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The Newbies Arena Are you new to knife making? Here is all the help you will need.

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Old 06-03-2017, 11:24 AM
Toni Toni is offline
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: Finland
Posts: 28
Leatherwork basics

So, I'm thinking of starting learning making sheaths, I went loking for some leatherwork tools, and decided that before I buy every tool I think might be helpful and looks cool I should ask people who actually know their stuff.
What are the most basic tools I'll need to make leather sheaths?

Also, can anyone recommend some books and/or youtube channels to help me get my basics in?
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:41 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wauconda, WA
Posts: 9,823
Basic tools for sheath making include a box cutter (for cutting the leather), a couple of large needles for saddle stitching, some heavy waxed thread, a snap setting set, and some dye. You can refine your sheath making by adding some skiving tools, a groove cutter, and a nylon burnishing tool.

There is a complete sheath making tutorial on my Hollow Grinding DVD if you want to see the entire process ....


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Old 06-03-2017, 12:56 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,344
Well Toni, Tandy leather has a whole bunch of Youtube videos on leatherworking, so I'd suggest you watch some of their basic leather working videos. Also go to and see if there is shipping to your country. You want vegetable tanned leather or tooling leather.

Weaver Leather Supply also has Youtube videos.

You will need a minimum amount of equipment to start, but it can get real expensive real fast. Tandy has some basic kits for sale around $80 USD, but it will contain the minimum of tools you'll need. Problem is you live in Finland and shipping may be prohibitive. Check and see, but the videos are a good place to start.

Now it says Guru and it used to say Master. I think I like Master better, though skilled would be the best description
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Old 06-03-2017, 01:43 PM
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Ray Rogers Ray Rogers is offline
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Add an overstitch wheel an an awl to my list above ...


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Old 06-03-2017, 01:46 PM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Location: Decatur, IL
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I don't know what you have available in Finland where it comes to leather working supplies but I'm assuming that you have you have your own supply houses. One tool that I have found extremely helpful is a stitching pony. They provide that third hand that you will frequently feel that you need when stitching a sheath. If you are handy enough with wood working tools you could build one.


If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 06-04-2017, 05:46 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,543
If you are the least bit skilled with your hands and have a basic set of shop tools for making knives, you can make 90% of your leather working tools yourself. Most are really very simple and can be made from a variety of "scrap" materials found in most shops.
The late Chuck Burrows also had a great beginners DVD if there are any still available. Very detailed instruction that is easy to follow and understand. Go down to the leather working section on these forums and do a search on Chuck's video also look at some of his will find it very inspiring. He was truly a master at leather crafting.
One thing to always remember - Before you start any leather working clean your shop of all dust and wash your hands. Dampened leather will soak up any speck of dirt it comes in contact with. Another is to not be miserly or stingy when you cut out your sheath pattern allow extra for adjustment, leather is an organic material and doesn't always do exactly what we want or expect.
Have fun.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

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Old 06-04-2017, 02:38 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Now live in Las Cruces NM.
Posts: 1,344
Also Toni you could use a rivet setter and rivets. I have made sheaths with rivets only (especially for axe heads) and the only stitching I did was the belt loop. Make sure the rivets are solid brass, you do not want brass plated ones as they will eventually rust, trust me I know. If you buy snaps or grommets always make certain they are solid brass or stainless like Chicago screws.
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:04 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Southeast Texas
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1. Tandy (and probably Amazon) sells a book titled, "The Art of Hand Sewing Leather" by Al Stohlman. It is the VERY best reference you will ever find for getting started. You will never regret buying this book.

2. For making sheaths, look for the DVD "Custom Knife Sheaths with Chuck Burrows" Chuck was a friend of mine who passed away long before his time. Any newby can follow the DVD, and even seasoned leatherworkers find things in there that they didn't know. Also, "Leather Tips from a Master" by Paul Long. Another superstar in sheathmaking, these DVDs are worth every penny.

3. Go to There's good sheath stuff on here, but that is an EXCELLENT forum for ALL kinds of leatherworking and it's a great place to ask questions.

God bless Texas! Now let's secede!!
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:22 PM
Herchmer Herchmer is offline
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 5
Not sure if you're still looking for info on leatherwork but Ian Atkinson has some amazing video tutorials on YouTube. He also covers tools, dyes and finishes. You can do some amazing work with the basic tools but you don't want to skimp on the leather itself. Good needles (John James) and good thread (tiger thread) are also important. Check out Ian's videos. Some are a bit long but packed with great info.
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