Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Look after your tools

I like to keep my carving tools in a roll. I made this a few years ago out of canvas. It's nothing fancy and I don't claim to have any skill with a sewing machine, but it does the job, or at least it used to.

As you can see, my tool collection has outgrown the roll. I could get rid of some of my tools (yeah right), or I could make a new one with a few more pockets to accommodate all of my knives (plus a few extra, it's called future proofing). For this new one I quite like the idea of making it out of thin leather. A while back I got myself a sewing machine, not just any sewing machine though, this one is made by Husqvarna. Husqvarna make chainsaws, so I reckon that makes this a very manly sewing machine.

Having never sewn leather before I didn't want to run the risk of ruining a big piece, so I thought I would practice by doing a small roll that will hold just two knives. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while so that if I'm away from home I can take a little spoon carving set with me. This is what I came up with.

I'll confess it was more difficult than I anticipated. The leather, part of an old jacket, was a bit stretchy  and when the grain sides (the shiny sides) were together, there was a bit of slippage. I got there in the end though.

Whilst on the subject of tool protection I thought that I might as well post some pictures of my sheaths. My regular knives all have Birch Bark sheaths. I learned how to make these from Del Stubb's  website. There is a link here. The two on the right were made at the first Spoonfest under the tutelage of Jarrod StoneDahl. The one second from the left came with the knife I bought from Magnus Sundelin.

My spoon knives are all protected with a leather wrap. I first saw this method on the knife that I bought from Ben Orford. I think that all of his spoon knives come like that. It's just a strip of leather, but it works very well and has never fallen off.

I decided to be a bit fancy with the one on the left and do something like the method shown in Wille Sundqvist's book Swedish Carving Techniques. It's still a leather wrap, but includes a little bit of sewing.


  1. Are their no end to the man's talents?

  2. Use binder clips to hold your leather in place and stop it from slipping. You can also get a specific leather needle for your machine and use a longer stitch length. And if you use a hammer to 'iron' out your seams it looks good. By the way, I'm slightly jealous of your Husqvarna.

  3. Thanks Marie, you'll have to tell me what binder clips are next time we meet. I used a leather needle, but probably didn't need to as it was so thin. I'm not sure you could handle the Husky, it's a man's machine.