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Period leather glue

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  • Chris Nickel
    Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern substitute. I m am
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
      Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue
      would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern
      substitute.
      I'm am makeing leather water bottles and need a way to keep the edges
      together. I am still planning to sew the seams up, bit I figure that a
      small amount of glue around the edges will help close the gap and seal
      the bottle.

      Thanks
      -Erich
    • Neil Carr
      ... Period glues include fish, hide,rabbitskin, pitch, gums, even cheese & lime ! Don t know what specifically would be used for leather, but given the easy
      Message 2 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
        Chris Nickel wrote:

        > Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue
        > would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern
        > substitute.

        Period glues include fish, hide,rabbitskin, pitch, gums, even "cheese &
        lime"! Don't know what specifically would be used for leather, but given
        the easy availibilty, some sort of hide glue is a safe bet. Made by
        boiling up scraps/clippings of rawhide (the period (Cennini) recipe I
        have calls for goatskin clippings, as well as of "muzzles, feet,
        sinews"), boiled in water, reduced and strained. This Cennini
        specifically mentions as being used by saddlers, so it fits your needs
        admirably. Full recipe:

        HOW GOAT GLUE IS MADE, AND HOW IT IS TEMPERED;AND HOW MANY PURPOSES IT
        WILL SERVE. CHAPTER CVIIII
        And there is a glue which is known as leaf glue; this is made out of
        clippings of goats' muzzles, feet, sinews, and many clippings of skins.
        This glue is made in March or January, during those strong frosts or
        winds; and it is boiled with clear water until it reduced to less than a
        half ("Torna men che per mezzo"). Then put it into certain flat dishes,
        like jelly molds or basins, straining it thoroughly. Let it stand
        overnight. Then, in the morning, cut it with a knife into slices like
        bread; put it on a mat to dry in the wind, out of the sunlight; and an
        ideal glue will result. This glue is used by painters, by saddlers, and
        even by many masters, as I shall show you later on. And it is a good
        glue for wood, and for many things. We shall discuss it thoroughly,
        showing what it may be used for, and how, for gessos, for tempering
        colours, making lutes, tarsias, fatening pieces of wood and foliage
        ornament together, tempering gessos, doing raised gessos;and it is good
        for many things.

        "Il Libro dell' Arte" (Cennino d'Andrea Cennini , trans. D.V. Thompson,
        Jr,) Dover, 1954

        OTOH, pitch might be useful if it's fairly dilute, there's a degree of
        "restickability" there, like a PostIt note.


        Thomas/Neil
      • Alasdair Muckart
        ... I haven t tried this yet myself, but a flour paste glue would probably do the job well enough to hold things in place while you stitch it up. You ll want
        Message 3 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
          On Saturday 08 October 2005 01:30, Chris Nickel wrote:
          > Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue
          > would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern
          > substitute.
          > I'm am makeing leather water bottles and need a way to keep the edges
          > together. I am still planning to sew the seams up, bit I figure that a
          > small amount of glue around the edges will help close the gap and seal
          > the bottle.

          I haven't tried this yet myself, but a flour paste glue would probably do the
          job well enough to hold things in place while you stitch it up.

          You'll want additional sealant than just the glue though.

          --
          Al.
        • Chris
          ... Actually, what I am looking for is a way to not only hold it together while I stitch the piece, but also to permanently hold the edges together so that I
          Message 4 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
            At 05:28 PM 10/7/2005, you wrote:
            >On Saturday 08 October 2005 01:30, Chris Nickel wrote:
            > > Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue
            > > would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern
            > > substitute.
            > > I'm am makeing leather water bottles and need a way to keep the edges
            > > together. I am still planning to sew the seams up, bit I figure that a
            > > small amount of glue around the edges will help close the gap and seal
            > > the bottle.
            >
            >I haven't tried this yet myself, but a flour paste glue would probably do the
            >job well enough to hold things in place while you stitch it up.
            >
            >You'll want additional sealant than just the glue though.
            >
            >--
            >Al.
            >
            Actually, what I am looking for is a way to not only hold it together while
            I stitch the piece, but also to permanently hold the edges together so that
            I get one nice seam instead of two distinct peaces of leather.
            I am going to seal the leather with bee's wax.
            The biggest problem I am having is deciding what glue to use. Most of the
            glues currently on the market are toxic. Now I'm not even sure that the
            liquid in the bottles will ever come in contact with the edge glue, but as
            I am going to be giving these away as gifts I would rather not take the chance.
            Any ideas?
            -Erich

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ron Charlotte
            At 08:30 AM 10/7/2005, Erich ... The classic would be hide glue (available at good wood working shops if you aren t feeling froggy enough to make up a batch).
            Message 5 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
              At 08:30 AM 10/7/2005, Erich
              wrote:
              >Does anyone have any information on what (if any) type of leather glue
              >would have been used during the Middle Ages? And maybe a modern
              >substitute.
              >I'm am makeing leather water bottles and need a way to keep the edges
              >together. I am still planning to sew the seams up, bit I figure that a
              >small amount of glue around the edges will help close the gap and seal
              >the bottle.

              The classic would be hide glue (available at good wood working shops if you
              aren't feeling froggy enough to make up a batch). I often use a good
              quality contact cement when speed is more important than
              documentablility. Basic white glues like Elmer's is supposed to be fairly
              close to some of the starch based glues ( I think the current version is
              more of an acrylic, than not).


              Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL
              ronch2@... OR afn03234@...

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Alasdair Muckart
              On Saturday 08 October 2005 11:17, Chris wrote: Hi Chris, ... I m perhaps misunderstanding your description, but holding the edges together should be a job for
              Message 6 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
                On Saturday 08 October 2005 11:17, Chris wrote:

                Hi Chris,

                > >I haven't tried this yet myself, but a flour paste glue would probably do
                > > the job well enough to hold things in place while you stitch it up.
                > >
                > >You'll want additional sealant than just the glue though.
                >
                > Actually, what I am looking for is a way to not only hold it together while
                > I stitch the piece, but also to permanently hold the edges together so that
                > I get one nice seam instead of two distinct peaces of leather.
                > I am going to seal the leather with bee's wax.

                I'm perhaps misunderstanding your description, but holding the edges together
                should be a job for the stitching shouldn't it?

                If you have issues with the edges of your seams spreading out, try moving your
                stitching closer to the edge. If your stitching is no more than 1-1.5
                thicknesses in from the edge they shouldn't be able to spread.

                By thickness, I mean thickness of the individual layers, so if you're sewing 3
                layers of 3mm (~1/8 in) leather together, you put your stitching 3mm in from
                the edge, not 9mm.

                --
                Al.
              • Chris Nickel
                ... probably do ... it up. ... together while ... together so that ... edges together ... moving your ... 1.5 ... you re sewing 3 ... 3mm in from ... I put the
                Message 7 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
                  --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                  <silver@w...> wrote:
                  >
                  > On Saturday 08 October 2005 11:17, Chris wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi Chris,
                  >
                  > > >I haven't tried this yet myself, but a flour paste glue would
                  probably do
                  > > > the job well enough to hold things in place while you stitch
                  it up.
                  > > >
                  > > >You'll want additional sealant than just the glue though.
                  > >
                  > > Actually, what I am looking for is a way to not only hold it
                  together while
                  > > I stitch the piece, but also to permanently hold the edges
                  together so that
                  > > I get one nice seam instead of two distinct peaces of leather.
                  > > I am going to seal the leather with bee's wax.
                  >
                  > I'm perhaps misunderstanding your description, but holding the
                  edges together
                  > should be a job for the stitching shouldn't it?
                  >
                  > If you have issues with the edges of your seams spreading out, try
                  moving your
                  > stitching closer to the edge. If your stitching is no more than 1-
                  1.5
                  > thicknesses in from the edge they shouldn't be able to spread.
                  >
                  > By thickness, I mean thickness of the individual layers, so if
                  you're sewing 3
                  > layers of 3mm (~1/8 in) leather together, you put your stitching
                  3mm in from
                  > the edge, not 9mm.
                  >
                  > --
                  > Al.
                  >
                  I put the stich anout 1/16th of an inch from the edge. The pieces
                  stay together nicley until I wax them. At that point the edges
                  spread apart.
                  -Erich
                • Alasdair Muckart
                  On Saturday 08 October 2005 13:23, Chris Nickel wrote: Hi Chris, ... Interesting. I ve not had that happen to me so obviously we re doing something
                  Message 8 of 16 , Oct 7, 2005
                    On Saturday 08 October 2005 13:23, Chris Nickel wrote:

                    Hi Chris,

                    > I put the stich anout 1/16th of an inch from the edge. The pieces
                    > stay together nicley until I wax them. At that point the edges
                    > spread apart.

                    Interesting. I've not had that happen to me so obviously we're doing something
                    differently. What weight leather are you using, and how are you waxing it?
                    Are you getting it particularly hot in the process of waxing?

                    --
                    Al.
                  • Neil Carr
                    ... I ve found running a slicker and one of those round groove thingies (belt edger?) over the edges (wet) helps knit the two sides together. Repeat after
                    Message 9 of 16 , Oct 8, 2005
                      Chris Nickel wrote:

                      >
                      > I put the stich anout 1/16th of an inch from the edge. The pieces
                      > stay together nicley until I wax them. At that point the edges
                      > spread apart.
                      > -Erich

                      I've found running a slicker and one of those round groove thingies
                      (belt edger?) over the edges (wet) helps knit the two sides together.
                      Repeat after waxing .
                      You have to run it parallel to the edge, und really mash it down so the
                      edge looks really smooth, almost polished.

                      homemade leaf glue should be totally non-toxic, depending on where the
                      skins come from. Commercial hide glue for woodworking, I'm not so sure.
                      You can also get the rabbitskin glue from art suppliers (used in gesso),
                      I'm reasonably sure it's still made the old-fashioned way. But if you
                      really want the glue to stop edge-spreading, try my above suggestion first.

                      Caveat - I've only ever made 2 of the darn things. Well, 1.8, anyway...

                      Thomas/Neil
                    • Chris Nickel
                      ... something ... waxing it? ... I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles. I form them buy soaking them for an hour or so and then pack them with sand. After
                      Message 10 of 16 , Oct 8, 2005
                        > Interesting. I've not had that happen to me so obviously we're doing
                        something
                        > differently. What weight leather are you using, and how are you
                        waxing it?
                        > Are you getting it particularly hot in the process of waxing?
                        >
                        > --
                        > Al.
                        >
                        I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles.
                        I form them buy soaking them for an hour or so and then pack them with
                        sand. After they are dry. (2 to 3 days) I empty the sand out and put
                        them in an oven set to 200 degrees where I use bee's wax to wax the
                        outside. When they have cooled down again I fill them with bee's wax
                        and then pour it out to seal the insides.
                        Pretty standard method I think.
                        I just gotta find a way to keep those edges together.
                        Hmmm, maybe I could use gum tragacanth.....
                        -Erich
                      • Neil Carr
                        ... Why not skip this bit by going straight to the oven? it dries the bottle and sand out quicker, and gives less time to warp. ... I hope that s Fahrenheit...
                        Message 11 of 16 , Oct 8, 2005
                          Chris Nickel wrote:

                          >
                          > I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles.
                          > I form them buy soaking them for an hour or so and then pack them with
                          > sand. After they are dry. (2 to 3 days)

                          Why not skip this bit by going straight to the oven? it dries the bottle
                          and sand out quicker, and gives less time to warp.

                          > I empty the sand out and put
                          > them in an oven set to 200 degrees


                          I hope that's Fahrenheit... I baked at 75-85 deg. C, straight from wet
                          sand-packed.

                          > where I use bee's wax to wax the
                          > outside. When they have cooled down again I fill them with bee's wax
                          > and then pour it out to seal the insides.

                          I don't think you need to wax the outside to waterproof, the inner
                          waxing should work just fine.

                          > Pretty standard method I think.
                          > I just gotta find a way to keep those edges together.
                          > Hmmm, maybe I could use gum tragacanth.....

                          ...will gum hold up under being immersed in wax, or be dissolved?

                          Thomas/Neil
                        • Ron Charlotte
                          ... Yup, from what you are describing, you probably want to go with the hide glue. It s about as inoffensive as it gets, and once set, on leather, it s pretty
                          Message 12 of 16 , Oct 8, 2005
                            At 08:23 PM 10/7/2005, Erich wrote:
                            >I put the stich anout 1/16th of an inch from the edge. The pieces
                            >stay together nicley until I wax them. At that point the edges
                            >spread apart.

                            Yup, from what you are describing, you probably want to go with the hide
                            glue. It's about as inoffensive as it gets, and once set, on leather, it's
                            pretty much forever.


                            Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL
                            ronch2@... OR afn03234@...
                          • Alasdair Muckart
                            On Saturday 08 October 2005 23:17, Chris Nickel wrote: Hi Chris, ... It sounds to me like your edge-spreading problems may be a result of excessive leather
                            Message 13 of 16 , Oct 8, 2005
                              On Saturday 08 October 2005 23:17, Chris Nickel wrote:

                              Hi Chris,

                              > > Interesting. I've not had that happen to me so obviously we're doing
                              > > something differently. What weight leather are you using, and how are you
                              > > waxing it? Are you getting it particularly hot in the process of waxing?
                              >
                              > I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles.
                              > I form them buy soaking them for an hour or so and then pack them with
                              > sand. After they are dry. (2 to 3 days) I empty the sand out and put
                              > them in an oven set to 200 degrees where I use bee's wax to wax the
                              > outside. When they have cooled down again I fill them with bee's wax
                              > and then pour it out to seal the insides.
                              > Pretty standard method I think.

                              It sounds to me like your edge-spreading problems may be a result of excessive
                              leather shrinkage during the heating phase. If this is the case then glue
                              isn't going to help much, unless you use superglue. Are you welting the
                              seams?

                              Assuming you're using the Fahrenheit scale, 200 is 93 and a bit centigrade,
                              which is quite a bit hotter than I tend to allow damp leather to get. I do
                              jacks at no more than 80 centigrade/176 Fahrenheit and I do them straight
                              from wet without letting them dry out much first. I also dry them on the form
                              to avoid distortion when they get hot. I got my best results using a
                              fan-forced oven.

                              What I've found is that when they get too hot the welt shrinks quite a lot and
                              pulls the whole thing out of true, and the outside bits of leather shrink and
                              do wierd things to the seams. I suspect that this is what you're seeing.

                              --
                              Al.
                            • Chris Nickel
                              ... doing ... how are you ... of waxing? ... them with ... put ... the ... wax ... of excessive ... then glue ... welting the ... centigrade, ... get. I do ...
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 10, 2005
                                --- In medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com, Alasdair Muckart
                                <silver@w...> wrote:
                                >
                                > On Saturday 08 October 2005 23:17, Chris Nickel wrote:
                                >
                                > Hi Chris,
                                >
                                > > > Interesting. I've not had that happen to me so obviously we're
                                doing
                                > > > something differently. What weight leather are you using, and
                                how are you
                                > > > waxing it? Are you getting it particularly hot in the process
                                of waxing?
                                > >
                                > > I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles.
                                > > I form them buy soaking them for an hour or so and then pack
                                them with
                                > > sand. After they are dry. (2 to 3 days) I empty the sand out and
                                put
                                > > them in an oven set to 200 degrees where I use bee's wax to wax
                                the
                                > > outside. When they have cooled down again I fill them with bee's
                                wax
                                > > and then pour it out to seal the insides.
                                > > Pretty standard method I think.
                                >
                                > It sounds to me like your edge-spreading problems may be a result
                                of excessive
                                > leather shrinkage during the heating phase. If this is the case
                                then glue
                                > isn't going to help much, unless you use superglue. Are you
                                welting the
                                > seams?
                                >
                                > Assuming you're using the Fahrenheit scale, 200 is 93 and a bit
                                centigrade,
                                > which is quite a bit hotter than I tend to allow damp leather to
                                get. I do
                                > jacks at no more than 80 centigrade/176 Fahrenheit and I do them
                                straight
                                > from wet without letting them dry out much first. I also dry them
                                on the form
                                > to avoid distortion when they get hot. I got my best results using
                                a
                                > fan-forced oven.
                                >
                                > What I've found is that when they get too hot the welt shrinks
                                quite a lot and
                                > pulls the whole thing out of true, and the outside bits of leather
                                shrink and
                                > do wierd things to the seams. I suspect that this is what you're
                                seeing.
                                >
                                > --
                                > Al.
                                >
                                I allow the leather to totaly dry before i put it into the oven. I
                                tried waxing damp leather once and wound up with a piece with the
                                consistancy of a potato chip. If I was just heat drying and then
                                pitching the bottals then, yeah 200 is probably to hot. But I am
                                waxing the outsida as well as the inside of the bottle, the 20o
                                degree temp opens the pores and allows the leather to accept the wax
                                more easaly.
                                -Erich
                              • Tim Bray
                                You can t get leather totally dry without cooking it; there is always some moisture bound up in the fibers. Then when you cook it at 200 F, the surface will
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 10, 2005
                                  You can't get leather "totally dry" without cooking it; there is always
                                  some moisture bound up in the fibers. Then when you cook it at 200 F, the
                                  surface will partially polymerize, causing it to shrink, which is causing
                                  your edge seams to open up.

                                  The solution seems obvious - reduce the heat. From what I've read, and
                                  from my own experiments, if you stay below 180 F you will be fine. 175 -
                                  180 should still give you decent wax penetration.

                                  Just my 2 deniers worth. (Yes, I've been watching "Rome!")

                                  Cheers,
                                  Colin


                                  At 02:36 PM 10/10/2005 +0000, you wrote:
                                  >I allow the leather to totaly dry before i put it into the oven. I
                                  >tried waxing damp leather once and wound up with a piece with the
                                  >consistancy of a potato chip. If I was just heat drying and then
                                  >pitching the bottals then, yeah 200 is probably to hot. But I am
                                  >waxing the outsida as well as the inside of the bottle, the 20o
                                  >degree temp opens the pores and allows the leather to accept the wax
                                  >more easaly.


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Michael Sheldon
                                  ... Seems pretty thin to me. For my large bottel, I used 10oz leather. For smaller ones, I never use less than 6-7oz leather. Michael J. Sheldon aka Aoidhean
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Oct 11, 2005
                                    > I am using 4 oz leather for the bottles.

                                    Seems pretty thin to me.

                                    For my large bottel, I used 10oz leather. For smaller ones, I never use less
                                    than 6-7oz leather.


                                    Michael J. Sheldon
                                    aka Aoidhean Ó Toirdhealbhach
                                    http://www.gaeliccrossings.com/
                                    GuildMaster, Fewterers Guild
                                    http://www.fewterersguild.org/
                                    Site Manager, Greyhounds of Fairhaven
                                    http://www.greyhoundsoffairhaven.org/
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