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The Sheath/Holster Makers Community Forum This is the place to discuss sheath and holster making in general.

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Old 10-16-2007, 09:33 PM
doublearrow doublearrow is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pampa TEXAS
Posts: 470
constructive criticism

Hey guys below are some pictures of a type of sheath that I am making. I have made 4 of these sheaths, but after talking to a sheathmaker I'm wondering if I should change them. I cut a notch in the welt so the blade locks solid into place. He thinks there should be no open side of the sheath just on top. The open side he is refering to is where the opening extends downward onto the edge side of the sheath. He said it was too much open area. He also said the bottom should be more square than rounded. On the edge side of the blade he said the stitch line should be nearly straight up to the middle set of pins on the knife, and definitley not double stitch lined in the spot at the top. I would appreciate any comments from ya'll to help me out. Thanks in advance. Ryan Minchew

Ryan Minchew
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:55 AM
rayban rayban is offline
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: SE Michigan
Posts: 39
I personally like the style of your sheath....what you "should" or "shouldn't" do I believe is a matter of preference. If the knife locks into place like you say it does, and the sheath protects you and the knife, that is all that really matters to me.
I also like how the btm. of the sheath follows the contour of the blade. It shows that the sheath was made to custom fit the knife.
Again, I say you have a nice style going there, I don't see where any change is necessary.



Last edited by rayban; 10-17-2007 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 10-17-2007, 07:52 AM
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sheathmaker sheathmaker is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Kerrville, Texas
Posts: 640
Nothing wrong with the style of the sheath. I don't know who you talked to, but I respectfully disagree with him on all points, especially the square bottom.


Basic Pouch Sheaths and Advanced Blade sheaths DVDs are available at ***New third DVD available at the same web site***

Paul Long-- 108 Briarwood Ln. W.-- Kerrville, Texas 78028-- Ph. 830 367 5536---
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Old 10-17-2007, 09:09 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Candler,NC
Posts: 331
I agree with the other guys. This style has nothing wrong about it. Where you have the double row of stitches, you could round that area and not need a double row. One thought for you on the belt loop. Skive the ends back to almost a feather thickness where you are going to sew. This will give a better look and allow the belt to slip through much easier.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:46 AM
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MtMike MtMike is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Woodland Park, Colorado
Posts: 1,212
Ryan -- the little 'flair' you added at the top of your stitch line gives a nice line to the sheath and compliments the drop line of the knife handle. It looks like the added width of the welt in that area needs the double stitch line to secure it, so the double stitch is not only attractive but also functional. I say good work, keep it up.
I would add that I agree partially with the advice you got from your sheathmaker: you could get better knife retention by not having the top of the sheath cut down below the handle. But if you are satisfied with the retention, then the design becomes a matter of personal choice.
Let's see some more of your work

Trying to become the kind of man my dog thinks I am}&tio=0
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Old 10-17-2007, 11:44 PM
doublearrow doublearrow is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pampa TEXAS
Posts: 470
Wanted to thank you guys for taking the time to answer. I think with the replies I've gotten here I'm going to keep going with this style. I have two in the field and they said there are no retention problems as of yet. They haven't had them long. Thanks again. Ryan

Ryan Minchew
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Old 10-18-2007, 01:19 AM
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Andrew Garrett Andrew Garrett is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nampa, Idaho
Posts: 3,605
This type of sheath is my favorite. I personally like the openness around the handle because, I hate pulling my knife out with two fingers and having to adjust my grip afterward. The way yours is designed, I'd get good purchase before I even draw. If the retention is good, that's the best of both worlds!

What Mike said about skiving the ends of the loop piece is good advice. It gives a much more polished look and will give less of a speed bump to your belt when putting it on. According to Chuck's video, the skin side of the leather holds something like 90% of the strength, so skive off the fleshy side and no worries.

The only thing I see that I'd do differently as a matter of durability, is to spread the stitch hole out a bit. Let's face it, if we use the contact cement correc tly, the leather will tear before the bond gives. That makes stitching almost 'ornamental'. However, since it's there and would look right without it, we don't want the stitching to weaken the sheath. When the holes are too close, it acts like perforation on a piece of paper and can tear more easily along the stitch line. A wider space between holes can prevent this, and it looks great too!

Andy Garrett
Charter Member - Kansas Custom Knifemaker's Association

"Drawing your knife from its sheath and using it in the presence of others should be an event complete with oos, ahhs, and questions."
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:06 AM
Doug Lester Doug Lester is offline
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Location: Decatur, IL
Posts: 2,512
Another member of the orthodox police heard from. A sheath must 1) hold together, 2) keep the knife from falling out while at the same time give adiquate access to it, 3) protect the carier from the blade, and 4) protect the knife from damage. Anything beyond that is cosmetic (not to down play the appeal of cosmetics).

Doug Lester

If you're not making mistakes then you're not trying hard enough
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:32 PM
Sandy Morrissey Sandy Morrissey is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Blairsville--in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of North Georgia.
Posts: 1,919
The sheath is very attractive and well put together. I, personally, do not care for the open type case on the welted side as I prefer the longer pocket of the true pouch. True, it does give a lesser grip when withdrawing the knife. Having never had to emergency draw a knife, I do not consider that a problem. I use an "S" shaped throat on my sheaths which does give a slightly added purchase. This however would not easily allow the sheath to be lined such as Paul does on his beauties. I do not subscribe to the "squared" end of the sheath as it takes away from the flow and should, in my opinion, be slightly rounded and never sharp pointed. The swelled and sharp area at the throat of the sheath does not add to the flow and has no apparent function. The belt loop can definitely be helped by skiving where attached, which will reduce bulk and facilitate the insertion of the belt. As far as stitching is concerned---if you stitch by hand you can save on labor by stitching either 5 or 6 stitches to the inch. 5 to the inch if using 7 cord thread and 6 to the inch if using 5 cord or 277 nylon. This is just a different way of arriving at the same end. Your customer will tell you what he likes---and he is the one you have to please. As you continue to make sheaths you will constantly make small changes that both you and your customer will prefer! And---welcome to the clan!

Martin (Sandy) Morrissey Master Leather Craftsman 1105 Stephens Road Blairsville, GA 30512 706-379-1621
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:24 PM
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Harry Mathews Harry Mathews is offline
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: SE Georgia
Posts: 673
Looks good to me! Nearly everyone has their own way of making sheaths. It doesn't make one way right and the other wrong. I am still learning and changing my designs as I see features I like being used by others. I spent a few hours with Sandy a while back, learned ALOT, and am trying some of his techniques, but still make my own sheath, as every one does. I too kind of like a sheath with a little more depth and the knife handle more enclosed. I have only seen a few knives with a square bottom sheath (Puma being one), and I did not like them at all. The skiving of the loop will definitely improve the looks and make it easier to insert the belt, as others have said. In my sheaths I like the loop to be a little higher so the handle doesn't ride so high on the user?s side. But that is personal preference and the customer will many times direct that. In the picture it looks like the loop might have cracked at the top. If it did, that can be caused by bending at too sharp a radius with leather that is not soft. Dye tends to harden leather and can cause this problem, which to me is reason enough to redo the loop. If the leather isn't cracked please pretend I didn't type the above sentences, and chalk it up to eyes getting older.

This is a great thread to me because is shows how easy it is to get advice from others with the same interest and many years of experience. Sometimes the hard part, as you have recognized, is deciding whether the comments you receive concerns a question of style or practical design. You have received both here in this post and in others. So you sort through it all and in the end you have to make what works for you and the customer. That equals your style.

Harry Mathews
Twin Blades
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:35 PM
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Crex Crex is offline
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Acworth, GA and/or Hanging Dog, NC
Posts: 3,425
Not much left to say. Lots of good points/info (from a lot of good sheath makers). I, too, learned and continue to learn much from Poppa Sandy. Turned my concept of leather work completely around for the better. Got to agree with the loop skiving and location, elbow obstacle for us short guys. I also like a more enclosed pouch.
I would think that the double welt would not be necessary if the sheath is wet formed around the knife a bit more (thicker just makes stitching more difficult). Esthetically your lines are good and that shape could be maintained even with a deeper pouch configuration with minor modification if desired.
When it comes to emergency "quix draw", I am prone to reach for my .45 Long. She's faster, cuts deeper and longer, and helps maintain a respectible distance to allow more time for rational thinking.

Carl Rechsteiner, Bladesmith
Georgia Custom Knifemakers Guild, Charter Member
Knifemakers Guild, voting member
Registered Master Artist - GA Council for the Arts
C Rex Custom Knives

Blade Show Table 5-J
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Old 10-22-2007, 04:36 PM
doublearrow doublearrow is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Pampa TEXAS
Posts: 470
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I will be skiving the loops on my next sheaths. Once I get em done I'll post up some more pics.

Ryan Minchew
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