Scis­sors Case

This is really my shoe blog, but I’m not all shoes all the time (no, really!) . I do oth­er things with leath­er too. This is a case I made for a pair of His­tor­ic Enter­prises scis­sors.


The dec­or­a­tion is based on  a rab­bit and a hound on dif­fer­ent items in Knives and Scab­bards. I liked them so I put them on this.


The body of the case is two lay­ers, the inner grain-in and the out­er grain-out. The inner lay­er was made over a wooden form, then the out­er lay­er was made over the inner.


The lid is a single lay­er that was made over a wooden form. Ori­gin­ally I made the lid in one piece with the out­er of the body and cut it off, but that lid didn’t work very well so I made a second one.

The dec­or­a­tion on the front was done flat, the back and sides were done after assembly. If I were doing this again I’d do all the dec­or­a­tion flat but it’s been a long time since I’ve done some­thing like this so I wanted to make sure it’d all fit.  The dec­or­a­tion on the back and sides is very simple, it’s really just space-filling, which is con­sist­ent with medi­ev­al examples of this type of object. The anim­als were done free­hand with a scratch awl, and back­groun­ded with a stamp made from a mod­i­fied nail set. The stamps on the side are a loz­enge stamp I made and the round dots on the back are anoth­er mod­i­fied nail set.

There is a little bit of hide glue between the lay­ers of the body. It isn’t neces­sary to hold them togeth­er tight stitch­ing and fric­tion between the flesh sur­faces does that fine, it’s just there to impart some stiff­ness to the body of the case.

The next time I do one of these I’ll make up sep­ar­ate forms for the inner and the out­er and lid. That way I can build the out­er and lid in one piece and make the dec­or­a­tion a bit more con­sist­ent. It would also make the pro­cess of glu­ing the inner in place a lot easi­er. The glue is use­ful for mak­ing the case hard and a bit more dur­able.

I could water-harden the leath­er but that would com­prom­ise the dec­or­a­tion. Anoth­er option would be to water harden the inner lay­er over a form, cut it to length then cov­er it with  a dec­or­ated out­er lay­er. The full length of the out­er lay­er can’t just be made over the inner because the inner is short­er.

The strap is a piece of what appears to be alum-tawed sheep or goat­skin. It cer­tainly feels and handles a lot like the alum tawed goat I have in my stash and doesn’t appear to be white-dyed chrome tanned leath­er. It was part of a bundle of leath­er that a work­mate gave me so I’m pretty happy with it as a score.

The dye is mod­ern oil-based black dye. I hate work­ing with mod­ern dyes but I’m hav­ing issues with iron-oxide dye strip­ping the tan­nins out of mod­ern leath­er, which doesn’t have nearly as much resid­ual tan­nin in it as peri­od leath­er would have done. The res­ult is very brittle leath­er and a very dam­aged grain sur­face.   I haven’t yet found a work­able source of strong tan­nin to add to the dye so I’m hold­ing off using it until I do. Peri­od dyes are all well and good, but not at the expense of the actu­al leath­er.

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