Leather work

I used leather to cover the faces of my woodworking vise. I had extra leather and I found that I can make some very useful things without too much work.

The only tool that was really necessary was the needles. I already had them from some rope work I had done in the past, so they didn't cost anything.

I bought an overstitch wheel which marks the stitches before drilling the holes. I used it only on the second larger sheath. I think the even stitches there look much better and they certainly were easier to mark.

The chunk of scrap walnut has been smoothed on one end on a belt sander. It is used to smooth the edges and rub the leather into place.

The piece of hickory with the hook on the end is for marking where the stitches go in comparison with an edge. It is effectively a marking gauge.

I might invest in a v-gouge at some point in the future. It is used after the marking gauge to cut a thin depression for the threads. This decreases wear on the threads. It is also used to cut thin strips from the inside of the leather to make it fold more easily.

I also used contact cement, a utility knife, a straight edge, a hammer, and my belt sander. That's about it for tools.

The lower sheath was stained with walnut Watco Danish Oil. I don't really think it looks better, but it was interesting to try. It worked very well even though it's not meant for leather. It has also been heavily waxed. The upper sheath has not been treated at all. I'd like to try soaking it in hot paraffin, but haven't got that far yet.

The button is one I cut from a branch and soaked for a couple of months in boiled linseed oil.

I couldn't find any description of how one might make a draw knife sheath or a push knife sheath anywhere on the web. If I made the push knife sheath again, I'd cut it so that it was narrower where the straps come over the back so that the straps would bear directly on the back of the blade. I'd also attach the button further from the back of the blade. The draw knife sheath might be improved a little. It should fit the length of the blade more closely and the flap should be larger and looser (I'm not sure how to make it looser). That would allow the knife to be inserted without having to hold the sheath right near the very-sharp blade.

This is not sophisticated leather work, but I was quite pleased with what I was able to do without a lot of practice or training.