Drain Sheath – BushcraftUK


I usually use bill hooks for work in the woodland, but without a sheath to put them in, the hooks tend to get put down and lost (I lost one last winter, maybe 5 years ago. rediscovered). Leather scabbards are nice and I prefer to use them on knives, but bill hooks are large, clumsy shaped blades that require large, clumsy scabbards. Also, bill hooks are often required when only one hand is available for extraction and replacement.

Many traditional hedge layer and other bill hook users either use hooks to hang the blade from a belt (leaving the exposed cutting edge hanging), or in leather or wood that looks like a flap pocket. I use the flat pouch that was made). The porch idea was more appealing, but I was lazy and didn’t want to spend a lot of time creating and caring for it (getting wet and muddy with use and leaving it in a damp workshop for months at a time). may be).

plastic pipe

Plastic was a natural choice as a material, and although I have Kydex and the tools to work with it, it seemed like a lot of work. Luckily, while pondering this over a cup of tea, I found the plastic drain pipe I used as an impromptu wood steamer years ago.

The pipes were softened by the heat of the steam and drooped into mournful abstract works of art. Sheaths made here use waste (available for free from Skip) and require minimal equipment. Additionally, if the molding comes off, it can be reheated and reworked.

Initially, I was going to rive the belt loops or attach them separately, but neither option seemed inelegant and required more parts/tools. I needed wooden tongs and a clip-on pouch to hold a free hanging sheath for bills that I could clip to a carabiner on my belt. The black plastic pipe seemed fine for both, but was too narrow when the tongs were flattened. Luckily I also had some brown clay pipes lying around.

marking cut

I started by drawing the length needed to cover the blade/tongue and adding belt loops, similar to when making a sheath with leather.

For a hanging sheath, cut the strap to fit the D-ring, then cut a slot (drill and hacksaw) for the strap to go through later. The plastic is too stiff to undo when it cools, and the inner tongue acts as a spring to hold the blade in place. , the idea is sound and will certainly work as intended with a straight knife blade.


The pipe was put in an oven on the lowest setting (gas, maybe 120C?) until it was floppy. The bubbling you see in the large clay pipe sheath is because it has been left there too long and has become too hot.


In the meantime, I set up a carefully prepared former: wood/ply scraps and quick clamps. The plywood was a little narrower than the flat width of the tube and a little thicker than the thickness of the blade/tongs.

I removed the heated tubes (one at a time), slid the plywood inside, and sandwiched between two flat boards until cool. The pipe in the back was too cold and took a few minutes to lose its shape, so no rush. Because the soil pipe is thicker, it takes longer to warm up, slightly longer working hours, and of course it takes longer to cool, but it only took about 5 minutes to cool down.

I discovered that the black pipe was too narrow for my tongs, so I remolded the sheath into a thinner layer and used it for another bill instead. I found it has plenty of room to carry (I can drag 2 poles/logs at once!).

belt loop

I slipped the D-ring into the belt loop and heated the strap with a heat gun. Once pliable, I fed the strap into the slot and held it in place until it cooled (I wore gloves on the black pipe, but the thicker soil pipe required a clamp). After discovering the problem, I slipped a plywood former into the sheath to keep it flat while cooling (this is much better done when setting the straps first than setting the straps later. It was easy.).

The clip-on belt loops required a little more manipulation. The first part to mold is the clip ridge. The shape and depth of this area greatly affect how well the tool is held under the belt when lifted out of the pouch. Look at the pocket clips of the tools/cases you already own to see which grip works best for you.

I made a simple jig by clamping two pieces of wood to a bench, leaving a gap of the width of a pencil plus about twice the thickness of the material. I heated the area forming the strap, placed it across the gap, placed a pencil over the groove, and pressed the board over it. All of this would have been easier with the third pair of hands, but it’s very simple and can be repeated if desired (for example to create grooves on the other side of the strap!).

Once cooled, I carefully heated the area where the loop was folded (I ran a gloved hand over the groove that had just formed to keep it from softening), folded it and held it firmly in place, and when it cooled I have created a spring.

Since I use these tools in cold, wet conditions and am often in a hurry, I wanted the sheath to be accessible as easily as possible. I warmed the mouth of the sheath open (with a gloved hand) and molded it, being careful not to do it.

Also, the beak of the black pipe was too loose and felt like it would fall off when I climbed up the bush, so I warmed up the patch in the middle of the sheath and tightened it up a bit. This gave the sheath a good grip on the blade. I tried the same thing with a large clay pipe hook sheath, but it was too grippy and the hook got stuck, so I quickly took a change (which I obviously didn’t learn from the belt loop tongue!). The pipe was too thin to give the belt clip enough spring when the small brim was installed. I plan to process it into a D ring later.

The pouch for the tongs was a bit short and had hooks sticking out the bottom that got caught when I pulled it to use it. I solved this problem by heating the bottom end with a hot air gun and pressing it into the angle steel to pinch the ends.

After the successful “Tools from Old Saws” workshop at Moot this summer, we felt the demo knife should be covered in a similar fashion. The blue water pipe is in the crap I’m kicking too! Doing this again will cut the tabs on the end of the pipe off-center, form them around the handle and clip them in place so there will be a gap on the side where the cutting edge will go. It’s a little tedious to do.

Another method is to shorten and flatten the tab (so that it only works to hold the belt loop in place) and then tighten the blade area to create a friction fit to the blade. is.

Photo of Dave Budd Knifemaker

Dave Budd is a world-famous blacksmith who specializes in historic weapons, tools, and other period ironworks. He runs a course in making knives and axes from his woodlands in rural Devon.
You can see some of his work and contact him through his website DaveBudd.com

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