Did I buy the wrong leather? (How do you make both sides smooth?)

Discussion in 'Self-made Gear' started by CountryRoots, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. CountryRoots

    CountryRoots Supporter Supporter

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    I bought a shoulder of 7-9oz veg tanned leather from Tandy. It was great for the axe sheathes I made, but now I’m looking at a knife sheath like this one from Wolf Leather...
    http://wolfecustoms.com/?attachment_id=82
    (Sorry, struggling with the cell phone )

    Anyway, I want to fold the leather over the knife, so finished side goes out... then I want to fold the top back over for a belt loop / dangler ring.

    And there’s the problem... when I fold it back, the rough side is facing out and it doesn’t look good...

    Do I take sandpaper to it, a scraper... how do I make both sides of the leather smooth?

    I’m not inclined to put that much work into something if I’m not confident in how it will look when I’m done... (my lack of skills are one thing, but starting with the wrong materials is something Im not interested in)
     
  2. bladesmith3

    bladesmith3 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    almost all taco style sheaths have the rough side out for the beltloop. look at one of your sheaths and you will see what I mean.
    no one really notices because it is against your body when you wear it.
     
  3. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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  4. TerBear

    TerBear Scout

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    Like hillst1 said. Slick it down. Won't be perfect but that's okay.
     
  5. Hoof

    Hoof Former Genius Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I made one sheath that the customer wanted the belt loop to match so I bent it forward instead of backward. I beveled the edge well, glued it and had no hangup problems.
     
  6. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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    You can also add a belt loop similar to the photo.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Wasp

    Wasp We are GO for Sting! Supporter

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    Here's an LT Wright sheath from Google. One of my favorite sheaths that come with a knife. Notice its smooth on outside and rough on inside and belt loop shows rough.

    [​IMG]

    Most people don't notice. If the knife is in the sheath you don't see it. If knife isn't in sheath your shirt is over it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  8. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    I've done this with good results.
    you can also buy a scrap of 2-4 oz leather and glue it to the parts that will be exposed so you have a smooth surface showing.
     
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  9. gdpolk

    gdpolk Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    Make the body of the sheath and stitch a belt loop on so the flesh side of the loop is on the insides. I must warn you though, its MUCH easier to get that loop stitched on BEFORE sewing up the sheath body...ask me how I know. I typically attach the top of my loops at the top of the sheath then size them in length to roughly fold at the top of the handle and sew on the bottom of the loops underneath the first attachment point.
     

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  10. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Agreed! Gum tragacanth is the way to go. I use a spray bottle with warm water and a tiny bit of dish soap. Then rub a generous amount of Gum tragacanth in with my finger. Then use any type of slicker to burnish it. I like using a heavy shot glass. Repeat until you get your desired results.

    If the rough side is really hairy you may need to scrape it first.
     
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  11. longcruise

    longcruise Scout

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    Another option is to glue and stitch a liner. It can be partial or complete coverage or, IOW back to back pieces cut from the same pattern.

    Your 7 - 9 oz is pretty heavy to double up. You could get a very thin piece, maybe even a contrasting color. Or, you could get another piece of 2 - 4 oz to double up.
     
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  12. bEaMann

    bEaMann Tracker Bushclass I

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    Having the rough side out toward the wearer may help prevent the sheath from sliding around on belt when moving about. Or so I'd guess.
     
  13. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    On the back piece, the belt loop gets folded forward, and tapered into the welt. Heres one i did, if you look close you can see it feather into the welt.

    IMG_20181125_185723_370.jpg Capture+_2018-12-22-07-35-51.png IMG_20181125_185228_097.jpg IMG_20181125_185228_099.jpg
     
  14. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    You can also stitch 2 lighter weight pieces together like this....


    Capture+_2019-03-14-00-20-20.png
     
  15. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    Fold forward and tuck in, glue and stitch. You can bevel the "tongue" before gluing as mentioned above as @Hoof mentioned.
     
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  16. gdpolk

    gdpolk Hobbyist Hobbyist

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  17. JAY

    JAY Guide

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    I'm no expert by any means, but for such things as small belt pouches, etc, I leave the rough side out, as it gives me a more rustic look that I like.
     
  18. wiwoodsman

    wiwoodsman Scout

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    I switched from gum trag to Tan Kote for smoothing rough side of leather. Very happy with switch.

    -Wisconsin Woodsman on YouTube
    - back40leatherandcanvas on Instagram
     
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  19. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    Tokonole works even better
     
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  20. Rockgod1619

    Rockgod1619 Supporter Supporter

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    When I make sheaths with that style loop, I sand the loop area on a belt sander with 120grit, which smooths it well. I then burnish it with any hard, smooth object (I usually use a Sharpie body). I haven't tried gum tragacanth yet but I need to.
     
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  21. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    You could also just buy good leather. Tandy leather tends to be lower quality and often really fuzzy flesh side.
    I only buy Hermann Oak veg tan, Wickett & Craig is good too. I get my sides from weaver, but springfield sells B grade Hermann oak thats still way better than anything from Tandy, and they sell by the sq ft.
     
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  22. tristndad

    tristndad Supporter Supporter

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    Thanks for sharing your sources for the leather. I am about done with buying Tandy leather. It has worked fine, but I am ready to take a step forward.
     
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  23. HannahT

    HannahT Firebug Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I'll cast another vote for Hermann Oak and Wickett and Craig. Burnishing H/O for the first time (after using cheaper stuff) was like night and day. The back of the leather will still be kind of scratchy, but gum trag and burnishing or Tan-Kote will make a difference.
     
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  24. Chevrolet4x4s

    Chevrolet4x4s Supporter Supporter

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    I stitch the belt loops on most of my sheaths. Fits a lot snuggle that way and doesn't flop around as much.
    Shane
     
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  25. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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  26. tristndad

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  27. CountryRoots

    CountryRoots Supporter Supporter

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    I’m sure that’s really nice leather... but ouch! I’ll have to get by with what I have for now (Even if it’s junk, it was 1/4 the price and good enough if pride is set aside) and focus on getting the right tools before I can drop that kind of coin for material...

    That said, Springfield looks like a great supplier... I might have to try some of that nice leather by the square foot from them and the tools look like they cost less there while I am at it!
     
  28. RiceOnSuede

    RiceOnSuede Scout

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    Thats what I was saying, springfield sells that same leather by the square foot in B grade which just means there may be a blemish somewhere otherwise it's just as nice.
    This is the link you'll want...
    https://www.springfieldleather.com/...5.1583815557.1552681138-1477242749.1552681138
     
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