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Class 200 PVC Vs. Kydex

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Zombie_Steel, Jul 7, 2013.

  1. Zombie_Steel


    Jun 14, 2013
    ok, i am going to guess that all of us or at least most of us have tried to mold a sheath out of PVC and found it lacking. its just to thick to produce a quality sheath.

    so doing some research it seems that Kydex is best for sheath making in thicknesses from .06 to .08. where as regular Schedule 40 PVC is .109 to .140 making it hard to get those nice find and crisp details of the blade.

    so during my research i came across something called Class 200 PVC pipe. this will hold pressures up to 200psi and is in thicknesses of of .060 to .079 in PVC 1 1/4" thick. so would this thinner walled pipe be more moldable like Kydex? i understand it won't have the texture and look of kydex but it a much cheeper solution to kydex and it can be found at HomeDepot.

    so what do you guys think? have any of you use the Class 200 PVC pipe to make a sheath before?
  2. theHobbyist

    theHobbyist Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 3, 2012
    PVC as far as I know isn't a thermal form material. I wouldn't try to save a few pennies here and there on material. I don't think you'll be satisfied with the end product.
  3. Goose_52


    Feb 8, 2009
    You are much better off getting some kydex.

    Ya know, with your time spent looking for alternatives, you could have purchased a sheet of Kydex and have it on the Fedex truck on the way to your door. ;)

    I have found that with my limited time nowadays that it is often better to just get the item or material you need instead of building or modifying it yourself to save some money. Once you start to consider what your time is worth, you'll see that sometimes doing it yourself is a waste of money.
  4. Zombie_Steel


    Jun 14, 2013
    well the kydex i have found on ebay runs around $20 a sheet. also about 24" long. i know i can get many sheaths out of one sheet. but i am also looking to make swords and (haven't fully decided yet) to make the sword sheath out of kydex as well. 24" might not be enough for some of my swords.

    however one of my thought was to use the PVC to make it rigid and to cover it in paracord or some other wrap. leather or something else.

    of course still do want to make a wood sheath for at least one or two of my swords. just like to have options.
  5. sonil


    Feb 2, 2012
    you need to find a 2 x 4 kydex supplier...
  6. jimh0220

    jimh0220 Gold Member Gold Member

    Apr 15, 2008
    I've used the plain old PVC pipe to make machete sheaths to be cheap. They work great, and the process is just the same as with Kydex. Heat, form, press and cool. Sure, it's smooth and white (it also comes in black and grey), but I covered it with thin leather, denim, and whatever I felt like, to improve the looks.

    Check out you tube for tips and how to's.
  7. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator

    Nov 30, 2001
    Last time I went for kydex for my sheath liners (I dont mold it, just line my sheaths) my plastic sheet supplier locally, told me of a very much cheaper alternative for kydex. Its not the quality, doesn't mold as precisely, but it works. I dont know the name of it right off hand, but it might serve the hobbyist good enough for his own uses.

    I wouldn't condone it for professional use, but for a practice or play with it personally it might work.

    Let me find the name, its been a while so its probably buried.

    This local supplier specializes in Thermoplastics so I trust his opinion. Bear with me while I search it out. I dont use much, its been over a year since I used them.
  8. David Brown

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

    Jun 4, 2001
    PVC is brittle and will break easily.
    Take a PVC pipe and hit it against something, it shatters.
    Look into Boltron.
  9. Mike Sastre

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

    Mar 23, 1999
    Got to agree with David. If you purchase 4'x8' sheets, you can get them cut to 2'x4' to save on shipping costs. You can do the same with kydex, but I much prefer Boltaron.
  10. wjang310


    Apr 26, 2010
    I made an Axe sheath out of 1 1/4" 200psi PVC. I wrapped it in black seude leather from an old jacket I bought from a thrift store. I like to upcycle. It turned out fantastic. As a bonus the leather feels great in hand and protects the PVC from impacts and UV. Plus PVC is lighter weight. I am just offering an alternate opinion.
  11. Omega Leather Works

    Omega Leather Works

    Jun 13, 2007
    I saw a huge roll of kydex on eBay a while back. It was plain black, but there were many square feet. I want to say it was something like 4' tall and rolled up it looked like a great deal for someone making dozens of sheaths.

    If you want to compare kydex to pvc without commitment, may I suggest the free samples from Springfield Leather Company? The sample pieces aren't really big enough to make a sheath out of unless you are doing a fairly small one, but it's enough to give you an idea of how it works. I only suggest that you request the samples if you intend to buy from them if you like it though. ;) They are good people and super helpful for leather workers.
  12. rtmind


    Mar 8, 2013
    As a former pipefitter and plumber, i've made a lot of crazy stuff out of pvc. Fairly low temp to mold, rehardens quickly, not pretty but will work. 4 inch sewer pipe is a fairly good choice, split it open length wise and it opens to 12+ inchs. add some die to the clear primer and it will even dye ok.

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