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How Do I Stop Leather From Shedding?


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#1 jokun

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:31 PM

Hello,

I'm new here! I started leather working about 4 years ago - I make handbags. For the most part I use 3-5oz leather - mostly upholstery hides, and have just started using some thicker oil tanned leathers and some vegetable tanned leathers. Until recently, I have always lined my bags, but lately I have been wanting to make some that are unlined. What is the best way to stop the flesh/suede side of the leather from shedding? I have been looking online for a long time for recommendations for this, but I never really get any good answers. Is there some kind of finish I can apply to flatten the fibers? I've tried to skive some pieces before but that doesn't really work well for softer upholstery leathers. I've wondered if a sander would help, but I'm not sure. Is there a different type of leather I should be using for these types of projects?

On the same line, what is the best way to finish edges for non-vegetable tanned leathers to keep them from shedding? I've seen some bags in stores that seem to have a raw seam that has been coated in a wax or something similar - yet I can't find anything about it anywhere! Any help would be appreciated! This seems like such a simple question, so I feel like there must be something I'm missing.

Thanks,
Julia

#2 Sylvia

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:07 PM

Hello,
Is there some kind of finish I can apply to flatten the fibers? I've tried to skive some pieces before but that doesn't really work well for softer upholstery leathers. I've wondered if a sander would help, but I'm not sure. Is there a different type of leather I should be using for these types of projects?

On the same line, what is the best way to finish edges for non-vegetable tanned leathers to keep them from shedding? I've seen some bags in stores that seem to have a raw seam that has been coated in a wax or something similar - yet I can't find anything about it anywhere! Any help would be appreciated! This seems like such a simple question, so I feel like there must be something I'm missing.

Thanks,
Julia


Hi Julia:

On veg tanned, I've had good luck with sanding with 100 grit then 220 grit sand paper (by hand and using a finish sander) I do suggest that you do this well away from your normal working area because the sander especially will fling leather dust all over. Either way the result is a fine texture similar to suede. here it comes... the big "BUT" The quality of your leather is going to be a huge factor. If you choose to go with cheaper leather the backs can have large chunks of loose fibers come up leaving a line or divot... and you have to skive or sand past those. Then I start with water and saddle soap work that in by hand until it feels slick... and let that dry. Then I go over that with Gum Tragacanth which smooths it down even more. Finally I seal it with one of the "shenes" or Resolene type product.

As to your question on the thin leather edges. I've seen this on youtube but have not found the a product either. It seems that it's a sort of colored wax that is applied and gone over with a hot iron (like a soldering iron but with a flat fan-like blade) the result is a smooth sealed edge. ( suppose one could try dying the edge, rubbing it with beeswax then holding a hot iron to it... but do that on a practice piece before you try it on any finished good)

Good luck.
A teacher pointed at me with a ruler and said "At the end of this ruler is an idiot." I got detention when I asked "Which end?"

#3 js5972

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 08:04 PM

On thinner leather, I burnish by rubbing a damp bar of saddle soap directly on the leather. Sounds a little goofy, but it works. The square edge of the soap works as a rub stick.
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#4 jimmy eng

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 10:14 PM

In regards to the raw seam, are you talking about Louis Vuitton handbag edges? They use a kind of shellac that's a shade specifically made for them. It's one way to tell a fake if it's the wrong colour.





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