Making a Sheath for Leatherman Wave and Bit Kit

This time I’m making a sheath for a Leatherman Wave multitool. This wet molded leather sheath has two pouches: one for the Leatherman multitool and another one for the bit kit you can get for it. The video will show you the entire process how this sheath is made, so you can make one yourself too. The Leatherman Wave is such a handy thing to carry around, so go ahead and see if you want to make this sheath too. Have fun watching!

Check out my merchandise store to support the channel, graphics designed by Martin of Idyllio Design.

Video transcript:

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Tony Needs Hobbies. My name is Tony and in this video I am going to make a pouch for both the Leatherman Wave multitool as well as for the bitkit that you can get for it. Have fun watching!

I have made some pouches before for my Swiss army knives and I got some comments on that video that it should have included a belt loop. So for this project I will definitely not forget about the belt loop. But before we start working on that we have to mold the leather first. Let’s get on with that.

Let’s take a look at the tool and bitkit and take some measurements. The Leatherman Wave is 18 millimeters thick and the two parts of the bitkit are in total 15 millimeters thick. That is very convenient, since those thicknesses are also standard thicknesses for plywood and I luckily have some sheets lying around in the shed.

I am going to wet mold leather to form the front pieces of the sheaths. The mold consists out of one insert piece that has the same size as the multitool or bitkit, one piece that is just a square with the other piece cut out, and a piece to clamp it all to. For the slightly smaller pouch for the bitkit I use the same cutout but a slightly smaller insert.

After transferring all the measurements onto the wood I cut the pieces out using my jigsaw. Then I round off all of the corners and edges with this little disc sander. It’s actually a bit too small for pieces this size, but can do the job if you are careful enough. With some hand sanding all the roughness has to be removed, because anything that remains will transfer into the leather when molding, which is the step that I will do next.

For a rugged and sturdy sheath I am using 3.5 millimeters thick, or 9 ounce veg tan leather. In order for it to wet mold it needs to be wet of course. I’ll put it in water and let it soften until all bubbling is gone. Then I take it out of the water, put the leather on the work bench and let the water that’s still on the surface absorb.

Before squeezing the leather in between the parts of the mold I will first try to give it some initial shape with my hands. The leather is then covered in saran wrap, as is the mold, so that there is no chemical interaction between to wood and the wet leather, which might result in staining. I loosely secure it a bit so that I am still able to stretch the leather out so that it sits flat to the mold. Then I clamp it all together tightly using some quick release clamps.

Now we have to wait a couple of hours until the leather has taken on the shape of the mold. That gives me the perfect opportunity to introduce you to these T-shirts that I have been wearing lately. They are designed by Martino of Idyllio Design – you might have seen him appear in some videos on this channel. The T-shirts are available through my merchandise store and I have many designs available including some tools that I use regularly on this channel like the wing dividers that are on this T-shirt. I will use the wing dividers later on in this video. Please have look in the merchandise store and don’t feel obliged to buy anything but if you do, it will greatly help out this channel. So now I will continue with this video tomorrow morning and through the magic of video editing, that will be right now.

The next day I take the leather out of the mold and let it dry completely. While the molded parts are drying out, I can start working on the other parts.

The front pieces for both the multitool itself as well as the bitkit came out of the mold perfectly fine. So now I can continue with creating the back part including the flap and, not to forget, the belt loop.

I have to dye the leather first and while I was preparing for that, I emptied almost the entire bottle over myself, from which I learned to always wear gloves when working with dye… Fortunately there is still just enough dye left to dye all the pieces since I often dilute it. My dying work isn’t perfect, but it will nicely dry up into an even mahogany color. It would have been more even if I would have used circular motions when applying it, another thing I learned.

Using the strap cutter I cut a 25 millimeter strap to make the belt loops from which I then cut into two 80 millimeter pieces. Then I’ll cut off the corners for better looks. I also cut off the excess from the front pieces to leave a wide enough border for stitching later on.

Then the most difficult part: the back and flaps. I cut it out to be as wide as the two molded pieces, and long enough so that the flap can close the pouches. Then with all kinds of tools and cutters I create the shape of this part. It’s all quite rough, but during the finishing process it will start to look real good, I promise, but I cannot start with that before installing the snap buttons. Since the molded parts have some sort of weird shape I use a hammer as an anvil to be able to cut the holes and install the buttons. For the flaps that is not needed, it’s done on the bench surface.

I want this to be my best work yet, and in order to achieve that, I have to finish the edges now, that I cannot reach when the pieces are put together. I’ll start with the belt loops, but first I have to make stitching holes in them before I will edge finish them. For finishes I like a natural finished look that I get by using an edge beveller, dye, gum trag, beeswax and a slicker. I first bevel the front and back edges, then dye them, apply the gum trag and shine it up with some cloth. In between each of the steps I wait for around five minutes for the liquids to soak in. Finally I rub beeswax on and slick it with this wooden slicker. I’m very pleased with the look that this process provides so I did it for the unreachable parts of the front pieces as well and I will finish all the other edges later on in exactly the same way.

Now I have finished the edges of all the pieces and locations that I can no longer reach once this thing has been constructed. The next step is putting it all together. For that I will make use of my homemade stitching pony and I will use a saddlers stitch to stitch it all together.

I start with the belt loops. For better adhesion, I use a scratching awl to roughen up the surface where the glue goes. Then some contact cement is applied and distributed into an even coat. After waiting until the glue is dry to the touch, I align the holes with some needles so I can easily stitch the parts up. Once both loops are glued to the back I can commence with stitching.

The beginning and end of each row of stitches is double stitched for extra durability. I will explain how I’m stitching later on, but there are many instructions available on YouTube, including one of my own videos. When a row is completed I double stitch two stitches, cut the thread on the suede side of the leather, melt it using a lighter and hammer down the stitches to improve the looks.

Following this I have to punch holes for stitching the molded parts to the back. First I will mark where the holes have to go using this beautiful high quality pair of wing dividers that I found at a garage sale. For decoration purposes I continue this line along the edge of the flaps. Then I punch exactly the same amount of holes at exactly the same position on both the back part and the molded pieces so that the holes line up nicely. Starting with one of the molded parts, I glue it to the back and stitch it up as clean as I can.

For this I use a saddlers stitch. This means I use one long thread and two needles. Both needles go back and forth through the leather resulting in a full row of stitches on both sides. It’s probably the most durable ways to stitch leather because every stitch you make is locked tightly. Also, if you give it some practice, it looks really good. Mine look good now after some practice. I still see some inconsistencies in this work, but in general I’m very pleased with the result so I can move on to the finishing steps.

Now it is all glued and stitched up I’m going to hammer down the stitches, then smoothen the edges by sanding them down and then do the edge finishing in exactly the same way as how I finished the edges of the belt loops. Then this project is finished.

When everything was smooth from sanding with 180 grit sandpaper, I made a mistake by going straight into dying. I forgot that I needed to bevel the edge first, so I’ll fast forward to that. After this dye application I had to wait until it was completely dry again. Then I beveled all the edges inside and out, and dyed the exposed undyed leather again. Here you see my inexperience and it costs me a lot of time. I’m just figuring out what I need to do as I go and sometimes that means mistakes will be made. If you face this too: don’t worry as many of the mistakes can be fixed as you can see later in my final result.

Let’s continue with the next step: applying gum trag on the edge. I use a liberal amount and let it soak in before I use a rag to shine it up. It’s super easy and already gives a nice look, but to improve durability I will seal it by applying beeswax and slicking the edge with a wooden edge slicker.

This is thick leather, so in order for it to bend properly and pre-condition the flap to be bendable I wet it just a tad, let the water soak in and then bend the flaps over. Then I wait for it to completely dry again so that I can continue with the last step.

And the final step that I take for most of my projects is first applying some beeswax based conditioner, after which I apply neatsfoot oil. This will feed the leather and will also make it a bit darker and evens out some of the irregularities from dying. That was the final step, so here is the result!

In my opinion this sheath for a Leatherman Wave plus its bitkit is the best looking leathercraft project that I have made in my leatherworking journey and I hope you agree. If you agree, or disagree, let me know in the comment section. That would greatly help out this channel. You can also support the channel by hitting the like button and you can support it even more by taking a look in the merchandise store which I will link in the top right corner as well as in the description. In the merchandise store you can buy T-shirts like the one I’m currently wearing with tools on it that I use in the workshop regularly. You can get them with the word mark, or without, whatever you like. And as I said, it would greatly help out this channel.

I hope you have enjoyed watching this video and if you did, then let me know by hitting that like button. Please also consider subscribing to the channel for more content like this in the future. That’s it for now. I would like to thank you for watching. Bye, bye!

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