Wet-fitting a sheath to your knife
The problem with getting a leather sheath to form to a knife is the waiting -- break-in can take a while. But c'mon, who has the patience to wait for leather to stretch to a perfect fit?
The solution? "Wet fitting" the sheath.
Unlike some methods we've seen for wet-fitting -- wait 'til a lunar eclipse, soak the sheath for exactly four minutes, wrap the knife in waxed paper and electrical tape, bake 'til the little turkey button pops out -- we have a better way. It doesn't take long, it doesn't damage your knife, and it's easy.
First, gather your supplies:
- Your knife
- Your sheath
- Mineral oil (or whatever you use to oil your knives)
- A clean, wet sponge
Right off the bat, take a moment to oil your knife -- simply a precaution to guard against corrosion. It won't be a big deal anyway with this method of wet-fitting, but as the saying goes, it's "an ounce of prevention."
Wet the sponge, wring out the excess water and wipe the front of the sheath. We suggest wiping the entire front of the sheath to avoid leaving any water stains on the leather, but you should wipe the part that will be stretched the most a couple of times.
Take note -- you're thoroughly wetting only the surface of the leather. Don't try to wet the leather all the way through.
Lay your knife on top of the sheath to confirm knife-to-sheath fit. You're essentially checking to see how deep the knife will eventually sit in the sheath.
Insert your knife into the sheath. If the sheath is tight, use a finger (or a wooden dowel) to open the mouth of the sheath a little. Then just insert the knife and push it into the sheath as far as you want it to go.
Using your fingers, form the leather around the knife.
Once you're satisfied with the fit, set the sheath down (with the knife still inserted) 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. This wet-fitting method has been known to produce excellent results in as little as an hour, but you want to make sure that the leather is completely dry.
Notice the difference between the flat sheath before wet-fitting (left) compared to the formed sheath after wet-fitting (right).
Although our method doesn't achieve dramatic wet-fitting or "boning," it's much simpler, and there's almost no risk of messing up either your knife or your sheath.