Saturday, 23 May 2009

Kydex

As Black Rabbit says my Bushwacker Bushtool is nearing completion my thoughts have turned to a sheath for it.

I like the 'matched pair' look for my knives - Natural handle (wood, bone, horn, antler) = leather sheath, but when it's a man made handle (micarta,G10 ext) it's gotta be Kydex or its cousin Concealex. They have a few advantages over leather being stain proof, waterproof, and a little lighter. 

I had a go at making a Kydex sheath a while back and couldn't get the kind of result i was after, but happily I remembered that sometimes the pros have special tools for a reason. After watching a couple of tutorials I rigged up a press and was able to get a much closer fitting finish.

There are two main schools of Kydex sheath the 'pancake' pictured above and the the 'two piece'. I really like the minimalist look of the pancake, and wanted to have a rivet-less design which not many makers seem to go for, but in fairness to them I can now see why, getting a super tight fit between the two sides is pretty tricky.

Hope you're hobbies are as much fun for you this weekend
Your pal
The Suburban Bushwacker


2 comments:

Obsidian Rabbit said...

You got some pics of the press you made? I'm planning on err.. borrowing the design of the one they have on knifekits.com for mine - buggered if I'm paying $85 US for two bits of steel with half a wetsuit sandwhiched in between :)

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

'buggered if I'm paying $85 US for two bits of steel with half a wetsuit sandwhiched in between'

My thoughts entirely! so i used two Bits of hard foam I had lying about - a tutorial i once saw said to wrap 'em in aluminum foil - stops them sticking to the kydex. I used a vise, but a lot of people use a couple of phone books and stand on them.

My top tips are thus.
Heat the sheet in a domestic oven - the hot air gun is only of subsequent shaping - this made a HuGE difference.

A stone wheel on an angle grinder is perfect for shaping.

making a rough, heating and fitting, then shaping was much easier.

If you've got exatctly the shape you want on part of the sheath but other still need shaping, you can 'quick set' with a plant sprayer leaving the other bits malleable.

Hope this is a help, tutorial on the way
SBW