The online community of knife collectors, A Knife Family Forged in Steel
Been out of town or would have replied sooner to Robt Burris and Jan Carter's request to see examples of my litany. But first a comment on Dave Cole's and Shlomo's inputs. High-riding sheaths have one major drawback. Drawing the knife is a bit difficult because you have to raise your elbow so high; returning it to the sheath is a real exercise in gymnastics; you almost have to tuck your head under your armpit to see the opening in the top of the sheath. Add a heavy coat and it gets complicated. Ideally, the sheath should ride such that the knife handle is right under your palm when your arm is "hanging" at your side. But this would make the sheath too long if attached to your belt. Shlomo's Scandanavian approach will get the right position and height, but that "dangling" sheath will likely snag on brush and, if the knife is heavy, beat a bruise on your thigh if you have to run any distance. Like Dave Cole, I have made many types of sheaths. Like Dave, I am a disciple of the "high end" sheath --- I believe the sheath should compliment, but be just as attractive as the knife itself. And the sheath should be secure (knife won't fall out) and safe (wearer won't get cut drawing or returning the knife). I keep experimenting. Some of the ideas get trashed when I finally complete the sheath and realize it doesn't meet the above two standards. Here is an quick photo summary of my evolution in sheath making.
The first pic is one of my earlier traditional sheath styles. I didn't make many like this when I concluded that the "snap strap", while good for securing the knife in the sheath, gets in the way when you try to return the knife.
The above attached pic (zebra and elephant sheath) shows the final evolution of my traditional (non-pouch) sheath design. Although I have a few other designs for traditional flat sheaths that work well, this one is the easiest and most dependable. The little tapered pin that projects out of the top of the sheath fits neatly and reliably into the lanyard hole in the knife handle. To draw the knife you simply insert your fingers between the sheath and the handle and pull slightly outward and then up. The outward motion separates the pin from the lanyard hole. To put the knife back in the sheath you push the knife down 'tile in stops then tap the handle toward your hip and the pin engages in the lanyard hole. The key is the precise alignment of the pin and the hole. If interested in how to do this without trial and error, contact me.
I have always liked the look of pouch style sheaths but had to figure out how to overcome their negatives ---- if you have enough "coverage" to keep the knife securely in the sheath, you cover most of the knife handle. That means the beautiful handle you made is hidden from view and you have a very limited (and I contend, unsafe) portion of the handle to grasp to draw the knife. Here is my latest solution. It utilizes a pin that runs through the welt of the sheath. Pushed in, the pin (with decorative grasping button, if you like) laps over the blade guard [ no blade guard on your knife? shame on you) and keeps the knife from falling out, even if you do a cartwheel down the hill. Simply pull out the pin until it stops and draw the knife. Return the knife and push the pin in. Now we have a pouch sheath with enough handle exposed to see and grasp the handle.
This is the type of sheath that I wear outside the overalls--Made by German leatherworker Fritz Schurts called his Nordish pattern...As you can see it differs from a dangle sheath.
His Standard Pouch style sheath - FRONT VIEW
Showing the knife it retains.
This is another style of pouch (wet moulded) made by Canadian Vess Leatherworks for the SOG Pentagon
I thought I would show y'all a picture of my shoulder rig for my large knife. I find it easier to carry a large blade and simple to take on an off. I have read that the frontiersmen of the 1800's wore shoulder rigs for their large knives and Bowies. I also like it as a cross draw set up, it leaves my right side free for a shoulder bag and smaller fixed blade.
Thanks for the info on hedge hog leather works. I will contact them to see if they would like their work featured in a magazine article.
Depending on the blade length, sometimes a horizontal carry might snug up the knife out of the way. Although I've stitched some sheaths for myself in the past, I prefer to let those with better skills do it for me. A pricey, but top quality place one might want to look into would be Hedgehog Leatherworks @ http://www.hedgehogleatherworks.com/