Advice on ordering LP and Single protective covers
At Walvis, we have a huge range of plastic outer sleeves for vinyl records. This is fantastic of course, but we understand that it can be difficult for you as a customer to decide at distance which type of sleeve is most suitable for you. To help you with this, you can find more information below about the different materials our sleeves are made of and their advantages and disadvantages.
Flexible and affordable: polyethylene covers
Low density polyethylene (abbreviated to PE or Ldpe.) sleeves are made of soft and extremely flexible plastic that also has good antistatic properties. If you crumple up this material, it will actually smooth itself out; the plastic is that soft and supple. These sleeves do not have a "lowered insert" and are indeed transparent, but not to the extent that our protective sleeves of other plastics are. Ldpe. is always a bit milky and never completely even in structure. However, PE covers offer great value for money and have good functionality when it comes to protecting records. At Walvis we have pe. record sleeves in the thicknesses 0.10 mm. (only for Singles and for 78 rpm records), 0.11 mm. (only for LPs) and in 0.15 mm. (for both LP and Single). We consider the sleeves with a thickness of 0.10 mm. and 0.11 mm. as "standard weight" and the 0.15 mm. thick sleeves we always call "heavyweight". It is not the case that a thicker sleeve by definition protects better than a thinner one. Thickness is more a matter of personal preference. The thicker sleeves just feel more comfortable and solid.
Crisp and shiny: blake sleeves
Our Blake Sleeves are made of BOPP or "Biaxially Oriented Coextruded Polypropylene". Let's just call it polypropylene or pp. This material is most similar to the foil that florists use to wrap their flowers. Walvis has a wide range of pp. Blake Sleeves for singles, 78 rpm records, LP's and even comic books, both with and without a (resealable) flap. Walvis Blake Sleeves are relatively thin (0.05 mm. or 50 micron), crystal-clear and quite hard, even a bit crispy. These sleeves close relatively tightly around your records. Walvis sells LP Blake Sleeves in a variant for 1LP albums as well as in a slightly larger size for double LP/gatefold albums. These sleeves have a lowered insert (easy when inserting and removing vinyl records) and are suitable for both packaging and archiving. Because of their thinness, the average life of these sleeves is somewhat shorter than other types of sleeves: thin has advantages but is also less durable. Unfortunately we cannot attribute any antistatic properties to Blake Sleeves, this applies only to pe. sleeves.
Rigid and chic: pvc covers
PVC covers (in full: polyvinyl chloride) are certainly familiar to the somewhat older people among us. These were the first protective covers to appear in the market in Europe at the beginning of the 1960s. They are rigid, crystal-clear transparent and give a distinguished shine. Actually, this type of sleeve can better be called a "pouch". The welded edge is usually (but not always) ribbed. Because records in this type of sleeve "float" more and because the welded edge also protects well against bumps and against the pressure of contact points in storage systems, PVC sleeves can be said to offer the very best protection. In addition, PVC sleeves are just fine to use; the material feels pleasantly rigid and the sleeves have a lowered insertion which facilitates the easy insertion and removal of the records. PVC sleeves are a bit more expensive than sleeves made of other materials: because of the production process, but also because they are considerably heavier and thicker than most other sleeves. Walvis has a very extensive range of PVC covers; many different sizes, thicknesses and versions with and without a flap. Our gatefold and triptych covers are also made from PVC. Although it is often claimed otherwise (online), PVC protective covers unfortunately do not have antistatic properties.
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