Leather sheath dying process (problem/questions)

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by O'Neil, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. O'Neil

    O'Neil Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 14, 2019
    So ive only recently gotten into making sheaths for my knives. I did some research and watched a handful of how-to videos.

    My process went as such:
    Cut out the design
    Transfer and cut out the leather (8-9 oz veg.)
    Groove for stitches
    Rollout stitch pattern
    Cut and glue edge protection leather strip
    Awl out stitch holes for sheath and belt loop
    Dye the inside and outside of sheath and allow to dry (1-2 hours)
    Stitch everything together (3-4 hours)
    Dampen the sheath lightly to soften, insert the blade (i should have taped or protected it) and vacuum seal to form fit.

    The sheath turned out beautiful. Blade on the other hand..... alot of dye from the sheath, and rust from the water.

    The dye (fiebings) still has a tendency to rub off and its been a few days. Other than protecting the blade, is there anything else i can do to stop the dye bleeds? And now that its all put together what are my options other than cutting the stitches out of it? Thanks.....
    bike4fun919 likes this.
  2. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    No mention of the use of something to seal the finish such as TanKote, Resolene, etc.. That may reduce your dye bleed considerably.
    DeltaSheath likes this.
  3. bike4fun919


    May 5, 2014
    I can offer my novice advise. After dying rub the leather with soft cotton rags to develop a sheen and remove residual dye. Then use a top coat and let it dry and follow with rubbing. After a few hours coat the sheath with a quality wax a couple of times followed by hand rubbing and polishing.
    I coat my knife blades with gun oil before wrapping in Saran Wrap to mold the sheaths. I’ve heard chainsaw oil adheres well but I haven’t tried that.
  4. O'Neil

    O'Neil Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 14, 2019
    I appreciate the comments. Is there anything i can do now that its together? I work 6 days/week 12 hour days so where some people may view it as 4 hours lost pulling the threads and relacing, its about a 4 day process for me.
  5. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    I’ll toss in my .02’s worth as I still consider myself a newbie :) One I don’t dye the inside of my sheaths. If your looking for color inside, I line my sheaths with leather that color. With dye are you using an alcohol or oil ? Fiebings makes both and both require good dry times. The alcohol which I think your using cause you had rub off. Is a powdered dye, so I use multiple coats with this. First I condition my leather a couple times working it in well. Then I start to lightly burnish the leather and let dry. Then I add the coats of dye, one coat wait, second coat wait, etc. Now I burnish with a like gum-trag. When I have the look I want I then seal it. Bag coat, tan coat , resolene. When conditioning , dye , coating , remember take your time and let products dry. Hope this helps again there are many more here with greater experience :)
    Sheathmaker all ready and he’s correct you need to seal it.

    Edit : Seeing that the sheath is made now. For me cause I’m comfortable using it. I’d use resolene and seal it. I would rig up something like Qtips on a thin rod and coat the inside. Let it dry. Then I’d do the out side. As for the outside you could use bag or tan coat.
    Feel free to pm me if any questions. I still hand stitch so I know and nobody wants to do it twice;):thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    wardcleaver and bike4fun919 like this.
  6. bike4fun919


    May 5, 2014
    Duramax does the same as I. I don’t dye the inside of the sheaths. Some makers use a leather conditioner, I just leave mine untreated.
    duramax likes this.
  7. Private Klink

    Private Klink Gold Member Gold Member

    May 30, 2017
    I use Sno-Seal on my sheaths. If you want it to penetrate the leather better use a heat gun or hair dryer to warm up the sheath first.
  8. The Old Salt

    The Old Salt

    Feb 22, 2020
    I agree with the others. Had the same rub off issues on my clothes. Discovered resolene and problem solved.
    I like to use Obenauf’s on my lather. Oil around the stitches and welt inside and out. Then the wax on the outside.
    Can I do both and still do my wet forming?
  9. DeltaSheath

    DeltaSheath KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 19, 2020
    You can always get drum died leather to work with. It is died at the tannery and there is no rubbing off and no need to 'seal' it in. For what it's worth, once I started using leather died at the tannery I have not had to mess with dies myself and the end product is much more professional. Goes without saying you should make sure to stick to Veg-tanned leathers. Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy to help.
    Sharp & Fiery likes this.
  10. Blackcloud


    Dec 20, 2019
    Dyed leather needs to be sealed. I use Fieblings as well. First I coat the sheath in Mink Oil then wipe it dry. I let it soak in real well over night and apply my dye. That sets over nights and then I seal it with TanKote. Many things will work including your wifes Mop and Glo. Try to stay away from waxes meant for metal like car wax.

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