A Question of Scabbards (sheaths...)


July 18, 2008, 06:53 PM
Over the last several days I've been evaluating my 'collection' with the intent to boil it down to the bare essentials. An interesting development has arisen regarding sheath\scabbard materials and just which way I should go...




QUIET! Actually, virutally silent. Streamlined and adaptable to multiple carry methods using only an awl and some para cord.


Rot, rot, rot (obviously depending on conditions...). Can be easy to cut the retention strap and difficult to re-sheath without looking.



Impervious to condition, chemicals, etc. VERY easy to attach to gear. Very safe from a personal injury standpoint. Fairly easy to re-sheath in the dark.


NOISE-from the scratch going in to the scratch coming out. Whenever something bangs into it or it bangs into something else. Even the cordura covered ones react this way to some extent.

Now, I recently picked up a Benchmade CSK fixed blade that came with a very nice cordura sheath with a kydex (I'm assuming it's kydex) insert. This system appears to have promise as the cordura won't rot and I believe I can insulate the kydex insert so that it is pretty quiet.

Problem solved?....well...that leads to the next 'rant':

VELCRO :fire:

Wonderful stuff for sure. Wonderful that is if you are at the mall or in your back yard. Ever 'rip' something open that's held with velcro in the middle of the night? Can you say-LOUD :what: Seriously, that stuff is a nightmare. Well you say-you don't need to adjust it "in the field". What? Suppose I HAVE TO adjust it in the field? Do I call a time out? Wait for a firefight? Throw a flash bang? I'm not familiar wit the latest military gear, but I surely hope it doesn't have ANY velcro at all.


ok...(breath...) :cool:

Honestly, the best system I can think of would be a leather insert in a cordura over sheth with NO VELCRO, just tie-downs. That's one reason I admire my Chicom SKS bandolier system that uses small 'buttons' to hold the pouches closed. Totally silent. The other latching system I like is the one found on WWII type web gear. It's like a silent 'snap' closure. Obviously that would be more expensive to make than a bamboo button though :D

What say ye about scabbards?

If you enjoyed reading about "A Question of Scabbards (sheaths...)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
July 18, 2008, 07:02 PM
I use wood, with copper or horn throat inserts, glove-leather shells, bronze or iron hardware, and leather or cotton web frogs.

July 18, 2008, 07:41 PM
Leather. It'll last a long time if it's properly treated and you take care of it, so don't worry so much about rot. You can form fit the sheath to the blade, and although the same can be said for kydex, leather is much quieter as you mentioned. Since it's mostly hunting knives (in my case) that require sheaths, the noise issue pretty much seals the deal for me.

I make mine (sheaths and knives). I usually will spray the knife with WD40, or coat it with paraffin or waterproof tape, then soak the leather sheath in water, put the knife in it, and as it dries, I will "massage" it against the crevices of the knife so that it really hugs against it. I usually make the sheath go above the bolster of the knife so there is no need for a retention strap or snap of any sort. It's just a tight friction fit that will hold the knife in place even upside down. After the leather is good and dry I coat it with some wax under a little heat to get the wax into the surface. This prevents water from ruining it in a rainstorm or what have you. There are other tricks to make a good leather sheath, but I'll save it for brevity's sake here.

Kydex is a whole lot simpler, but it doesn't look as nice with traditional knives, and it's noisier than leather.


July 19, 2008, 02:40 AM
Thanks guys-

waldo-sounds like a sweet sheath but more ornate than I need for a utility blade.

Jason-leather it is.

After I typed the post up I sat back and admired a family heirloom KABAR in an original sheath from sometime around the Second World War. Mine is dyed black and has a heavy 'treatment' of some sort on it. Not one sign of mold, mildew, or rot and the thing is older than I am.

If I'm out in the wilds for 50 years it may make a difference but for now it suits me just fine.

Anyone want to buy a kydex sheath made by and for a 7" USMC KABAR?


If you enjoyed reading about "A Question of Scabbards (sheaths...)" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!