Sunday, February 28, 2010

Custom leather sheath for the Pathfinder Knife

Let me start out by saying that there is nothing wrong with the leather sheath made by Blind Horse Knives. It holds the knife securely, is comfortable on the waist and is made well. Truth is though...there is just something special about using something you've made with your own hands.

This is my first try at making a knife sheath and I think it came out alright. I'm a fan of the "woodlore" style sheath and I thought that making one for the Pathfinder Knife would be a fun project.

Making a knife sheath isn't actually all that hard, and in fact can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. Since this was my first sheath I wanted something fairly straight forward.

I started out with a 6oz tooling leather that I picked up from Tandy Leather Factory, along with some other supplies (dye, needles, sinew and tooling dye). Before any work began with the leather I sketched out a rough design of the sheath I wanted. The easiest way to ensure a proper fit was by tracing out the profile of the knife on paper and drawing the sheath around that.

From there I had a template with which I could use fit around the knife. When I knew that the fit was good, I traced out the template onto the tooling leather using a charcoal pencil and cut it using a box cutter razor.

After slightly wetting the leather I tooled the leather, and formed it around the knife. When it dried it gave me the rough shape of the sheath.

From there I dyed it and cut out pieces that I needed to make the welt for the blade and the firesteel loop (which i dyed as well).

To secure the pieces before stitching I used shoe "goop" to glue the leathers pieces in place. Once they were together, I drilled out hold for the stitching using a 1/16" drill bit. I threaded the needles and stitched the sheath up by hand using a saddle stitch (sorry, no pictures of this process).

At this point I had a workable sheath, but I wanted to waterproof and seal it. The method I used to achieve this was by hot waxing. One thing to mention is that by hot waxing using parafin wax, the sheath will trap water that falls into the pocket and will rust the blade. You can avoid this by creating a drain hole which will focus the water out. The way I did this was by cutting a section of the welt before stitching so this take some foresight on your part if you want to do the same.



  1. quality work, looks clean, that's what I like


  2. Looks nice. I really like my Pathfinder knife a lot.

    How did you 'stamp' the paw on your sheath?

  3. Was playing around with a wolf track tooling die that I picked up from the leather shop.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this whole description of how to make knife sheath. I love leather sheath with my knife.
    -swiss army knife

  5. Hi Alan,

    I'm glad you liked it. I'm actually working on a leather sheath for a Mora 612 right now and will hopefully do a post on it in the next week or two, so feel free to check back!