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DanDSilva

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  1. Some chrome-tan is as firm as veg-tan and some is much softer, but I think for a typical, structured messenger bag, the firmness of veg-tan in 5-ounce or slightly lighter would work fine. The main difference AFAIK is that chrome-tan is typically less affected when it gets wet. Personally, unless it had to match some other articles, I wouldn't dye it. An old-fashioned saddle tan from just oil/wax and weathering would look great on a messenger bag. But that's down to personal taste of course.
  2. Vegetable-dyeing leather is a bit of a lost art in the English-speaking world. We have older books on the subject, but they are often vague (such as lacking measurements, especially Medieval texts) or use ingredients that are hard to get nowadays. I would think that if you're running a tannery, it would be much easier to contract someone else to grow and/or process your plant dyes rather than try to do both at once. But here are some links you might find useful: Madder (red) The color produced by madder tends to be duller and often more "rusty" than we expect from modern artificial red dyes. Madder Dye Plant Cultivation Red leather using historical dye (madder) Roman Red: dying leather with madder roots Indigo (blue) Judging from most of the photos I've seen, vegetable-tanned leather dyed with indigo tends to be either dull (since the underlying brownish color of the leather clashes with the blue) or dark (if dyed enough times to hide the brown). Though I do remember seeing a pair of fairly bright blue boots once that were supposedly dyed with indigo. Woad is used in much the same way, because the main colorant is the same as found in indigo, though in smaller amounts; it's called indigotin. Growing Indigo This site also has instructions on preparing the dyebath. Dyeing Leather With Indigo. Apparently the process is much the same as with fabric, but you need to soak leather longer and rinse thoroughly to remove the alkali. Unfortunately I have never found clear instructions for producing a good natural yellow on leather. Turmeric produces a wonderful color, which is washfast, but it's not lighfast at all -- a day in the sun will leave it looking like it was never dyed in the first place. I've been frustrated finding out how to use rhamnus (Persian berry or buckthorn), although it was once a popular leather dye, and weld (reseda) is apparently just difficult to use on leather. Here's some further information from another user.
  3. Hi, It's good to know. I see I didn't fully explain what I'm trying to accomplish -- my aim isn't only to keep the knife from falling out of the frog by accident, but also that it should be easy to remove without having to take off the belt, so, for instance, you can quickly take it off and lock it in your glove compartment or something if you realize you're going into a building where it wouldn't be permitted (my local community college, for instance, doesn't permit us to wear large knives and I know there'll be others with similar policies). That's why I was looking at a separate frog instead of just a sheath with a built-in belt loop. I've also thought of using an integrated belt loop closed with laces or snaps, or a belt dangler with a square screw carabiner... any of those sound workable?
  4. Thank you. I think I'm going to try a few combinations on test swatches. My preference is a dark color from the start since black or dark brown seem to be traditional with this style, but if I can't prevent bleeding, then a deep saddle tan from just oil and wax will have to suffice. By the way, anyone have any thoughts on the sheath and frog combination that Weber offers for this blade? Is it likely to be good and secure against both the knife accidentally popping out of the sheath and the sheath popping out of the frog, or could it use improvement in that regard?
  5. Thanks! So, if it's thoroughly buffed, oil dye won't need an acrylic sealer? Very nice. Is the color dyed or just from a large amount of oil?
  6. I recently assembled this knife. The conceit in its design is that it's owned by a sailor, so it's got stabilized grips, stainless and brass parts, etc. I would like it to have a somewhat traditional leather sheath, something like this: http://www.weber-messer.eu/store/product_info.php?products_id=894 What kind of dye and finish can I give it that won't bleed dye, won't crack if flexed, and will hold up relatively well against saltwater and shifting humidity? I don't expect it to be immortal, but I'd like to prolong its lifespan. Currently have on hand Fiebings USMC black, Fiebings brown and black LeatherColors (the water-based stuff you'd find in an arts-and-crafts store), Leather Sheen, Resolene, Liquitex acrylic varnish, mink oil, pure neatsfoot oil, olive oil, Leather Lube and Sno Seal. If that doesn't suffice, I can order additional supplies when we get to June.
  7. So, what I've found over the last few years is that these visors don't really need molding as long as the inner edge is just concave enough. When it's stitched into place, it'll assume a downward curl naturally. Here's an early attempt: This one has a less concave inner edge, so it curls down more: As far as the finish goes, I think just an oily/waxy water-resistant finish that's still flexible is preferable to a hard acrylic finish that might crack when creased. The first one is made with some Crazy Crow blacksmith side leather; the second is just light/midweight veg-tan with oil, Sno Seal and conditioner.
  8. I wouldn't really know how to judge whether it's incompletely tanned, but it doesn't strike me that way. It's about the firmness and flexibility that I was expecting: more flexible than a veg-tanned cowhide strap of similar thickness, firmer than German buckskin. I've so far set one piece to soak in a lemon juice solution, but I'll have to wait for the saddle soap until next time I can go shopping.
  9. That's an interesting idea. I should've specified, though, that I'm trying to keep the piece natural or at least natural-looking, since it's for a historical reenactment. Don't intend to dye it or apply an acrylic finish, for instance.
  10. Okay. The piece has a few extra inches, so I'll give them both a try.
  11. Hello again. I finally got a belt blank from Roy Najecki some weeks ago. It stinks like burned rubber. I assume this is because it has sulfur added, but I've never read that it has a characteristic smell -- I sorta expected it to smell fishy, like German buckskin. Whatever the reason, it's bad enough that I don't even want to be in the same room with it. I've left it out in the garage in the meantime. Anybody know of a way to get it to fade faster? Thanks.
  12. Thanks. I was aiming for about 16 inches. A few weeks ago I decided to just use a wood blank I had on hand and cover it in thin leather.
  13. Thank you. But I'm not actually looking to make shoe soles. What I'm considering is a shield; one like this, but roughly half the diameter; that's why I call it a buckler. http://bronze-age-swords.com/Clonbrin_shield.htm
  14. Thank you. I'll check out Montana, Brettuns and Springfield today. From what I've seen of Tandy bellies, they're a little too thin even at their thickest, and too narrow. I've long wondered whether there'd be any way to make piecing and lamination work, but the historical example I'm looking at appears to be a single piece in a single layer 5mm thick.
  15. Hello, I'm looking into making a leather buckler. I figure veg-tan in the 12+oz range would be the best starting place, but I'd rather not pay for an entire sole bend when I'm only going to be using a few feet. Is there anywhere, preferably Stateside, that'll sell thirds or quarters of a bend or anything like that?
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