View Full Version : 1st attempt Saya-Like object

Burl Source
08-11-2012, 08:55 PM
I could not get motivated today so I decided to play around a bit.
There was a walmart knife on one of the shelves in my workshop so I thought I would see how easy/hard it would be to make a saya like sheath. I was too lazy to run home and grab a good knife so I just used a $10 Santoku from walmart.

In some ways it wasn't as difficult as I expected.
In other ways it wasn't as easy as it looked.
I learned a lot of what not to do.
This one turned out chunkier than I like.
But still not as bad as I expected.
Now, I need to make better ones for my good knives.

What do you guys/gals think?
Did I do ok? or does it look like a big dino turd?
Be careful how you answer Pesky....Spike..and......


The hekler
08-11-2012, 10:02 PM
Looks good to me although I think you could have went a little thinner with it, still probably could sand it down to be a little less "clunky" if you were so inclined. Great for a first attempt and better then anything I could manage no matter how many attempts I had.

08-11-2012, 10:16 PM
Nice, what did you use to carve out the cavity?

08-11-2012, 10:40 PM
Nice, what did you use to carve out the cavity?

I think he used a spacer...Looks good,love the wood.

08-11-2012, 10:44 PM
It looks...........................

El Pescador
08-11-2012, 10:50 PM
It looks...........................
Good for a first attempt!

08-11-2012, 11:06 PM
Nothing wrong with that!!

08-12-2012, 12:02 AM
Yep looks nothing like bogwood. Next u won't be selling just the wood.

Eamon Burke
08-12-2012, 01:48 AM
I want to give you real feed back of some sort, but everything looks awesome with burl source wood.

send some a the scraps ovah heah...

Real nice, now do it for the double mike knife!

Burl Source
08-12-2012, 01:38 PM
Nice, what did you use to carve out the cavity?
Just a spacer on this one, but I will be getting some chisels soon so I can carve out the cavity in the future.

It seemed too thick at 1st glance.
Then I took it home and compared to a normal saya.
Waaaaay too thick. One side of mine equals the entire thickness of one done right.

Now I will try to make a better sheath for this one.

08-12-2012, 02:12 PM
Certainly good for a first attempt and beautiful wood.

Burl Source
08-12-2012, 03:47 PM
This is attempt number two.
Since I have an example saya to look at for reference it should be closer this time.
Now I get to watch glue dry.

08-12-2012, 04:16 PM
That's a lotta glue, sport!

Burl Source
08-12-2012, 05:48 PM
That's a lotta glue, sport!
I apply the glue in a way that the centrifical force causes the glue to squeeze outward, instead of inward.
It's an old box making trick involving high tech tools. In this case a q-tip.

Just teasing. After applying the glue I go back with a q-tip to thin it near the inner edge to prevent squeeze out going into the inner area.

Burl Source
08-12-2012, 07:29 PM
Getting it thinned down

Now I will do the rest of the sanding and shaping by hand.
The power sanders eat wood fast and I am real close to final thickness and shape.

08-12-2012, 07:48 PM
looks great hope to see pictures on the second attempt

Burl Source
08-12-2012, 09:07 PM
OK, Here is #2 , and the chunkier #1.
I think the 2nd one is a lot better but still not just right.


08-12-2012, 09:29 PM
Wow u went from a shed to a saya. Looking good!

El Pescador
08-13-2012, 12:24 PM
The second time around looks pretty good. How good is the fit? Do you need a pin?

Burl Source
08-13-2012, 02:32 PM
The second time around looks pretty good. How good is the fit? Do you need a pin?
Fits good without a pin. Won't slide off by itself. But that will change in time so I will probably do a pin later anyways.

I used the saya you gave me with the knife as a reference for thickness and such.
Can you or anyone else think of anything I should change?

Burl Source
08-14-2012, 03:57 PM
Please Read This!
This is NOT the correct way to make a saya/sheath.
It is a step by step of what I have been doing using the tools I have, figuring things out on my own.
I was hoping that maybe some of the crafts people who know what they are doing might provide their comments or suggestions that would help me to figure out how to do things better.
This is not intended as instructions on how to make a saya

This photo shows the knife with the 2 outer pieces cut 1/4" thick and a spacer piece about 1/8".

To make a pattern I outlined the blade.

Then I drew in the shape for the saya using another saya as a reference for shape. I like the look of the shape but if I use a pin it will have an awkward position so that portion may change shape. Just not sure yet.

I will post more photos as I go along showing what I am doing.
Any comments or suggestions from those who know how to do this are welcomed and appreciated.

Burl Source
08-14-2012, 07:18 PM
Cut out the pattern and traced it onto one of the pieces.
Lined up the pieces so the grain patterns would match.
Then taped the 3 pieces together so I could cut all 3 at once.
3 matching pieces.
Checking the fit. I forgot to take a photo showing that I outlined the blade onto the spacer and cut it out.
Now glued and clamped.

08-14-2012, 07:24 PM
What wood is on the handle??? Maple or Box Elder Burl?? Saya looks pretty cool, I may have to try this sometime!

Burl Source
08-14-2012, 08:21 PM
What wood is on the handle??? Maple or Box Elder Burl?? Saya looks pretty cool, I may have to try this sometime!
The handle on this knife is Dyed Redwood and Ivory bolsters.
I never knew how often I needed to be using a slicer until Pierre made this for me.
I love the knife and use it all the time.

Now I am going to check the joints on my glue up.
The temp is over 100f today and the glue was thickening a lot faster than normal.

08-14-2012, 08:57 PM
Ah, ok! Looks nice!

08-14-2012, 10:11 PM
That looks pretty intuitive, nice to see the development. When will you get your chisels, that's what I am looking forward to ;) My question in anticipation of the chiseled ones: Does one chisel out only one side or both? Or does it depend on the knife type?


Burl Source
08-14-2012, 10:14 PM
Not perfect but a pretty good joint.

Now for thinning, tomorrow shaping and fitting.

I think after the ebony is sanded and finished the colors will be closer to what is in the handle.

08-14-2012, 10:15 PM
I have done it both ways. I use Sorby bench chisels and find them to work just fine!

Burl Source
08-14-2012, 10:18 PM
I have done it both ways. I use Sorby bench chisels and find them to work just fine!
Is that a chisel with the bent handle?
I was thinking there should be a variety of normal chisels like used for imbedding hinges and hardware that would work fine.
But I am still guessing here.

BTW: like the new family member.
That's a good looking dog. (is that an oxymoron?)

08-14-2012, 10:25 PM
THe chisels are just regular chisels, used bevel down. I use carving knives to define the area to be removed.
Ho Tai is smart! he's no moron! Oxy or otherwise! He was born here one year ago.

Burl Source
08-15-2012, 03:31 PM
I made a fatal error with the saya.
It does not fit snug to the bolster because I did not thin the glue on the inner edge of the spacer and this prevents the blade from going all the way in. So this is a temporary saya until I make a new one.

I was happy with the rest of the shaping and finishing. I have had this ebony for a while and had never made anything with it. It is a lot nicer than I thought.


After talking with Pesky for a while yesterday he/we came up with the idea to taper the spacer from top to bottom.
That should help to match the blade taper for a better fit.
So that is what I will try on the next one.
If that doesn't work out, I will get some chisels and try that way.

08-15-2012, 03:36 PM
your getting there for sure, and that wood looks outstanding. soon ill make saya orders from you :D

Burl Source
08-18-2012, 03:48 PM
Here is attempt #4 with my double Mike Petty.

08-18-2012, 04:33 PM
Very nice!!! I really like the way you did these with the spacer and wood panels on the outside, so I went to WoodCraft yesterday and got some 1/8" thick pieces to try some saya's out! I even found a bent neck chisel for like $15 or so, so I can try carving some out, too! These look like a fun project!!

08-18-2012, 04:34 PM
Looking really good Mark. You've come a long way in a very short amount of time. Can't wait to see more.

08-18-2012, 05:48 PM
wow. :doublethumbsup:

i would love to see a saya and handle from same piece of burl wood in line. :D

08-18-2012, 07:37 PM
Mark, Those are beautiful. I really like the dark striped one, what ebony is that

Burl Source
08-19-2012, 11:26 AM
Mark, Those are beautiful. I really like the dark striped one, what ebony is that
The ebony is striped ebony from indonesia.
Not sure the exact variety.
There are a couple dozen varieties. Usually generically called Macassar though incorrect.
This came from drops I bought from a sawyer who milled them for an importer back in the 80s.