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BillinTR

Flesh Side Out

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Being new to this hobby I am still in learning and acquisition mode. My first serious project (an archery quiver) turned out reasonably well. It performs its function well and it looks presentable even if there are flaws. But one thing I noticed as I was looking it over after sealing the project with Resolene was the back side of the quiver where the flesh side of the veg tan was on the outside. After finishing it with antique paste, buffing and sealing with Resolene the finish actually looks quite interesting. It has a weathered/distressed look that is kind of rustic. Has anyone opted to use the flesh side as the presentation side of any case, purse or other type of container type project? Am I the only one who thinks it might make a pretty good look for something?

 

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I've never done that, but as far as I know, shell cordovan has the flesh side as the "outside" part of the leather, and what looks like the inside is actually the top grain.  What's funny is that many people actually reverse this, putting the smooth finished side on the inside, which in the case of shell cordovan is the flesh side.  I think with shell it looks pretty cool to do this, but at the same time it almost seems like a sin to have the smooth side hidden with such an expensive leather.

 

I honestly don't really know of any other type of leather where I'd prefer the smooth side in, but maybe some European leathers with a really nice suede like dyed flesh side would be cool like that for a bag or something.  Plus you wouldn't need a lining leather which is nice.

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done all the time .. holsters to saddles.  And yes, it does look pretty good.  Throw in some inverted or "silhouette" carving, and ya got somethin' there.

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3 hours ago, trailrunner said:

I've never done that, but as far as I know, shell cordovan has the flesh side as the "outside" part of the leather, and what looks like the inside is actually the top grain.  What's funny is that many people actually reverse this, putting the smooth finished side on the inside, which in the case of shell cordovan is the flesh side.  I think with shell it looks pretty cool to do this, but at the same time it almost seems like a sin to have the smooth side hidden with such an expensive leather.

 

I honestly don't really know of any other type of leather where I'd prefer the smooth side in, but maybe some European leathers with a really nice suede like dyed flesh side would be cool like that for a bag or something.  Plus you wouldn't need a lining leather which is nice.

Shell cordovan is not really relevant to just about any other discussions about normal leather. It's not even made of skin. It's literally a piece of muscle-y-type material that gets tanned into leather. 

in the biological sense of which way the material is oriented in the horses body, sure, you could argue it's normally presented flesh side out, but when talking 'leather' in general, flesh side refers to the side with the loose fibers hanging out. in that sense, no, the normally presented side of shell cordovan is not the flesh side.

physically, the material that makes up the smooth side of shell cordovan is not the same material that the flesh side of regular leather is made of.

 

 

To actually add to OP's thread though, does anybody have any good methods for slicking the flesh side a bit in a way that doesnt cause it to ripple and crease when bent, as if you've just applied a film over the top of it, that has only stuck to the very outer fibers? Applying resolene makes it do this, and just looks/feels terrible....

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54 minutes ago, VabaX said:

Shell cordovan is not really relevant to just about any other discussions about normal leather. It's not even made of skin. It's literally a piece of muscle-y-type material that gets tanned into leather. 

in the biological sense of which way the material is oriented in the horses body, sure, you could argue it's normally presented flesh side out, but when talking 'leather' in general, flesh side refers to the side with the loose fibers hanging out. in that sense, no, the normally presented side of shell cordovan is not the flesh side.

physically, the material that makes up the smooth side of shell cordovan is not the same material that the flesh side of regular leather is made of.

 

 

To actually add to OP's thread though, does anybody have any good methods for slicking the flesh side a bit in a way that doesnt cause it to ripple and crease when bent, as if you've just applied a film over the top of it, that has only stuck to the very outer fibers? Applying resolene makes it do this, and just looks/feels terrible....

I'm aware that the flesh side is normally the side with the loose fibers, and that shell cordovan is the opposite.  That was exactly my point.  No need for the passive aggressive attitude.  Your insinuation that I haven't added to the discussion is pretty funny, since your post consisted of first telling me the exact same thing I just posted, and then asking another (slightly related) question of your own.

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9 hours ago, BillinTR said:

Being new to this hobby I am still in learning and acquisition mode. My first serious project (an archery quiver) turned out reasonably well. It performs its function well and it looks presentable even if there are flaws. But one thing I noticed as I was looking it over after sealing the project with Resolene was the back side of the quiver where the flesh side of the veg tan was on the outside. After finishing it with antique paste, buffing and sealing with Resolene the finish actually looks quite interesting. It has a weathered/distressed look that is kind of rustic. Has anyone opted to use the flesh side as the presentation side of any case, purse or other type of container type project? Am I the only one who thinks it might make a pretty good look for something?

 

Essentially the flesh side is the same as suede.

Yes, I have used the inside as the outside on small bags and a few knife sheaths. But the flesh side has to look good, I'll not use any ole rough fibery hairy bit

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I guess I got some pretty decent veg tan then. The flesh side wasn't particularly rough and by the time I had applied about 3 coats of antique paste and rubbed each one out it had smoothed out fairly nicely. But it retained what to me looked like a weathered/distressed appearance. I may consider using the flesh side out for a future project. I guess in hindsight I should have expected that probably a lot of you experienced leatherworkers would have done it a number of times.

 

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