The elongated covering case for a blade, knife or sword is referred to as a sheath. A good hunting knife sheath should be strong and tough enough to securely hold the sharp blade stored therein. It should also be close fitting to ensure that the knife held inside does not dislodge unless pressure is applied to remove it.
A good knife sheath should be made of a light material. Many hunters and people on camping trips like to carry well protected knives, so that they cannot pose a danger to themselves or others, but also that the knife is readily available when needed.
Knife Sheath Materials
In the past, sheaths were predominantly made of leather since it was the only readily available material. Leather is a tough material that makes its products very durable. When wet, it is soft and easy to work with. It is usually dyed with either black or a brown hue.
Today other materials that are being used to make Knife sheathes but leather still remains the most treasured. These materials include;
- Polyvinyl Chloride also called PVC – This is a rigid synthetic polythene polymer. It is not durable and is easily torn.
- Kydes is a Thermalplastic Acrylic-Polyvinyl – This is a thermoforming fabrication. It has gained a lot of popularity recently and is often being used in place of leather. This material as opposed to leather has some properties of being water resistant. Water does not seep through this material. Unlike leather it keeps a steady shape causing less disturbance and reduced friction when in use.
What is the Best Material?
Leather is the oldest and still one of the best materials for this job. It is easy to work on and decorate, so as to raise its aesthetic value. However, leather becomes overused with time. It easily gets affected by the natural elements such as, rain or extreme heat.
Kydes is much tougher and last a little longer. Its durability is not subject to the elements. It scores very poorly on the scale of aesthetics and thus is not readily accepted by most consumers. Frequent use can make the knife blunt.
Tek-lok is a clip that can easily be fastened or released from a utility accessory. There are usually fastened on the knife sheaths for easy fastening and removal from the belt.
Other materials include, nylon which is often used to make a small pouch. It does not cost much but it is easily worn out. There are also some types of plastics that are used to make inexpensive sheaths. These are easily damaged and have no aesthetic value whatsoever
How to Make your Own Sheath
If you wish to make your own knife sheath, you will need the following items, materials and supplies.
- Leather of 8 to 9 oz
- Rotary cutter
- Waxed nylon or sinew thread
- Overstitching wheel for marking out evenly spaced stitches
- Leather stitching needles
- Water in a shallow basin
- Spring clips
- Saran wrap
- Tape and a dish towel
Once you have all of your supplies follow these simple steps to creating your own sheath.
Step One: Draw your pattern on the leather. Place the leather on a flat surface, the place the knife, for which you want to make a sheath on top of the leather. Trace all around it leaving some space, which will be folded in place to make a loop.
Step Two: Rough cut out the marked area. Use a strong pair of scissors, and cut out the pattern on the leather. At this stage ensure you have left a good margin. This is called the rough cut. Fold the pattern in the midline to make the back of the blade part of the sheath and if you are satisfied, you can now do the fine cutting of pattern. Hold the leather onto the blade with an adhesive.
Step Three: Trace your leather on the well covered knife. Trace the pattern on the wrong side of the leather, then cut your leather with rotary cutter avoiding
Step Four: Start forming the leather. First smoothly wrap the knife with plastic wrapping. Assemble the dishtowel, the wrapped knife and a shallow basin of hot water. Have the spring clips ready. Place the sheath part of the leather in the hot water. Give it some time to soak. Pat the leather dry using the dish towel to remove any excess water. Clamp the leather in place using the spring clips. Form it on the knife.
Step Five: Trim sheath and prepare to stitch. Trim sheath into desired size using the rotary cutter. Make a stitch grove using the rowel tool. Create a hole using the rowel tool.
Step Six: Sew it in place. Start with the loop first, then the sheath. Finally place the knife inside the sheath, and your project is complete.
Now that you know what a sheath is, find one to protect your knife. Decide what material suits you best and purchase one at your local sporting goods store. Or if you are feeling crafty, make your own!