Well as promised in this thread about my PMA11 Mule build http://www.spyderco.com/forumII/viewtopic.php?t=81359
, here is my photo tutorial of my kydex sheath build.
First, I applied three layers of packing tape to each side of the blade so that the kydex would be less likely to scratch the blade.
Next, I cut the tape around the blade using an exacto knife. This kydex is cheap stuff on Ebay directly from China.
Time to bake the kydex. I preheated the oven to 200 deg F. Then placed the kydex, shiny side down on an oven safe non-stick skillet in the oven. I let it soak at that temp for a couple of minutes, while monitoring the oven temp with a digital probe. I read that ramping up the temp works best for kydex, and the probe ensured that my oven didn't overshoot the temp (which it wanted to). I went maybe 2 minutes at 200, 2 minutes at 250, then 280, and finally 325. When at 325, I opened the oven door occasionally to check the kydex temperature with a cheap Harbor Freight infrared thermometer. When the infrared read 300 deg, I removed the kydex.
I quickly turned the kydex over, so that the shiny side was up, laying on my improvised press. The foam is some pretty stiff stuff borrowed from a gun case. And yeah, that's my kitchen counter...don't tell my wife
. Used leather gloves, because this stuff was hot! You don't have much time before the kydex sets, so I quickly folded it over on the knife, and set the blade in the fold.
Then I set a timer for 15 minutes and resisted the urge to peak
. Finally removed the work, and it looked pretty good, except for the wrinkle, where my clamps pushed into the edge of the kydex. Oh well, gonna cut that off, anyway.
Now, it was time to drill holes for the rivets. I didn't have a press for eyelets, so I used chicago washers from True Value. Pretty cheap way to do it. I set them about 1/4" from the blade. Next, I drew the form of my sheath around the rivets with a pencil.
Then I used a cheap Harbor Freight table vise to hold the sheath as I cut around it with a coping saw. Then I used a file to shave it right to the pencil marks. Could have used a rotary tool, but I was afraid I'd go too deep.
Now I did use my rotary tool with a small grinding stone to get the detailed curves and generally smooth all of the sides, especially the hilt area. Then it was on to 220 grit sand paper and finally, denim to burnish the edges.
Finally, I added matching OD green webbing, also found on Ebay and used a lighter to heat the thumb push area and shaped it. Then I was done. I am very happy with how it turned out. The knife snaps solidly in place and won't budge shaken upside down. And it draws readily by pushing your thumb on the curved area.