A Guide to Making a Kydex SheathBruce Richardson
we thought we would do a small introduction to Kydex.
I know a lot of you are already familiar with this product and are using it regularly. This is more for those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to have a play with it yet.
Some of you may be thinking it is in the too hard basket and you will need a lot of expensive equipment (industrial ovens, vacuum molding press, bandsaw etc) while these would certainly be handy to have they are not essential and you can make your desired project with a few simple tools.
WHAT IS KYDEX ?
Kydex is a line of thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride materials manufactured by Kydex LLC.
What does that mean? It is a sheet of plastic that you can heat up in the oven or with a heat gun and it will become pliable. This will allow you to mold it into any number of shapes including knife sheaths, pistol holsters, credit card wallets or what you can think up to meet your needs. Once it cools it will hold its shape but not be brittle.
It is available in a number of colours from black, tan, olive green to fluorescent orange, yellow and pink as well as carbon fibre finish or a choice of camouflage patterns.
You can also add layers of kydex back to back to give a thicker wall to your work where you may need extra re-enforcement.
Try using different colours layered together to create a two-tone look to your work (one colour as a liner and a different colour on the outside.
You may be interested to know that you can alter the look of your project by using a spray paint. Simply spray a coat of paint over your work and while it is still wet wipe off the excess. The paint will settle into the textured surface and give you a mottled look. Experiment with different colours and see the effects you can create.
We’ve included some basic instructions for a knife sheath and temperature ranges that may help you get started.
FORMING TEMPERATURE GUIDELINES FOR KYDEX:
Times and temperatures for heating Kydex shown are approximate and should be used as guidelines only.
- Do not exceed 204*C as this will cause the sheet to begin to melt.
TOOLS YOU WILL NEED FOR WORKING WITH KYDEX:
- Box knife
- Rivet setter and rivets
- Masking tape
- Double sided tape
- Tek-lok (optional)
HEATING KYDEX. You can use any of the following.
- TOASTER OVEN
- HEAT GUN
- HOT PLATE
FORMING KYDEX. (Knife sheath as example)
- Once you have heated your sheet and is pliable you will need to form it around your project.
- You can do this a number of different ways (vacuum form or kydex press) or by hand with limited success.
- You will need a Kydex Press foam (heat resistant)
- If using an oven (pre-heat) to recommended temp.
Find our product range of kydex here