How to Make a Knife Sheath From Leather




I got a knife while in Vietnam, but it looked drab with not proper handle or sheath. My next problem to overcome was my lack of leather working tools; leather punch, needle, cutters etc.
A little patience and basic tools got me what I wanted in the end

This project is low cost (I spent less than equiv 9USD) and will suit pretty much any home made or store purchased knife/sword

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Step 1: Materials

-Knife/Sword of your choosing
-Stiff(ish) Leather, Dimensions will depend on blade size
-About 190cm of Paracord (preferably not gutted) or other medium thick twine
-Thread for sewing
-All purpose glue

-Craft Knife
-Heavy duty scissors
-Bulldog clips aka "Binder clips"
-Drill with very small bit

Step 2: Sheath Cutting

-Place the blade on a bit of paper and trace around it
-Enlarge the template by 2.5cm on both sides then cut out
-Use some tape to stick it to the back of the leather
-Cut the shape out ONCE using craft knife and scissors
-Flip this shape over so its nice side up then used it as a guide to cut a second piece of leather

-For a belt loop, cut out a piece of leather 7-8cm high by 2.5cm less than the width of the template

Step 3: Sewing Prep

-Before you proceed with the next step, clip the sheath together down the side and insert the knife. If the sheath seems to wide, which it probably will be, trim it down a touch

-Mark a line 0.5cm from the edge down both sides of one piece
-Mark 0.5cm increments down all the lines on the leather
-Drill holes (making sure they are straight down) at the increment markings
-Position belt loop piece and do the same, but allow for thickness of belt

Step 4: Sewing

-Tread the strongest possible needle you can find
-Sew on the belt loop first, using the classic over-under stitch

-Continue by sewing the two halves of the sheath together using the same stitch. Sewing both ways will ensure maximum strength
-Use the pliers to help the needle through when it inevitably gets jammed

Step 5: Handle

-Fold the Paracord evenly in half
-Hold the fold onto the knife handle
-Make a girth hitch by passing the other ends around the handle and through the fold
-Wrap both free ends around the handle until you reach the other end of the handle

-Tuck end 1 under the last two wraps and up
-Poke end 2 between the last and second last wraps
-End 1 goes over last wrap then under and through
-Shove End 2 down under the whole wrap
-Repeat with End 1

-To cover the otherwise bare and ugly handle end, glue a thin strip of leather around it. This serves a double function as it stops your hand slipping off

This PDF has some other ideas that can be adapted for handle wraps

Step 6: Finishing

-Squeeze a spot of glue between the halves of sheath at the the corners
-Use the rasp to make the top of the sheath even
-Tidy up the sides with the rasp

-If you haven't already, sharpen the knife. Tim Anderson's Instructable is what I used to get a ridiculously sharp edge

-Increase the water resistance of the sheath by rubbing in or spraying on the waterproofing stuff for hiking boots



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    24 Discussions

    Thanks. The kife was cut out of a flat sheet of metal, the template made in such away that when you fold the handle around, it forms a tube. Yes, it's hollow ;)

    That's a good idea! It would only fit the bar essentials though. And yes, I did get the base knife in (North) Vietnam at a place called Bac Ha Markets or something

    in the survival kit you dont need that much so it would fit char cloth matches fishing line hooks thats all you need lol i go in the woods a few days at a time and live on that stuf and you went to nam wow were you in the war or did you just go there on your own

    Lol, not the war. Went to north Vietnam for a 16 day holiday with my family. A few days in Hanoi, 3 day cruise in Halong bay then to Bac ha, Sapa, Dein Bein Phu Battlefield (where the french Imperialists were defeated on 7th may 1954) then to Son la and back to Hanoi. Bloody cheap place to travel to once you get to the un-touristy places

    Lol, you'd probably have to go to the DMZ and South Vetnam for that stuff... The north shows mostly stuff about when the french were occupying there. The highest mountain in Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Nam) is in the north as well


    5 years ago

    It looks like you could put a pole into that hole in the handle and make a spear


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you ! I got more pics on as well as better pics of the hat. lol After doing the barding in the brim (Both Sides ) I seen why the Mad Hater went mad not all by the glue they used back then. it was a new bared for me as well as first try


    9 years ago on Introduction

    This is good for a beginner in leather craft it would be an improvement to put a welt in the seem where the blade rest this will protect the stitching from being cut in time as the knife blade slides in and out of the sheath. I do this to all the sheaths I make. before stitching it in I cote the edge of the welt with tooling rouge. this helps keep the blades edge razor sharp when you pull the knife for use. try using the saddle stitch it makes a better stitching bond. for a nice look go with a braided Mexican edge lacing. The next sheath I do I will take some pics and post a lible. here is some of the leather works I have done!/album.php?aid=2074361&id=1201925724

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    sorry about the link ! that part is not by my doings. however looks like I will be doing a sheath soon. I got a knife that has a vary cheep sheath and I am about out of the leather for my Aviation Series of leather projects . lol so now the sheath moves up on the bench list. My work shop is not what one would call proper it is a bed room that I sleep in. I developed many short cuts to aid in the lack of a dream work shop if you like send me an e mail here and I perhaps we can go from there on hooking you up to the face book link I posted


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm going to post a modification/improvement step when next time I get access to a proper workshop. I had a bad experience with the stitching on sunday when I took this into the jungle with me...