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Kydex Press - Make one yourself!

Making a Kydex sheath is easy. Making a good Kydex sheath takes a lot of practice.

Getting a good system down for molding is a big part of it but knowing how to relieve the sheath to make it fuction well and not scratch the heck out of your blade in the process is another thing entirely.

I think the best place for resources on this forum is the Makers and Manufacturers section where Kydex is dicussed quite frequently. I have seen people mention a hundred ways of how they do it and it all comes down to finding a method that is good for you.

I have been making sheaths for about 3 years and have thrown away dozens of them I was not happy with, so buy plenty of material and be prepared to not like a few of them.

My systems is set up as follows:

2 -3/4 pieces of plywood
2 pieces of 2" dense foam padding
8" Woodworkers vise or bench vise
Scroll Saw
1x42" belt sander, 8" disc sander
Drill, bits and counter sink
2 Pot holders
Toaster oven or household oven depending on size of sheath
Scroll saw and tin snips
Dremel tool with sanding disc only if needed
Heat gun for clips

1. Basically I heat my Kydex in the oven until soft and easy to manipulate.

2. Clamp it between the foam and plywood for 10 minutes.

3. Rough cut my outline form on the scroll saw and use tin snips for anywhere I only want one layer cut.

4. Drill holes for my Chicago screws and check insertion and release of the blade, note any changes that need to be made to allow knife to release properly.

5. Sand to form on Belt/Disc sander and I only use the Dremel as a last resort if the other sander won't fit a curve.

6. Remove the screws and completely wash interior/exterior of sheath for debris.

7. Screw back together and check fit, adjust as needed with combination of stock removal or light heat gun.

8. Final sanding of edges to round and smooth them out.

9. Wash inside and out again.

For my clips I use a standard G clip or Tek-Lok. To make the G-Clip I have a piece of Oak I have formed to be the size I want the clip to be. I use the heat gun and pot holders to just heat the areas where the clip will be folded around the form as to prevent the gun from softening area's that have already been done.

Once formed I cut it to the proper width and fit it to the sheath.

IMO, the key to doing good Kydex is to not put the knife into the sheath at any point during sanding without a good bath first - this prevents debris from getting lodged in the material and always being a scratch hazard. Kydex won't scratch a blade but debris you have in there will.

Here's a batch I just finished a couple of weeks ago.

tags • molding • press • diy • kydex • shaping
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