Can you get Blake-style gatefold sleeves (that actually open)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by keiron99, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    As per the title of the thread: can you get Blake-style gatefold sleeves that actually open with the gatefold?

    To answer my own question, I have seen that Bags Unlimited do some which look fantastic, but they're unaffordable at $3.75 each (and Ias far as I can tell they are only available in the US - I'm in the UK).

    The background is - I'm considering switching my collection from the heavy PVC sleeves to Blake. But I think I would miss the ability to open the gatefolds without actually having to remove them from the protective sleeve. (To me, that seems to defeat the whole purpose of protective sleeves - the actual LP sleeves don't really deteriorate on their own while sat on the shelf, it's when you are handling them.)

    So, does anyone know of anything suitable?
     
  2. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    They are 2 mil polypropylene not mylar. So they are thinner than the bagsunlimited, but would be relatively clear at thickness. But I would have reservations about buying from the Ukraine. But, they will sell in lots of 10 or 25, so it might be worth testing out if you use PayPal. One thing to note is that PVC isn't recommended by some people because of gassing of from the material. The materials are similar to the vinyl, so records can be affected. But, with these kind of sleeves, the openings are slotted the same as the jacket, so venting into the jacket isn't an issue. I also tend not to like 2 mil sleeves as the tend to split with use. But this may not be as big of an issue as you wouldn't be removing and re-inserting the jacket. I would give these a shot.
    Outer vinyl record plastic gatefold sleeves cover 12" LP Clear plastic | eBay
     
  3. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Thanks @vinylontubes

    I see the ones you linked to are "polypropylene". I think this is a similar material to the Blake sleeves? Is anyone able to confirm?

    I may take one for the team and order a small bunch to check them out.
     
  4. What are "Blake" style sleeves? Link? Image?
     
  5. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    To be honest it's not a big issue if you can remove Lps without opening the gatefold. After initial look and read of any credits I rarely look at inside of gatefolds these days. Mostly only have a picture in any case. Also clean hands are advised for handling the inner sleeves and vinyl. I switched all my PVC gatefolds out for 400 mgm polythene sleeves a few years ago. Only issue with gatefolds is to buy sleeves that have enough space for the extra thickness. One benefit is the single polythene sleeves reduce storage space.
     
  6. Pastafarian

    Pastafarian Forum Resident

  7. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Blake sleeves are thin, crystal clear things. They sell them here in Europe.
     
    Johnny Vinyl likes this.
  8. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    I already use PVC sleeves similar to those, for 4 decades. I fancy trying out the Blake style though - from what I have seen take up less space, look better and are cheaper. Alas, no gatefold versions.
    (btw, those from Sounds Wholesale are particularly unpleasant. They have ridges running all the way down the spine which totally obscures the text on the spine.)
     
  9. tman53

    tman53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pa
    Blake style are available here in the US too. Like a previous poster said, they are crystal clear and take up less space. Google a company called Clear Bags, that is where I found them.

     
    Johnny Vinyl likes this.
  10. Thank you both! :righton:
     
  11. George Cooke

    George Cooke Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cumbria, UK
    keiron99 likes this.
  12. John76

    John76 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Blake is the person who worked with Clear Bags to develop the inner and outer sleeves sold in this link. Record Album Sleeves - LP Covers - Frost and Clear | ClearBags

    He is a member of the Vinyl Community on YouTube, here is one of his videos from when he got started with the project.



    I have a bunch of BLP1 AND BLPD sleeves along with their inner sleeves they developed and think they are excellent.
     
    keiron99 likes this.
  13. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Thanks George. They look to be a lot like the ones from the Ukraine on ebay linked to further up. It's very hard to compare from specifications such as the various names for the materials used (CPP plastic, BOPP, polypropylene etc.) and then thickness is ('gauge', 'microns' and 'mils') - you need a degree in materials engineering to understand it all.

    I've asked the seller you linked to if they can send me a sample. (btw the link doesn't seem to work for me.)
     
  14. groovelocked

    groovelocked Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus OH (USA)
    They are sold on amazon also, just search Blake sleeves and the various sizes come up. Sold by clear bags / shipped by amazon for less.

    Double length for gatefolds might be cool for some covers, I’d like to see how those would hold up.

    I also wish they’d do various box sizes.
     
  15. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    They are sold by a seller on Amazon here in the UK but they are outrageously expensive. They are also available from Packlinq in the UK (although I think they come from a Dutch distributor).
     
  16. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    Rock on Wall make good sleeves. Just bought a load for my gatefolds
     
  17. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Quick question for those who use Blake sleeves - where abouts is the "seam" (or "join") on the BLP1NF (no flap) sleeves? Is it opposite the opening side?
     
  18. John76

    John76 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    See here:

     
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  19. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    I’m awaiting samples of a couple of products and will report back on my findings.

    However, I have just noticed some additional Blake products of which I wasn’t previously aware.

    I was familiar with the BLP1 (regular 12” sleeve) and BLP1NF (NF indicating No Flap)

    Then there’s the BLPD (for double albums) and BLPDNF.

    But what are the BLPD2 and BLPD3? The specs look to be exactly the same as the BLPD. You can see them all listed on this page.
     
    John76 likes this.
  20. John76

    John76 Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    See my Clearbags link, the last number refers to the thickness of the sleeve. 2mil, 3mil, 4mil.
     
    keiron99 likes this.
  21. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Thanks. It appears they don't do the thicker material for the single 12" (the BLPD2, which they list as for a single 12", is in fact for doubles).
     
  22. groovelocked

    groovelocked Forum Resident

    Location:
    Columbus OH (USA)
    I can’t think of a reason to buy thicker material for Blake sleeves. They are VERY durable. Usually doubles fit in the regular size, but I always keep a pack of double-size on hand for covers that are larger than usual and the flap doesn’t reach/cover the adhesive. For 1540 albums I’ve only used 140 of the BLPD size for triple albums or really big tip-on gatefolds etc. I put the flap at the jacket opening so I only take the inner sleeve/record out.
     
    John76 likes this.
  23. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    OK, true to my word I bought some samples.

    First, I bought various Blake sleeves from Packlinq in Holland. And I must praise their service. They answered online chat questions straight away and they got them to me in the UK in 3 days. Exceptional service.

    Included in what I ordered were BLP1NF. That's the 12" sleeves with no flap for single LPs. Here's what I found:
    • They really are crystal clear and make colours really "pop". Even make tatty old covers look better
    • The welded join actually runs on 3 sides, as though it's 2 squares joined together. But the joints are very neat, and do not obscure text on the spine.
    • They fit a 12" LP snugly
    • I chose to align the opening of the Blake with the opening of the LP sleeve. I experimented dropping the LP into the opening such that the opening would be on the top when stored, meaning you would have to pull out the whole LP from the Blake in order to retrieve the vinyl. I personally found it too difficult to put it back in - I could not be done with the faff of doing that every time I wanted to play a record. There may be a knack to doing it though.
    • The 2 squares which form the front and back are of different dimensions! By which I mean, on the opening side, one is a few mm longer than the other, leaving a bit of a flap. I bought several packs of these, and the flap is bigger on some than others, so maybe it's a manufacturing inconsistency. I don't know whether it is meant to be like this. To be honest, once the LP is in, you don't really notice
    • I was unable to get any double or even single LP gatefold sleeves into them, contrary to others' experiences
    • I was worried that once I had my LPs all sleeved up in Blakes and on the shelf (Ikea), that when pulling the albums out or pushing back onto the shelf, the Blake would pucker, or the album sleeve would slide out of the Blake. This has not happened in my limited experiments
    Overall I recommend very highly. Your LP covers look great in them, they are light and can save a lot of space on your shelves, and they are fantastic value for money (even here in Europe). By far the best protective sleeves I have put any single, non-gatefold LPs into.

    I will comment separately on the other varieties in later posts.
     
    nosliw likes this.
  24. keiron99

    keiron99 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Stockport, UK
    Other Blake sleeves I bought to test, and my findings:

    BLP1 (12" with resealable flap)
    • To be honest, the flap on these would drive me crackers. It's worth pointing out that the glue is on the main body of the sleeve, rather than the flap (as it is in the case of sleeves from other manufacturers) .
    • But, once on, with the flap stuck down, the appearance of your album from the front is fantastic.
    • That said, it does obscure the back of the sleeve a bit with the strip of glue and edges
    • Depending on whether you decide to put the flap at the top or along the edge of your album sleeve, will determine how tricky it is to pull the album in and out of the shelf. The flap can get caught, especially if aligned down the right edge of your album.
    • However, if you put the flap at the top, you will need to pull the album sleeve out and reinsert, which I find really difficult (Although interestingly, easier to do with the flap version of the Blake as the flap acts as a sort of funnel to help guide the album sleeve in)
    • That issue can of course be overcome if you are one of those that keeps the record in its inner sleeve outside of the original album jacket.
    • Again, I could not get double albums in and struggled with all but the thinnest of gatefold sleeves
    • If you want ultimate protection, sealed from the elements, and are patient enough with the flaps, I think these are perfect

    BLPDNF (for 12" double albums, no flap)
    • Exactly like the BLP1NF (see above post) but bigger
    • These are a curious size: they are way too baggy for a single LP, but also I find too big for most regular gatefolds and double albums!
    • On the other hand, I have a few triple LPs (like a recent Yes - Topographic Drama), and it's not big enough.
    • Overall, I am a bit confused about the use of these - they seem to be neither one thing nor the other.

    I also got the BLP45NF (for 7" singles, no flap) and these are great.

    So in summary, Blake offers great solutions for regular, non-gatefold 12" LPs. But they do not meet my own personal requirements for gatefolds or doubles.
     
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  25. Carter DeVries

    Carter DeVries Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    @keiron99
    Nice write up. Thank you for sharing your impressions and experience with blake sleeves

    A couple of things: It’s quite a bit easier to slide the albums into the sleeves with the flaps as the flap side of the sleeve, being longer than the opposing side, helps to get the album sliding into the sleeve opening. It’s especially easy if you work on a surface like a table near the turntable.
    A tip is to slide the album in at a slight angle so that one side enters the sleeve slightly ahead of the other side. Once you get the hang of it it’s actually very easy.
    The reason I prefer this method and using the flap sleeves is better isolation from dust but also, if you place the album inside the sleeve album-opening-first the flap folds over the spine which makes for the best text legibility and the cleanest look on the shelf.
    I hope this adds to your enjoyment!
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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