Part Two continued....The Inner Piece optional
I never needed the inner as mine is a tight fit, this helps by choosing a piece of leather at around 2.5 to 3 mm, if the blade is 4mm get thicker leather as the welt thickness decides if its a firm fit or not (Friction fit)Gluing, Trimming and sanding
• Place the welt on the bottom piece and draw a mark on the inside so you can accurately place glue without messing onto the middle blade section.
• Try not get glue on the face of the leather, so work on a sheet of paper or two , might sound like common sense but it catches me from time to time in my haste to see the end result.
• Flip over and mark the top section
• In my case I did one side of the welt first , then allowed to get tacky, depending on glue this can take 2-10 minutes, sometimes it’s best to do this before it gets too tacky so you can move the two pieces if you accidental mess up then you can lift and reinsert
• Once tacky carefully place the welt on the bottom piece , be very careful not to make an error here.
• Tape with a light mallet to set the glue
• Insert the knife before doing the next side to make sure everything is lining up.
• Apply glue to the next piece and wait till tacky
• Join the last piece of the welt and tap with a mallet again
• Test the knife and hopefully all snugOptional Stamping with Patterns
• At this point I opted to try some leather stamps on my top piece, Stamping takes place before Gluing and is done with a mallet on a hard surface like a marble/granite top.
you can borrow from friends if you know of anyone who has and try this, before stamping you need to scribe a line with a sharp needle or awl, using the inner piece it makes it easier as I did in my case, this helps with stamping along a line.
• Before stamping wet the leather with a sponge, no need to use a lot of water, just enough to dampen, then go to town and be creative.Gluing the top piece, and the inner
In my case the inner wasn't needed because the height of the leather is the same as the thickest part of my blade, creating a natural retention system aided by applying olive oil to the inside
• Before gluing the top to the bottom, use a sponge and apply olive oil to the inner piece where the blade will sit, this creates a spongy suction which stops the knife sliding out.Glueing the top piece to the Welt
• Hopefully you drew an outline on the top section , if so carry on with gluing the top as before
• Tap down with a mallet to set the piece and admire your work, don’t worry if the edges are not exact as yet.Trimming the edges
• Choose a new blade in your Box Cutter /Utility knife, if you don’t you will struggle to trim and might make a cut where you do not want it (then you start again or patch up, which is not nice!)
• Trim any excess overlays so the sides are fairly smooth and flat ,when you are happy that everything is neat and tidy it’s time to sand the edges,
• Most leather workers will have a tool to trim the edges called an edge beveller; as seen in the pic belowSanding the Edges
• When sanding a piece of dry sandpaper for wood will do the trick, medium grit to start off then finer, again test on a scrap piece
• You might notice the leather can have a grain similar to wood when sanding, IE sanding in one direction prevents fluffing of the leather fibres
• Don’t panic if it gets fluffy, the next stage sorts this out, Once you are happy with the result we move onto burnishing which removes the fluffinessBurnishing the edge around the Saya
• Burnishing basically refines the edges from rough to smooth
• Tools:- a small arty paint brush or a piece of sponge will do the job to dampen the leather edges first.
• Now find a tool in the garage that has a varnished wooden handle like in the picture.
• Dab the wet sponge across the sides evenly from tip to end, not a lot! just enough to dampen the leather
• Using the improvised handle/tool , start rubbing the edges until you get a smooth look which changes to a hard polished edge as it heats up the leather gets crisp and hardens.
• Elbow grease is your friend so rub feverishly till it changes, use the curved part of the handle
• This takes some practise so you can test this out on some spare leather if you don’t want to mess up your masterpiece.
This is what it looks like below , when finished depending on the effort you put in.Finishing, Oiling or dyeing
• Once the edges are nicely polished /burnished it’s time to put some thought on finishing the Saya
• The leather needs some treatment to keep it nice looking.
• Any product from a saddle shop, boot/shoe shop will do, or if you have a decent leather craft shop there is much you can use if you just ask them.Choices for Finishing
• Olive oil and a bit of sunshine will give it a nice brown tanned look
• Neat’s-foot oil found in most Horse saddlers
• Leather dyes, just be careful and choose a light brown to start off with
• You can use just a leather sealer if the leather quality is superb
• If you are in the USA, check out http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/department/leather-dye/leather-dye.aspx
, they have huge choices.
In my Case I applied a Satin gloss finish and allowed to dry
Then I applied an Antique dye to the center pattern area and finished off with more satin gloss finish
My Last touch up in a week will be to use a product we have locally , its a mixture of Beeswax , Oils and a secret recipe , it keeps the leather supple and stops cracking.The final product
This my first Saya in leather and im fairly new to leather work , started this 5 months ago.
I hope you enjoy the tutorial , feel free to comment, suggest , or ask questions.