Prototyping a custom leather sheath

Yesterday I got to work with a craftsman to prototype up something I have been wanting for a long time, a custom knife sheath. I had been intending to make the prototypes myself – and even gone so far as ordering leather and leather working tools. Fortunately for me I met Chris from Cedrus (https://www.wearecedrus.com).

After talking for a while about what I was making – he was able to help me put together a prototype to wear around for a few weeks. The goal being to figure out any problems with the design and get it really tuned for me. At which point we could get a real one made. It is worth saying that Chris’s idea of a quick prototype is better than most custom made sheaths I have seen. If I had not watched him crank it out I just never would have believed how fast it came together.

He started by talking to me about what I wanted and why I wanted it. It was an amazingly familiar process, just a bit odd as I am used to being on the other side of things. Then we started sketching different designs out of paper.

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From there he cut the template pieces out of leather, and stitched it together. Probably a dozen hours of trial and error to get something similar had I attempted it myself, all done while I watched.

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I always love watching a crafts person, who knows what they are doing, in their own shop just cranking through a project. Shows me just how much is left out there to learn. If you have never had something custom made for you, I can’t recommend it enough. This is already the best sheath I have worn. It is comfortable, and just disappears when you put it on. The angle of the knife handle is the angle of my hand as I reach for it. So using it just feels right. I even forgot I was wearing it when we went to clean up. If you have every worn a Kydex sheath ( a type of hard plastic), they are at best bulky and awkward and you never forget they are there. Best of all, we extended the leather with a strip so you don’t poke yourself in the back when you re-sheath the knife.

Here is the prototype we came up with. The knife is a Böker Rhino. It has a sheep foot curve to the blade and a thick spine. Best of all it is not that expensive. So it is great for heavy every day use and abuse. Best of all it does not look threatening. I love this design. It lets me horizontal carry a knife on the small of my back, without looking like I am some wacko who secretly want to be Rambo.

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I’m really glad we prototyped this. I already found one or two small things I’d like to tweak for the final design, but it is already way better than I had hoped.

If you are looking for a sheath I highly recommend reaching out to Chris.