Making instructions for Nordic style sheath

All of the tools and leather used can be purchased from our online shop

Draw a straight line onto some heavy weight paper, measure the thickness of your handle and mark half each side of line

Lay the knife down with the tip an handle to your marks then trace round the edge with a pencil.

Add 1cm to your outline.

Fold the paper down the centre line and cut out, this forms the basis for your template.

Wrap around the knife and check the fit, you should be able to comfortably pinch the paper together. If this is not possible it means that the template is to small and ultimately your leather version would not fit your knife, lay flat onto another sheet of paper and add extra as required re cut out shape and check again. Trim the top into a neat arc

Transfer your final version to a piece of thick card, also in this process smooth out any unevenness in the shape making sure both sides are identical, now cut out this shape and keep for future use, I have a collection of about 50 basic shapes. This provides a good strong edge for cutting out the leather.

Use 2.5 - 3mm plain vegetable tanned hide, make sure that your hands and tools are very clean, carefully cut out the shape with a new sharp craft blade. Perhaps it might be wise to try cutting a small section of leather off-cut to get the feel of the blade.

On the front face use a pair of dividers set to 4mm and gently mark around the side edges. These marks will be covered by the stitching process.

With a leather stitch marker follow the line to the top, stop 1 cm short of the top edge, repeat this process on each side, make sure you start and finish in the same place, this will ensure even stitching.

Still working on the front face use an awl and prick through at a slight angle toward the out edge of the leather, it maybe necessary to repeat this process when you are stitching up the sides.

Turn the leather over and shave the edge with a leather edging tool.

Still working on the inside shave down the tip, I often put this on my sander which is much quicker, it is important to do this because it will allow the tip to close up properly when you start sowing.

Measure out 6 times the length of the sheath and thread a heavy duty blunt leather needle at each end. Fully immerse the leather in warm water for at least 5 minutes, this will make it very pliable and easy to work with, remove from the water and pat dry with some absorbent paper.

Begin the sowing by threading the first needle through both holes on each side pull through and even up. Now push through the second needle through the second hole on both sides, take the first needle and carefully push through the back of the second stitch hole. It maybe necessary to improve the size of the holes with your awl. Pull tight and repeat this process. If you are unsure practice on an old piece of leather or heavy cloth.

Always keep a clean sheet of plain paper under your work this will help stop marking during the sowing.

This picture illustrates the use of the awl.

Continue the sowing right up to the end with a double stitch to finish off with, this is sufficient to hold the leather together.

Cover your knife in cling film to protect it from the acids in the leather

Gently push your sheath onto the knife ensuring that the seam runs down the centre of the knife down the back which will be the side against your body, the suppleness of the leather will allow you to push, twist and shape as required.

The sowing normally takes about 40minutes if however the leather starts to dry out re moisten, select your dye and it is most advisable to use some latex gloves to protect yourself from the powerful dye. Use daubers to swab the dye on, evening out with long smooth strokes, when good and dense put to one side.

Cut a strip of leather 2cm wide by 2 times the length of the handle round the ends to suit the style.

Fold over and punch through 4 holes using the smallest hole setting on a leather punch.

Cut a slot that is the same thickness as the seem of the sheath. moisten as previous and dye the same colour as previous process as the main body of the sheath.

Mark off the holes from the strap and punch through, now feed through the male part of your selected rivets in each of the holes it is important to select the correct length not to short and not to long (6-7mm) is good. When in place gently slide onto a round solid bar. This will make the fixing of the rivet head much easier

Fold over your strap with the smooth leather finish on the outside. Clamp the bar in a strong vice and rivet. Put he female part of the rivet on top and strike firmly with you riveting tool. Work the knife back into the sheath and burnish to make the leather fit the handle this should be done quite gently as the leather can mark at this stage.

Allow to dry thoroughly before commencing the polishing process, any good leather polish can be used, but not saddle soap this will have the effect of removing the colour, spend an hour or two rubbing in the polish and then vigorously rub off. Now wear your knife with pride, but remember the LAW!! Perhaps when you are out camping or bushcrafting for the day. If the knife is used extensively when storing wipe away any moisture from the leather and blade.