Kydex holster project - need advice

Kydex holster project - need advice

This is a discussion on Kydex holster project - need advice within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Need some advice from people who have "been there, done that" with Kydex projects. I have decided to try my hand at creating some high-ride, ...

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Thread: Kydex holster project - need advice

  1. #1
    New Member Array sqwerty's Avatar
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    Question Kydex holster project - need advice

    Need some advice from people who have "been there, done that" with Kydex projects.

    I have decided to try my hand at creating some high-ride, OWB, pancake Kydex holsters (picture a cross between a Rusty Sherrick High Ride and a RCS Phantom). I have researched the process, obtained all the materials, made my templates, and am getting ready to dive in, but I need some advice on a few issues since this is all brand new to me...


    1. Regarding the heating/molding part of the procedure, which of the following will give me the best results:

    a) Cut Kydex templates slightly oversized, heat, mold in press, rivet, THEN trim to final dimensions.

    b) Cut Kydex templates to final dimensions, try really hard to keep everything aligned during the molding process (seems like this might be difficult unless the heated Kydex is "stickier" than I envision), rivet.

    c) Cut Kydex templates to final dimensions, sandwich sides together and place outside rivets, put a thin piece of sheet metal inside to keep the sides from sticking together (or is this necessary?), heat, carefully open and slide handgun in, mold in press, place remaining rivets.


    2. Do I need to use any adhesive like contact cement or will the rivets be sufficient? The area I'm specifically concerned about is the belt slots.


    3. Regarding cutting the Kydex, I'm thinking long straight cuts will get the utility knife, curves/details the jigsaw, edges fine grit sandpaper, and corners the Dremel on low speed. Good plan or not? Suggestions?



    Thanks for any advice you can give.


  2. #2
    Member Array ev239's Avatar
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    I'll chime in and help with as many of the questions as I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by sqwerty View Post
    1. Regarding the heating/molding part of the procedure, which of the following will give me the best results:

    a) Cut Kydex templates slightly oversized, heat, mold in press, rivet, THEN trim to final dimensions.

    b) Cut Kydex templates to final dimensions, try really hard to keep everything aligned during the molding process (seems like this might be difficult unless the heated Kydex is "stickier" than I envision), rivet.

    c) Cut Kydex templates to final dimensions, sandwich sides together and place outside rivets, put a thin piece of sheet metal inside to keep the sides from sticking together (or is this necessary?), heat, carefully open and slide handgun in, mold in press, place remaining rivets.
    Use method a) because you'll find that even if you measure exactly you'll probably need to trim here and there anyways so no need to sweat the final dimensions until you get to the finishing stage after molding. Kydex does not get "sticky" unless it's wayyyy overheated. You really only need to get it hot enough so it goes "limp".

    2. Do I need to use any adhesive like contact cement or will the rivets be sufficient? The area I'm specifically concerned about is the belt slots.
    This depends on your design. Pancake designs are typically more difficult than scabbard designs because the pancake needs some kind of fasteners on both sides to keep it together. Rivets should be sufficient as long as you use enough of them spaced close enough together. The number really depends on the size of the firearm.

    3. Regarding cutting the Kydex, I'm thinking long straight cuts will get the utility knife, curves/details the jigsaw, edges fine grit sandpaper, and corners the Dremel on low speed. Good plan or not? Suggestions?
    Depending on the thickness of your kydex you may want to try using metal snips for some of the trimming. I've found they are useful for rounding sharp edges and doing gradual curves. My favorite "tool" for finishing rough edges is a simple emory board like the ones the wife uses on her nails. They are cheap and the larger ones (about 7" inches long) are small enough to get a good hold on and yet have enough sanding area to work on a whole holster.

    Hope that helps.
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  3. #3
    New Member Array sqwerty's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reply ev239. In addition to other threads here, I found a really good picture-filled thread on this subject over at another forum. So I'm thinking I've got a pretty good idea of the procedure.

    Anybody else care to chime in? Further advice gladly accepted. Probably try to make the first of four this weekend. Just trying to decide which handgun gets the dubious honor of wearing my first attempt.

  4. #4
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    Long curves and straight cuts can be easily accomplished by scoring the cut with a sharp utility knife and then carefully bending - the Kydex will break right on the cut.

    There is no need to cut all the way through just do a nice scoring cut.

    BTW...rivets are fine/best.

    No plastic cements or solvents work very well on Kydex. It is an extremely solvent resistant material.
    Lacquer thinner, MEK, Acetone, Weldbond, Duco, Special Epoxy for plastics, Super Glue...forget them all.

    None of them passed my informal and highly unscientific bond strength tests.

    I even exactly duplicated the published solvent formulation {with the dissolved Kydex shavings} as recommended by Kydex and that sucked also.

    My test was:
    >
    > Making sure the material was perfectly clean.
    > Glueing/cementing 2" test strips together w/ a 1" overlap.
    > Waiting a full 24 hours before doing anything.

    and if I could pull the two pieces back apart then I called it "failed"

    I have not found any readily available solvent or plastic cement that will actually "melt" and fuse two pieces of Kydex together and join them as one piece the way traditional plastic cements usually work.
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    Member Array jdivence's Avatar
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    fr those who use you actual firearm as a mold do you wrap it in anything or can kydex be formed right on the gun?
    God invented cops so that firemen could have heroes too!

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    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Long curves and straight cuts can be easily accomplished by scoring the cut with a sharp utility knife and then carefully bending - the Kydex will break right on the cut.

    There is no need to cut all the way through just do a nice scoring cut.

    BTW...rivets are fine/best.

    No plastic cements or solvents work very well on Kydex. It is an extremely solvent resistant material.
    Lacquer thinner, MEK, Acetone, Weldbond, Duco, Special Epoxy for plastics, Super Glue...forget them all.

    None of them passed my informal and highly unscientific bond strength tests.

    I even exactly duplicated the published solvent formulation {with the dissolved Kydex shavings} as recommended by Kydex and that sucked also.

    My test was:
    >
    > Making sure the material was perfectly clean.
    > Glueing/cementing 2" test strips together w/ a 1" overlap.
    > Waiting a full 24 hours before doing anything.

    and if I could pull the two pieces back apart then I called it "failed"

    I have not found any readily available solvent or plastic cement that will actually "melt" and fuse two pieces of Kydex together and join them as one piece the way traditional plastic cements usually work.
    Have you tried IPS Weld On 4784 it melts nice???? You may need to wait a little longer for it to reach full strength..

    "TIME TO REACH 80% OF
    ULTIMATE BOND STRENGTH: 72 hours"


    The specs can be found here....
    “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power” Dwight D Eisenhower

    Here are some of my holsters........

  8. #8
    Member Array southbound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paymeister View Post

    That's how I got my start
    “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power” Dwight D Eisenhower

    Here are some of my holsters........

  9. #9
    Member Array southbound's Avatar
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    Is this kinda what you want to make??




    I like over kill so I use ISP Weld On with eyelets and a tension screw...

    When it comes to the belt slots I use a router bit...

    Hope this helps good luck...
    “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power” Dwight D Eisenhower

    Here are some of my holsters........

  10. #10
    New Member Array sqwerty's Avatar
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    Paymeister, those threads you linked (and not finding exactly what I was looking for commercially) started this whole crazy endeavor. Oh, and the fact that $60-70 for some name brand holsters is outrageous when the price of DIY materials is less than $10 and provides a fun project.

    southbound, yeah kinda. All four holsters I want to make will be for compacts or sub-compacts so I'm hoping to get as much above the beltline as possible. Consequently, the geometry of the draw and the way my elbow does/doesn't bend dictate either straight drop or minimal forward cant. BTW, nice work. Looks sturdy and functional.

  11. #11
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    No, but I did try one called IPS Weld On 3 which was the one recommended on a knife forum and I was disappointed with those results.
    Good advice though & I'll try that one.

    Have you tried IPS Weld On 4784 it melts nice???? You may need to wait a little longer for it to reach full strength..

    "TIME TO REACH 80% OF
    ULTIMATE BOND STRENGTH: 72 hours"

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    [IMG][/IMG]

    Here it what I made for my PPS . It rides fairly high and can be worn appendix to small of the back and still work. I find appendix carry to work the best for most of my carry needs.
    I like to use a testors model paint pen or a white wax pencil to mark out my rivet points and cut lines. Also I bevel the edges with the dremel sanding disk , so no sharp edges.
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  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array Paymeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southbound View Post
    That's how I got my start
    Quote Originally Posted by sqwerty View Post
    Paymeister, those threads you linked ... started this whole crazy endeavor. ...
    Figured you folks had seen the thread, but I thought it might be helpful to the casual browser to have a link handy.

    My Kydex work is, being charitable, "rustic" by comparison, yet it gets the job done. And for IWB that's good enough for now. But I would love to develop skills like you guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by southbound View Post
    ...When it comes to the belt slots I use a router bit...
    Was that a router bit on a Dremel or a full-size router? Suppose the Dremel's router bit, freehand, would work?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paymeister View Post
    Figured you folks had seen the thread, but I thought it might be helpful to the casual browser to have a link handy.

    My Kydex work is, being charitable, "rustic" by comparison, yet it gets the job done. And for IWB that's good enough for now. But I would love to develop skills like you guys!



    Was that a router bit on a Dremel or a full-size router? Suppose the Dremel's router bit, freehand, would work?
    Think drill press
    “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power” Dwight D Eisenhower

    Here are some of my holsters........

  15. #15
    Member Array southbound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    No, but I did try one called IPS Weld On 3 which was the one recommended on a knife forum and I was disappointed with those results.
    Good advice though & I'll try that one.

    Have you tried IPS Weld On 4784 it melts nice???? You may need to wait a little longer for it to reach full strength..

    "TIME TO REACH 80% OF
    ULTIMATE BOND STRENGTH: 72 hours"
    Did the same thing..... Still got a can if you need it

    I guess that's more for Plexiglas....

    Thanks....
    “Dollars and guns are no substitutes for brains and will power” Dwight D Eisenhower

    Here are some of my holsters........

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