Jul 15, 1999
Hey, I have several knives all with leather sheaths. Is this ok or should I get all
thermoplastic type sheaths? I am always in the rain or around water or in the snow.
Should I be using something else or is leather still the best?
I have the same dilema. I have a Blackjack AWAC (All Weather All Condition) that came with a leather sheath, making the combo not AWAC because leather can dry, split, or mildew. I'd like a sheath that's also a little more versatile. I can either find an existing sheath that would fit and hope it has the features I'd like or get one made. I've talked to CHIRO75, from these forums, about getting a kydex sheath done. His webpage shows some nice work in kydex sheaths. You could also check with Edgeworks, but I've heard that their custom order department is way backed up and not taking any new orders right now. From what I've heard, a few forumites have had sheaths made by CHIRO75 and are quite happy with the quality and the quick turn-around.

Good luck.


Is that thing shar...OW!

[This message has been edited by Ron L (edited 23 July 1999).]
I prefer the aesthetics of leather myself. Even leather can be made somewhat tactical with the addition of a few gromets around the outside if the sheath needs to be used that way. Even upside-down securing can be done with magnets :).

Most of the time ordinary belt carry is good enough for my applications, and I am never out long enough in such hostile environments that my leather splits or rots. When I get home I clean the sheath apply a little leather dressing. No big deal.

This is not to say that Kydex has no advantages. Personally I don't find myself taking advantage of them.

A friend asked me to price his 1940's Remington Model 36 the other day. While I was inspecting it, the thing that struck me the most was how well the leather sheath held up. I applied some mink oil to the sheath and the leather looked great. This sheath is leather, nearly 60 years old and probably only received one coat of mink oil (the one I did) and it help up remarkably. My point is, leather that is properly cared for can hold up quite well and I wouldn't discount it since it has been used for thousands of years.

I have lots of custom leather sheaths and i have no doubt that if I care for them with an occasional coat of mink or neatsfoot oil they will last my lifetime and then some.

Just my $0.02


Leather! Just recall that it can be hygroscopic. Carry the knife in the sheath, but don't store it there.

Desert Rat

Yes I was thinking about that. If you have the luxury of storing in a fairly dry environment (making sure your leather is protected by occasional treatment). I do have a few knives stored in their leather (for 4 or 5 years now), and they seem OK, but they are all *stainless* of one kind or another.

Come to think of it though, I haven't bought a new knife in the last 4 or 5 years that came in a leather sheath! Its either been kydex or cordura, and between those two I'll gladly take kydex, though a cordura process wrapped around *leather* instead of cardboard, might be interesting...
It also occurs to me that the original poster specified a very wet environment for his typical carry. I think it is safe to say that kydex would be preferred.

There are ways however to really protect leather from *water* and not just re-condition it when its old. See Pecards at . This stuff will work pretty well to keep leather dry even in very wet environments short of more-or-less continuous drenching in rain or carry in water. If that's what's going to happen, get kydex.
Kydex may not take extreme cold very well (cracking) and the thing I don't like about it most is the fact that it is very noisy. Leather can be made to hold up fairly well even under pretty wet conditions, but it may not protect the user from the blade very well. I would like to see someone come out with a leather or nylon sheath with a protective insert inside that was just enough to prevent "stab thru" but not cover the whole blade so that it doesn't make a lot of noise when removing the blade from the sheath.
Kydex is extremely resistant to cracking, corrosion, etc, and thus should not incur problems in extreme cold or heat.

"All of our knives open with one hand, in case you're busy with the other"
I don't like Kydex myself. It can freeze and crack, or just crack. Leather might get "wear and tear" quicker, but I'll take it anyday.
I have made many Kydex sheaths for fellow forumites and both leather and Kydex have advantages and disadvantages. It sounds like Kydex would be ideal for your purposes. Also, not all Kydex sheaths are noisy. I pride myself on making VERY quiet sheaths for this material, and it has everything to do with construction of the sheath and very little to do with the material.

My Custom Kydex Sheath page
Palmer College of Chiropractic
On Two Wheels
One thing you have to look at is what type of environment you plan on carrying your knife in.

I've had leather sheaths that seemed to dissolve when in wet/humid environments.

I've also had kydex sheaths that packed with goo when in water/mud, and pack with sand while in the desert.

I've seen cordura sheaths that looked like #$@% and still held the knife secure, and others that, quite literally, fell apart from the inside.

Just my thoughts on the subject.
I like Kydex but it does have disadvantages. I've been thinking along the same lines as m. One thing I dislike about it is that there is no give at the belt loop like there is with leather. If you are riding in a car or just trying to sit in a chair it can be a literal pain in the butt (or side or gut etc.). I'd like to see sheath makers experiment with sometype of swivel arangement on the belt loop. Maybe Chiro can address the practicality of this.


who dares, wins

As far as the "gunk" goes, the sheaths I make for serious outdoors use and hunting, especially (for hygiene reasons) utilize two separate halves joined together by screws so the sheath can be completely disassembled for very thorough cleaning. Even my one-piece sheaths can be cleaned well if you use running water and a small shim to prop the open side open.
To address the belt loop, there are a few things I do to counterthe stiffness problem. The first is that I oversize belt loops. I pretty much make each one as if it is goingon a military spec web belt, so when used with a normal civilian belt, there is generally about 10-20 degrees of rotation available. The other less desirable solution is to use a piece of nylon webbing in place of the Kydex belt loop. I also make a swinger attachment which works out really cool. It's simply a steel keychain-like spring hook that attaches to a belt loop and allows the sheath to swing and swivel in any direction. I haven't had any customers want one yet, but this is one of the best designs! You can see one I made for myself on my webpage under "sheath examples" link. I got the idea from <a href = "">Madpoet Custom Knives</a> who got it from someone else and so on. The swivel is an interesting idea, but would be difficult to implement. The swinger attachment works great and
accomplishes the same thing with less hardware and simpler, cheaper, materials.

My Custom Kydex Sheath page
Palmer College of Chiropractic
On Two Wheels
The belt loop on my puukko sheath is attached with one big rivet and I can swivel it down 180 degrees -- that's the position it's normally in because I carry it in my pocket, but any time I want I can swivel it back up and turn it back into a belt sheath.

The idea of being able to sheath a dirty knife without cleaning it first and be able to clean the sheath later is very attractive. That could be a handy feature.

-Cougar Allen :{)
Again I say, "leather!"

I like wood knife and handgun grips, as well as rifle/shotgun stocks. Leather slings, holsters, sheaths.

Desert Rat