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  • Knife sheath

    Here are some questions for your fine folks. I was just gifted a beautiful knife, deer antler handle with eagle head carved in the end, most symetrical hand knapped blade you have ever seen.

    I am trying to make a sheath for it and am having problems with forming the rawhide inside sheath. I am soaking the rawhide in warm water until it is flexible. I cut the sheath to shape and form it around the knife (which I wrapped in a plastic bag to keep the rawhide on the knife from getting wet). Then I weighted down the outside edge where the rawhide joins together and let it sit until almost dry. (about 12 hours) I then took off my weights so that the rawhide could continue drying. My problem is that the edges are curling up and if you look along the seamed edge it is all wavy. I am thinking about getting the rawhide wet again and sewing the edges together while it is still wet, then hanging the sheath until it is dry. Also the sheath itself is "lumpy" instead of smooth like the sheaths I see at powwows.

    So my question is this, how do you make the rawhide look nice and still fit the knife properly so the knife doesn't fall out. Do you sew your edges of the rawhide or just the outer buckskin covering? Also I heard that a knapped stone blade should have fringe on the sheath, is there any truth to that? My leggings are tabbed and I am not sure if I should mix tabs with fringe. Crow style outfit patterned after some stuff I saw out at Haskell.

    Thanks in advance for your input and knowledge.

    Jim
    One vote wonder.

  • #2
    Not sure about the rest..but watch your rawhide if you are soaking it in warm water... cold water is fine, but warm will sometimes disentigrate your rawhide...
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

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    • #3
      <<So my question is this, how do you make the rawhide look nice and still fit the knife properly so the knife doesn't fall out.>>

      Hi Jim,
      I work quite a bit with rawhide that i make into parfleeche bags, knife sheaths, etc.

      If you want your work to be flat, you need to make a frame to be able to stretch out the hide on, while the hide is wet. As the hide dries, it shrinks but it will stay flat.

      The hide can be soaked in either cold water overnight or warm water for a couple of hours. I have parfleeche items that are now 8 to 10 years old with no degradation.

      After the hide is dry, you can draw out your sheath shape and cut it out. I would also draw out any other items at this time as well, as to not waste the rawhide.

      After cutting out the piece, since you're wanting a fold at the back of the knife, wet your finger and run it along the proposed fold of the rawhide. This will make it easier to fold and once it dries, the fold will stay. You can put books, etc, on the dry edges of the rawhide to help the inner sheath to stay flat.

      I usually work with either what's known as craft bends, which are hides with 3 to 4 square feet or i'll use 1/2 hides which are about 4 1/2 feet wide by 8 feet long.

      My traveling frame, which i use for classes, is made of 2 x 2's and i can fit a craft bend on it. The frame is actually a bit weak but it still works.

      For the 1/2 hides, i have nails in a wall here and i run nylon cord from the nails to holes along the edges of the hide.

      As far as your knife falling out, what kind of a knife is it?
      If it has a hand guard, like a sheath knife or a bowie knife, i would extend the back of the sheath up to form the belt loop and have a tie or a loop even of hide.
      If it doesn't have a hand guard, like a butcher knife, i make the sheath high enough to go from the knife tip to about 1/2 way up the handle. This kind of a knife would usually be hung from the neck, so i just extend the top of the welt to create a loop.

      << Do you sew your edges of the rawhide or just the outer buckskin covering?>>

      I would just sew the outside cover but i would also make a welt to protect the threads.
      I would actually make the outer sheath first, making sure the knife can fit inside it, with a bit of space left over.


      << Also I heard that a knapped stone blade should have fringe on the sheath, is there any truth to that? My leggings are tabbed and I am not sure if I should mix tabs with fringe. Crow style outfit patterned after some stuff I saw out at Haskell. >>

      It depends on the tribal style of the knife sheath. I have never heard of a type of knife having to have tabs or fringe.

      I have a beaded knife sheath that the welt extends down past the point and is split into tabs.

      Hope this helps.
      DANCING IS EVERYTHING!!!!

      I love my tipi's. I'll never be homeless with them.

      History is written by the winners.


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      • #4
        Knife Sheath

        I lay out my knife on raw hide and mark the rawhide with about half an inch line outside of the blade . So far I have only done for metal knives so this may not help you. I coat my blade with mineral oil and then soak the raw hide in room timperature water for four to six hours. I then pull the raw hide tight around the blade and use spring clamps along the edge of the blade but not on it. I then let it dry over night and then sew the edge with sinue . Then I use regular leather for the rest of the sheath glued to the raw hide . The blade then get another coat of mineral oil and do not seam to fall out.

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