Having fun with Kydex

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Having fun with Kydex

Postby Gr8Scout » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:58 pm

We all know a few people who work in kydex, and we know what it takes to get a sheath made. Money and sending off the knife. I decided to see for myself how much trouble it is.

It ain't trouble. It's fun. Inexpensive fun, if you buy your materials right. I bought some scraps of kydex, a few packages of chicago screws, made use of a heat gun I already had (and the oven), and put together my own press out of scrap lumber, using scrap nylon webbing as hinges.

So I present to you my work. Please be kind, I need positives at this point, not criticisms. I'm proudest of the big, bad BK9 sheath. I call this my 'winter campaign sheath' , making it with grey kydex. This was heavy stuff, way heavier than the thickest stuff usually used for sheaths. A whooping 1/8" thick. And as you can see by the pics, I placed a .030 thick section of black kydex where the folded piece comes together. Used the black male ends of the Chicago screws on the outside, used brass female ends on the other. At first I formed a belt loop of heavy black kydex, but with this big knife, it was not comfortable riding up that high. So I used some of the nylon webbing to make a 'hybrid' kydex-nylon job. Hangs nice on the belt. The fit is perfect, very secure and the sheath itself could be used as a dangerous weapon. The knife does slide out easily though. It is far superior to the Becker sheath that came with it.

Showing three others I made in black, thinner kydex. Top is for a big old Boker armed forces folder. I have sinced removed the belt hook and it is not bolted under the dash of my truck.

The black sharpfinger clone sheath is for a friend. Holds the knife very well. I glued the sheath together, using the chicago screws to attach the belt loop. The last one is for a very nice, expensive custom made stiletto I bought at a knife show a few years ago. The leather sheath, as made by the knifemaker, was too big and clunky. this one suits much better, and keeps the knife up high on my belt. I also formed a second boot loop, for sticking it in my swampers during late hunting season.

Kydex is fairly easy to work with, pretty forgiving as well. You can order it from knife supply places, or search locally, it is sometimes used for electronics housings. Frankly, the big grey stuff is too big, try and find .030 or .060, nothing larger than .090.

Have fun.. I am obviously still learning, but I enjoy it, and have some other ideas I wanna try out.


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Postby El Lobo » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:01 pm

Hey Phil,

That little tutorial was very cool. I know you are too modest, but maybe we should get a moderator to move it to the tutorials?

Anyway, thanks for sharing your work. Some nice knives, and it all looks good... ::tu::

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Postby CCBill » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:03 pm

Good job Phil. I think they are ALL very nicely done.
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Postby jonet143 » Tue Jun 05, 2007 11:05 pm

done and very interesting phil. did you wrap the knives in anything before milding? or is that even necessary? how does the weight compare to leather? ::tu::
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Postby Gr8Scout » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:17 am

Thank you all.

Weights: For the sharpfinger clone, the factory nylon sheath weighed 1.5 oz, the kydex weighs 1.7 oz. The new sheath for the custom stiletto weighs 1.7 oz; the leather one made by the knifemaker (Doug Alcorn) weighed 2.9 oz.

The becker factory sheath, nylon with a plastic liner, weighs 7.1 oz. My new kydex sheath, made with the extra heavy kydex weighs in at 8.9.
Note on the Becker sheath.. One of the reasons I wanted a new or better sheath was that it took a bit of effort to find the flimsy sheath and get the knife shoved into it after use (hacking my way into a multi-flora rose thicket to retrieve a shot rabbit, building a deer blind, cutting a shooting lane) when I am exerted or it is cold and I have a heavy coat on. I made the throat of the new one very wide, as wide as the thickness of the guard area of the knive's handle. Easy to stick it in the sheath.

Also, here is a couple of pics of my homemade press. Just two pieces of melamine board, with the homemade hinges. Note that I use the screwgun and the long screws to just screw it shut when I place the heated kydex and knife inside. Takes only minutes to harden after heating and pressing. Also, you can see the foam I am using, which seems to be important. You can buy special foam from the same suppliers who furnish everything else.

My cost for the sheaths you see and the materials to make them: Let's see.... $15 for the kydex. About $6 for the chicago screws (some of them I just put together with small nuts and bolts I had on hand) everything else I found in my shop. So some pleasant time spent and $21 for the four sheaths. I formed my own belt loops out of kydex instead of buying the ready made ones (although tec-locks are nice)

I do not cover the knives with anything when I place them between the folded up kydex for pressing. The heat is not that great.. I guess I will find out about whether or not the heat will affect the handles by trial and error. It did not harm the G-10 handles on the Boker, nor the handles of the Becker. I saw the question asked once if the heat is great enough to change the temper of the steel. No, it is not.

Again, thanks for the words of encouragement.


Cutting kydex: I used a fine blade in my skill saw to cut the heavy grey stuff. A coping saw did the curves on the sharpfinger clone sheath. .030 and .060 can be cut with a sharp heavy knife, or you can score it and then break it cleanly at the score. I sanded all edges with 100 grit, then used a buffing wheel on my bench grinder with a mild compound to get a nice, finished look. Be careful, a buffing wheel with burn right through kydex. Use care.

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Postby muskrat man » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:26 pm

Looks top notch to me Phil! ::tu:: when can I send you one of my fixed blades for an upside down necker sheath? :D
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Postby MITCH RAPP » Wed Jun 06, 2007 3:32 pm

8) Phil; Great looking work! ::tu:: Thanks for the lesson.

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Postby orvet » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:47 pm

Great info Phil! ::tu::
I appreciate hearing about it. I have some military knives coming up for some customers & that would be a plus to have sheaths for them.

Thanks for the tutorial. You made it look easy. I really like the sheath for the BK-9 MUCH BETTER than the factory sheath. ::nod::

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