sheath 1

Here I’ll show how to make a split pouch clip on sheath. Sandy Morrissey, the Sultan of Moo, calls it a Butterfly sheath and he’s the one I copied it from so we’ll call it that. Sandy’s version uses a leather loop. Mine uses a metal boot clip. The leather is vegatable tanned 8/9oz. It’s important to make sure you do not use Chrome tanned leather as it will stain and etch the knife with black marks. I know this to be a fact. Pick out a piece that isn’t scarred up or that has soft or hard spots. If it is scarred, put the scars on the back side.

Every knife starts with a pattern outline. I use manilla folders as it is just stiff enough to use when tracing and flexible enough to fold around the knife. All three profiles are traced onto the paper.

A compass is used to further outline the knife to allow room for the welt. I just eyeball it from experience. I suppose it is around 1/2” extra around the outline.

It’s cut out now, folded over and trimmed around to match all the way around. There is a lot of extra room and much of this will be trimmed off later. If you try and save a couple inches here, you will make the sheath too small and will have to start over. Make the edges a little large, especially at first.

Here you see the pattern has been cut and folded open. A metal boot clip is what we will use for the ‘belt loop’. The 8/9oz leather has already been dyed using leather dye on both sides. It’s easier to dye a large piece then to do it a sheath at a time. The natural color leather under the pattern is 2 oz and fairly soft. I will use this to line the inside of the sheath on to keep the metal clip from rubbing against the boot clip. The boot clips are available at the major knife making supply shops. Note just under the main pattern is a welt pattern. A welt is an extra piece of leather the knife blade rests on when in the pouch. If you don’t use a welt, the knife blade will cut the thread. We’ll see where it goes later.

I have traced the pattern onto the flesh side of the leather. Note that is dyed also. It comes out looking a bit rough but it is better than leaving it natural. You don’t have to dye the flesh side but it is just a nice touch. I use a utility knife to cut out the leather. I have sharpened the utility blade using my belt grinder to a very sharp convex edge. The blades come sharp of course, but putting a sharp convex edge really makes a difference. You can use shears or heavy duty scissors but after using a sharp blade like this, it will be what you want to use. (note: I now use an industrial leather cutting tool.)

All cut out including the welts. This utility blade has a large sliding knob that tightens the blade in place. A typical sliding blade utility knife just doesn’t work as well.

The metal boot clip is positioned on the outside of the sheath and trace marks are made for the slots it will need to go through. Keep things straight by ‘trying it on’. You probably want a right hand sheath so make sure you mark it out on the correct side. I’ve made more than one lefty by mistake.

The slots are cut out. Just enough for the top to slide through and the bottom ‘bump’. It probably doesn’t make a lot of sense here with out actually holding one of those clips but when you make your first one, it will.

Here is the outside of the sheath. Half of the clip is outside of the sheath, half is inside. That is why we needed the top and bottom slots.

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