This is all the hardware you will need to make this axe sheath:
- 2 stitching needles
- Heavy scissors / shears
- Fork or overstitch wheel
- Stanley knife
- Bone burnisher
- Heavy awl
- #2 edger
- Belt sander / grinder
- Drill press
- Needle nose pliers
- 3mm veg tanned saddle leather (minimum)
- Artificial sinew for stitching
- Dye (if you intend to colour the leather)
- 120 grit sand paper
- Contact cement
- Beeswax or saddle soap for burnishing
- Paper / cardboard and a pencil
Cut out the template. Trace the template onto the leather twice. REMEMBER, you will need to reverse the template so you don't have 2 of the same side. Also bare in mind that you want the nice side of the leather to be facing outwards. I usually use a ballpoint pen to draw onto the leather. It works much better than a pencil.
Cut out the leather templates using scissors / shears and the ruler and Stanley knife.
Apply contact cement to the other side of the spacer. Once this is dry, attach the other side of the sheath, pressing firmly together.
Saddle stitch tutorial
You can dye the leather before or after stitching. You generally get a better result if you dye before however I didn't as it makes it harder to see what I am doing in the photos.
I always back stitch first. I start 4 holes from the last hole and stitch to the end, then stitch back up again, all the way to the other end. When I get to the other end I stitch back 4 holes again, then clip the thread. This makes the ends stronger and more resistant to seperating.
At this point the sheath looks pretty rough. This is where the belt grinder / sander comes into it. Use the sander / grinder to grind the irregularities so that you are left with smooth edges. You can also use 120 grit sand paper for this, it just takes longer. Once this is done, go around the sheath with the edger. You will be left with this:
If you have left off dying the leather, now is the time to do it. Dying needs to be done before you burnish the edges. I don't use a wool swab. I just use a piece of sponge dabbed into dye and then dab that onto the leather. I make sure to get it inside the sheath so I am not left with the natural colour contrasting against the dark dye. Once the dye is dry, it's time to burnish the leather.
This is the final stage. Rub your thumb against the edges first one way, then the other. You will see that the leather has a natural grain orientation. Remember which way the grain naturally wants to lay flat. Now, using a little saliva on the tongue, give the edge you want to burnish a lick. It should now be moist. Now apply your beeswax or saddlesoap. if you use beeswax like me, you will need to rub quite vigerously to rub it into the grain. wetting the edge with saliva first makes the fibers more supple, giving a better finish in the end. Once you have finished applying the wax / saddle soap give the edge another lick so that the burnishing tool will slide easier (not necessary if using saddle soap). Now, using your bone burnishing tool (which can bee a piece of hardwood or even a bit of lambshank bone), rub the edge back and forth quickly. You will see that a shiny finish is starting to appear. Now start to rub the edge in the direction that you noted the fibers naturally wanted to go. You will have to press firmly. Do this to all the edges. Give the edge a final polish and you are done. This is how mine turned out.