Making Leather Sheaths - Part 2


Slowly, and unsurely, the work continues. The sheaths are finally sewn and in the process of dyeing.

Before final assembly and sewing, it was necessary to emboss the outer layer. The leather needs to be thoroughly soaked by submerging it in water and subsequently slightly dried at room temperature. Too wet leather has a tendency to spring back and the stamp impressions are not very crisp. Too dry leather is too hard and the stamp impressions are too shallow. In the current weather, I soaked the leather in the morning and stamped it in the afternoon.

Once the outer layers were embossed, I could glue everything together. Gluing is not, strictly speaking, necessary. It is possible to punch/drill holes in all pieces and only sew everything together. But gluing it first and drilling holes in the assembly is slightly easier and faster, plus the glue does improve the overall strength. In the picture, you can see the outer layer with the back and belly strips glued on, with a gap near the tip. That gap has two functions – it allows to easily conceal the knots at the end of sewing and it allows water to escape if, for example, the sheath falls into water or gets rained in. The slightly darker color on the inside of the sheath is because I applied dubbin to it before assembly.

Gluing everything together is not an entirely easy and quick process because the outer side deforms due to soaking, drying, and embossing with stamps. When everything is finally glued together, however, it is possible to finally cut grooves and drill holes for sewing. The grooves allow the thread to sink under the leather surface, thus it will be more resistant to getting damaged by friction against clothing, etc. Also now is the time to sand the contours on the belt sander.

I am using the two-needle technique for sewing. First I measure the appropriate length of thread depending on thickness 6 to 8 times the length of the sewn part) and I thread it through a needle on both ends. That way I can pull it through a hole with one needle and on the opposite side wrap the thread around the other needle and pull that through the same hole in the opposite direction. That way each stitch is also essentially a knot inside the hole. It is a very slow technique but it leads to the best results. Even if the thread gets damaged at one point, it will not unravel and the product stays together.

The next time will be about dyeing and, hopefully, finishing.