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Semi-Finished Sheath Instructions

Forming the perfect sheath is an extension of the art of knife making. The sheath that covers it, should reflect the quality and design of your carefully crafted knife. Learn how to form and finish your custom sheath. Every custom knife deserves a well fitted and handsomely finished custom sheath. The sheath or sheath kit you have purchased is constructed from top grain vegetable tanned cowhide.

IMPORTANT: Please read All Instructions before beginning.

Finishing options must be followed in the order shown or the desired finish may not be achieved. Your sheath needs special care – the pores of the leather are open and will absorb any dirt, oil or other chemicals it comes in contact with.

Before starting any leather project: WASH YOUR HANDS WITH HOT SOAPY WATER AND KEEP THEM CLEAN. We recommend wearing surgical gloves while forming and finishing your sheath.

Prepare your completed knife

  1. Oil your blade with a good water displacing oil (sheath or magic coat work very well) then wrap the complete knife securely in Heavy Plastic wrap, sealing tightly so that moisture will not enter and harm your blade.

  2. Insert the wrapped blade into the sheath.

  3. Install snap on strap style sheath. With your knife fitting firmly in the sheath, pull strap tightly around knife and mark where the snap will be installed.

  4. Remove knife and use the #OS2290 snap setter to install the supplied line 24 snap .

  5. Case your Sheath. Fill a container with clean HOT tap water – Completely immerse the EMPTY sheath into the hot tap water, wetting thoroughly - about one or two minutes, then remove immediately.

  6. Form fit your sheath and re-insert your wrapped knife into the sheath as far as possible.

  7. Press firmly but carefully. It must fit snugly but do not force the blade with excessive pressure.

  8. Begin to mold the damp leather with your hands around each area of the knife taking special care to press and form around blade, guard area and finger groves.

  9. Continue to Mold and Shape pressing with fingers to fit tightly so the Sheath will hold the knife snugly in all areas.

  10. Concentrate on keeping the stitching straight and do not forget the belt loop and straps if applicable. As you work, the natural color of the leather will return and your sheath will regain some ‘stiffness’. When you are satisfied with the shape and appearance of your formed sheath, allow the sheath to set about ten minutes. Check carefully to make sure the sheath is molded and formed to your liking, if not make any desired adjustments at this time. You may need to case (wet) your sheath again, if so, do not forget to remove your knife first. When satisfied continue to the next step.
  11. Allow your sheath to thoroughly dry and remove the knife from your sheath.


  13. Allow your sheath to dry thoroughly; this may take from 4 to 24 hours. It must dry completely. You can hang in the sunshine or place in a warm area to speed this process: DO NOT HEAT IN OVEN!

Finishing your sheath If coloring of leather is desired, this must be applied prior to oiling.

  • If you wish to color your sheath choose a professional oil dye or antique finish and apply according to the manufacturer’s directions. Our dyes can be mixed to make special colors, dye reducer is helpful in diluting and color mixing. Edge coat is applied to the edges to darken and produce a ‘finished’ look smoothing the fibers. Continue following instructions.

  • A natural finish is produced by applying Neatsfoot oil directly to the molded, dried sheath. This oil will absorb completely into the leather conditioning and preserving your leather in its molded state. It will also slightly darken the leather naturally, the more coats you apply the darker sheen it will produce. Apply a minimum of four heavy coats of this oil with wool daubers then work the oil into the leather with your hands making sure it is completely coated. Be sure to keep the sewn edge straight and open the belt loop and strap to apply the oil evenly and completely to every part of the sheath. Dry 4-6 hours. You may wish to apply edge dye for a finished look, we suggest brown for a natural color sheath.

  • Leather Balm adds a nice luster after application of Neatsfoot oil. 4-Way conditioner will keep your leather clean and conditioned.