I recently picked up a little vintage hatchet, and figured it was a good size for a belt axe. The only problem was I didn’t have one of those nice axe loops that go onto your belt and didn’t really want to fork out loads of money for one. So I decided to make one. Here’s how you can to.
All it takes is some scrap leather, an awl (which I made by grinding down the end of a screwdriver), and then some thread which for me was just some thin bank line. The simple steps below will show you how easy it is to make a very functional piece of kit.
The first step was to design a template, I wanted a design with as little stitching as possible to save time when making it. The pattern below is what I came up with. Feel free to print it out and tweak it so that it works for your axe. The bottom piece will have to be lengthened or shortened depending on the size of your axes handle, the template below is about the right size for a Gransfors Bruks wildlife hatchet.
After cutting out my template I then laid it onto my leather, aligning it with as many edges as possible to avoid wasting leather and reduce the amount of cutting that must be done. I used a ruler and pen to trace the template shape onto the leather.
Then using the ruler and a sharp Mora 106 I cut my leather to shape. Placing the edge of the blade against the ruler helps to cut straight and smoothly.
Next, I took the awl and began punching my holes. I punched an even number, 6 or 8, of matching holes down the edges of the piece. Its important to use an even number so your knots are hidden on the inside of the leather, this just helps the project look tidier. Where to punch your holes is indicated on the template with dotted lines. Widen your holes with the awl so that your string passes through easily when lacing.
The lacing is the final step after the holes have all been punched. I first laced the belt loop then did the axe loop, I don’t think it really matters which way round it is done. To lace the belt loop, bring the top long piece and fold it down to the bottom, pass the thread down through the first hole at the back and then tie a knot in the thread to prevent it passing through your hole, be sure to give yourself lots of slack before tying the knot.
This knot should sit at the back of the loop, so that when worn it won’t be visible. Lace the belt loop by passing your thread up through the next two holes and then down through the next two, so that you are binding the two pieces of leather tightly together with a simple up and down pattern through the two pieces of leather.
To finish the lace pass the line up through the last hole before tying another knot in the end as close to the hole as possible to hold the lacing tight.
In the below picture you are looking at the back of the belt loop, so the first knot will be tied in the thread on the far left of the picture at the top, and the final knot tied on the far right of the picture, so that none of the knots are visible when the loop is being worn.
Lace the loop that the axe goes into in a similar fashion. Fold the longer section around to the short piece then start lacing by passing your thread from the inside of the loop outwards and then tie the knot in the end and be sure you finish lacing with the loose end inside the loop. This is so that the knots are tied on the inside of the loop, again providing a neat look. Lace this in the same up and down fashion so that you bind the loop closed.
When done the longer loop should hang off you belt and the smaller loop should hold the axe as seen in the photo below. Notice how the knots are tied where they are not visible, this helps the holder look neat.
While it may not be the most aesthetically stunning belt axe holder it is very functional and can be made for much cheaper than it costs to buy one ready made from a vendor. I think there is a sense of satisfaction that comes with crafting your own gear, anyone can throw money around and have beautiful gear made by a professional, but it shows a level of knowledge and skill to be able to make what you need from the raw materials.
Leave a comment if there are certain things you would like to see more of or if you need some help with this project.