I recently was given a Leatherman Wave as a gift and it has been part of my EDC for a few months. The nylon MOLLE case that it comes with is perfectly functional, but it protrudes from my belt more than I like and Velcro is not my favorite fastener system. I liked the belt slots from the laser cut holster project, so I decided to make something similar for the multitool.
I swung by Tandy and picked up an 8.5 x 11" sheet of 4-5 oz leather. Divided in half, it provides enough material for the entire project.
Ian Atkinson has a fantastic leatherworking channel that I used as reference. Below is the video that demonstrates the wet forming process I used to make the front of the case. My system, however, is not nearly as pretty but it is functional. Were I to make more than one, Jimmy DiResta has a good method using wood forms.
Had I planned out the case better, I would have more intelligently placed the tension nails. As it is, I managed to cut around them but that was pure luck. For future designs, sketching it out on leather should be the first step.
After the wet forming, I secured the back using contact cement so it would not shift on me while punching stitching holes. If you're wondering, the wood putty was just there to provide an arc to trace for the flap.
The most difficult sections to cut out were the belt slots. Using a drill bit of the same diameter, I drilled out the ends and used a box cutter to remove the sides. It's important to only cut half-way in either direction so the knife does not cut beyond the ends of the drilled holes and leave ugly nicks.
After removing the excess, I stitched around the tool first so that it would not lose any tension. The process is the same as from the laser cut holster. Around the edge, I used a stitching groover to provide a channel for the thread and punched the holes by hand.
The snap is from a cheap kit that included the anvil and setter. If you have never used one before it would be smart to try a few on scrap. Peening the posts evenly takes some practice and removing a failed one is challenging.
After stitching, I used an edge beveler (the same as the stitch groover), a slicking wheel and a spoon to burnish the edges. I used to have the slicking wheel on a drill press but I've found that its not significantly faster and more likely to burn the leather. Patience really does produce the best results here.
I still struggle with getting dye applied evenly. In the picture below it looks worse than it normally does because of the harsh direct light, but as you can see the ridges and bent portions are the most difficult to dye evenly. I applied three coats in progressively heavier applications, but my technique obvious needs work. To finish it off I applied neetsfoot oil to prevent cracking while it breaks in.
Despite the dye and mild asymmetry, I'm very happy with the finished product. The tool rides much closer to my body and the retention on the tool even without the flap is great. Like the Leatherman, I intend to wear this for years and I'm looking forward to seeing how it holds up.