Here is were I will try and show how I do a full nickel silver sheath...Hope you enjoy it and have fun trying this project..
First you will need to make a Blank of the blade you are making a sheath for I am using 1/4" mild steel which works better,but you can use any hardwood also...You will need to make a second piece as a backing to hold the metal in place without marring it
Now using .025 or .032 or .040 thick nickel silver (Brass will work also) draw around your pattern then draw a line at least 1/4 inch wider than the blank on the Nickel silver but leaving the point straight and even with the point itself on the drawing.You will need to make two halves for this step,do one side of the blank then turn it over and do this step on the other piece,this gives you both halves of the sheath..Now after cutting this out you will need to make sure it is annealed,you can do this by heating it to a red color and quenching it in water...
Now put your main knife blank on the inside of the piece of NS and the holding steel form on the outside and clamp it in a vice.If you don't think it will hold all the pieces together in the vice alone then add a couple of "C"Clamps to the steel that is hanging on the outside of the vice...
Now I use a block of wood and a small hammer to roll the edges ( sides ) of the sheath over.I start at one end and work to the other,I I figure that it is easier and causes les wrinkles or waves in the sheath mterial.
Just keep working the edges untill you have them smoothed out...Now take the piece from the vice and turn it over so you can round over the edges on that side also.
Now ,Make sure that there is plenty of room in the sheath for the blade to set into it..
Now with a marking jig of some kind,I made this one adjustable from Brass.Mark the edges of the sheath with a line that will accomodate half the blade thickness,the thickness of the metal you are working,And have some room left over to put some felt in the body of the sheath when you are finished making the sheath but haven't buffed it yet.This is to keep the blade tight in the sheath..
Now after scribing the line all the way around the sheath halves (both of them) Take you parts to the grinder and grind down to the mark and check for flatness,Both pieces.
Check the blade in the sheath half and if everything looks good so far then make sure the two sides match up with each other...
I take some stainless wire that is available from any craft store and wrap it around both pieces of the sheath as a wired up sheath and ready for Silver brazing..
Now to do the silver brazing of the two halves.I am using a plumbers propane bottle from Wal Mart here just to sow that you do not have to have a torch set up to do this,You have more control of the heat with a toch and a cleaner braze but this set up here will work.If the bottle is real cold then you need to set it in the sun or under a heat lamp or just anything that will slightly warm it up,not hot just warm.This gives better pressure and better heat.Now use the proper flux for the silver braze you have and apply some to the seam...
Start heating at one end or the other just at a end,Use the heat from the toch from a short distance and not right in the blue cone of the flame..Once your flux has started melting start trying to add your braze,when it starts melting and flowing up the seam just add a little bit to keep it flowing untill you have the seam on this side covered.Then turn it over and do the same on the other side...
When you have finished brazing and it has cooled down.go to the grinder and clean off the excess braze and wire,the wire will braze to the sheath so you will have to grind it off a little before it comes off.Now check and make sure you have a clean joint and if not re wire and go back and re braze it to make sure you have a bubble free seam..
I have left the very tip open on this sheath to put a ball on the end,uou can braze it shut if you want.I flattened the end on the grinder...
I have cut a piece of 1/8 inch NS for the top of the sheath making sure to leave enough room over sized so it can be ground to shape after it is soldered on.How close to the sheath you want it is up to you or the original you are trying to reproduce.I have also made a square piece of 1/8 inch thick stock and got a short length of 3/16 inch round NS rod (this is for the frog button)
Make sure everything fits square,then using regular silver solder (like for a guard) Solder the top on the sheath.You can have the slot for the blade already put in this before you solder it on ( But I am not that good and would rather do it after the top is on the sheath)
Silver braze the round rod on the square piece of NS and let both pieces cool.
Shape the top on the grinder..
Time to do the frog button..This tecnique was suggested to me after my other tutorials were I suggested using a drill press and files,I like this better....
Put the rod you have the square brazed on in the hand held drill and tighten the chuck up.turn on the grinder and carefully grind off some of the corners getting a round started.Now move to a slack belt section of the grinder and start running the spinning piece in the drill against the running grinder(run the drill in the opposite direction of the belt so it cuts faster and more evenly) Just stop every once in a while and check your progress,when you are happy with your results it is time to dome the button.Just move in fronf of the grinder and starting on a edge just start orking the edge to the middle making a dome in the piece.
I will now run a file against the back of the button to clean off the solder,You can do it by hand as I am doing here.But it is easier to clamp the file in a vice and run the drill down it and thus cutting a flat on the back and cleaning up the pin also.
You can then run the button against some different grit sand paper to polish it out befor you remove it from the drill.
I now take my little coping saw with its metal cuttin blade and cut the rod off abot 1/4 inch from the back of the button,Then either on the grinder or with a file flatten the end of the rod flat and as square as possiable,this will be your post that stands the button off the sheath.I know mark the sheath were I want the button toset.You can measure this or do it by eye like me.
Drill a 1/16 inch hole in the sheath center of your mark and also drill a short 1/16 inch hole part way up your post on the button.Now just silver solder or soft solder a 1/16 inch piece of brazing rod (I am using stainless here) into the button.Don't worry if you have a little excess solder here just not a whole lot.Cut your pin so it no longer than the thickness of your sheath body.Add a little flux on the sheath hole and set the pin out of the button in the hole,now just heat the sheath and button slowly and carefully and when the excess solder starts to melt the button will either slide right in the hole an set there or it will not move much and you will have to take a stick or something to push down on the button while it is still hot and that way you have a nice tight soldered joint with the addaed stength of the pin to help hold it on
To make the ball on the end,I just made a 1/2 inch square from some 1/4 inch thick NS and drilled a 1/8 inch hole part way in the center of it and then silver brazed the rod into it.I turned the ball the same way I did the button only this time I would rotate it from the pin to the front center making a ball out of it
cut the pin off about 1/8 inch long and see how it fits.
Before I solder my ball on the end of the sheath I like to put my slot in the top of the sheath,Do this just like you would a tang hole through a guard,test and make sure the blade fits in the hole but just barely.You don't want the NS to scratch or anything so you can have it a litle loose as you are going to put a small lining in the sheath anyway to hold the blade in.
Now solder a small scrap of the NS you have used for the main body of the sheath flat on the end then grind it smooth with the rest of the sheath
drill a 1/8 inch hole center of the flat end now.Then slip the ball on the pin down in the hole,then carefully solder this on.If you use diffrent solders that mely at different temperatures it makes it easier to do these types of solder jobs without over heating and messing up the other hoint on the flat end under the ball.
take a minute and check everything over for fits and that no joints have broke open or have bad solder joints.
Time to clean up ny solder messes and do any filework around the throat of the sheath (top)
once you have the filework done.Cut a couple of strips of any color felt or thin leather you want..remember that what ever you use or color you choose will show through th slot in the top oof the sheath when the knife is no longer in the sheath...
A little contact cement on the inside of the sheath and on one side only of both pieces of felt...Let dry as per instructions.Then with a popsicle stick or what ever you have available to use that isn't sharp to carefully slide the felt down in the sheath,Making sure that the part closest to the sheath throat gets a good bond as the felt can roll down into the tip of the sheath...Then with the popsicle stick I just hold pressure on the felt for a few second.And then I try not to put the knife in untill it is good and dry.( I did try super gluing them in,but there is a chemical in the glue and felt that will cause a weird cloudiness on the blade and can only be removed with some acetone.It takes about 3-4 days for it to finally quit doing a This the glue dries fast but the fumes don't quit for a few days and can rust your blade if you don't clean it off rite away..
Test your fit and then it is time to hand sand it down and buff it..
Here it is before buffing...I will get a real good picture of it after it is buffed and engraved..
Hope every body like s this tutorial.It was fun to do.
Just remember this is not the only way to do these styles of sheath just my way.
You would be better off if you can get the matching Nickel silver braze to match your material you are using,than the silver braze that tarnishes out with a gold seam( cheaper plumbing solder type of silver braze) This kind will match your NS and so when you are brazing then grinding you can seal any holes you come across in the seams of the sheath..It costs allot more than regular silver braze likr I used here anyway.
Good Luck.Please email me with any questions you may have and I will try and help you out
I would like to give thanks to Ken Durham and Alex Daniels who have taken there time to explain to me how to make these sheaths..