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DBK Custom Swords -
Scabbard, Leather Care & Maintenance
With proper care & maintenance your DBK scabbard &
leatherwork will last you many generations to come. Here are a few simple guidelines
to follow in order to best maintain your scabbard and keep it performing
just the same as the day you got it.
DBK scabbards are built using the finest craftsmanship & utmost
care, and for each scabbard we build we can be proud to say they're
built to last. We use nothing but premium materials, including the
highest quality leather & wood to assure your
build will last for generations. However, the build is made of
the natural materials wood & leather. Each of which over time are susceptible
to wear & tear, mother nature, and natural aging.
Our scabbards are designed with wool lining.
To properly sheathe your sword into your DBK scabbard, slide the
blade in so that the edge of the
blade rides along the inside edge. This is to compensate for the wool
lining and to prevent the tip of the blade from catching the wool.
In the event you feel the blade tip catching the wool, stop and pull
back slightly and re-adjust the angle of slide. Often times, it is
just the tip catching the wool at an odd angle. After only a few
tries you will become quite proficient at sheathing the blade.
Water & scabbards don't mix well. If it's raining,
expect some changes in the leather & potentially the wood core. Some DBK scabbard's use extensive coloring techniques that will probably
be ruined if exposed to wet weather or the like. Also, the core is
lacquered, but too much moisture could eventually soak it causing it
to swell and change the fit. If your scabbard is to be exposed to
the rain, consult us before construction begins so that it can be
built to hold up as well as possible given the circumstances.
Never slide a wet blade inside the scabbard.
You're likely to ruin the fit, and your blade will rust. In the
event the inside of your core becomes exposed to moisture, keep your blade out for
48 hours or more to allow your core to dry. Historically, scabbards were never made as
form fitting as modern day tastes, so the fit is very sensitive to
moisture, as wood shrinks & swells just from humidity, even
elevation can play a part along with temperature.
Don't expose your scabbard to high heat while
the scabbard is still new (within 30 days). In
other word's don't store a scabbard in a car trunk on a hot day for
example, as this could cause the glue holding the wood slats
together to soften. This is especially important on newer scabbards.
As the glue get's older it becomes more hardened and less likely to
do this without cause for concern.
Don't slide an overly oiled blade inside the
core. Some oil is good, as it keep's the blade protected. Too much
oiling will eventually over-saturate the wool causing a poor fit,
and possibly saturate the core causing swelling.
Of course, please remember to oil your chape.
It will rust otherwise. If it's blued for the appearance of being aged,
use a machine oil like 3-in-1, as an oil like break-free will slowly
remove the bluing.
Leather Care -
Leather is exactly like your skin. You can
feel when it's dry. You want to condition a leather before it begins to crack.
Do this when a leather starts to feel dry.
(The following process takes some time and practice. Plan on 3 to 5 days
minimum to treat your scabbard. The oils need time to pass through the finish
and saturate the leather. During this time the oil will cause your scabbard to
look wet, and also potentially cause color transfer if rubbed.)
There are three products I recommend for conditioning your leather
products, two of which are leather conditioners, and a spray on finisher (Fiebings Leather
Sheen is my preference). Find a good leather
conditioner or mink oil (my preference), and lightly saturate a rag with it. Wipe this on lightly as using
too much will over-saturate your leather, and in some cases it will start to remove
the finish on the scabbard or belt. If it starts to do this, some scabbard's
have some 2-tone / aging coloring techniques that could start to smear. Your leather will
darken a tad after applying this, but should return to normal after 24-48 hours.
After 2 days from application, take a dry rag and wipe down the scabbard/belts to
remove any excess oil. After another 24 hours, take a clean 'white' rag and wipe
your scabbard to detect any areas that rub off color and might need some finish
A product I have great success with for keeping leather moist, is Fiebing's Mink
Oil, though this product can darken a lighter leather over time. What
you're trying to do with conditioner is keep a leather from cracking and
maintain it's flexibility. A leather mink oil or conditioner will keep a leather moist like your skin, and should
prevent cracking. Another option is Fiebings 'Aussie' leather conditioner, which
has a beeswax in it which helps with water resistance. It has a longer cure
time, but the end result is nice. The problem with 'paste' or 'gel'
conditioning on 'tooled' leather is that the paste or gel can get stuck in
the crevices and dry white or cream colored. So minimize rubbing any of it
into the creviced 'tooled' areas.
For a leather that is 'rubbing' color onto skin or clothing,
use a leather finishing spray like "Fiebing's Leather Sheen" after
oiling/conditioning as this will
help keep the belt from rubbing color after conditioning the leather.
One light coat should do it. When applying, if it's building up (looking wet), you're
probably spraying too close or too much. Hold the can back 12 to 15 inches and
keep the can moving. You essentially want to create a 'mist' like application.
It's a good idea to experiment using any product on a test piece to learn it's
best usage. Another product type to consider is a leather water resistance spray to help
prevent water damage. I like to use "Dr. Jackson's Water Protector".
Essentially, I'd plan on doing this once a year depending on use, maybe
less, maybe more. This depends on where you live and how you treat your
Condition first, seal second. A light coat of both. You can use a hand cloth after the finish has
completely dried to give the finished sheen a buffed look so that it isn't too
Also, some scabbard's are ordered with an 'aged' appearance. Conditioning
the leather will make the leather look somewhat new again, changing the look to
'well taken care of'. If aged is still your desire, try only conditioning the
areas that bend the most to keep the leather from cracking.