hidepounder

Casing Leather

Recommended Posts

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.

Bennie, I case everything! If the piece is realtivly small and I can wet it and tool it in one sitting without re-wetting, I might do that, but if time allows or I am thinking ahead as I should be, I case everything.

Bobby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bobby. I'll start casing all my leather from now on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bobby. I'll start casing all my leather from now on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, I ended up not using that bridle leather for anything but straps and simple wetformed stuff.

It just wouldn't take a stamp!:(

PMZ

Well, tonight I am going to try tooling a piece of leather I cased today. It will only have been perhaps 8 or 10 hours since I wetted it? I ran it under a warm faucet till it was limp, and hung it up on a laundry hook. (I've already assembled it, just wanted to do some tooling).

Is 8 or 10 hours enough time for it to dry?

Thanks much for your help!

PMZ

Edited by Stagdag

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The download is very helpful and appreciated, regards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bob,

I have searched through the posts on this and other forums but cannot find any reference to my particular problem. I have some 3 great looking hides about 6mm thick that have been put away for about 30 years in a closet that I thought was pretty light proof but it seem that some light has effected parts of the hides. I should be able to work around that while building a saddle so no problem there. I cut some sample pieces from the hides and dropped them into some plain water to case them so I could get a little practice with the swivel knife after so long but they did not seem to absorb water very well at all. Hardly any bubbles and the light effected part of the hide seemed to remain very hard. I soaked the pieces for about 2 hours then into a plastic bag to overnight in the fridge. When I pulled them out they were still as stiff as a board. I guess that it has something to do with the age of the hide.

Will I just have to soak them longer or do you have any suggestions. I havn't tried any of the formulas listed on the forums as yet as I don't want to preempt any solutions.

Hope you can help.

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to piggy-back with freedom13. I have some old hides and would like to know the answer also. If I hadn't found this forum, I might have thrown away perfectly good, but old, hides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately when I unrolled some old hides I had, they had mildewed. I chose not to mess with trying to clean them up. I also had cut a fairly large piece from a hide to do a piece, never got around to it. Some forty years later I removed from the bottom of a box, cased it with plain warm water, it carved like butter. It was veg tanned of course, cow hide of 8-10oz. I think I did let it soak until the bubbles quit coming to the top of the pan of water. I always rolled my wetted leather into a terry cloth towel and allowed to rest until the next day. I have never placed a piece of leather in the fridge and I don't like placing between glass although that definitely slows the evaporation of the water from the leather.

ferg

I want to piggy-back with freedom13. I have some old hides and would like to know the answer also. If I hadn't found this forum, I might have thrown away perfectly good, but old, hides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all,

It looks like not many people leave their hides stored away for a long time so it looks like I will have to do a little experimenting on my own. The hides are clean and very dry, no sign of mould or mildew so that is not a problem.

My first experiment was to put some wool wash into the water. No measurements just a good quarter cup I guess into about 4 cups of water. In went the sample piece with the intention of leaving it for about 24 hours to see what happened. Well I don't know what happened after 24 hours but I can tell you that after 48 hours the water had been absorbed and my sample was soft and supple although completely water logged. I have it sitting on my tomb stone at the moment and will let it dry out until it looks ready to carve and I will give it a whirl.

I will try this again with a little more attention to detail and timing. I will also try a test with Baby shampoo as I have some of that now. I have got some alcohol coming so will try that as well. I might try some Dish liquid as well.

I will keep you posted

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are the test results using plain water, baby shampoo and woolwash.

1-1/2 cups of warm water, 2 table spoon of baby shampoo Checked 1 hour later and sample still as hard as ever and was still floating. Checked again after a total of 4 hours some improvement but still pretty hard. Checked again after a total of 8-1/2 hours the sample seemed to have taken the water and was becoming reasonably supple. Put sample into a plastic bag and into the fridge.

1-1/2 cups of warm water, 1 table spoon of Wool Wash. This wool wash had as an additive some Eucalyptus oil. I figured that it would work the same as Listerine, maybe better. Checked after 1 hour still firm but not as hard as the sample above. the sample was no longer floating

Checked again after a total of 4 hours. Sample was supple and appeared to be thoroughly wet. Put sample in plastic bag and into fridge.

Need to try this with just a little Eucalyptus oil in plain water because it may be the Eucalyptus not the wool wash that improved the absorption.

Plain warm water. Sample was still quite firm after 8-1/2 hours but decided to put into plastic bag and into the fridge with other samples

Samples taken from fridge after 12 hours and set on the tomb stone to dry out. After 36 hours the samples had returned to normal colour. The plain water sample seems to have dried out the most and is the hardest. The shampoo and the wool wash samples are about the same as far as flexibility. I tried the swivel knife, beveller, back grounder and a large flower centre on each sample. I tried to use the same pressure on the knife and the same force on the mallet blows. Attached are my results. 1 means bad and 5 means good.

So this all means that the Shampoo and the wool wash are pretty even except that it takes way less time to get the water into the leather with wool wash than anything else I have tried so far and it seem to be a little better to work with.

I will try a sample with just Eucalyptus oil next to see how that goes.

Richard

post-17331-031180300 1313464720_thumb.gi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have over "wet" my leather can I leave out..if so how long? and after putting it through the "bath" do I put it into the plastic bag??..and for how long? I do appreciate the article.

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have over "wet" my leather can I leave out..if so how long? and after putting it through the "bath" do I put it into the plastic bag??..and for how long? I do appreciate the article.

Yes you can simply leave it out to dry a little. I wouldn't put it in a bag until the color begins to return to it. If it were me I'd leave it in the bag to case over night.

Hope this helps....

Bobby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for putting the time into this article, it is a revelation, now I understand it all much better. Thank you. Lovely work, by the way, an inspirational gallery, really crisps and clean lines.

Pip

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is pretty much how I've always doen my casing with pretty good results. The only issue I have is with my piece occasionally drying out too fast. The only difference is that I have been puting the piece in water and waiting until the bubble stop. Then I wipe it down with a towel and bag it in a ziplock overnight.

I then let it dry to the "return to normal but cool" state.

I'm doing to try some with the technique of letting it almost dry to normal and then bagging it and see what thay does.

One question.... I read a tutorial by Paul Burnett on the forums here and he talsk about wetting the top surface but not letting the core get wet, and then stamping immediately. This is for stamping only.. He used the method here for any and all carving.

What's the story on that? Any opinions on it?

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is pretty much how I've always doen my casing with pretty good results. The only issue I have is with my piece occasionally drying out too fast. The only difference is that I have been puting the piece in water and waiting until the bubble stop. Then I wipe it down with a towel and bag it in a ziplock overnight.

I then let it dry to the "return to normal but cool" state.

I'm doing to try some with the technique of letting it almost dry to normal and then bagging it and see what thay does.

One question.... I read a tutorial by Paul Burnett on the forums here and he talsk about wetting the top surface but not letting the core get wet, and then stamping immediately. This is for stamping only.. He used the method here for any and all carving.

What's the story on that? Any opinions on it?

Tom

Hi Tom,

That may be a great way to prepare the leather when basket stamping, etc. I have heard of the technique before but I don't use it. When ever I basket stamp it is usually combined with tooling. Consequently I case my leather normally. Someone else might weigh in here with some more insight..........

Bobby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bob

Pdf saved

Very useful

Regards

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea, wanted to say thank you as well.

Always thought I was getting a good casing, but once I tried your tips it was like that lightbulb went on and POW! Now THAT is how leather is when it is properly cased.

Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry I'm new to leather working and don't quite understand what your saying when you say you soak it overnight. Do you put it in a pan of water overnight or is that the part that you use the trash bags on? If it is the trash bag do you soak it then put it in the bag overnight? Sorry for the newbie questions.

Dustyn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry I'm new to leather working and don't quite understand what your saying when you say you soak it overnight. Do you put it in a pan of water overnight or is that the part that you use the trash bags on? If it is the trash bag do you soak it then put it in the bag overnight? Sorry for the newbie questions.

Dustyn

The soaking overnight was for old leather that had really dried out. Soak only as long as there are bubbles rising. Soaking too long will take much longer to return to normal color before you can start working with it.

Bagging it overnight right after soaking lets the moisture penetrate to the core. If the leather is light weight, less than say 6 oz, it doesn't take very long to get saturated. Heavier leather of course takes longer to soak up the water.

After sitting in a bag overnight, take the leather out and let it dry until its natural (original) color starts to return. Then it is ready to work with. Bag it between work sessions to keep it from drying out completely.

For large pieces that you can't tool in one session, cover with plastic wrap or other except for the area you are working on. Then bag it till your next work session. If it is getting too dry so it doesn't burnish well (darken when you are stamping it), then mist lightly with water. If it gets too wet, the crisp tooling swells and you lose definition.

Hotter climates need refrigerated between tooling sessions to stop mold and mildew. Listerine and other antibacterials can reduce the tendency to mold and mildew. I don't have that problem here except for a couple weeks in the summer. Since I do most of my work in my basement, the temperature doesn't get over 70 F most of the time.

Hope this helps. Go back and re-read the thread now, keeping these points in mind. Happy tooling!

CTG

Edit: Just saw this post too. moistening while tooling

Edited by northmount

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the clarification. I'm sure it will help my work look loads better!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this great info I have been wetting the leather rather than casing it and after trying your way I am getting a much better result.

I had a look but havn't been able to find if you had a good way of backing a larger piece of leather that is to be stamped or carved that can be cased using the same way.

Thanks

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Phil!

The method I use to back cased leather is to glue it, using ruber cement, to a piece of acrylic. I like the acrylic to be at least 1/4" thick. Using this method allows me to cover the leather with plastic wrap and then exposing only as much leather as I can tool in one sitting. If the residue of the glue on the back of the leather creates a problem for you, you can apply shelf lining to the back of the leather ILO gluing to acrylic. When using the shelf lining I find I cannot apply it to cased leather as easily as gluing to acrylic. However, once the shelf lining is in place water can be added to the surface of the leather and then the entire piece can be covered with plastic wrap, where again, you would only expose an area large enough to tool in one sitting. Some people like to use packing tape ILO of shelf liner, and either can applied and then be glued to a piece of acrylic if you are so disposed.

Hope this helps!

Bobby

Thanks for this great info I have been wetting the leather rather than casing it and after trying your way I am getting a much better result.

I had a look but havn't been able to find if you had a good way of backing a larger piece of leather that is to be stamped or carved that can be cased using the same way.

Thanks

Phil

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry I'm new to leather working and don't quite understand what your saying when you say you soak it overnight. Do you put it in a pan of water overnight or is that the part that you use the trash bags on? If it is the trash bag do you soak it then put it in the bag overnight? Sorry for the newbie questions.

Dustyn

Dustyn:

Read the whole thread here and/or look up the Peter Main method of casing - I think it's outlined in this thread.- don't have time to search through 4 pages for it <g>

He uses some sort of artist board. It's a bit expensive to keep replacing though. I use a sheet of acrylic that I got from Hobby Lobby for $2 and use rubber cement to attach the leather.

Wet, let dry to the proper level and cover with a piece of taped up window glass.

Works OK, but I think Peter's method of using a larger piece of thick plate glass would probably work better to help distribute the moisture better.

Tom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys that was a big help I will get a big enough piece of the acrylic as I have a couple of wallet size pieces of leather I would like to have a go at now I understand casing the leather better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys that was a big help I will get a big enough piece of the acrylic as I have a couple of wallet size pieces of leather I would like to have a go at now I understand casing the leather better.

Just a word of caution. The rubber cement is going to stick to the back of the leather and you will have a sticky residue when you're finished. If you are going to line the the piec, then the residue doesn't matter because it will be covered up. However, if you intend for the flesh side to remain exposed then it would be advisable to use shelf paper or packing tape to control stretch, as they can be removed without much residual glue. Some people apply the shelf paper or packing tape and then glue ti all down to the acrylic. Your option.....

Hope this helps!

Bobby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now