Kydex Press Foam, oven, material thickness

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Hawkfan, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Hawkfan

    Hawkfan Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 16, 2019
    I have the complete standard kydex press kit from but my sheaths don't come out that great. They hold the knife in but there's no snapping in and out.

    I was just curious what other people's experience has been with the kit and I'm wondering if the foam should be upgraded? Or do you get good results with the provided foam?

    I use a heat gun with laser temp meter but I don't get the best definition, not even close. It's probably because it's not a consistent temp all the way around, like it would be if using an oven the way to go? I thought if I just used the heat gun long enough it would be the same thing but maybe the oven gives it a deeper heating? I'm guessing with the proper level of heat, the existing foam material should be good enough to make nice sheaths?

    Is this method of making sheaths super outdated and is the vacuum system the way to go? I don't plan on starting a sheath business but do want nice sheaths for my own knives. I might also be using kydex that's too's probably a combination of heat level/method, kydex thickness, and maybe foam quality?
  2. bikerector

    bikerector KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 16, 2016
    I'm just getting into Kydex myself and heat guns seem to get worse results than a toaster over or griddle to beat the Kydex.

    The Kydex that I read is common to use is 0.060 and 0.080. Use tape on the blade and cut to shape to create space around the blade so the Kydex only grabs the handle. My experience with Kydex sheaths I have received suggests placement of the eyelets is also really important as they give the sheath the "snap" in the right places. I have had a few where the eyelet placement is too far away from the handle area allowing a lot of flex and poor retention. I haven't decided if I want to try an adhesive to correct that or drop another eyelet near the handle.

    And then, practice makes perfect.

    P.S. I was warned by numerous knifemakers that if you use the same oven you cook in your wife/significant other may not be real pleased with you. Getting something from a garage sale or thrift store is a better idea.
    Hawkfan likes this.
  3. Hawkfan

    Hawkfan Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 16, 2019
    Yeah I think the toaster oven is the way to go it seems.

    The eyelets...that makes sense. I'm going to play around with the location of those to see if I can get them snappier. I already wrap the blade in painters tape to create the gap and currently am using 0.080 kydex...I think my problems is a combination of not being hot enough and eyelet location. Thanks for the tip!
  4. Plainsman


    Apr 5, 1999
    My first thought is an oven would heat the material more evenly than the heat gun.

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