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Re: [E_Rapier] Hardened Leather Advice

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  • Cat FitzGerald
    It might be more feasible to assemble a helm from the formed plates. It would be easier to rivet 2 stiff plate than to try and rivet floppy wet leather bits.
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 17, 2012
      It might be more feasible to assemble a helm from the formed plates. It
      would be easier to rivet 2 stiff plate than to try and rivet floppy wet
      leather bits. The problem with assembling the cut outs and riveting thm is
      shrinkage. you do not know where your holes will end up if you punch them
      first, then shrink/harden the leather. they could just tear themselves out,
      if the assembled helm shrinks a lot. if you cut out oversized plates, wet
      them, put them into a mold and let them dry, you can then trim them to size
      and rivet. the hardened leather will still punch, as long as it is not so
      brittle as to crack, and that is too hard for a fencing helm anyway. This
      also allows you to fail on a plate or two without wrecking the whole

      The pressing of the bits is a good idea I think.

      Water hardened is a better bet than wax, really. I inherited some
      vambraces that were actually immersed in very hot paraffin wax. They are
      EXTREMELY tough, but not so useable. They are so tough that when they get
      deformed in the bottom of my armour duffle, it takes a fair amount of time,
      efffort, and heat to re-form them for human forearms. 16 years later, they
      still weep wax in the summer heat. They have the consolation of also being
      fugly. Etienne learned a lot from making them.

      -Catan ingen Ca�rthinn

      On Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM, Bob Roberts <maskkasm@...> wrote:

      > **
      > 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.
      > http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/leather/hl.html
      > > Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
      > > Cheers!
      > >
      > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > ------------------------------------
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