Leather choice We would recommend a sturdy leather such as a veg-tan cowhide shoulder (order code 028). This is a natural undyed leather and can be coloured with leather dyes or oiled or waxed. If you would like to buy the leather already dyed, we have the same material in mid brown or black (order code 033), both with a matt waxy finish.
Small quantities of leather If you are only making one or two sheaths and do not wish to buy a shoulder, you can minimise your purchase by buying a belt strip (order code B004 or B007). This will be about 48 inches long and can be any width you request. They are priced pro-rata i.e.: a strip 3½" wide will cost 3½ times the cost of a 1" strip.
Thread The traditional thread for this material is a linen. The size 18/3 (order code TR14) would be a good choice. A modern equivalent would be nylon bonded No. 13 (order code TR6) or you could use waxed nylon (order code TR29).
Rivets These can be used to strengthen a stitched sheath or they can be used on their own to make a sheath without any stitching. A suitable rivet will be 2 or 3mm longer than the thickness of the leather to be fastened.
Protecting the stitching from the blade The head of a rivet is much larger than the stem. This means that a rivet will stop a blade coming near the thread or the stem. Another method is to cut a strip of leather about ¼" wide and sew this between the back and front of the sheath as a spacer. A third way, which is common in scabbards, is to fold a piece of leather in two and stitch it into a long tube. Then wet mould it into a sheath with a seam at the back.
Wet Moulding For this you will need natural undyed veg-tan. Cut a strip twice as wide as the blade + a seam allowance. Fold this in half and glue the seam together. Sew the seam and soak the tube in water. Wrap your blade in plastic and push it into the wet tube with the seam at the back. Allow this to dry naturally at room temperature. For a flatter seam, you can hammer the seam against the blade before drying.
Books A good book on general leatherworking is "Leathercraft Tools" (order code 1960) which gives descriptions of most common tools and instructions about their use. A good book specifically on sheath making is "The art of making leather cases Vol 1" (order code 1941-1).