hidepounder

Casing Leather

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Hello everybody...

I have put together the steps I take to case my leather for tooling due to a number of requests regarding my method. I hope this will clarify what I perceive are some misconceptions about what casing leather really is. It is in PDF format and Johanna has graciously added the article to the "Tips and Tricks" section where anyone can find it. Thank you Johanna!!! Or it can be accessed through the link below.

I hope those who need this find it helpful....

Bobby

Casing Leather

Edited by hidepounder

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Bob

Nice job. Thanks for the time you spent to make an excellent presentation.

Tim

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Boy that could have kept me out of trouble in some other areas. :-)

Keep up the great work.

Regards,

Ben

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King's X   

Thanks for your time. Nice job!

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Hello everybody...

I have put together the steps I take to case my leather for tooling due to a number of requests regarding my method. I hope this will clarify what I perceive are some misconceptions about what casing leather really is. It is in PDF format and Johanna has graciously added the article to the "Tips and Tricks" section where anyone can find it. Thank you Johanna!!! Or it can be accessed through the link below.

I hope those who need this find it helpful....

Bobby

Casing Leather

Thank-you for the detailed explanation...I still have a little trouble with the "dryness" factor. When I was first taught- I was told to use my fingernail to determine the correct "wetness" or carvability. I tried to soak it- but it just left the leather hard when it dried...and it wasn't very easy to carve. Do you use the casing solution from Tandy or just water?

Edited by Stevesleather

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Howdy Stevesleather

'wetting' your leather is a practice thing. Don't over wet it or will get spongy and the tools won't make a good impression. I found that I dampen my leather and try to keep it covered to prevent drying out as much as possible. When I was getting started, I over wetted the piece and it always looked 'crappy'. When the water content is 'just right', when you strike your tool, it will burnish [a dark brown] as you go.

Again, it's a practice thing.

Hope this helps

Happy tooling

Tim

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Steve,

I do not use any casing solution from Tandy....I wasn't even aware that they had one. I tried Carve Eze when it first came out and found it did nothing for me. I case with water. I often put a few drops of Joy dishsoap in my water but it is not important to do this. I am currently experimenting with some casing solutions but haven't found anything that has rocked my boat. Case with plain old water...leave it overnight at a bare minimum. Your leather is ready to carve when it has almost returned to it's natural color and feels cool when touched to your cheek.

Nothing is accomplished by soaking your leather.... You want to induce enough moisture that the leather can absorb all it is capable of absorbing....anything after that is just wasted. I also have never heard of testing leather by using your fingernail in the 40+ years I've been tooling. I'm sure it worked for your mentor but that is not something I would suggest trying to follow. I hope I have answered your question....if not I'll tyr again, LOL!

Hope this helps.....

Bobby

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Thanks for the download it will help me greatly

Bikerd

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Miett   

Thank you thank you for posting this. I'm just starting out, and it explains why some of my tooling looks kind of ...mushy. The edges aren't as crisp as I'd like. I've just been re-wetting over and over. Now I know better! I've been using the diluted casing solution from Tandy, but I'll give plain water a try since that's what you use.

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Miett....I appreciate hearing that the article was helpful. Try adding a few drops of Joy dish soap to your water. Sometimes it makes the leather easier to cut. I have tried several casing solutions, some home made and some manufactured and have been dissappointed with most of them.

Bobby

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Dwight   

Thanks, Bobby, . . . looks like I'm going to go get a piece of glass :thumbsup:

I struggle mostly with interruptions that cannot be avoided, . . . and that plate glass trick sounds just like my answer.

I'm also struggling to get my "impressions" just the way I want them, . . . but it is coming along.

Again, many thanks, . . . may God bless,

Dwight

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Stagdag   

Question: I have a bit of english tanned saddle leather.

It's finished with something shiny or waxy on both sides and it's rather hard compared to standard oak/vegtanned leather that I use for tooling.

I've tried to case this stuff for tooling, but I don't really know much about casing leather. It didn't work well, but I may not have done it right.

How can I make this stuff toolable/stampable?

Thanks!

PMZ

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Bobby, it is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. When I am working on a tooling project I find myself picking out the person whose work I most admire in that area, (design, style, finish, tooling, ect.) and emulating what they do, to achieve the results they achieve. In the case of tooling, I always find myself thinking how does Bobby get those smooth edges, crisp tooling, and relief? I make it a point to work with that as my goal. I never miss a chance to read your comments on how to. Thanks for lending your expertice on tooling! One thing that I have found works for me is that once I start to tool a piece that has been cased, If I need to add moisture, I use a spray bottle and mist it on. I try to take it a section at a time as you suggest, since when I am tooling, most generally I won't get it all done in one sitting, also I like to do paired panels at the same time, like fenders, and I do them left and right handed, (mirrored) which makes for a lot of tooling in one sitting.

Anyways, thanks for all the info, keep it coming, it is appreciated.

Bondo Bob

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Question: I have a bit of english tanned saddle leather.

It's finished with something shiny or waxy on both sides and it's rather hard compared to standard oak/vegtanned leather that I use for tooling.

I've tried to case this stuff for tooling, but I don't really know much about casing leather. It didn't work well, but I may not have done it right.

How can I make this stuff toolable/stampable?

Thanks!

PMZ

It sounds like you're talking about harness leather which I've never tried to tool. I wouldn't think that it would absorb water very well or tool very well. I think probably that the poor result was due more to the leather than to the process you used.

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Bobby, it is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. When I am working on a tooling project I find myself picking out the person whose work I most admire in that area, (design, style, finish, tooling, ect.) and emulating what they do, to achieve the results they achieve. In the case of tooling, I always find myself thinking how does Bobby get those smooth edges, crisp tooling, and relief? I make it a point to work with that as my goal. I never miss a chance to read your comments on how to. Thanks for lending your expertice on tooling! One thing that I have found works for me is that once I start to tool a piece that has been cased, If I need to add moisture, I use a spray bottle and mist it on. I try to take it a section at a time as you suggest, since when I am tooling, most generally I won't get it all done in one sitting, also I like to do paired panels at the same time, like fenders, and I do them left and right handed, (mirrored) which makes for a lot of tooling in one sitting.

Anyways, thanks for all the info, keep it coming, it is appreciated.

Bondo Bob

Bob....thank you so much for the kind words. It is always rewarding to hear that your efforts are appreciated and I'm just egotistical enough to enjoy it, LOL! I like to use a spray bottle also. It seems like it makes it just a little easier to get an even application of water.

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sniper   

Bob; Thanks for the information. It will remove some of the frustration I have experienced in my attempts to case leather properly.

Edited by sniper

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Question: I have a bit of english tanned saddle leather.

It's finished with something shiny or waxy on both sides and it's rather hard compared to standard oak/vegtanned leather that I use for tooling.

I've tried to case this stuff for tooling, but I don't really know much about casing leather. It didn't work well, but I may not have done it right.

How can I make this stuff toolable/stampable?

Thanks!

PMZ

Stagdag,

I apologize for not responding sooner...I missed your question until today. I have never tried to tool that kind of leather and I'm not sure I have ever seen any tooled. I would think it would be very difficult to get moisture in in it properly to make it toolable and so I just just wouldn't recommend using it.

Bobby

Bob; Thanks for the information. It will remove some of the frustration I have experienced in my attempts to case leather properly.

Sniper....good luck with your next session and feel free to ask is you have any questions.

Bobby

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sniper   

Bob;

Thanks much for your clear and understandable explanation! That is one area I have been having a fit with...casing. Seems like it's wet... wait...tap tap tap...spray...wait..., and the burnishing is not what I would like.

Soooo.. I'm going to try your method...it couldn't hurt!:)

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FHL FERG   

This place is such a plethora of good info! Thanks for putting that together, really well done. I realized why my toolings kept losing some of their depth, too much "casing" with a sponge as I work it. I will be experimenting with this method on my next project.

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Just wanted to say I tried this step into casing leather and I didn't let it come back to original colour stupid stupid stupid stupid me. Only good thing that came from it was that I was just practicing my swivel knife, bad thing was when I bevelled it looked horrible!

I will try again tomorrow, don't know if its lack of heat in my house or what but its been 2 hours and it is still dark as when I first placed it in the tray.

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Ferg   

Just wanted to say I tried this step into casing leather and I didn't let it come back to original colour stupid stupid stupid stupid me. Only good thing that came from it was that I was just practicing my swivel knife, bad thing was when I bevelled it looked horrible!

I will try again tomorrow, don't know if its lack of heat in my house or what but its been 2 hours and it is still dark as when I first placed it in the tray.

Overnight at least.

ferg

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Skald   

I have often fond that the leather I am tooling is at its best the day after, if I put the piece to rest in a ziplock bag over night, and then just sweep it a couple of times with a wet sponge the next day. Then I get this "burnish" kind of marks from tooling. So, naturally, I have started to case the leather at least a good couple of hours prior to start tooling it. Good tutorial btw. :)

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Wow I haven't been here an hour yet and I've already learned something that has been frustrating me since I've tried tooling. Thanks for the lesson.

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If I may ask a question about casing? Is it best to case all leather or just large pieces? I usually don't use anything larger than say an 8" by 10" piece for knife sheaths and just use a wet sponge before tooling. is my logic OK for this? My impressions very rarely come out the same.

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