I like kydex, it does not smell like a dead cow
I am in need of some pants right now.....
I've always gotten kydex sheaths in the past, but lately have been tempted to start getting leather.
What are some of your preferences for sheath designs and materials? Most of all what are your reasons for these preferences?
I think of it this way:
Custom Kydex is usually a bit cheaper than custom leather. I like that on "cheaper" knives that I might not wanna spend a fortune on.
I prefer Kydex on blades that are gonna be either tucked in or strapped to a pack as well as knives that might be used for field dressing etc. Kydex can be cleaned out easier and the blade slides better into that bulging pack or that tight pocket on your rig.
I prefer leather on more expensive knives that I plan on keeeping either as safequeens or mild users. I also prefer leather on knives that I keep in my belt as my backcountry/hunting gear.
As far as scratches etc, I think both will marr a nice satin finish sometime depending on how clean you keep your sheaths.
I've recently gone trough the same change in materials. Though I do love Kydex, it doesn't look right on every knife. I tend to pair hand finished blades and natural handle materials with leather and everything else with Kydex. Leather seems to add an air of elegance while kydex adds a tough and rugged feel. Of course, this is all my opinion. :-)
Kydex is useful and practical. Leather is beautiful and traditional. I love both. I have leather for everything, but Kydex for only my hard users (even though I do use leather when I carry them out, too). I have a soft spot in me for old, handcrafted goods.
Last edited by uyotg; 10-27-2012 at 10:06 AM. Reason: clarification
I buy my kydex from makers like Buy Brown (David Brown), Mashed Cat, AzWelke and others.
For leather, I make my own.
brain says kydex
heart says leather
I simply prefer leather overall. I love the traditional look and feel it has.
I have all of mine in kydex. This is because of my budget and the fact that the Mashed Cat sheathes are inexpensive, well made and tough as the knives themselves.
If my budget was not an issue, I would still have kydex as backup, but would have the kydex/leather fusion pants from Armoralleather (of which I have had several) too.
I have way more kydex than leather, partially due to cost & turnaround time, but also because strapless retention just works so nice for a user with well made kydex. It's really a personal choice, but until you try both it may be hard to know for sure.
Only kydex on my knives, due to the versatility of carry (attaching to bags, hip carry, etc), durability, and turnaround time.
A custom leather sheath can take up to 4 months to be made, also it's expensive, the good thing it wont cause scratch damage like kydex sheath does if your knife has satin finish.
Any sheath material will assist in scratching a finish, if the blade is put away dirty.
leather rots and kydex is loud.. 1000 cordura nylon is the way to go spec ops brand sheaths and Sempre paratus... but again, I'm thinking more tactical.. leather is pretty and kydex fits the blade well
Seriously though, Some knives aesthetically just call for one or the other. They both perform the same function and either will perform better or worse in certain environments. Just personal preference really. I have both and like both.
Leather generally takes longer to make and is more expensive to work with materials wise. Properly taken care of, It will last a lifetime.
I've seen a few floating around on the net that were leather wrapped kydex, but I didn't take down the name of the maker when I saw them as it wasn't what I was looking for at the moment.
LOL Both smell like some sort of oil to me and money to you. That said, my favorite holster for one of my pistols is a leather lined kydex that combines smooth silence with rigid toughness. It's a great compromise!
I am mainly a leather fan, just out of tradition, and it tends to be a bit less abrasive as long as it doesn't get dirt/debris etc in it.
However, for more of a foul weather 'working' sheath Kydex, if done right, is starting to grown a little on me. By done right, I mean doesn't chew up handles, and isn't completely tearing the finish up the very first time you use it (tho over time, like any friction, it will cause wear). Some of the biggest benefits I see is in maintenance. If you get dirt/grit etc. in kydex, you rinse it out...usually not the case with leather, at least not without having some negative effects. If you get caught in the rain, slip in the stream, whatever, kydex dries out, no problem. So particularly if you're operating in a more rainy or gritty type enviroment, Kydex is worth serious consideration.
As another mentioned, the Spec-Ops brand is an excellent compromise, provided it fits your blade. Decent universal liner, good pouch/compartment you can get a firesteel, small folder, etc in, readily available, very reasonably priced. However, if you have a larger chopper, it probably isn't an option. Unfortunately LMIW went under...their sheaths looked to very nice.
Don't overlook Martin Swinkles...I'd love to have a few of his sheaths...in fact, if I go the custom route again, he'll probably get some of my $$...
Why not both? I'm currently having a leather sheath made for my Busse SARGE 7 LE that's leather but with a kydex lining. And to preserve the blade finish, the kydex liner itself is lined with shearling (the shearling will have a light coat of Renwax applied to it). So far it's shaping up nicely... I'll post pix when it's done. But anyway, you get some of the advantages of both, at the cost of a little extra weight.
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