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Leather or Kydex??

Discussion in 'Busse Combat Knives' started by Maggot Brain, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Maggot Brain

    Maggot Brain Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    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?
  2. David Brown

    David Brown Kydex Sheath and Holster Artist :) Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 4, 2001
    I like kydex, it does not smell like a dead cow :)
  3. knutelut


    Jul 4, 2011
    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.
  4. carbonsteel928


    Feb 15, 2010
    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. :)
  5. uyotg

    uyotg Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    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: Oct 27, 2012
  6. Bigfattyt

    Bigfattyt Gold Member Gold Member

    Jun 23, 2007
    I buy my kydex from makers like Buy Brown (David Brown), Mashed Cat, AzWelke and others.

    For leather, I make my own.
  7. Al-Sheikh


    Aug 22, 2010
    brain says kydex
    heart says leather

    heart wins :D
  8. Sharp Knives 86

    Sharp Knives 86 Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 27, 2009
    I simply prefer leather overall. I love the traditional look and feel it has.
  9. mymindisamob

    mymindisamob Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    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.
  10. AZTimT

    AZTimT KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 15, 2009
    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.
  11. Translash

    Translash Doing evil things... Platinum Member

    Jan 18, 2011
    Only kydex on my knives, due to the versatility of carry (attaching to bags, hip carry, etc), durability, and turnaround time.
  12. uyotg

    uyotg Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 5, 2010
    Kudos to the first leather sheathmaker who makes Tek Lok-compatible sheaths. Doesn't seem difficult at all, though maybe incoherent to see plastic with leather.
  13. fromABACUStoPC


    Dec 15, 2009
    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.
  14. mymindisamob

    mymindisamob Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Any sheath material will assist in scratching a finish, if the blade is put away dirty.
  15. fbusmc

    fbusmc Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 28, 2008
    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
  16. Skystorm

    Skystorm A Cow Flayin' Sheath Making Angry Gnome

    Oct 17, 2011
    I like leather, It doesn't smell like plastic :D

    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.
  17. AZTimT

    AZTimT KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 15, 2009
    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. :foot:

    LOL Both smell like some sort of oil to me and money to you. :p 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! :thumbup:
  18. BOSS1

    BOSS1 Gold Member Gold Member

    Sep 16, 2008
    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 $$...

  19. greystark

    greystark Banned BANNED

    Oct 28, 2012
    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.
  20. Grandsuave

    Grandsuave KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 24, 2006
    I use two New York steaks to press my Kydex, I find it makes the steaks taste terrible and gives the sheaths a foul smell!:D

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