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Kydex or Boltaron?

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by popedandy, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. popedandy

    popedandy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    For those who have worked with both Kydex and Boltaron, do you prefer one over the other for knife sheaths? If so, why? I do the occasional home made sheath and have worked with Kydex, but have considered giving Boltaron a try. It would be great to know what others think of the two materials.
     
  2. dtrap

    dtrap

    63
    Feb 5, 2010
    I use both materials but mostly boltaron now. Boltaron is a little harder to work with in my opinion but looks a little better to me. It want to roll up on you as it heats up and the thicker stuff takes a bit more heat to get a great form out of it. I also have done a little testing and decided that boltaron is a little bit tougher. Boltaron will also retain it's form in higher heat than kydex will. Say you were in Iraq and left your holster sitting on the dash it could easily get hot enough to loosen up the form a bit but boltaron will withstand much greater temps befor loosening. Boltaron will also hold up better in below freezing temps as it doesn't get brittle like kydex will if the temps are to cold for an extended period of time. Once frozen kydex will often become brittle enough to break when droped onto hard surfaces or rocks.
     
    cabfrank likes this.
  3. popedandy

    popedandy Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 8, 2006
    Thanks, dtrap, that's good to know.
     
  4. Mike Sastre

    Mike Sastre Custom Crafted Concealex Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Mar 23, 1999
    I've ben using Concealex (Boltaron) since it first came out simply because it makes a better overall sheath than kydex. It is a little harder to work with until you understand it, but the results are worth any extra effort.
     
  5. JGarrison Knives

    JGarrison Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 28, 2005
    Any tricks you guys use when heating up the Boltaron so it doesnt curl up on you? Just used it for first time and had the curling up issues which I dont like.
     
  6. dtrap

    dtrap

    63
    Feb 5, 2010
    Usually this happens if it is too close to the heat source or it is heated to fast. Try to heat it slower. Are you doing pancake or taco style sheath. If I'm doing a taco I heat it enough to fold it and then staple the edges together then finish heating it. If pancake then I heat it a minute and then lay the two pieces together and staple as close to the edges as possible then finish heating heating it. Makes a nice pouch to put the knife into for molding.
     
  7. JGarrison Knives

    JGarrison Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 28, 2005
    I mostly do pancake and I have a big one to do. I better get more practice in on small ones.
     
  8. Diez Knives

    Diez Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 19, 2012
    I have been messing around with black boltaron 0.080 material. I love the stuff I don't understand this "roll up" thing I hear it does... I just finished an ontario 12" machete fold over sheath with a molded belt loop. I pretty much treat it as if was kydex. In fact I am almost thinking about switching to boltaron with black sheaths.

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  9. theHobbyist

    theHobbyist

    886
    Oct 3, 2012
    Nice resurrection lol...

    Anyways, I've made the switch to Boltaron and have the curling issue too, It's from uneven heating (I use a griddle not a toaster oven), or as DTRAP says, rapid heating or too close to the heat source (again with the griddle).

    To get even heat on one side I place a 2x4 on top of the piece I'm working on... not the best way, but hey it works.

    Critics come criticize I may change my ways!

    EDIT:
    Note: I do try to get the hotter side of my working piece as close to the manufacturers recommended max temp for molding.
     
  10. Matt Markell

    Matt Markell

    846
    May 12, 2012
    Boltaron does curl a bit but if you are careful heating it it usually isn't too bad. The higher working temperature should be noted, if you try and work this at Kydex temps you are not going to get good definition. I take mine to ~365 degrees. The manufacturer suggests 340-375.
     
  11. theHobbyist

    theHobbyist

    886
    Oct 3, 2012
    Mine makes little plastic barrels lol.
     
  12. Diez Knives

    Diez Knives KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 19, 2012
    I usually just use what's on the dial and keep it there. 6 minute count down at 280 degrees. I don't check to see what temp it really is. I just keep checking it and when it seems to be playable on one side I spin it around to heat up evenly.
     
  13. dtrap

    dtrap

    63
    Feb 5, 2010
    I also heat mine to 365. If you let the oven preheat all the way before putting the material in it also helps a bit. I usually don't get the curl unless it gets to hot. But the closer you get to that point the better your mold will be. I have also always preheated my mold foam and knife or pistol as well.
     
  14. theHobbyist

    theHobbyist

    886
    Oct 3, 2012
    I've heard both, to heat the oven to temp, and to go incrementally, I've found that (for me) if I start at temp, the Boltaron does a shrinky dink kind of thing. If I go up in steps the material just curls on me. I can only assume that it's because the bottom and top are heating at different rates. I measure the temp of the griddle surface with a non-contact thermometer, how are you guys measuring temps?

    When I do my "bending" I leave my foam out in the sun, surface temps usually reach between 120 and 150... Yeah I shoot that non-contact at that too... Heck I shoot everything with it lol...

    I should stop with the questions, I feel like we're threadjacking lol
     
  15. sonil

    sonil

    661
    Feb 2, 2012
    i never "cook" the Boltaron or kydex as high as you guys the most i`ll go is 320 with either one...
     
  16. dtrap

    dtrap

    63
    Feb 5, 2010
    I just set my digital oven to 365. Put my Boltaron on a cookie sheet and pop it in. Give it 6 mins and mold it. I will only use my small toaster oven for small pieces of Boltaron even then it's the same process just have to watch the material more carefully and if it feels ready sooner then I take it out and mold.
     
  17. KnivesShipFree

    KnivesShipFree

    117
    Aug 18, 2015
    I just handled a Bolotron Sheath and I'm impressed. The Benchmade Arvensis has a Bolotron Sheath. It feels tougher and seems more substantial when inserting or removing the knife. Looks good and seems to perform great.
     

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