A Wooden Sheath for the Farmer's Parang
Let's make a Wooden Sheath!
This time we’re making a wooden sheath (inspired from traditional parang sheaths like these here) for the Farmer’s Parang. While the example sheaths linked are quite a bit prettier, the primary objective of this version is utility and experience. This was the first time I’ve built one of these, and I learned a boatload. It’s was also a pretty relaxing and enjoyable adventure. The weather cooperated almost perfectly and I did most work outside, so that was a huge bonus.
NOTE: many folks reading this will be far more skilled than I am at woodworking. If that's you and you're feeling SUPER adventurous, watch this guy's video instead. He makes an awesome sheath.
Before we begin the step-by-step, here are the materials:
The Blade – I used the Farmer’s parang. You could do this for any blade really. If you don't have one... buy 3 awesome ones
Wood – this was actually just some scrap 1x8 I had in garage. As long as it’s not dried out and cracked I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Wood Glue – to glue your halves together. You could also use some form of rubber cement if you have it
Chisels – to remove material and shape the fit of your sheath
Draw knife, craft knife, or some other shaping tool – to shape and fit the external/shell of the sheath
Leather – Or any other material you wish to cover the sheath with. You could technically go without a cover, though you would then need to improve the joinery and connection between your two sheath halves (mine are just glued together, so the leather acts as a secure reinforcing binding)
Leather Punches – if you’re using leather, you’ll need to easily pierce and pre-punch it for assembly
Leather needles & thread – obviously you’ll need these for stitching…
Inner Lining – this is optional, but it does make the blade fit more snugly and prevent rattle.
Clamps – some way to secure the wood to a table or bench if you’re going to be chiseling and carving away. A secure piece is a safe piece!
(An Amazon shopping list is at the bottom of the post if you need to grab any of these)
Conceptually, the sheath is pretty simple: hollow out some space between two sturdy pieces of wood, fasten them together, and you’ve got a container for your blade. Bonus points if you can make it pretty. More if you can fasten a beltloop or some other carrying method to it.
So, with that… here we go!
Create your template or outline
Fit and blade profile on your pieces of wood. I traced the blade on both pieces of wood and also marked the fit of where the spine would seat into sheath.
Don’t forget for a curved blade the whole inside has to be as wide as the widest point (the belly in this case) of the blade or it won’t draw in/out.
Once it was all measure, I shaded in where I needed to chisel, just as an extra visual aid
Chiseling out the interior
Before I began removing material, I traced my outer lines with the chisel and small craft knife to create a bit of a stopping point or edge.
Begin removing material. I didn’t use a mallet with the chisel and just took it slow. As this was my first time making one, I figured a little slower would be better than having to start over.
Since the Farmer’s Parang is a thick slab of steel, once I had some minor progress I used the chisel and punched in some straight vertical lines to make removing larger amounts easier (and prevent over doing it). This worked really well.
Measure the fit of the blade frequently, and adjust as needed. Steady does it!
Shaping the outside
Technically this is optional, if you’re fine with a square shape you can skip this and move on…
Here you’re just shaping. You can do this with a super coarse sanding tool if you want, or go old school and whittle it down with a knife. I used the Farmer’s Parang itself as a draw knife and just slowly removed layers until I had a shape I liked (ish… the two halves aren’t very even. Oops.)
Between the chiseling and the shaping these clamps I got from an old amazon prime day were awesome. Whatever clamps you have… you’ll want some way to secure the pieces to a sturdy surface. It’ll make it that much easier.
Lining, gluing the halves, and final shaping.
Adding some lining to the inside of the sheath will reduce rattling and create a smoother fit. I used a faux suede fabric we had laying around. Traditional leather scabbards for swords used leather. Don’t forget to consider this lining when measuring the inner fit of the sheath!
Once that’s done, trim up the lining, and then glue your two halves together. I used a pretty liberal about of wood glue and also used a mix of glue + sawdust to create a paste to seal any gaps.
After the glue had dried, I took the piece to the belt sander for some final shaping and smoothing.
Adding Your Covering
If you’re adding a covering, something with light stretch will help you keep the material taught. I chose leather because I like it, and had some old reclaimed couch leather that was pretty thin. Enough so that I didn’t need to pre-punch.
I didn’t get any pictures of tracing out the leather, but it was mostly trial and error. Once it was fitted to the wood I trimmed the scrap, used rubber cement to glue it down, and then stitched down the seam.
One note: the “lip” around the sheath was added by just rolling up a scrap of leather and gluing it around the wood first, before gluing the full wrap. This lip is what keeps the beltloop from sliding up and off.
A loop (to go around the sheath) attached to a loop (to serve as a belt loop)… you can do this a number of ways, or even just lace something up without any hardware. Simplicity is best. I opted to make this a removable piece so I can adjust and make other add-ons as I use it.
That’s about it! Once done, wipe the whole thing down with some leather conditioner to treat it, and you’re good to go!
As promised, the Amazon Shopping List:
Chisels (DISCLAIMER: I bought mine from Harbor Freight...these are similar)
Craft knife (can't go wrong with a sharp mora! They also have a draw knife and different hook knives)
Leather Punches – These look exactly like mine. I've had mine for decades... but these are basically them!
Leather thread (synthetic sinew)
Clamps - I got these a few years back on Prime Day and they have been bomb proof