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Hardening Leather Armor

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  • Michael Walden
    OK, I know about water hardening (carboli) and wax hardening, but I have a client looking to have some armor made and she was told to thin elmers glue and
    Message 1 of 4 , Jun 18, 2008
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      OK,

      I know about water hardening (carboli) and wax hardening, but I have a
      client looking to have some armor made and she was told to thin elmers
      glue and brush it into the leather to harden it. My question is has
      anyone done this and what were your results?

      Thanks

      Michael Walden

      A Leather Crafter
      4115 Honey Creek
      Ada, MI 49301-9725
    • Peter Jelen
      Lots of crafters use the glue technique to firm up masks. You can use thinned Elmer (PVA) glue to plasticize and somewhat harden the leather. The leather
      Message 2 of 4 , Jun 19, 2008
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        Lots of crafters use the glue technique to firm up masks. You can
        use thinned Elmer (PVA) glue to plasticize and somewhat harden the
        leather. The leather will still be bendable and the leather will
        soften up when it gets damp. Likely not something that you want in
        armor.

        I make commedia masks. They get wet from perspiration and should not
        melt on the actors face. After crafting the mask I use thinned
        polyurethane (think floor finish) and brush it into the leather from
        the back. This hardens the leather and is not susceptible to
        moisture softening.

        Try both/either on a piece of scrap and see if either is something
        that would work for you.

        Pete Jelen
      • Christopher J
        My suggestion is Titebond 3. Once it dries, it s water proof. Or at least heavily water resistant. Regular Elmer s stays water soluble. A 1 part glue to 10
        Message 3 of 4 , Jun 20, 2008
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          My suggestion is Titebond 3. Once it dries, it's water proof. Or at least heavily water resistant. Regular Elmer's stays water soluble. A 1 part glue to 10 parts water ratio works well.
           
          Christopher




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        • Henry Plouse
          Let me second this recommendation - tho it is NOT suitable for all uses.  I use MinWax combination color/stain and polyurethane to not only color but also
          Message 4 of 4 , Jun 22, 2008
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            Let me second this recommendation - tho' it is NOT suitable for all uses.  I use "MinWax" combination color/stain and polyurethane to not only color but also waterproof and further stiffen water-hardened leather.  You can get incredibly beautiful results with this and it works wonderfully for hardened leather, for instance, on shield facings (where the wood backing prevents flexing) and on things such as quivers and for the outside of drinking vessels, canteens and bottles (I use Enviro-Tech on the inside).  However, I would NOT use this on armor leather, because it will bend and flex under the assault of rattan swords and the polyurethane can crack and break down under those pressures.  If all you want is stiff and waterproof, this is great.  If you need flexibility and/or resilience, don't use it..
             
            YOS,
            ALRIC, Glyn Dwfn.  

            --- On Thu, 6/19/08, Peter Jelen <pjelen@...> wrote:

            From: Peter Jelen <pjelen@...>
            Subject: [medieval-leather] Re:Hardening Leather Armor
            To: medieval-leather@yahoogroups.com
            Date: Thursday, June 19, 2008, 4:14 AM






            Lots of crafters use the glue technique to firm up masks. You can
            use thinned Elmer (PVA) glue to plasticize and somewhat harden the
            leather. The leather will still be bendable and the leather will
            soften up when it gets damp. Likely not something that you want in
            armor.

            I make commedia masks. They get wet from perspiration and should not
            melt on the actors face. After crafting the mask I use thinned
            polyurethane (think floor finish) and brush it into the leather from
            the back. This hardens the leather and is not susceptible to
            moisture softening.

            Try both/either on a piece of scrap and see if either is something
            that would work for you.

            Pete Jelen


















            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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