hidepounder

Casing Leather

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Wanted to say I've starting casing my leather using this method and have been very impressed with the way the leather tools and works. I was wondering if anyone has any issues with mold forming on the leather though. I have a couple very tiny green spots forming and want to keep this from happening. Any tips? I keep the temp where i store the leather between 65 and 68.

Put some Listerine in your casing solution. There are a number of posts about preventing mold. Do a search for them.

Tom

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knifael   

Thank you Mr Pounder, a perfect primer and may have saved me a good bit of time not oversaturating my leather in the future.

Thank you for taking the time to advise those of us who can definitely use it.

Michael

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club49   

Hi Bob,

I am new here and just wanted to thank you for all your help. I have your step by step instructions on how to do edges stuck to my wall. My edges come out great, now I have to work on the rest of my work.

Jim

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Can any type of leather be cased (latigo, harness, etc)? To stretch and shape it? Like for a knife sheath? Maybe this is not the right place for this question??

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If it is veg tanned and has not been pre loaded with waxes and or oils, or have a finish on it can be wet molded.

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Can any type of leather be cased (latigo, harness, etc)? To stretch and shape it? Like for a knife sheath? Maybe this is not the right place for this question??

I can't really answer that question because I've never tried to case latigo or harness leather, but my first thought would be that it would not case. My other thought is that neither of those leathers would be the appropriate choice for projects that need to be molded.

If it is veg tanned and has not been pre loaded with waxes and or oils, or have a finish on it can be wet molded.

I would think the answer is yes. The best leather for a project that needs to be molded is veg tan.

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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

I like to moisten my leather on large multi piece projects..place them in ziplock bags...and put them in the fridge. I then take out the piece I'm going to work on tooling and let the leather return to near normal color. Hint: Either have a tolorant wife, as I do, or be a bachelor, ha.

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catstamp   

Thank you Bobby for taking the time to pass on your knowledge to us newbies out here. I am learning as I go and I appreciate getting good advice from a pro like yourself.

Edited by catstamp

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grommit   

thank all for the thread on casing.

it help me massively.

ATB

Bri

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alpha2   

The thing that led me astray as a newbie was Tandy Leather videos where they said again and again that casing was done by saturating the top surface with a wet sponge, then waiting until it almost returned to the original color. 

That may work for some thin leathers in small sizes, but it's a far cry from the proper way to "case" leather. I finally know why I wasn't getting consistent depth and color to my stamping. I can't wait until I use this method for my next project!

Edited by alpha2

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On May 8, 2011 at 3:23 PM, Bennie lovejoy said:

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.

I have the same question about small projects.

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catstamp   

You can wet leather but just that simple act is not cased.  When casing leather you want the moisture to reach the inner most fibers of the leather and that take's time and a bit of planning.   Once the leather return's to its normal color and is cool to the touch the moisture has swollen those inner fibers and then it's ready.  Cased leather will cut easier and your impressions will be crisper

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Thank you.

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I've received several emails regarding this thread and so i'd  thought I'd  weigh in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wetting the leather and then tooling it. To me that is sort of the norm and I often do that myself. The advantage to casing, as some of you have mentioned, is to (1) aid in cutting, (2) extend tooling time, (3) aid in the "burnish" or color you  get with the tools. It is not necessary to case overnight. The process can take just a few hours, which is depedent upon the environment. Many of us case over night because it's convenient to prepare tomorrows leather, today. Also, it is not necessary to use the refrigerator. The only reason to refrigerate is to prevent mold growth. Mold growth only happens when the leather has been too wet for too long in a warm environment. Finally the true differnece between cased leather and wetting the leather is this. Leather is cased only when ALL the fibers contain the same amount of moisture when the leather is in a TOOLABLE state. To achive this, the leather must be placed in a super humid environment, where evaporation has been slowed to a crawl. So SOME evaporation is required. This is why casing boxes work better than plastic bags. If you are using a plastic bag, it's necessary to let the leather dry somewhat before it is sealed in the bag. Old coolers make good casing boxes, especially when small adjustable vents are added to the sides and top.

I hope this is helpful and Happy Holidays, everybody!

Bobby

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On 12/15/2016 at 8:04 AM, JenGranger said:

I have the same question about small projects.

Bennie Lovejoy & JenGranger...

Your logic is fine. As I've stated before, casing is not a requirement to produce better work. It's just another "arrow in the quiver" so to speak. Will casing small pieces of leather provide a better result? Probably, but that's something only you can really answer thru trial and error. You know a lot depends on your particular environment, the quality of your leather and the difficulty of the tooling pattern. You may very well discover that when doing small pieces that you can finish in a single sitting, just don't require casing. I think it would be a good idea to try both methods and then evaluate the results. As far as having inconsistent impressions goes, i'd have to see exactly what you're referring to. In general inconsistent impressions can be caused by a number of things such as moisture content, quality of leather and inconsistent strikes. Tool quality can take it's toll also!

Hope this helps!

Bobby

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Thanks Hidepounder!

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Thank you so much for all those valuables information Hidepounder!!

I've tried to let my leather ''case'' longer, at ambient temperature (small piece,max 8*4 inches, over a 3-4 hours time),instead of tooling them right after wetting them and letting them absorb the water. It did wonder on my last piece.

The burnishes are finally showing!

I've wet my last piece yesterday, and have put it in a ziploc bag overnight, since i'll be tooling it tonight.

Do i need to let it dry for a 3-4 hours as i usually do , or will it be tool-able quite quickly since the job has been done overnight in the bag?

 

Thanks again!

 

*an amazed newbie

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It depends entirely on how wet it was when you put it in the plastic bag and the humidity in your environment. If it had turned partially back to it's natural color, then it should be toolable soon. But if it was very wet when it went into the bag, then you will have to wait and it won't be properly cased. To case properly, the leather has to breath a little but must remain in a super humid environment while it returns to color. Old ice chests make good casing boxes, especially if a couple of adjustable air vents are installed.

Hope this helps!

Bobby

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I dipped a piece of dyes leather for 4 seconds into cold water and it took 12 hours to come close to normal color and the imprint isn't deep. The leather left the granite surface plate was moist too.  This method seems somewhat opposite of the sponge video and leather craft book.

Also some people say I should not practice stamping on pre dyed what looks like 5- 7 oz leather veg scrap sold in mystery bags at the hobby stores. The pre dyed stuff seems to absorb water and darken when wet and returns to its previous shade though. Yet requires several strikes to make an imprint.

 

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catstamp   

Without seeing the type of leather you are using its hard to completely answer your concerns.   It sounds as though you are latigo leather. Which is a dyed waxy leather that isn't good for tooling and doesn't case.   It's used for harnesses or items that may be exposed to weather or heavy use.  I imagine when you wet it the moisture was trapped against your granite because it doesn't absorb into the grain. Call SpringfieldLeather Co. and get one of their veg tan remnant bags. Then, wet it on both sides either with a quick dip or sponge.... I'm sure you will experience a difference with it.  Good luck!

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21 hours ago, ContactCement said:

I dipped a piece of dyes leather for 4 seconds into cold water and it took 12 hours to come close to normal color and the imprint isn't deep. The leather left the granite surface plate was moist too.  This method seems somewhat opposite of the sponge video and leather craft book.

Also some people say I should not practice stamping on pre dyed what looks like 5- 7 oz leather veg scrap sold in mystery bags at the hobby stores. The pre dyed stuff seems to absorb water and darken when wet and returns to its previous shade though. Yet requires several strikes to make an imprint.

 

Most pre-dyed leather isn't veg-tanned (which is the ONLY leather that is suited for stamping or carving & tooling) and from what you are describing you have one of those pieces that ISN'T intended to be stamped or decorated.  It is most important to first learn about the ways leather is tanned and which tanning method results in how each type of leather is used before you go spending ANY money on leather, even scraps, for test/practice purposes.  This basic information is available everywhere and will save your "hide" (little leather joke there) before you make an expensive mistake.

Do yourself a huge favor and start researching leather and how it is tanned and used and you will be a much better craftsman for doing so.  To learn how to work with leather you must read and research everything there is out there, otherwise you are just wasting your time and then wasting others by asking why something doesn't work when you could have known for yourself.  This is a very common thing with new leather workers and you don't want to be in that group.

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