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2634RE: [E_Rapier] Hardened Leather Advice

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  • Kelly Wyatt
    Oct 17, 2012
      I would not rivet before treating the leather...there are just SO many variables you can't account for in shrinkage and warping when you're water hardening leather. I also second the advice to try a one or two inch square of leather in water just to see if you can get a gauge on the deformity that's going to result.

      My fencing gorget is water hardened leather (and likely one of the largest honking gorgets in Ealdormere) and I cut the pieces a bit oversized, treated them in hot water (only a 15 second or so dip), let them dry on a form, then trimmed them to size and drilled holes then riveted them together.

      It's actually a fun project! Good luck!

      Kelly Wyatt
      SCA: Cainder ingen hui Chatharnaig

      To: E_Rapier@yahoogroups.com
      From: maskkasm@...
      Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2012 12:40:04 -0700
      Subject: Re: [E_Rapier] Hardened Leather Advice

      Thanks for the quick response.

      Would it be better to cut out, drill and rivet the leather plates first, and then immerse it in water (follwoed by placing the hardened leather bowl in the form sandwich)?

      From: Cat FitzGerald <c4tf1tz@...>
      To: E_Rapier@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:33:38 PM
      Subject: Re: [E_Rapier] Hardened Leather Advice

      On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM, Bob Roberts <maskkasm@...> wrote:

      > **
      > 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)?
      parts can be cut and pierced, but they WILL deform. It become plastic and
      you can try and force it back, but it changes based on the underlying
      structure of the individual leather.

      > How fast does the boiled leather harden? Do I have time to boil all 16
      > pieces and then rivet them together?

      It hardens INSTANTLY. the higher the temp of water, the greater the
      alteration into plastic. the further you go, the more brittle it gets. the
      hardness happens in contact with boiling water. Soaking in warm water has a
      different effect - depends on how thick the leather is. Make small test
      bits, lash leather to a dowel and see how it dries. it dries on the top
      surface first.

      > I plan to place the completed helmet bowl onto the pre-made form and then
      > let it dry. Does the leather warp?
      yes. and shrinks unevenly in its two dimensions, depends on grain. Is this
      belly? Scars also impact this.

      > Should a second, slightly larger form be placed over the leather, thus
      > sandwiching the hardened leather between the two forms?
      yes, this will slow your dry and create a more uniform product.

      > Has anyone attempted something similar? Could you share your experiences
      > with me?
      > Finally, how difficult is it to stain the leather, post-hardening?
      the leather will be SEALED. it will not take dye, it would run off. you can
      paint with cova colors - this is just another layer of plastic and works
      well. The leather will be much darker from the water. how much darker is
      also on the continuum of how hot the water was. you can wax it, buff it, or
      polish it quite well. boot polish man, or for extra period points, look up
      'jack' as in 'jackboots' a mix of pine tar, turps, linseed oil, and wax.
      there are many many many variations in ratio, depends on what you want as
      your final result.

      > Will it �weaken� the hardened leather, thus making it unusable for fencing?

      it CAN become brittle instead of tough, depends on if you run warm water
      over, or immerse in boiling water.

      > Finally, how durable is the hardened leather? Does it have a tendency to
      > tear if hit edge on?

      it take a lot of abuse, but the most tough stuff is not boiled like
      potatoes - that makes for a brittle plastic.

      this guy is THE go-to guy and period maven extraordinaire from my old
      barony - Marc Carlson is MUSEUM grade good.

      > Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
      > Cheers!
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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