Introduction: The Maker Knife Leather Sheath

In this Instructable, I will show you how to make a leather Sheath for The Maker Knife. The Maker Knife is a really cool utility knife designed by the Youtuber Giaco Whatever. I thought it would be a fun idea to make a sheath to hold the knife and would be a great project to practice my leatherworking skills. I have tried to make this Instructable as simple and approachable as I can for beginners wanting to get started with leather work because it is great and easy to work with material.

Because the knife is quite a minimalist form I wanted to make the sheath small and fit on the back of my belt in a horizontal Scout hold so that it can be easily removed. After several design iterations, I came to a version which I liked and is similar to the geometric design of the knife. Attached are the dimensions that can be referred to when cutting the leather out.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

I want to make this project as approachable to beginners as possible because when I researched leatherworking I was overwhelmed by the leather, different tools, and finishes. If you are a maker you will most likely have the tools to start leather work for example sandpaper.

As a beginner, all you need is:

  • 2mm leather. This can be natural veg tan leather that you can dye at the end or any other leather offcuts. This project is small so will not be very expensive to purchase. I recommend looking at offcuts sold on eBay so that you do not need to invest in a large hide.
  • A Knife, to cut the leather.
  • Contact cement
  • Sewing needles and waxed thread
  • A burnishing tool which is basically a concave piece of wood, I use a drawer handle and it works fine.

Most of these Items can be purchased in cheap leatherworking kits.

Other tools you can use as well:

Step 2: Moulding the Leather

We need to mould the leather so that the knife is able to fit comfortably. First cut an oversized piece of leather that can be cut down to size once moulded.

To mould leather you will need to have a piece of wood, and some nails to make sure the leather is tight. You will also need to have some tools to mould the leather to fit the contours of the knife. As you can see, I used a variety of different pens.

Soak the leather in water so that it is malleable enough for you to curve it around the tight edges of the knife. Place onto the wood and start shaping the leather to the knife, use the pens to get a clean, tight shape. The nails can be used to hold the leather tight so that it is easier for you to work. Make sure that you do not scratch to leather with your nails or with your moulding tools because they will be visible when the leather is dried.

Now you can leave it overnight to dry before continuing to work on it. You can remove the knife after an hour because it will be soaked with condensation that could rust the blade.

Step 3: Cutting the Leather Finishing Edges

We now need to cut down the leather to size and finish the edges.

Mark 6mm from the edges of the leather and cut down. Refer to the geometry of the Maker Knife and the dimensions to cut the back plate.

Finishing leather edges:

  1. Sand the edges up to 400 grit.
  2. Apply dye.
  3. Use Gum or water to burnish.

Use regular sandpaper to smooth the edges down to 400+ grit so that all the edges are not fraying. Before we move on to sewing the moulded piece to the main piece we need to finish the front and back edges because they will not be accessible later. Apply Dye to the edges using a brush, cotton buds or a dye applicator.

Finally, we will burnish the edges to make them smooth, shiny and ensures the leather will not wear as easily. Apply Tragacanth gum to the edges or dampen the edges with water, then use your burnishing tool and rub the edges with pressure until they are smooth and shiny.

Step 4: Sewing

To bond leather together you need to use contact cement to glue then sew to secure.

Sand the faces where you will glue so that you can make a strong bond. You need to prepare the moulded piece to sew before you glue. Run the groover along the edges to create a consistent groove around. Use a stitching wheel to evenly mark out holes to sew, then punch them out with an awl or a drill.

Cut a long piece of waxed string and tie a needle to either end of the string. Refer to my images to view a simple way to tie the needles to ensure the string does not untie when you pull through the holes.

For this project, I use the double stitch technique. Start with the string even on both sides of the first hole, then pass the needle through the second hole then the other needle through the second hole and repeat for the rest of the holes by passing the needles threw from one side to the other. When you get to the end, go back one hole so that both the needles are on the backsides. Cut and burn the strings to complete.

Step 5: Fitting to Your Belt

Now you need to cut the holes for the belt to pass through. Line up your belt into the centre and mark the hight and the width. mark out the lines so that they are parallel and match the geometric design. Using a craft knife, carefully cut the hole out.

Step 6: Finishing

The whole project is nearly complete and can now be finished to make the project more aesthetic and durable. As I said previously you need to:

  • Sand the edges up to 400 grit.
  • Apply dye.
  • Use Gum or water to burnish.

Finally, apply rub all over with leather wax to give it a matte appearance or use leather oil.

Step 7: Further Development

When I tried on the sheath it felt insecure on my belt because I had made the belt loops oversized, so I went back and improved my design by making it a verticle hanging sheath of my belt.

I cut off the end of the sheath which was not needed and finished that edge. Then moved on to making the sash by cutting out a trapezium and sewing it together as shown in the pictures.

I much prefer this design because it feels more secure on my belt. As this was my second leather project, I think that it was very successful. I learnt several techniques such as moulding and improved my leatherworking skills.

I hope you like my end product and enjoyed reading this instructable.

Leather Challenge

Runner Up in the
Leather Challenge