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By July 4, 2012 Read More →

How to make a quick, safe knife sheath out of cardboard and duct tape

Some of the most useful camping, survival and meat-cutting knives don’t come with sheaths. Here’s how to make a quick, safe edge guard/sheath out of a cardboard roll and duct tape.

This butcher knife and sheath are safe to carry (Leon Pantenburg photo)

This butcher knife is one of a dozen I bought for $2 each. The sheath came from a barrel full of knife items at a gunshow.

by Leon Pantenburg

My knives are working tools, and the ones used in the kitchen frequently get double duty on camping trips or for meat processing. Some of these knives started out in a commercial cutlery catalog, were sold at a butcher supply store or were good deals at a gunshow.

One memorable score was at a gunshow, when a vendor was selling used boning knives for about $3 each. I bought several, and reshaped the blades to different lengths so I could experiment with the best length. (Turns out, I like a five-inch best!)

My best cutlery deal came from a butcher supply store in Nampa, Idaho. On a whim, I stopped in to look around, and found new, six-inch butcher knives being sold for $2 each. The handles were wood, and had recently been outlawed by the health department. I bought a dozen, (and still regret not buying another dozen!) and presented them to my hunting buddies. Many of those knives ended up in hunting camp wearing the cardboard tube/duct tape sheaths!

A prepper and/or survivalist can see the advantage of a knife that is usable for a variety of outdoor tasks. So suppose you get a good deal on a one-piece knife and want to take it to hunting camp. For safety sake, that blade needs to be securely covered. Here’s how to make a quick, safe sheath that will last until you come up with a permanent replacement.

Materials needed are the cardboard tube from inside a roll of paper towels; duct tape, a six-to-eight-inch piece of paracord

These three different models of lamb skinner knives all have different styles of sheaths. The wooden-handled knife gets the most use.

These three different models of lamb skinner knives all have different styles of sheaths. The wooden-handled knife gets the most use.

Here’s what you do:

  • Measure the blade length against the tube, and make sure that every part of the sharp edge will be covered.
  • Flatten the tube under a pile of books or something heavy, until the cardboard remains semi-flat. Then, take a piece of duct tape and tape across one end, to help hold the shape.
  • Wrap the length of the tube once with duct tape.
  • Double over the webbing or leather to form a belt loop, then tape it securely to the back of the tube.
  • Wrap the sheath with duct tape again to secure the belt loop. (I carry duct tape on my knife sheaths anyway, so put on a few extra feet!)
  • Take the paracord, run it through the belt loop and use it as a safety tie for the handle.

Of course, you could always buy a knife blade protector, but preppers and survivalist-types tend to be hardcore recyclers and do-it-yourselfers. Besides, the cardboard tube project takes so little time and is so cheap , you can soon make a sheath for all your knives!

Leon Pantenburg made this knife and cardboard sheath  45 years ago. Despite hard use, the sheath still does its job quite well!

I made this knife and cardboard sheath 45 years ago. Despite extensive carry and use, the sheath still does its job quite well!

My practice is to keep an eye out at gunshows, and buy any leather sheaths that might fit something I own. Over the years, all but one of my hasty sheaths has been replaced with solid, well-fitting leather or nylon sheaths.

My best score in that area was when I bought a leather Bowie knife sheath for a couple of bucks. One of my elk hunting partners, Phil Walker, carries a real Bowie knife elk hunting, and his knife carrier showed the wear and hard use. That scavenged sheath fit his knife like it was made to order.

One knife I own, though will never have a sheath replacement. I made my first knife as a 14-year-old, grinding the blade to

shape on an antique pedal-powered grinder. The handle is made of wood, and lacking the right leather at the time, I made the sheath out of cardboard and tape. I used the same technique as mentioned above, except I used an old leather belt for the loop. I always intended to make a real sheath out of leather, but never got around to it.

I carried that knife for years in that cardboard sheath , and it worked just fine. So, I guess there is probably no reason to replace it now!

For more information and to view the C.T. Fischer knives website, click here.

For more information about survival and backcountry knives, click here!



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2 Comments on "How to make a quick, safe knife sheath out of cardboard and duct tape"

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  1. TED ROSE says:

    ANOTHER THING TO LOOK FOR- is old boots and old leather jackets at the thrift store thet may have in the back room they cannot sell and they will give them to you free just cut them into usefull sizes and soon you will have your supply of leather,GOOD LUCK.TED.

  2. YUP! This only goes to show that a shoddy sheath could be made out of cardboard and conduit tape for transporting a blade securely and effortlessly. Be sure to reinforce the end of the sheath with additional tape or cardboard for high sway use.