leather

Leather Axe Sheath

| October 8, 2018
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I sharpened my axe, and made a leather axe sheath to protect the edge. Its not the finest work I’ve ever done, but it was really for utility. I’m moving into a small wood stove heated mountain home for at least the next year, and I need to play catch up on getting some cords of fire wood stacked before winter.

I made the leather axe sheath from some heavy cow leather I had in my leather scraps bin. I simply traced the axe edge onto the leather, and then over-sized my cuts to leave space for stitching, rivets, and an eyelet. I drilled out some holes on the drill press, which is much easier than using an awl, and then stitched up the edges with a semi-decorative looking stitch. I used a hole punch for the rivets and eyelets instead of a drill, because of the hole diameter. I set the rivets with a hammer, and the eyelets with a grommet/eyelet setting tool like this cheap one on amazon. It gets the job done, but better ones definitely exists.

I waxed the finished leather axe sheath with SC Johnson Wax. Although for pure utility almost any wax would work to help bead off some water if applied alright.

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Leather Ammo Pouch

| September 28, 2018
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

I put together a nice leather ammo pouch to carry around my extra 270 ammo. I wanted one for a lot of reasons, tossing them in a pocket was dirty and disorganized, as was the case for tossing them in pack pocket, they made noise when loose, etc.

The design process is fairly simple, and making a pattern for a box the size of a cigarette pack isn’t inherently difficult. I made a pattern out of heavy paper, about the weight of a really light card stock, cut, folded and tested the size out. My design has no stitching visible from the front or sides for a neater cleaner look. I cut a block of wood the size of the internal cavity, and slapped together a small jig/press out of scraps. I cut my ammo pouch from one piece of leather per my template/design.

Right or wrong, when I work with leather I almost always mist the leather with a mineral free or purified water, put the leather in a jig/mold and let dry under some light pressure in the jig/mold, in a warm dry place. Even with a light weight leather, and hardly any water saturation, this helps hold the shape. Over doing it on the saturation of the leather will cause the leather to shrink, and ‘harden’. The goal isn’t to remove all the oils and turn it into a board, but that is what will happen if you aren’t careful.

I then spent an evening watching some episodes of various bullshit wilderness and survival ‘reality’ shows on Discovery, Nat Geo, and the like, whilst drilling out stitching holes with my vintage eggbeater hand drill, then cross stitching everything together with some waxed thread and Tandy leather working needles.

The angles were tight and a less pliable leather wouldn’t have allowed me to stitch such tight angles on a small leather ammo pouch so easily.

The ammo pouch was nice, but a little soft. The soft leather on hand that I used, wasn’t my first choice, but its what I had, and so I used it. To get a little more rigidity, I created a poly-type plastic insert. Its the same thing as the template, but trimmed to be slightly smaller. I couldn’t tell you exactly the material, or plastic type, because it was made from a dollar store place mat, as it was more economical, less work, and faster to get than a sheet of kydex. It also has a hip pineapple print in a color that works well with the brown leather.

I added a couple grommets, in the event it got submerged help it quickly drain, but mostly for aesthetics. I added a snap, trimmed the lid shape, and wax treated the whole thing with SC Johnson Fine Paste Wax

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Leather Rifle Sling Customization

| August 14, 2017
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

My leather rifle sling was a little too long, and made the rifle awkward to carry. I bought it from abroad inexpensively, and figured it would need work. Truthfully, I couldn’t buy the raw leather materials in the USA for anywhere near as cheap as I bought this leather sling finished. I figured I would have to remake the sling anyway, so just having to shorten it isn’t ll that big a deal.

Fortunately the sling was actually fairly well made, just too long. I drilled out the factory rivets. I un-stitched a long length of thread, and left it attached to re use after trimming. I used a small drill bit and a vintage hand drill to make some holes for stitching. I also used a larger drill bit to make new holes for rivets. I originally wanted to do this project quickly, because its already deer season, and hoped I could just plug in some chicago screws. However, nobody nearby had chicago screws, and I resorted to copper rivets. I even pulled out my grommet tool(seen in the pictures) thinking I had a ‘long-enough’ brass grommet I could use, but I didn’t. It wasn’t a big deal, just a little more work to set rivets. I set the rivets, and peened them with an old ball peen hammer from my vintage tool collection that needs some restoration work.

The end result is strong, probably stronger than the original rivets and connection points, and a sling the fits me and my rifle well.

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