View Full Version : Kydex Sheaths - What Tools are Required?

Marko Tsourkan
06-03-2013, 11:25 AM
Getting ready to move on some Kydex sheaths for (for now) conceptual neck knife. Looking for online tutorials, and pricing the tool setup. From what I gathered online,
hard foam press and rivet press are the two tools that necessary, and those I need to buy. Are there any other tools that are essential and those that aren't typically found in a shop. I have a drill press, a grinder (to smooth edges) an oven to heat Kydex.

Also, where would one recommend buying the presses and rivet dies?



PS: would doubling Kydex (combining contrasting colors) be a good idea? This is one area where I plan on be a little more creative and less conservative with colors.

06-03-2013, 11:37 AM
Can I get in on a prototype? :D

From what I've done with kydex, I'd say you're set with what you have in mind. As for colour combos, etc, I think it would be a cool idea. To be honest, a bright orange back on a black front would be perfect for hunters. The black is muted, but if dropped, in the bush or snow, the orange has a good chance of being seen. I like the direction you're going, Marko!

06-03-2013, 11:43 AM
That should be all you need. I have seen a few holsters that had multiple colors of kydex that looked awesome. But they weren't just the front and back layers being different, they had two or three layers on the front and the outer layers had different designs. I know I didn't describe that well, sorry. Also I have a kydex sheath that is Felt lined that is pretty awesome because it wont hurt the finish over time. I have also seen several holsters that were leather lined for the same purpose, and I think that would be really cool.

As far as the foam press goes the only ones that I have seen have been made by their user and they work perfectly. You just need some foam and wood. My recommendation is to not permanently attach the two sides of the press, but to have several levels of slots where you can stick the top portion which would allow you to change the amount of pressure the press has. Sorry not explained well again. That is pretty important for getting the perfect level of retention, also as the foam wears and becomes thinner you can just use a lower notch for the same results, thus extending the service life of the foam.

I am excited to see what you make.

06-03-2013, 11:47 AM
I've literally used an old pair of fire gloves and squished them with my hands....

Marko Tsourkan
06-03-2013, 11:51 AM
I am actually thinking of doubling the walls of the sheath with contrasting Kydex (say black on outside, red on inside), so you end up with a read line in the seam, but hey, experimenting is part of every process of mine, so whatever combination will appeal to me is a fair game.

I would like to move pretty quickly on making those (have a deadline for one I am giving as a gift), so I don't think I will be making my own press and tweak it. Was thinking of getting this ready-made press:


and this rivet press with dies

What do you guys think on the tools?


06-03-2013, 11:52 AM
I say for that price, why not? To be honest, I'd just put the rivets in with a 16oz ballpein.

Marko Tsourkan
06-03-2013, 11:55 AM
I say for that price, why not? To be honest, I'd just put the rivets in with a 16oz ballpein.

I could probably do that too, but I like the consistency and one thing I have learned over the years, a specific tool designed for a specific operation will give you the consistency.


Don Nguyen
06-03-2013, 12:15 PM
Carter has an interesting process on how he does his Kydex. He uses a heat gun and female/male leather rivets instead. His press is just a big vise with the foam attached to boards.



Marko Tsourkan
06-03-2013, 12:31 PM
Pretty cool. A setup I had in mind would take most of adjustments away and give me a consistent result. That's what specialized tools are for in my opinion, but the vise setup is pretty easy to make, so I am having second thoughts about it. I do use my machinist vise quite extensively, and I suppose the pressure you apply with a vise is stronger and more consistent than with a manual foam press.

So, where would one get a hard foam suitable for pressing?


06-03-2013, 02:30 PM
Look at the Enco arbor presses. If you can drill/ tap holes you can save some money on the press and just buy the dies.