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    Username Post: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath        (Topic#798562)
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    07-05-07 07:26.57 - Post#1265651    





    This is how I’ve been doing my Kydex sheaths using a homebuilt press and hand tools.
    I’m no expert and I’m still learning, but the following has been working for me.

    I’m not going to supply a tool list, what I use will shown in the photos or mentioned as I go...use what you have on hand or what works for you.

    My press is composed of 3 pieces of 12? x 6? x 3/4? plywood.

    Two of them have Kydex foam glued to them and the third is left bare for making flat-backed pieces.
    I have 3 bar-clamps, a fourth might be handy but I haven’t been handicapped without it.

    If you were going to do more than one or two sheaths, I would highly recommend getting proper Kydex pressing foam.
    I started out with improvised foam from a cheap closed-cell backpacking mat and while it worked, the proper foam made a noticeable difference in results and ease of use.

    I learned this after struggling with the improvised foam for almost a year.


       Attachment

    Dave


     


    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 07:29.14 - Post#1265654    


        In response to SporK60



    The Frosts Clipper is probably one of the easier Moras for a beginner to start with because of its Kydex-friendly guard shape.
    The guard has nice camming surfaces that help open and close the mouth of the sheath…and is easy to mold the Kydex around.

    The Frost’s Craftsman, with its thin protruding finger guard is probably the one that I have the most trouble with balancing good retention with easy release from the sheath.

    I generally use .060? thickness for the body of the sheath and accessory holders like firesteel loops.
    I now make my belt loops from .080? sheet, but the thinner stock will also work for such a lightweight knife.

    A 12? x 12? sheet of .060? Kydex will be enough for 2 Mora sheaths with belt and firesteel loops with some left over.

    I have settled on a standard starting piece of 4.5? x 6? for the sheath body, that will cover nearly every common Mora with the exception of the Eriksson Mora 2K and other longer bladed ones (the 4.5? width still applies though).

    I start by taping the blades to bulk them up a bit, this gives the finished sheath a little breathing room (especially for carbon blades) and reduces blade rub.

    Using 3-4 layers of 3M Painter’s Masking Tape applied flat with no seams or ridges.
    The tape is applied with one edge lined up with the spine of the blade, then folded around the edge and the excess trimmed off at the other side of the spine.

    The adhesive of the tape does not seem to be affected by the heat of the pressing process and releases cleanly when removed.

    I’ve been told that the Kydex can be scored and snapped into pieces, but I use a pair of compound leverage Aviation snips to cut mine.


       Attachment

    Dave


     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 07:33.48 - Post#1265657    


        In response to SporK60









    My heatgun has two temperature settings and I start with the high one.
    When the Kydex begins to soften I switch to low to let the heat saturate the piece.

    The Kydex should be entirely softened; there should be no stiffness in the corners or edges.

    (Photo 003)
    - When ready, I wrap the Kydex around the knife and position it so that the top of the guard and the tip of the blade are against the fold.

    I’m sort of picky about this, as I don’t like to have a lot of excess Kydex pinched in front of the sheath if it can be avoided.
    One problem that can occur is that the tip of the blade can be caught in the pinched area when sheathing the knife…and it is just plain unsightly sometimes.

    The Kydex will cool and harden during the positioning, so I hold the piece under the guard and reheat the Kydex from the front of the guard to the end for the first pressing.

    (Photo 004) – The result of the first pressing (which actually took two tries to get it right).

    (Photo 005) - Then I grasp the sheath front of the guard to shield it from the heatgun and soften the Kydex around the guard and handle for the second pressing.

    (Photo 006) – The result of the second pressing.

    It doesn’t always go this easily, I’ve had times where I’ve flattened out the entire piece and started over again.

    I think the key to making a nice sheath is not to settle for the first or second try, as long as you don’t overheat and burn the Kydex it can be reheated and because the material has a memory it will flatten out (drop a board on it to hold it down).


       Attachment

    Dave


     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 07:35.08 - Post#1265658    


        In response to SporK60



    Once the sheath has been pressed, a good thing to do is to clamp the edge to simulate where the first grommet will be placed.

    Often a sheath that releases freely and seems to work well will not once it has been riveted.

    The position of the top grommet can be lowered to reduce the tension around the mouth, but it is not my preferred method.
    I usually try to “tune? the sheath after the assembly is finished by spot heating and adjusting the mouth.


       Attachment

    Dave


     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 07:39.29 - Post#1265662    


        In response to SporK60









    Belt loops and firesteel loops do not require a press at all, just some scraps or blocks of wood.
    I use pieces of Micarta just because I have them available.

    If you want is to replace a Tek-lok with a belt loop or add a firesteel to an existing sheath, you can do it without a press.

    My standard size starting piece for the belt loop is 1.75? x 8.5?.

    That would have to be lengthened if a loop is desired for a belt wider than 1.75? or if you wanted the knife to ride lower.

    I form my loops around a scrap of plywood cut to size.
    Heat the strip of Kydex and fold it around the form. Place a board on top of it to flatten and hold it down.

    Holding the board on top, reheat the stepped area and press down with a second piece of wood. Keep light pressure on it while it cools.

    The raw edges (from the cutting with the snips) are evened up with 60 grit sandpaper wrapped around a block of wood.


       Attachment

    Dave


     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 07:44.29 - Post#1265664    


        In response to SporK60







    I use a washable tailor’s pencil from the fabric store to mark Kydex; it stands out well and is easy to clean off the Kydex.

    My grommet setting rig is a pair of 1/4" grommet setting punches from my leatherworking tools and a mallet.

    My standard practice for the placement of grommets is about 3/8? from the edge of the impressed blade line on the Kydex with a 1? from center for the first and second from the top.

    Although I rarely use Tek-loks, I use a small one as a guide to determine vertical placement so I can use one if desired.

    I use brad-pointed drills, 1/4? for grommet holes and 3/16? for binding post holes.

    The bottom grommet is placed aft of the blade tip rather than the end.

    One of my Kydex pet peeves are sheaths that are wider and longer than necessary, some sheaths I’ve seen could double as canoe paddles.

    I spilt the distance in half from the second and bottom grommet for placement of the third hole.

    Using only four grommets works for me and I generally won’t use more unless there is a specific need for it.
    I install the grommets before trimming the sheath, and then use a hacksaw and aviation snips to cut off the excess.

    The edge is shaped with 60-grit sandpaper (for wood) wrapped around a block of wood, then cleaned up with 100-grit (for wood) and 220 grit (wet dry).

    The holes in the belt loops are spaced to standard 1? centers with a 3/16? drill, and then reamed slightly for the binding post to fit snugly.
    The two additional holes are used for attaching a firesteel loop at the front of the sheath.

    I use 3/8? long aluminum binding post bases with steel flathead cap screws rather than the Chicago screws sold by suppliers.

    The flat head screw has a better appearance and self centers in the grommet to prevent the pieces from shifting.
    When the loop is attached to the sheath, 2 #00 flat faucet washers are used on each post as spacers.

    Polishing the edges of the Kydex with a cotton rag wetted with Acetone does final finishing.
    This will melt the plastic a little and produce a burnished edge.


       Attachment

    Dave


     
    PWork
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 09:02.16 - Post#1265693    


        In response to SporK60

    Excellent tutorial Dave.
    Paul



     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 09:43.56 - Post#1265716    


        In response to PWork

    Now you can squeeze your own
    Dave


     
    PWork
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 09:48.07 - Post#1265717    


        In response to SporK60

    Dagnabbit, you got me into leather, now you wanna lead me down the dark path of kydex.
    Paul



     
    SporK60
    Master Member KnifeNut!
    *
    Re: Making a Kydex Mora Sheath
    07-05-07 09:50.09 - Post#1265718    


        In response to PWork

    I'm a bad influence

    Just do one...you won't get hooked...I promise.
    Dave


     


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