5 Best Leather For Making Your Knife Sheath: Which Type To Choose?

Knife Sheath

When it comes to knives, three parts will define it: the handle, the blade, and the sheath. Yes, the sheath counts too! Many people don’t give much of a thought to sheaths – but that’s a terrible mistake.

The sheath is the one thing that will let you carry your knife around with ease and, more importantly, it’s the one thing that’ll keep your knife safe from harm until its time is due.

But knife-lovers beware: a poorly-made sheath can bring more harm than good to your knife, slowly creating rust and dulling it until it’s no longer useful.

If you are in a hurry and want to find out the best Leather For Making Your Knife Sheath, I recommend below As the best ones.

Best Sheep Skin
REED Leather HIDES - Whole Sheep Skin 7 to 10 SF - Various Colors (Antique Brown)
Best Cow Skins
REED Leather HIDES - Cow Skins Various Colors & Sizes (100 Square Foot, Brown)
Best For Low Budget
Firm Vegetable Tanned Full Grain Tooling Leather Thick Cowhide Handmade Stiff Leather Material for Craft/Tooling/Caving/Hobby Workshop (Beige-4.0mm, 12x12inches)
REED Leather HIDES - Whole Sheep Skin 7 to 10 SF - Various Colors (Antique Brown)
REED Leather HIDES - Cow Skins Various Colors & Sizes (100 Square Foot, Brown)
Firm Vegetable Tanned Full Grain Tooling Leather Thick Cowhide Handmade Stiff Leather Material for Craft/Tooling/Caving/Hobby Workshop (Beige-4.0mm, 12x12inches)
$34.99
$360.00
$24.99
Best Sheep Skin
REED Leather HIDES - Whole Sheep Skin 7 to 10 SF - Various Colors (Antique Brown)
REED Leather HIDES - Whole Sheep Skin 7 to 10 SF - Various Colors (Antique Brown)
$34.99
Best Cow Skins
REED Leather HIDES - Cow Skins Various Colors & Sizes (100 Square Foot, Brown)
REED Leather HIDES - Cow Skins Various Colors & Sizes (100 Square Foot, Brown)
$360.00
Best For Low Budget
Firm Vegetable Tanned Full Grain Tooling Leather Thick Cowhide Handmade Stiff Leather Material for Craft/Tooling/Caving/Hobby Workshop (Beige-4.0mm, 12x12inches)
Firm Vegetable Tanned Full Grain Tooling Leather Thick Cowhide Handmade Stiff Leather Material for Craft/Tooling/Caving/Hobby Workshop (Beige-4.0mm, 12x12inches)
$24.99

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Why Choose a Leather Sheath?

There are four materials commonly used for knife sheaths: leather, plastic, Kydex, and nylon.

Nylon Sheath

Nylon is probably the worst of them all, there are several types of nylon and most of them are of poor quality. And even if you are using a high-quality nylon sheath, it won’t last long – most nylon sheaths wear out and stretch quickly.

Plastic Sheath

Plastic comes second when it comes to poor quality. It’s the cheapest of all four, but it will last a little longer than nylon sheaths. The problem with plastic sheaths is that they are never tailor-made and your knife will move around inside your plastic sheath. As a result, your knife will hit its sheath repeatedly and get dulled in the process. This cheap alternative will end up costing you your knife.

Kydex Sheath

Kydex is a great alternative as long as you are pragmatic enough to only care about function – and you don’t care about price or how it looks. Kydex’s weakest point is its price, as it’s the most expensive item on this list. Kydex sheaths are custom-made to fit your knife perfectly, and the blade will suffer from no issues if you are using a Kydex sheath. The issue with this type of sheath is the noise it makes whenever you are pulling or storing your knife – a loud clicking noise that might put you at a disadvantage if you are hunting.

Leather Sheath

Leather is an all-time classic, and for a good reason. It has it all: it protects your knife; it’s beautiful looking; it’s completely reliable and practical; it requires little maintenance to last for a long time; it feels and smells amazing! You can get a great leather sheath for a good price – and even make one yourself!

Leather has been the knife sheath number one choice for centuries – and it won’t change anytime soon.

What Kind of Leather is Good For Knife Sheaths?

When it comes to leather, there are two types that you can use. They all come from the same place, but their difference lies in their refining process.

The raw material is the same for both these leather types, but the end product is completely different – they even smell different!

Since this is article is all about knife sheaths, only knife-sheath-related characteristics will be considered. But both leather types have their respective uses.

Vegetable-tanned leather

Vegetable tanning is the oldest method there is to process leather. It is a complex procedure that uses natural resources only, and it can last up to two months to finish. It not only takes a long time, but it requires a lot of people working on it – vegetable tanning requires multiple skilled laborers doing different treatments over the leather.

The end result is worth the time, effort, and overall requirements. When the vegetable tanning process is over, you get a beautiful, thick, high-quality leather. It’s important to notice that this process will create the thickest leather possible.

Because it takes longer to make and it costs more, only 10% of all leathers go through a vegetable tanning process.

Chrome tanned leather

Chrome tanning is the complete opposite of vegetable tanning. Instead of going through a hard, natural, long process where multiple experts are involved, chrome tanned leather is bathed in different chemicals and tanning liquors and takes up to two weeks – sometimes several days – and it costs way less than its vegetable counterpart.

When the machines are finished, chrome tanned leather is the end result – a water-resistant, malleable piece of leather.

Many benefits come from chrome tanning. The most notable one is its cost, one that is significantly lower than its vegetable counterpart.

When it comes to the end result, chrome tanning can let you choose whatever color you might want your leather to have, meanwhile, vegetable tanning can only use its natural colors.

Which one should you choose?

You should use vegetable tanned leather for your knife sheaths, without a doubt. Remember, vegetable tanning produces a thicker leather, something necessary to have if you are carrying knives around. Vegetable leather might need a little more care and maintenance but it can last longer if you take proper care of it.

When it comes to its price, vegetable leather is notoriously more expensive. But it is worth it. You need to make an investment when it comes to protecting your knives. Otherwise, you are going to save money on your sheath, but will eventually lose it when your knives become dull.

On a more personal note, chrome-tanned leather is filled with chemicals, and poorly-curated chrome leather can smell nauseating. This isn’t an issue with properly-curated chrome tanned leather.

There are great pieces of chrome tanned leather, regardless. A chrome tanned leather could be thick enough to be used as a knife sheath. You need to know where to find them!

How To Make Your Own Leather Sheaths?

Before showing you the best Leather for Crafting your own Knife Sheath, You can check the below video for How to Craft Your Own Leather Sheath.

My Recommended Leather For Crafting Your Own Sheath

1. REED Leather HIDES – Whole Sheep Skin

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The REED Leather HIDES – Whole Sheep Skin is a fine piece of leather that comes in a lot of colors: from black all the way into the navy, including crocodile print as well. But the most beautiful of them all is the antique brown – a beautiful, classic-looking color; a perfect match for a fine knife leather sheath.

It is soft to the human touch but still incredibly thick and strong – a perfect piece of leather to protect your knife from outside harm.

This is genuine leather that went through a vegetable tanning process, making it perfect for a knife sheath as well as many other garments you might want to make.

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2. REED Leather HIDES – Cow Skin

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Also from REED, REED Leather HIDES – Cow Skins is another great choice for all your knife leather sheath needs – or anything else leather-related. This publication offers an antique brown option as well, but the black option might be the best of them all, with the camel color as a close second.

Even though it’s thick enough for your knife sheath, it’s a little bit thinner than the first recommendation on this list. This isn’t necessarily bad, though! If you are a beginner with leather crafts, this might be the better option for you, as it is easier to cut and to handle. It might be thinner, but it definitely looks better.

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3. JEEREAL Leather Square – Full Grain Hide

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If REED’s products somehow do not convince you, do not despair! There are plenty of alternatives for you to choose from. For example, this leather right here. It is full-grain, which means you will receive a full leather piece – a thicker piece. If you have trouble handling it, you can sand it to make it thinner. That way, you can work your way into the kind of leather you want or need.

Bear in mind this is a chrome tanned leather. But this shouldn’t drive you away from choosing this option. This is thicker than your average chrome tanned leather and closer to its vegetable tanned counterpart.

Chrome tanned leather is usually more waterproof than vegetable tanned leather. If you usually deal with water, this might be the right choice for you.

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4. JEEREAL Firm Vegetable Tanned – Full Grain Hide

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Back to vegetable tanned leather. In this product you will find a great alternative for all your leather needs – especially if you prefer to work with lighter colors. They offer black and brown, but they also have more exotic colors like apricot and beige in stock.

It is from the same manufacturers as our third option on this list. If you loved their chrome tanned pieces, you are definitely going to love their vegetable tanned ones.

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5. Black Leather Hide – Spanish Full Skin

Last update on 2020-10-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last but not least, one of the most beautiful pieces of leather you will ever see. Straight from Spain, this entirely black leather is the perfect match for your dark-looking knives. It is probably the most gorgeous option of them all – but it only comes in black!

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Conclusion

The only thing you have to do now is choosing the more durable, stylish leather and get to work! You have learned vegetable tanned leather is the best option for knife sheaths, but there are great pieces of chrome-tanned leather to work with as well.

Check out Our Most Popular article about Quarter Moon Knives that specially designed for cutting leather

Most knife sheaths are done with antique brown leather, but black is always a fine option to choose. Other people prefer more wild colors, and pick something like a navy piece of leather. It’s all up to you and what fits your knife best!

Ahmed

I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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