Green River Knife and Sheath

Recently, a Green River Patch Knife came into my possession. These knives typically comes with grip kits where you can cut, finish, and install your own grips, but this one was just the blade - no grips, no sheath. It's a very thin knife that already had a razor edge on it, so my first modification was an installation of a paracord handle wrap. It isn't anything fancy and is likely only going to be a temporary solution, but it was cheap and is functional, and it also provides me with an extra few feet of cord should I ever need to unwind and use it.

But this knife also needed a carry sheath. This was the first attempt I've ever made to work leather. I had a nice sheet of rough, brown leather that was large enough to cut two sheaths from. The first sheath was planned to be an inside-the-belt sheath that lets me carrying inside my waistband very close against my hip. I prefer to carry this way with an un-tucked shirt because it keeps it out of view. Even though the blade length is the same, people seem to be more nervous about a fixed blade knife than about folding ones. The second sheath is a simple belt sheath with loop and is still a work in progress.

With all my supplies laid out, I started with the sheet of leather, xacto knife, waxed thread, leather needles, pen, rubber cement, and a handful of grommet/eyelets.

First I laid out the knife on the leather to draw a tracing of the knife onto the leather sheet. Looking back, I probably would have done this on paper and used the paper cutout to trace onto the leather. Paper is more forgiving and erase-able. Once the outline of my pouch sheath was drawn, I started with the xacto to cut out the design. For whatever reason, the xacto wasn't cutting the leather clean, maybe I need a new blade on it, so I switch to a small pair of scissors that cut through it like a beast. Once the pattern was cut out, I laid it on top of new portion of the leather sheet, traced the outline, and cut again. This left me with two nearly identical pieces of leather in intended shape of my sheath.

I applied a thin strip of rubber cement to glue just the outsides of both leather pieces together - one on top of the other - and let it sit overnight.

This morning the rubber cement had dried, and the stitching could begin. Now not only was this my first attempt at leather work, but this was also the first time I had tried to stitch anything more involved than a button on a shirt. I guess there are special leather punch tools designed to put clean, neat holes in leather. I didn't have those so for me, it was a hammer and small nail. My idea originally was to go all of the way around the edge of the sheath making small, even holes at regular intervals to stitch later. But as I began, I was concerned that the rubber cement wasn't going to hold up under the excessive handling and hammer/nail impacts. So my method ended up being, make one nail hole, thread the waxed thread through that hole, make the next hole, and repeat.

After completing the stitching in one direction, I reversed and stitched back through all of the same holes.

Once the stitching was complete, I wanted to install at least four eyelets that were large enough to run a paracord attachment system through. The set-up let's me quickly put it on my belt or strap it to a pack. Again, I guess there is a handy tool that makes installing these jokers a snap in leather, but I don't own that tool, so it was a nightmare. First I marked where I wanted them on the sheath. Next, I drilled out the correct size hole to allow the eyelet to fit in snugly. The eyelets go in from one direction, and then the design of the eyelet allows pressure to be put on the opposite side to "fold" it down and pinch the leather between the two sides of the eyelet. This is not exactly how it worked for me. I used a hammer, concrete floor, and screwdriver to mash the opposite sides down, so although it does pinch the leather as intended, it is not very beautiful nor are my eyelet holes nice and symmetrical.

Finished product:

So, now that this project is wrapped up, here are a couple things I will most likely try to do differently on my next sheath:
  • The leather I had was too rough. It holds onto the knife nicely, but it's a pain to try to put the knife back in when it is inside my waistband. I think I would also choose a thicker piece that would make the sheath walls more sturdy.
  • I would buy the grommet installer thing.
  • I would trace the sheath design on paper first - even though this turned out pretty close to how I envisioned it, once you start cutting this leather, you're pretty committed to the design you made.


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