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The Sheath/Holster Makers Forum This is the place to discuss all forms of sheath and holster making.

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  #1  
Old 07-31-2004, 01:56 AM
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Sheath or Scabbard - Difference?

I figure this is probably one of those 'dumb questions' but..........
What's the difference between a sheath and a scabbard? Is a sheath 'soft' (like leather) and a scabbard 'hard' like wood or kydex? Does scabbard imply anything about blade length, as in 'sword'? :confused:


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Old 07-31-2004, 02:45 AM
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dont worry about it being a dumb question.

sheaths are usually softer (like you said) and could be cordura, leather, and I usually consider kydex and plastic as sheaths. Scabbards are hard, and could be metal or wood, or even a hard leather.

Scabbards are usually for larger blades, but not always, usually because larger blades often entail the knife being "nicer" and ncier knives usually have nicer sheaths/scabbards.

I suppose sheath and scabbard are interchangable, more a matter of preference, but to me, sheath is soft, or plyable, scabbard is hard, and can be used to whack someone in the face
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Old 07-31-2004, 10:52 AM
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Main Entry: scab?bard
Pronunciation: 'ska-b&rd
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English scaubert, from Anglo-French escaubers
: a sheath for a sword, dagger, or bayonet

Main Entry: sheath
Pronunciation: 'shEth
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural sheaths /'shE[th]z, 'shEths/
Etymology: Middle English shethe, from Old English scEath; akin to Old High German sceida sheath and perhaps to Latin scindere to split
1 : a case for a blade (as of a knife)

As you can see by the MW Dictionary scabbard is essentially just another term for a sheath although perhaps more specific, but a dagger is a knife so..... Personally I call a case for a a knife interchangeably a sheath or a scabbard, but more often than not call a case for a sword a scabbard.

Hardness really doesn't play a factor in my mind since leather can be formed as hard as wood or kydex by using the ancient cuir bouilli method and I make most of my knife sheaths stiff if not hard. Another instance - WWI and WWII bayonet "scabbards" were all made of leather and are all hard/stiff.

On another note the verb form is always sheathe - the verb form of sheath - you never hear of someone "scabbarding" their sword - they sheathe it.


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The beautiful sheaths created for storing the knife elevate the knife one step higher. It celebrates the knife it houses.
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Old 07-31-2004, 04:45 PM
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And of course some still refer to knife cases as "holsters" . And, yes, I'm sure there is a transitive verb "to holster"

Mike


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Old 07-31-2004, 05:35 PM
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Yep - as in "...and then he holstered his Colt."


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The beautiful sheaths created for storing the knife elevate the knife one step higher. It celebrates the knife it houses.
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Old 07-31-2004, 08:43 PM
Sandy Morrissey Sandy Morrissey is offline
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Sheath or scabbbard------?

It has always been my impression that "scabbard" was used when referring to blades of a military nature--- sword, cutlass, rapier, poniard, dagger, bayonet,etc.! ---Sandy---


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Old 04-17-2019, 04:49 AM
diazsjonathan7 diazsjonathan7 is offline
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Sheaths are often lighter and less bulky then scabbards of the same length and width. As well as easier to construct, maintain, and repair than scabbards are. However the added weight, complexity, and bulk of a scabbard comes with a greater level of long term protection for the implement. This tends to make sheaths better for tool application. Wherein a craftsman/laborer might be frequently maintaining the implement anyway as part of it's regular use. And can often have full control over the environmental conditions the whole will be exposed to. Therefore the sheath only needs to offer interim protection between maintenance and use.

However scabbards are typically better for weapon application. Wherein a soldier/warrior might need to transport the implement over long distances. With the whole's environmental treatment largely outside of their control or unpredictable. And where most of the time the implement will not be in use. More long term storage and less time for maintenance with only occasional usage, necessitates a higher preservation of initial condition of the implement. Given the nature of modern warfare and the greatly reduced likely hood that the common man is going to be involved in civil combat with a bladed and edged weapon.

Scabbards for practical purposes have largely fallen wayside. And are mostly seen when newly produced as part of reproduction or novel weapon offerings. Whereas sheaths have maintained their popular use. Not only through the constant and non-declining need to protect tools. But through lower manufacturing costs. this guide helpful for you
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Old 04-17-2019, 08:57 PM
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I don't know if you noticed, but you replied to a 15 year old post. I understand Sandy is still around, but Chuck passed away several years ago.

If you look at the etymology of the terms, scabbard comes from French while sheath comes from Old English (Germanic). When the Normans conquered England in 1066, the ruling class became French, and spoke French for a long time. Many words in modern English evolved out of this disparity. For example, the names of animals were Germanic - e.g., swine, sheep, cow - while the names of food were French - pork, mutton, beef. Depended on whether you were the class that raised food, or the class that got to enjoy it.

Ruling class folks had serious blades - with scabbards, lower class had knives - with sheaths.


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Old 04-18-2019, 06:43 AM
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Go TJ!
That's about the way a discussion that Dad (Sandy) and I had a few years back went. Bottom line is it's what one wants to call it. I still have gut grumblings when someone calls them a "holster" though. Seems most prevalent thought is differential between soft and hard, but have seen plenty of museum pieces - swords, rapiers, etc. - with soft floppies dressed with metal throats and tips.
Probably one of those conversational topics best suited for folks that can't catch fish. Bite is on!


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  #10  
Old 04-20-2019, 10:31 PM
Sandy1105 Sandy1105 is offline
 
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Although this post was started fifteen years ago, it seems like yester.day, During that time a beloved friend, Chuck Bujrrows, has passed away. I recently had the occasion to visit Carl Rechsteiner, as a man I have been proud to refer to as "my son" He calls me "Dad" ---------------------It has been years since i was a moderator on this forum and I have missed it and desire to resume contact----Sandy
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Old 04-20-2019, 11:18 PM
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Sandy!! Always so good to hear from you!!

Yeah, I miss Chuck. One time I asked him about a problem I was having with some leather project. I sent him pictures and he called me on the phone. He said, "Well, I could spend an hour or two telling you about all the idiot things you're doing wrong, or you could just throw that out and I'll tell you how to start the right way." I listened to his advice and later I realized that 2 hours might not have covered listing my stupidity!


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Old 04-21-2019, 05:20 AM
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Hey Dad, always a great visit no matter how brief. Glad you found the "on" button on your computer. Been sorely missed around here.
Scout really enjoyed getting to sit down and chat with my special mentor and good friend. He values the knowledge and conversations with his elders more than any other young man I know. Best part is he retains and learns from all of it.


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  #13  
Old 05-10-2019, 02:44 AM
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Where to buy best machete sheath?

Which one Best machete sheath for my new Machete
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