Why Good Knives Need Good Sheaths

For about 15 years now, I’ve been having knife sheaths made by a fellow named Chris Kravitt, who operates Treestump Leather in Ellsworth, Maine. I do this not because I am covetous of fine things (although I am that), but because a depressing number of cutlers turn out a fine knife and the sheath is an afterthought. This can get your knife lost, or you stuck in the ass, so it’s better to get a decent sheath.

My most recent sheath-needy knife is a Helle Futura (below), made in Sweden, an absolutely terrific working knife for $70 (darktimberdesigns.com) but with a sheath like linguini that was in the pot too long.

Futura2

So I sent it to Chris (treestumpleather.com), who will make you a dead-plain sheath, or an ultra-fancy sheath utilizing the hides of not only cattle, but birds and reptiles. Because I believe that a snake is best appreciated while sighting down the barrel of a gun, I always send him a note asking that my sheath be made out of dead cows.

Treestumpleather_1

This morning, the knife sheath arrived with a note that reads:

“This sheath is made from the skin of a 100 % American steer that was 100% dead by the time they finished skinning it. It was tanned in [name of foreign country omitted here in the interests of political correctness] so that we didn’t pollute any of our American water. No animals were harmed during the construction of this sheath or the writing of this foolishness. Happy New Year, Chris”

If leatherwork doesn’t pan out for Mr. Kravitt, he can probably have my job.