I thought I would share a recent, and relatively quick, project that you might be interested in. More and more I am getting requests for knife and dagger sheathes that lie horizontally along the belt rather than down the leg. A client of mine asked mt to take his existing leather sheath with Western Diamondback inlay and make him a lay-along sheath. This project took about 4 hours from start to finish.
Step 1: Popping the Rivets.
In the case of this sheath (get it? case? ;) the existing belt loop was riveted to the back with four rivets. If you are lucky it will be stitched and can be cut cleanly with a sharp knife. In this case, however, you can get a pair of nippers or needle nose pliers and pry the edge of the rivets upward. Once you get an edge to grab onto you can take a pair of pliers and rip them off. You can do all the damage you want to the existing strap because we are tossing it and making a new one. The rivets from this strap were seated inside the sheath so I had to dig down with my pliers and scrape them out. I did not want to disrupt the existing lacing unless I absolutely had to.
Step 2: Refinishing and Restrapping
The sheath was originally stained after the belt loop was installed. Not really sure why someone would do that, but hey, it looked pretty good until I tore it apart so who am I to judge. When I attempted to re-stain the sheath to hide the raw leather I found that it was glazed heavily and initially it resisted the stain in a sticky gooey mess. I re-stained it again and let it dry thoroughly before I buffed it smooth. After about an hour it was as good as it was going to get. He knew about the holes that would be left behind and wasn't worried about them being patched. I cut a strap roughly 3 inches wide and 7 inches long and stained it with a Bordeau Water-based stain from Eco-Flo. A few coats was enough to match the color and a few coats of clear sealer was enough to bring out the shine. Next up, I laid the sheath on the strap and cut a line to match the curve of the sheath on the strap where I wanted to mount it. I selected a spot about an inch offset from center to give a little more adjustability on the belt. I then cut the strap along those score lines, beveled the edges and stained them to hide the raw end. After that I flipped the sheath and strap over and did the same thing, keeping the original strap end slightly above the laces on one side and scored my line above the laces on the other side. I cut the excess off and cut a groove along the end of each strap for my holes. I laid the strap over the top edge of the sheath to create a universal belt loop that can be used on both sides. Since the blade is smaller than the sheath I was able to punch the holes directly through both sides of the sheath and stitch the strap on using braided and waxed nylon thread. It is a fairly basic project, but it creates a slick and useful sheath that can be worn anywhere along on the belt.