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Leather bottels etc

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  • Brian Tychonski
    I m here to learn about woodworking. Most of my wood work is medieval looking convenience camp gear. I.e. the lazy bjorn plywood reclining chair. I m not nor
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 9, 2004
      I'm here to learn about woodworking. Most of my wood work is medieval looking convenience camp gear. I.e. the lazy bjorn plywood reclining chair. I'm not nor do I claim to be an expert on wood finishes.
       
      The original question was about lining leather bottels and mugs. I have done more than a small amount of leatherwork as I used to manage a Tandy leather store. From the place that I contacted on the food safeness of their finishes, (Varathane) I was told they made nothing that was rated as food safe. ICI Dulux, after more than one call, had an employee who knew that they carried the epoxy previously mentioned. I know that beeswax is food safe as long as it is pure and so is brewers' pitch. This knowledge comes from its use for centuries. As most leather tends to have a rough texture on the flesh side, some of which can come off in your drink, I recommend a coating of something heavy enough to totally cover the interior surface. The fastest easiest method to do this is, melt beeswax or brewers'pitch in a double boiler, pour it into the mug until it is full, swish it around a little to insure an even coat, allow it to sit for a few (20 - 30 works fine) seconds, and then pour the remainder back into the double boiler to use for the next one. Total curing time about 10 minutes to cool sufficiently. I have used this technique for all of the classes that I have taught on the subject, including the one at Estrella War this year. Doing leather bottels works pretty much the same way.
       
      While lacquer, etc may be food safe eventually, they certainly aren't the finish of choice for those last minute going to event projects. I'll stick with beeswax or brewers' pitch. Foodsafe in under an hour, easy to apply, inexpensive, period, and easy to repair if something happens to the vessel. Simply warm the vessel up a bit, reform it to shape and reseal.
       
      For more information on leather drinking vessels in period see John W. Waterer's books "Leather in Life, Art, and Industry" and "Leather Craftsmanship" Sorry but I haven't been able to find them online. The author has been dead for over 30 years. His last book "Leather and the Warrior" chronicles the use of leather for military applications since the stone age and was published by his daughter after his death.
       
      Brian Broadaxe
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