Project: Dagger Sheath – and an Ugly sheath

This new project combines elements from two previous projects, the Cleaver Scabbard and the first Belt Knife Sheath. This is for a dagger, so I have sewn up both sides and used a welt to thicken the dimensions, but like the regular knife sheath, the scabbard covers almost all of the knife and the welt functions as a clip to hold he dagger in place. Here’s the glamor shot:

Dagger finished

Now, I’ve had this dagger since sometime in high school, and that was far enough back that I’m not telling you the year. (Ye Gods, I’ve gotten old…) Anyway, I’ve rebuilt that sheath three times now – had to sew the original back together twice after the knife cut through the stitches, and then I built an almost-exact replica of the original a couple years ago. The Mark II sheath is on the left below. I’ve never been happy with it; it is restrictive and makes it difficult to draw the knife.

Knife and scabbard

On the right, we have the carved and beveled sheath, and you can see that I have pre-punched the holes for sewing – more on that later. First, a word or three about the welt and retaining system.

Silly me, I forgot to take a picture of the welt, so I’ve marked up the picture below. The black lines are the outline of the knife of course, and the blue lines represent one side of the welt. When sheathed, the hilt of the knife rests directly on the top of the welt, and that little hook on top wraps over the top of the hilt and keeps it from falling out. To strengthen that top bit, I coated it with a few layers of glue to stiffen it up, and this also helps to push it out of the way when seating the knife.

Welt detail

The finished product works remarkably well. I canted the belt loop so the knife sits at an angle on the belt, and having that last bit of grip extending over the top is just enough to get a solid lock on in a fast draw, which comes out clean. But it won’t come out by accident due to the positive lock on the hilt.

Now for the stitching. To get to this point, I have (obviously) cut and beveled the top piece, and I have also cut out the matching bottom layer and the welt. The belt loop has been sewn onto the back, and I have glued the whole kit together. Using that handy groover from the last post, I set my stitching lines and then used the narrowest blade of my lacing chisel to punch the holes.

Chisel detail

As you can see, this does turn out well. The final trick, however, is that I didn’t punch all the way through; I only punched through the top two layers so that I could go back and finish it with a standard awl and make sure all my exit holes lined up in the groove on the backside. This also let me angle the awl to get the proper staggered-diamond holes. One tip for using the lacing chisel though is that if you have two seams meeting up, start punching there and work outward. You end up having to eyeball the last few punches as you approach the end of the seam to get the spacing right, and it’s more obvious if you have two seams coming together.

From here on out, it was just a simple matter of stitching, oiling, dyeing and finishing. For you traditionalists out there using Buck knives, I made one of those sheaths as well for my Ugly knife.

I found Ugly in about 3 feet of water in the Rogue River when I was bout 15. I don’t know how log it had been there, but it was rusted up and the scabbard was gone. The blade still held a decent edge once I ground away the surface rust, so I ended up keeping the thing. I just never bothered to make a sheath for it until now. I hadn’t actually made any leather in quite a while, so I used it as a refresher project to get me back in the game. The leather is scrap, so the finished product is as ugly as the knife, but it’ll do.

Ugly knife, ugly scabbard

More projects in the pipeline, kids, so don’t run too far.

Comments are closed.