The making of belts presents a variety of possibilities for campers; these are especially good projects for boys. The simplest belts will be those without decoration, employing the techniques of fastening buckles and loops. Belts may also be braided, as shown in Chapter II on Braiding and Knotting. Advanced projects will include belts that are tooled or stamped or carved. Except for the braiding or decorating, the process is similar to that given below.

Stamped Steer Hide Belt

Equipment needed: stamping tools; punch; awl; rawhide mallet; knife; rubber cement.

Materials needed: strip of tooling steerhide, desired width and length; lacing; small strip for loop; buckle. A kit of materials for a belt may be purchased from craft supply house.

Stamped Steer Hide Belt


See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Make a plan for the design (Fig. V-76).

2. Transfer design to belt.

3. Stamp design (Fig. V-77).

4. Attach buckle and loop a (Figs. V-78 and 79).

5. Cut other end into rounded point; try on belt and mark place for hole where belt fits. Add two holes evenly spaced on either side of the first hole ( Fig. V-80).

Knife Sheath

This is a more advanced project, entailing cutting a pattern to fit a specific knife. It is a good plan to make a paper pattern first, to be sure of all steps. The sheath may be stamped or tooled; a fringe may be added.

Equipment needed: knife; punch; awl; rubber cement; stamping or tooling tools.

Materials needed: cowhide or similar stiff, tough leather; lacing; short thong; lighter leather for fringe, if desired.


See preceding pages in this chapter for techniques used in this project.

1. Making pattern: lay knife on back of leather; draw around it, allowing margin around blade (Fig. V-81).

2. Cut out with sharp knife.

3. Dampen leather; fold over, right side out (Fig. V-82).

4. Punch holes for lacing 1/8" from edge, apart; cut slits for belt (Fig. V-82).

5. If fringe is desired, measure, cut, and make fringe.

6. Lace with running stitch or whip the edges; fringe is laced in place with the rest of the lacing (Fig. V-83).

7. Thong is placed at slits to tie around knife handle (Fig. V-83).

Axe Sheaths

Making sheaths for personal axes is a good project for older campers, especially for boys. Three types of sheaths are given here; the steps, in general, are the same for each type. The value of this project is the planning for the specific ax, and for the desired type of sheath.

Equipment needed: knife and cutting board; awl; rawhide mallet; needle and waxed thread; snap setting set; pencil.

Materials needed: heavy cowhide; goatskin lacing or thong; snap and/or buckles.


See preceding pages in this chapter 'for techniques used in this project.

1. Make paper pattern, leaving about 1/2" margin on edges (Fig. V-84).

2. Lay pattern on leather; draw around it. Use piece doubled, with fold at back, or use two single pieces joined with butt stitch at back (Fig. V-85).

3. Cut and punch an extra piece (x) 3/8" wide, the length of the sheath edge at cutting edge of ax; this is to lace into sheath, to prevent ax edge from cutting lacing (Fig. V-84).

4. Punch holes, punching one side first, then marking through holes for other side, before punching second side.

5. Punch holes and cut slits in back of sheath for belt slot (Fig. V-85).

6. For a strap fastener (Figs. V-85-88) : cut a strap needed length (about 6") and desired width for buckle, or about 1" wide for a snap. Attach the strap to back of sheath with waxed thread, using running stitch. Set snap, or if buckle is used, cut a leather tongue (Fig. V-88 a) and sew with waxed thread, using running stitch. If no snap or buckle is desired (Fig. V-86), cut slot for strap in sheath, and make the strap long enough to fit into slot, and down through opening.


Open Top Sheaths


Closed Top Sheaths

7. Lace edges with whip stitch or cobbler's stitch, with goatskin lacing or a thong cut from same leather as sheath (Fig. V-88). Lace in strip x.

8. Flatten lacing with rawhide mallet.

Steps For Open-Top Sheath (Figs. V-84-88)

1. Follow directions above.

2. Dampen cut-out leather; fold over, making two folds at back, so edges are even.

3. Attach strap and buckle or snap fasteners.

4. Lace as above.

Steps for Closed-top Sheath (Figs. V-89 and 90) 1. Follow general directions above, adding piece at top (a-b) to fold over top of ax head.

Steps for Open-end Sheath (Figs. V-91 and 92) This type of sheath is particularly suitable for large axes, and for those not carried on belt.

1. Follow general directions above, leaving 1/2" margin on end, and 3/4" margins on top and bottom. Cut reinforcing piece (x) 1/2" wide (Fig. V-91). One piece of leather may be used, but the fold needs reinforcing, as the ax edge cuts a fold easily.

2. Cut strap for buckle long enough to fit around handle under head of ax (Fig. V-92).

3. Sew strap and lace as above.