Is leather sheath bad for knives? breaking myth of leather sheath | The Sho Room

Is leather knife sheath good for your knife?


Is leather sheath good foe knives? | The Sho Room

Leather sheath is great for stylish look with many colours and designs. They add characters to your knife collections and easily be personalised as well. 


Many say leather is not good for storing knives but is it really?


The short answer is, it depends.


Leather is a versatile material that has so many variety and all behave in different ways.


Only if the leather is true vegetable tanned leather, then there's no problem at all.


In this article I will share my opinion on using leather sheath along with my own experience both as professional chef and leather worker. 


There are several things to consider when you are thinking of using leather sheath.



1. Type of leather 

The only safe and good option is if the sheath is made of real vegetable tanned leather.


What type of leather is used for the sheath is very important. 


A lot of tanned leather have been treated with chemicals such as chrome tanned leather, and chemical residues in them could react with knife blade materials. 


Especially if the blade is sensitive like high carbon Japanese steels. 


True vegetable tanned leather is tanned with natural tannin and does not contain any harsh materials against knife blades of all sorts.

(For more about the veg tanned leather, read this article)



2. Clean your knife

If the knives are stored with bacteria and moisture, the sheath will mold, regardless what are shat it is made of. 


Lot of times people's knives are rot and corrode because of how they store knives, not because of sheath.


Clean your knife, and dry your knife before you store it. 


Sounds simple, but surprisingly a lot of people do not remember to do this. 


I have worked in food industry for 10 years and remember not seeing enough people storing their knives actually clean and dry. 



3. What about the moisture retention?

Many say leather's moisture retention property is a big problem for rusting knife blades. 

If the sheath is very tight and in contact with the whole blade of the knife, there is a chance that small amount of  naturally deposited moisture can transfer onto the knife blade and cause issues. 


There should be some gap for breathing so the moisture can escape and not accumulate within the sheath. 




What to look for when you are buying leather sheath... 

So if you decided you want leather sheath for you're knife, make sure the leather is true vegetable tanned leather. You can ask the maker this and they can tell you for sure what kind of leather is used. 


Also I recommend that the leather sheath has adequate amount of gap in between the leather and the blade so there is they can breath and the leather is not in tight contact with the blade.


and,,, Clean and dry your knife properly! before you store it.



If you do your research and make sure to take these precautions, there will not be any issue using leather sheath for any knives.


I have used leather sheaths I made for my whole knife kit with 20 + knives with all different blade materials, and never rusted nor corroded.  Never.

That includes high carbon steel Japanese knife that rusts in 30minutes if you leave it wet on bench.


 Visit my online shop to browse The Sho Room Custom leather sheath here 

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