FAQ: What's the best way to 'wet fit' a sheath?

3rd Jul 2015

We get a lot of basic, practical questions. One we get quite often is about fitting sheaths.

Wet-fitting knife sheath

We designed many of our general-purpose sheaths to fit a number of different knives, and to fit them well. The only way we could do that was to make them very tight at first -- when they're broken in, of course, they fit like a glove. We're pleased with how well they turned out, and with how much our customers like them.

The problem, as in many areas of life, is the waiting -- break-in can take a while. But hey, who wants to wait for the leather to stretch to a perfect fit?

The solution is to "wet fit" the sheath.

Some of the online tutorials we've seen for wet-fitting sound like black magic... wait 'til a full moon, soak the sheath for 12.365 minutes, wrap the knife in plastic wrap and yellow duct tape, bake at 350 degrees 'til the little turkey button pops out... sheesh.

There's a better way, and it doesn't take long. It doesn't damage your knife. And it works like a charm.

First, get your supplies together:

  • Knife
  • Sheath
  • Mineral oil (or whatever you oil your knives with)
  • Clean, wet sponge

Take a moment right off the bat and oil your knife -- just a precaution to help guard against corrosion. With this method of wet fitting you have very little to worry about, but like they say, an ounce of prevention...

Wipe the front of the sheath with the wet sponge. (We suggest wiping the whole front of the sheath to avoid leaving any water stains on the sheath.) Wipe the part that will be stretched a couple of times -- you're thoroughly wetting only the surface of the leather. Don't try to wet it all the way through.

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Check the knife-to-sheath fit by laying the knife on top of the sheath. (You're checking to see how deep the knife will eventually sit in the sheath.)

Insert the knife into the sheath. On a tight sheath, use a finger (or a wooden dowel) to open the mouth of the sheath a little. Then just insert the knife and push it down as far as it needs to go in the sheath.

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Use your fingers to form the leather around the knife.

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Now set it down and let it air-dry. Don't use a hair-dryer, an oven or any other heat source.

We suggest leaving it to air-dry overnight, but this method has been known to produce excellent results in about an hour (when the leather is completely dry).

Wet-fitting knife sheath

Note the difference between the flat mouth before wet-fitting compared to the formed mouth afterward.

Wet-fitting knife sheath

(The sheath color is different only because of bad lighting.)

This method doesn't achieve dramatic wet-fitting or "boning," but it's a whole lot simpler and you're far less likely to mess up either the knife or the sheath.