Making a Leather Sheath For My First Forging Project: a Viking Knife

A month ago I took a bladesmithing class and learned how to make a viking knife. In this video I will take on another leather working project: make a leather sheath for that extremely sharp hand forged knife.

Video transcript:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. My name is Tony and in this video I will be making a leather sheath to protect this viking knife that I forged myself. Have fun watching!

Like I mentioned I made this knife myself so here is some footage of me forging it. I don’t have my own forging workshop so I took this awesome class led by Maarten Jacquot in Eindhoven in the Netherlands. You can follow him on YouTube as well so I posted a link in the description box, be sure to check it out.

Ever since watching the movie Pirates of the Caribbean forging has been on my mind. Fueled by Alec Steele’s enthusiasm I decided that it was time to take on Maarten Jacquot’s class and learn how to forge a viking knife. It’s made out of O1 tool steel, is extremely sharp but it doesn’t have a sheath so making that is what this video is going to be all about.

This sheath consists out of three parts: the main part, the belt loop and the welt. The first step is to trace the shape of the knife on some paper. I do this by folding a sheet of paper, putting the knife between it with the spine against the fold, then I press the paper around the knife to get the shape transferred to the piece of paper. Then I trace it with a pencil and add two centimetres, or three quarters of an inch. After that I cut out the shape with a pair of scissors.

I am making the sheath out of three and a half millimeters thick veg tan leather. Using a sharp awl I transfer the shape of the piece of paper to the leather. After that I cut it out with a Stanley knife. I also cut out a 25 millimeters, or an inch, wide strip to make the belt loop out of and I cut out the welt which is 15 millimeters thick or 5/8 of an inch. To get the shape of the welt I transfer the shape of the main parts onto the leather again using the awl and then I cut it out.

Now that I have all the parts cut out I break the edges using an edge beveler. This will make burnishing easier and will provide a professional look to the final product. Using some water and the burnishing tool I burnish the edges of the belt loop.

After that it is time to glue the welt to the inner side of the main part of the sheath I use contact cement for this and let it dry for about 5 minutes before pressing the parts together.

With hole punches I first prepare the belt loop for stitching onto the sheath. With an awl I make sure that the holes on the sheath match the holes on the belt loop before using the punches to make holes in the sheath. Because I don’t have all these professional leather working tools and I want to show you that you actually don’t need many of those to begin with, I use a 10 millimeter wrench to press the stitching groove into the leather after which I punch the stitching holes.

Before pressing my maker’s mark into the belt loop and the sheath I soften the leather by soaking it with some water. Then I use my bench vise to press my 3D printed mark into it. This works like a charm.

I only have one color of dye which is dark brown. Before applying it with a dauber I dampen the leather. I learned from previous projects that leather dries out a bit after applying alcohol-based dyes. Applying some water and diluting the dye helps preventing this. I also apply neatsfoot oil when the dye has dried. This feeds the leather and helps to keep it supple.

The dye has fully dried and I applied tons of neatsfoot oil in an attempt to keep this leather supple. As you can see it’s very flexible so that worked out great. Now I’m going to attach this belt loop to the sheath and after that I’m going to use my stitching pony to stitch alongside these edges to close  this sheath up. If you want to find out how I made my stitching pony hit the link suggestion at the top right of your screen.

To get a better bond between the parts before gluing I make scratches in the leather where the glue will go. Then I apply contact cement, wait for it to dry, press the parts together and stitch it up using my stitching pony. The belt loop’s stitching holes need to be aligned with the holes of the sheath. I use two needles for this purpose, then I clamp it in my stitching pony and start stitching.

If you want to find out in detail how to saddle stitch using a stitching pony or you even might want to make one yourself, I have other videos about those topics as well as other leather and woodworking videos. Please subscribe to my channel and you will not miss any of them!

You just saw me attaching the belt loop to the sheath. The sheath is still not closed so I will repeat the whole process again but this time to close the sheath by gluing and stitching. Again I am going to scuff the leather first so that the glue will leave a tight bond. I let the contact cement dry for five minutes, press the top and bottom together with the punched holes aligned as good as possible for easy stitching and after that I clamp the project in the stitching pony and do some more saddle stitching.

Finally, when everything is glued and stitched together, I will finish this project by sanding the rough edge. Then, using some water and the burnishing tool, I make the stitched edge smooth and shiny. Then I apply a generous amount of bees wax based leather conditioner to seal and feed the leather and this sheath is ready to be used.

I made the knife in someone else’s workshop but I made this awesome sheath right here at home so that finishes yet another project. Now in the future I also want to be able to do some forging at home so I got myself a nice little anvil but unfortunately the previous owner he welded shut the hardy hole and the pritchel hole so before using it I want to find a way to open those holes up. If you have any advice for me on how to do that please let me know in the comments below because I don’t have that much metalworking experience but I’m sure willing to learn.

Now if you have liked this video please let me know by hitting the like button and if you want to see more projects like these in the future, please subscribe to my channel and for now I’d like to thank you for watching. Bye, bye!

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.