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2630Hardened Leather Advice

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  • Bob Roberts
    Oct 17, 2012
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      Hello fencing community!
      I have a lengthy set of questions to pose to individuals who have worked with hardened leather.
      I recently completed a helmet for my son and I am quite impressed with the results (I made it with poster card that is approximately 25-30 mm thick, J-clothe/glue as a pseudo fiberglass, and enamel paint). I think that it would not be that more difficult (I may be naïve) to do something similar with water hardened 10 ounce leather (using immersion in boiled water rather than the beeswax technique). I hope to marry the leather helmet with a fencing mask and have a decent cut and thrust helmet.
      My questions are around the drying process of the leather. My plan is to make a full size helmet bowl form and then increase the paper pattern by 25-30% prior to measuring and cutting the leather (in order to compensate for leather shrinkage).
      Can holes be drilled in the leather, prior to boiling (I plan to use 16 plates for the helmet bowl)? How fast does the boiled leather harden? Do I have time to boil all 16 pieces and then rivet them together?
      I plan to place the completed helmet bowl onto the pre-made form and then let it dry. Does the leather warp? Should a second, slightly larger form be placed over the leather, thus sandwiching the hardened leather between the two forms?
      Has anyone attempted something similar? Could you share your experiences with me?
      Finally, how difficult is it to stain the leather, post-hardening? Will it “weaken” the hardened leather, thus making it unusable for fencing?
      Finally, how durable is the hardened leather? Does it have a tendency to tear if hit edge on?
      Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
      Cheers!

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