Leather Sheath

Step by Step

The basic material for this sheath is a piece of vegetable tanned leather approx. 20 x 30 cm, with a thickness of approx. 2.5 mm. I have not inserted any blade protection.

Preparing the leather:

  • Since the leather is placed in water before processing, the knife must be protected from moisture. The best way to do this is to wrap it in a plastic (household) foil.
  • Now measure how the leather has to be cut. Traditionally, the seam on the Nordic sheath is on the side and not along the lower side of the knife.
  • It is also important not to forget to include enough reserve for a belt loop or the like.
  • The leather is cut to the required width – of course best with a Puukko…
  • For a slightly more stable edge, the leather can either be folded or reinforced with a strip (made of slightly thinner leather) as shown here.
  • The piece of leather is now left for about 10 minutes. (or longer depending on thickness) in lukewarm water. Attention, not too hot, otherwise the structure changes too much and it can become brittle!
  • Now place the leather around the knife as desired and hold it together with small spring clamps.

The sewing:

  • I sew with double needles i.e. I cut a piece of waxed linen yarn in approx. 3 times the length of the knife and put in a leather needle at both ends.
  • With the awl I make a first hole. Since I have 4 layers of leather in the upper area, this can be a little tedious and you usually have to prick from the right and left (thicker leather anyway).Attention: The pricking with the awl has a considerable risk of injury – especially with thicker leather. Appropriate caution is advised here.
  • Now push a needle from the right and a needle from the left through the hole.
  • There are two ways to do this. Simple sewing or sewing with a loop/knot. The latter gives a more stable seam and is described here.
  • With this method I always work the same way, i.e. the right needle is pushed away from me (top) and the left needle towards me (bottom) up to about halfway through the hole. Then the left thread is put upwards over the needle coming from the right and the right thread downwards over the needle coming from the left. So needle and yarn are pulled through and the loop is formed, which is now tightened moderately.
  • At the very first hole I reinforce the seam by laying an additional thread with only one needle.
  • Then I continue as described with the awl and needles.
  • Make sure that you don’t sew too tightly on the knife. When the leather dries, it contracts and becomes harder. This must be taken into account to avoid that the knife “sits stuck” in the sheath…….
  • At the end of the blade (I always go one stitch length longer) a small opening is left.
  • For the finishing I go one stitch back but only to the middle, unfold the leather and tie both threads with a triple knot.
  • So that the knife can be fastened to a belt, I have decided here for a slit, through which I can pull a ribbon or a cord. A metal ring or something else can also be used. That everything holds together beautifully and is rounded off, I set again with the same technology a seam in desired form and length.
  • When everything is finished, the surplus leather is cut away and the leather sheath gets its finished shape.
  • When the leather has dried overnight at room temperature, it is treated with a leather grease. I use “Russian Dubbin„  from dubarry or a colourless leather grease for mountain boots or similar.

Attention: the knife remains in the sheath until the leather is dry.


Of course, there are no limits to the design of the belt loop. A specially braided cord, a simple or decorated leather strap, a colourfully woven ribbon, etc., etc., can be used. – it must simply hold….