Kydex® Sheath





Introduction: Kydex® Sheath

About: I tinker. . . ALOT. Drives my wife crazy some times. I prefer to try to Upcycle where I can.

I started making sheaths because I wasn't happy with factory sheath. I have made leather and Kydex® and prefer Kydex® because it doesn't absorb moisture like leather does. I didn't/don't have a shop to work in so I tried to simplify the process as much as I could with the simplest tools as possible.

Step 1: Try This at Your Own Risk.

To begin I want to say I work with heat sharp objects and other things that can and will hurt if used or done incorrectly. If you choose to duplicate anything I do or have done it is at your own risk. If you hurt your self or others or damage anything I take no responsibility for your actions.

Step 2: Supplies

The things I use include the knife to mold, Kydex®, a pencil, a straight edge, a foam press, gloves, cookie sheet, oven, a multi-tool, sand paper, rivets/rivets and set (you can substitute Chicago screws), a drill and bits, and a heat gun.

Step 3: The Press

I have seen some really cool and creative presses. This isn't one of them its pure function. All it is is two pieces of 3\4" plywood with foam in the middle. The foam used is from a cheap camping pad scraps (the bulk of the foam was used on another project and you can buy them for about 5 bucks). Once you have your wood cut to the size you want your press, you can glue or leave loose the foam its up to you I used rubber cement for mine. I found its easier to work with two rather than 6 pieces when working with heated Kydex®.

Step 4: Getting Your Kydex® Ready.

I used a piece that already had had some of the sheet taken. The sheet I used is 0.060 Kydex®. Once I lay my knife to be molded out I leave a bit of extra room as Kydex® seems to shrink up a bit. Once that's done its time to prep the oven.

Step 5: Heating

I normally set the oven between 275 and 300. Then I flip over a cookie sheet and lay the Kydex® on the back with the smooth side down. Once the pre-heat is done I pop the Kydex® in for three to five min. You will know its done because it will bend really easy and flop under its own weight Lasagna noodles are pretty good comparison.

Step 6: To the Press

Gloves that can handle the heat are a staple for me at this point. When the Kydex® comes out of the oven you have just a couple moments before it starts to cool and harden back up. Get it to the press and get the knife you are molding lined up. In this case I made a fold over sheath for a Boker Tuf®. After the press is closed stand on it for 5 to 10 min. some people use clamps or straps they all work.

Step 7: Shaping the Sheath.

Using a pencil I line out the final shape of the sheath on Kydex®. Using a knife I score the the Kydex following my line. Then using the pliers I break of the exess.

Step 8: Laying Out Your Holes for Rivets.

Hole spacing is up to you I prefer 3/4" on center. I begin by pinching the sheath to add pressure to the Kydex® to try to find the spot that lets the knife hold fast but it can still be removed comfortably. This is where i place my top most hole. Once you have set the hole spacing get the drill out and make the holes use the bit that matches the rivets, grommets, or Chicago screws you will be using. Don't forget to clear any excess snibits from the holes.

Step 9: Shave and Sand.

Once my holes are drilled I make sure my edges are smoothed and rounded and the interior is rinsed out, before I set rivets or eyelets. Once assembled it's hard to get the debris from sanding the edges out of the sheath. so At times i also have to trim the edges to flush with my knife before I sand them

Step 10: Checking Your Fit.

At this point the sheath is pretty much done I double check the fit and if needed use a heat gun to add a thumb stop on the back of the sheath to aid in drawing the knife.

Step 11: Add a Clip or Not

I use the G clips on a lot of my sheaths because of ease of build and use. You can also make a leather or nylon harness to bolt the Kydex too for many other carry options.

Step 12:



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    12 Discussions

    Hi. Great instructable. I'm defo doing it. What thickness kydex do you recommend using? Cheers, Andy

    1 reply

    Sorry it took so long to respond the normal thicknesses I use are .060 for sheaths and .090 for clips. But when I'm doing larger knives or holsters I prefer the 0.090 for all of it. I did a sheath for a 6.5in blade and the .060 seemed too flimsy but I break alot of stuff any way so I prefer to overbuild if I can.

    Just wondering if you ever have the Kydex stick to the foam? I had that happen to me and it some work to remove it. Maybe I should use some cooking spray as a release agent for that next project?

    1 reply

    The only time I had it happen was when I used mystery foam and the melting temp of the foam was below the 275ish I heat the kydex to (I used foam for a couch when it melted to the kydex). Normally for knifes I use the cheap blue camping pads from Walley World and cut my foam squares from them you will get some foam deformation but I can normally get 5-10 presses from a piece before I need to replace it.

    Thank you. For the clips this is my walk through.


    3 years ago

    I'd like to see how you make your clips. Great Instructable

    Sorry I forgot about price for black 3 to 10 bucks a sheet depending on thickness and how much you order

    You can order it from a bunch of places online I picked up the kydex used here from Tandys leather

    Excellent idea. I have only a couple of Santoku knives and it is important to protect the blades from damage. A well-kept knife will last a lifetime. I purchased one of my best knives from a retired chef (and restaurant owner) who was in his late 90s. He inherited it from his father decades prior. I agree that many factory sheaths are barely OK. But a custom-fit one is always better.

    1 reply

    maybe use they kydex for a tool roll type storage and transport platform? use rivits that are fairly small then sew the roll up to beable to press fit the kydex inserts?