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View Full Version : A leather Sheath - A New Project



Marko Tsourkan
01-10-2014, 09:23 PM
As some of you might know, I took on more space for a leather workshop. The renovation is finally done and I used the workshop for the first time yesterday.

I made a prototype sheath to test the processes (gluing, marking with my logo, burnishing edges, staining leather, etc) and to come up with a set of steps and design features that I like.

I think I have accomplished what I attempted and met my modest expectations, though there are still things to be learned and experimented before I am comfortable to offer a leather sheath as a product.

Making a leather sheath is more efficient than making one out of wood, and that is a big plus for me, as as of today, I am back to a one-man operation. Moreover, it is much easier for me to match a color on a sheath to a color of the handle. The fit is perfect, the design will feature a latch to keep the knife securely inside and the protection is no different than in a wooden sheath. Eventually, I will include leather sheaths with all my knives, from petties to scimitars. A well made leather sheath can look pretty stunning, as you will eventually attest.

I am taking one step at a time, but I like to think how every product I make fits in a family of products related to knives that I would like to offer. Once I get the sheath project going, I will start on a leather knife roll.

Developing a line of products doesn't imply that I lose my focus on the kitchen knives, quite on the contrary, the idea is to enhance the enjoyment of using quality kitchen knives - sharpening, maintaining, storing, protecting, moving around. That is what this is all about. Knives have been and will remain my main focus - I will continue looking for ways to improve and to maximize performance be it adopting new steels, developing new heat treatment methods, adopting new technologies, etc.

Will post pictures as I move along with the project.

Thanks,

Marko

21484

WildBoar
01-10-2014, 10:49 PM
Sorry to hear you lost your help. These sheaths are going to be very nice. The practice one you posted yesterday looked pretty dang good.

Lefty
01-10-2014, 11:37 PM
You're going to do some amazing things, Marko. Keep doing what you do. :)

turbochef422
01-10-2014, 11:42 PM
Maybe my job can direct deposit my check into your bank account from now on. A knife roll! I want #1

stereo.pete
01-15-2014, 11:15 AM
That leather sheath is a blank canvas just dying for some good tooling. I love the idea of you getting into leather sheaths Marko, look into the tooling that Paul Long does for some additional inspiration.

Chef Niloc
01-15-2014, 08:27 PM
That leather sheath is a blank canvas just dying for some good tooling. I love the idea of you getting into leather sheaths Marko, look into the tooling that Paul Long does for some additional inspiration.

Paul makes it look easy, take it from someone that knows it's a skill that takes time to develop and regardless of skill is extremely time-consuming. I have all of Paul's videos and have met with him at a few conventions he's a great guy and in my opinion one of the best leatherworkers ever!

Mrmnms
01-15-2014, 09:39 PM
They look practical and durable. No doubt if you made them , they'll work well. Just have to decide how many knives are getting leather sayas when you're ready Marko.

hambone.johnson
01-16-2014, 01:55 AM
I have heard that with leather sheath working it is possible to do the sheath without the knife in hand. A perfect stencil mailed in card board can often suffice. As a generalization would you be willing to do so? I have such a hard time sending blades away and so many in need of sayas. 😏

Marko Tsourkan
01-16-2014, 09:27 AM
I have heard that with leather sheath working it is possible to do the sheath without the knife in hand. A perfect stencil mailed in card board can often suffice. As a generalization would you be willing to do so? I have such a hard time sending blades away and so many in need of sayas. 😏

That was one of the reasons to offer leather sheath. Right now I am not taking any new custom work orders, but in the near future, as I get more comfortable with working leather, I will offer some custom sheaths.

Marko

hambone.johnson
01-16-2014, 11:26 AM
Very cool. Looking forward to the project coming full circle

Marko Tsourkan
03-18-2014, 03:45 PM
Finally carved a little time to work on this project. Below is a production prototype. Quality-wise it's a second - there are a couple of things that I need to do differently and to improve upon. I will incorporate these changes in the next one and hopefully start working on the production sheaths after that.

The fit is tight, so I made this one without a leather strap, but might do that in the production version.

Bill13
03-18-2014, 04:11 PM
Marko,

That is really nice, love the contrasting stitching.

Marko Tsourkan
03-18-2014, 04:23 PM
Thanks Bill.

evanjohnson
03-18-2014, 04:33 PM
Beauty- can't wait to try it out.

apathetic
03-19-2014, 09:33 AM
Looks nice and very sturdy as well, would be up for one when these become available

Chefu
03-19-2014, 09:52 AM
Marko, I would love to get one for the 227 western AEB-L, any chance of that?

Marko Tsourkan
03-19-2014, 11:52 AM
Marko, I would love to get one for the 227 western AEB-L, any chance of that?
Absolutely.

hambone.johnson
03-20-2014, 01:17 PM
Marko. I have a DT ITK 240 (recent run) and a 255 Rodrigue gyuto in need of some blade covers. Do you have time to take on any projects?

Marko Tsourkan
03-21-2014, 10:39 AM
Marko. I have a DT ITK 240 (recent run) and a 255 Rodrigue gyuto in need of some blade covers. Do you have time to take on any projects?

I have a number of leather saya orders for DT gyutos, so these will need to be completed before I can take any additional orders. Given that I will be preparing for Seattle show in April and be out of the country for a couple of weeks in May, the earliest I could possibly do would be June-July.

Marko

ShaggySean
03-21-2014, 10:55 AM
Nice work and I agree the contrasting stitching looks great

Marko Tsourkan
03-21-2014, 10:59 AM
I am getting leather samples from several leather suppliers, and after that I will be ordering some leather. For now there will be 4-5 color options. The production saya will feature a strap with a snap to keep the knife securely inside. Contrast stitching is optional - I will also offer stitching to match the color of the leather.

Marko Tsourkan
03-25-2014, 12:10 PM
Received leather samples from a couple of vendors. Beautiful stuff. The quality and stiffness is excellent. Really look forward to work on it.

I think I will be ordering colors to match wood I offer. For example, chocolate brown will match cocobolo, black - ziricote, ebony, natural leather - maple. There seem to be enough colors to chose from to get a pretty good match. Contrasting stitching should look really nice.

In the near future, I aim at offering sayas with all my knives, with leather sheaths for Western handles knives, and wooden for wa.

Folks have been a little slow embracing leather, but I assure you - this stuff is really good. It looks good and protects knives just as good as wooden sheaths.

M

evanjohnson
03-27-2014, 05:24 PM
I received the Western with the leather saya- looks even better in person. I like the cognac color but ended up oiling the leather so it is a chocolate brown since I figured it would end up with oil on it from use anyway.

Some red dye can off the edge of the saya; I'm still trying to get the red off my hand- might be a problem with a white chef's coat?

ThEoRy
03-27-2014, 05:43 PM
Don't know why I haven't seen this thread till now but the sheaths look awesome. Ever consider putting a little strap with a button on it as an extra safety? I think it would look cool and give it that, gun out of a holster feel.

Marko Tsourkan
03-27-2014, 05:53 PM
Don't know why I haven't seen this thread till now but the sheaths look awesome. Ever consider putting a little strap with a button on it as an extra safety? I think it would look cool and give it that, gun out of a holster feel.

Yes, the production sheaths will feature leather straps with a snap. This was a prototype to figure out the process.


...

Some red dye can off the edge of the saya; I'm still trying to get the red off my hand- might be a problem with a white chef's coat?

The dye came off as it wasn't meant to be used for leather, but for wood (water based), so that's the reason (among a few other details) that the saya was free of charge. I made it mostly to figure out how to burnish the edges and the dye had to be applied before burnishing, so I used the one I had for wood. For the production pieces, I will use professional leather dye that is alcohol based.

Marko

evanjohnson
03-27-2014, 07:43 PM
Not a problem- the saya protects very well. It was after I washed my hands and handled the saya that the dye came off on my hands. Thanks.

NY-Chef
06-24-2014, 11:41 AM
I will use professional leather dye that is alcohol based.

Marko

Oil based my friend. Tandy Seles this stuff now but I haven't tried it.
http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/2810-550.aspx
Burnishing ink is what a lot of pro's use.
http://www.panhandleleather.com/Sellari_c43.htm
The old guys always say
Edge Kote is what you use if you are too lazy to burnish with gum tragacanth
The real trick lies in sealing the edge afterwards. I use this product to seal the whole sheath including burnished finished edge( the way Paul long showed me)
http://www.panhandleleather.com/LCi-CLEAR-LAC-ONE-QUART-LCI-02.htm

But a mix of bees wax and mink oil applied when the leather is still hot after from burnishing is also very popular and what I do if you're/ I'm not going to seal the hole sheath. Basically I use a belt sander with a 220 grit and work down to 800 grit belt. gum tragacanth can then be used after this ( but I never found it necessary) with a wood (hard wood, not oak) or a brass Rod running fast in a drill press so it gets hot and "burns/ burnishes the edge. Durning the the final burnishing the wax/mink oil ( neatsfoot oil would also work) is used to seal the final edge. If Dye was used nothing will rub off after sealing it this way and sealing in this way provides the smoothest shiniest edge possible. the wax/ oil mix comes out looking like a bar of buffing compound, hard enough to hold but soft enough to melt easily. A cup of oil to a lb of wax will make a life times worth.

Also note if you buy fully die leather like the stuff I told you about from wickett-craig then edge dying becomes unnecessary ( because the dye goes all the way threw. but burnishing and sealing still is.

Hope this helps, if not you know how to get in touch with me.:wink: