Leather vs Kydex

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by mccandmatt, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. mccandmatt


    Oct 29, 2013
    I am new to all of this, but i have always been a knife fan, and a leather fan, I have a decent little collection over the years of knives, some with kydex sheaths that have been purchased within the last 5 years. Most all have leather, some metal and some wood, and some crappy cheap things that I think are... I have no idea.. Are there benefits that kydex have that leather cannot do? I have some European knives that have leather and they are over a hundred years old, so can't be longevity really. I've seen leather used for tactical applications, wilderness/survival, etc..

    I am not trying to start a flame war just curious is all. I have made a couple of small sheaths with kydex and granted it was quicker, cheaper, and easier to do than with leather (initially), but to me completly lacked any and all appealing qualities, a lot like the vehicles from the 40's-50's versus the cars today (not including the specialty vehicles)
  2. harronek


    Nov 29, 2013
    This could get very interesting :)

    Oh well " nothing ventured , nothing won " .
    I personally think of leather the same way that I think of Carbon blades and wooden gunstocks .
    The personality that time and honest use imparts apon them , tell a story and are a kind of road map of their life , and the journeys and adventures they have had .
    I have nothing against Kydex , stainless steel , or plastic - fibreglass stocks . I actually own all of those things , but leather is better in my world . I have spend to much time trying to make things with it in the last few months to think otherwise :)

  3. leatherman

    leatherman leathermoderator Moderator Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 30, 2001
    Been working with leather and wood since my Boy Scout days in the early 70's, not until around 2003 did I ever get any knife wrapped in plastic. That was the most awkward moment in my life. :p

    I quite honestly cant think of where either material has any major advantages over the other. Its personal preference IMHO.

    To each their own, and no one is wrong in their own choices.
  4. Firestrike


    Dec 23, 2012
    I like leather for the class it brings to certian knives, but kydex seems to be better for hard use. My Busse TGLB is getting both pairs of pants, a custom from Skystorm and another from AzWelke. Guess I can let you all know which is sexier when they arrive.
  5. Oku


    Dec 2, 2002
    I'll be among the first to "admit" that leather has a warmth that Kydex/Boltaron simply can't touch. It is also I think a more versatile "canvas" for artistic expression. All you have to do is look at posted pics of the work leather benders do to see the truth in that. Treated properly, leather can be very durable and provide retention as well.

    "The Polymers" allow reduced bulk, are dang near impervious to the environment (if it's too hot/cold for polymer to "work" you've got a whole different set of MUCH more important problems), and I've NEVER seen a Kydex/Boltaron sheath that has had a knife pushed through it (and into the wearer's anatomy). Like leather, if Kydex/Boltaron is worked properly, it provides amazing retention. I've heard reports on sheaths that after 15 years of hard use, still fit/retain as well as the day they were made.

    Everyone has their own preference, and here on the sheath maker's board, I'm sure everyone has at least a small bias toward the material the make money with ; )
  6. Turk88


    Aug 11, 2011
    I think that, much like stainless steel and unnatural handle materials, that this characteristic is one of the advantages kydex has over leather. The average person probably sees kydex as no maintenance. Many understand that leather, wood, and non stainless steel don't require a lot of attention to be well kept but do require some.
  7. FTR-14c


    Jul 24, 2011
    Kydex has an edge in damp or wet locations as it wont saturate, it dries in minutes. The inside of a leather sheath could take hours if not days to dry. Not the best thing for a carbon blade.

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