wish. I added some stitching around the snap and a piece of leather down the middle of the pocket (shown in the photo), but this is not necessary.
The last step is to stain the leather and add a protective finish. I use leather stain and several coats of neutral shoe polish.
I hope you have found this helpful. This is not a difficult project, and if you carry a multitool, I can say from experience that this case will last -- I've carried this one every day for the past 3 years!
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