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About Nicbards

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  • Interests
    leatherwork, historic techninques

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
  1. The making would indeed be smelly, strickly an outdoors venture. As it happens I've not been able to try it as cod livers are hard to come by too. Here are some pics from today's making. The black leathers are the same russet hide treated for use as handlebar grips for a bike. The same treatment has been followed, cod oil followed by tallow, after dyeing, since the oil and fat will in this case interfere with the uptake of the dye. After the leather was oiled and left for oxidation, I "boarded" the leather before adding tallow. This means folding it grain to grain and rolling under a board to break up the grain a bit. After that tallow was added giving a waxy finish. The next picture shows a blocking vamp for a Derby shoe. More cod oil was used than on the grips to get a smoother texture. then boarding and tallow as before. The effect of boarding is less evident because of the more supple finish.
  2. @SUP well believe it or not there have been no complaints from my other half, who is rather sensitive to such things! Have not tried making it though, that would be another kettle of fish, @Northmount Here are the pics posted earlier as links, for posterity
  3. @SUP thanks. I like the results so far, though should caution you can overdo it with the oil, in which case after oxidation you will have gummy droplets on the surface which have to be balled off.
  4. OK will post the pics here shortly. Nothing is that old yet because I've only been doing it about a year. Basically I've been currying the leather piece by piece for individual projects. I'm currently preparing some leather for shoe uppers so will post those when they are ready. Cod liver oil is expensive but I suspect could be made cheaply enough it you can obtain raw cod livers. You just leave them in the sun, fermenting in a plastic container for a week or two then get rid of the solids. I wouldn't eat it but the leather doesn't require gastronomic quality. The last remaining oak bark tannery over here in the UK I believe uses generic fish oil instead presumably because of cost, for currying its bridle leathers. Not sure how it behaves versus cod oil, but if you can afford why not use the time honoured product? I have yet to get through 1l of oil; it;'s not going to be major cost for a crafter unless for a large projects, though all these costs add up...
  5. 1, https://www.instagram.com/p/CuOb6PYoJki/ 2, https://www.instagram.com/p/CslEl_Vom9Y/?img_index=1 3, https://www.instagram.com/p/CyAftfCIo2C/?img_index=2 can you see the links? These are cod oil and then tallow (1 and 3) or just cod oil (2), the change in colour from plain russet / tooling hide is mostly from the cod oil. no dye.
  6. It smells fishy at first. But later it makes the leather smell great - just what you want to smell in a leather shop. There was another oil that oxidised in the leather, incidentally, which was Whale oil ("trayne oil") favoured by French makers. Apparently that really did stink. You can see some of my experiments with cod oil via instagram: 6am_shoemaker. I can't get the unrefined oil which is best, it seems to be unobtainium now. Drug store oil works but you have to wait a bit longer for it to stabilise.
  7. So, what about cod (liver) oil? I'm surprised to see its omission here as it was the oil of choice for currying shoe upper leather, in conjunction with tallow, back into the mists of time until cod oil became unaffordable for tanneries and curriers. I've been using it to condition russet hide, I think with nice results. The drawback is you have to set the oiled leather aside for a few weeks for the oil to oxidise into the leather. This is the main benefit, other oils do not do this, and therefore wash out e.g. during blocking of boot vamps when you mellow the uppers.
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