hidepounder

Casing Leather

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No Prob. It's really not hard, just takes a little practice.

Cut few pieces of scrap from the same piece of leather, maybe 8 oz. DIp them in water for 10 seconds, 30 seconds 1 minute, and until the bubbles stop.

Let them dry to various colors, cut a few lines and bevel them You'll feel the differences and will see the difference in burnishing when they fully dry.

Luck

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Foamer, I used to do as you did just dampening the surface with a sponge letting return almost to color. I always thought my tooling looked decent. However a few years ago I changed to a method pretty much like Bob's. There was a surprising amount of improvement in my tooling much better defenition. THe difference is that wetting the top surace only you have a psomwhat pliable or compressable surface that may only be a few thousands of an inch in depth. When wetting the entire piece of leather you are not casing the top surface of the leather you are casing the entire piece this leave the leather more compressable deeper into the leather and allows deeper penetration of the tooling hence deeper defenition. Not everyone may agreee with my explanation but thats my story and I am sticking to it.

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I case my leather in the manor described except I don't bag it. I put it in a plastic container of water until the bubbles just about stop and lay it out over night. The last two holsters I have done I have had them discolor (best way I can describe it) and have never had this before. See post in How Do I do That- Discolor Problem for pictures. I've played around with pieces of this hide and every time I case the pieces I end up with the same thing, dark and light areas. I'm starting to think it's the hide. Any input or comments would be great, as this one has me stumped.

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If all the pieces are from the same hide and you have never had the problem before it probably is the leather. If you have a piece not from thre same hide try it and see what happens.

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Grumpyold,

The discoloring sounds similar to the "sun burning" which occurs when parts of the leather are exposed to lighting. If that's not what it is, then I would be suspicious of the leather. The process you're using isn't casing, however, you're just wetting the leather. If you don't contain the leather in a plastic box or plastic bag, you're not allowing the leather to "cook" or "cure" (for lack of better terms). If they leather is exposed to light while you're waiting for it to dry, I'm wondering if you're getting a little "sun burning" which isn't evenly spread across the leather because of the difference drying rates across the leather. Just reaching for straws here for an explanation..,

Grumpyold,

Edited by hidepounder

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Hidepounder;
Thank you for the quick reply. I will retry using your info. The method I was using has been fine in the past but from rereading the information I can understand that I'm wetting the leather but not truly casing it. Once again thank you and I'll see what happens.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with just wetting the leather, but casing really does help. The discoloration is puzzling to me. Please report back on what happens.

Thanks!

Bobby

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I'm trying it at this time. I never thought about sunburn being the problem. I had read of this in some place at some time previously, never thought of it. This very well may be the problem as I have just moved from a work room in our basement to my freshly finished loft above the garage. No natural light in the basement to lots of light coming in through windows everywhere. I will know shortly.

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It's not only sunline but also the UV in fluorescent lighting will also "tan" the leather.

Cya!

Bob

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Problem solved. Tried several pieces and put them in a plastic contain out of the light and all came out just fine. Thank you Hidepounder (Bobby).

I will keep the fluorescent lights in mind too BDAZ (Bob), thank you.

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Thank you for the downlaod sir! Naturally stupid noob questions....

Will the hardness of water effect the quality of tooling? Will really hard water that can leave limescale immediately have a detrimental effect on leather?

Thank you,

And.

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Hard water that has a lot of mineral especialy iron can discolor leather. if you have that problem just get a bottle of distilled water about 99 cents a gallon.

Edited by camano ridge

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Hard water that has a lot of mineral especialy iron can discolor leather. if you have that problem just get a bottle of distilled water about 99 cents a gallon.

Agree. We're on well water and use bottled water for drinking. I always use the bottled water for my leather work. Never tried the well water, but have heard and read enough to not want to try it.

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I use distilled water. Bottled water may be reverse osmosis (ok) or spring water( with minerals in or added) which may build up in the leather.

Cya!

Bob

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Hi All !

When I suspect my new post will be long and might exceed the LW program time allowance, I do a draft on WordPad and then save it in my Documents folder, then copy & paste to the new post window.

Well, I had the draft below completed back on 3-14-2014, but couldn't get it to copy & paste to a new post window, either by using the tools provided on the window, or by using regular copy & paste methods (highlighting, right-clicking for a drop-down of tool options, etc.).

I still couldn't copy & paste today, so just gave up and decided to re-type the whole post over again below. I find great pleasure in writing new stuff, but if it's long, I don't like " re-inventing-the wheel "..

.....guess I'm losing some of my patience at age 73 ! ;) See my post below.

ToddB 68

______________________________________________________________________________

3-14-2014

Subject: PROPER LEATHER "TEMPER" WHEN TOOLING

Dear Friends,

I was on page #3 (as of 3-14-2014) of the pinned topic "casing leather", by hidepounder (Bob Park), located here > Leather Board > How Do I Do That ? forum. I had read down this thread page and after finishing northmount's post #44, , I noticed the hyperlink "moistening while tooling" at the bottom and clicked on it. That took me to the "Carving Days" thread started by Randle P. McMurphy, June 28, 2012 at the "Tooling, Stamping & Carving Leather" board > "Floral and Sheridan Carving" forum.

After reading down the first page of "Carving Days", my interest and curiosity were particularly aroused by posts #4 and #9 by username kseidel (Keith Seidel). I thought these posts were very well written by-the-way, as he explained the importance of creating and maintaining proper leather "temper" when tooling. Of course, reduced to simple terms, "temper" means hardness or softness.

I'm working with 12oz veg-tanned cowhide and plan to do some creasing and stamping after casing the leather in accordance with Bob Park's tutorial mentioned above.

(QUESTION at this paragraph) :

Since I'm just getting started in Leatherwork and haven't actually done any creasing or stamping, could someone explain to me what evidence I should watch for to determine that the leather needs more water , i.e. color, feel or other manifestation ?

My project doesn't doesn't require much tool work, so I might be able to complete all of this tool work in a single session before more water is required. Nevertheless, I would like to have prior knowledge before starting.

Thanks in advance for the help.

ToddB 68

Edited by ToddB 68

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I'm working with a 4-5 oz piece of leather that is about 16"x16". I wet the piece yesterday evening, and let it sit for a few hours before putting it in a bag an into the fridge. At the time it still seemed wetter than I'd necessarily want. It wasn't sopping wet, but wasn't close to returned to the natural color either. Is that normal for almost 4 hours of sitting? I sealed the bag and put it in the fridge just before bed. This morning I removed the piece from the fridge around 8 am, now 5 and a half hours later it still feels too wet to tool. Am I getting too eager and just need to continue to be patient?

Is there a ballpark window that I can know what kind of timeframe I should start my casing for when I would like to be ready to tool? I know there is an aspect of feeling this out, but still would like to have an idea of whether I missed the mark completely or have a guide post to know I'm on the right path.

Thanks,

Charlie

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Ive tooled a lot of leather fresh outta the fridge, practically dripping wet, I find it handy that wet, primarily for molding; holsters, mag pouches, cell phones cases, LARP armor, etc,..its almost like clay in that state, then I'll at least begin to carve the design once I've got em clamped in place. After drying for a day or so, I'll release it from the mold templates, dampen the area where I carved my outlines and then finish the tooling. That being said I've noticed a lot of saddle & belt makers,(with WAY more experience than me) on this forum say they ONLY tool during the "damp" stage. I'm curious as to their replies to your question. I think as long as you rehydrate, (nf oil, lexol, leather balm, leather honey,etc), once your done, you should be ok. Reason I say that is I've noticed when I tool really wet leather it comes out almost crispy dry. I believe thats why they tool in the damp stage, but not positive.

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The reason that we wait until the leather has appeared to return to the original color while still being damp is to get the deep burnishing that you see around your beveled edges, where any shading is done, and it also helps to give you a more consistent result when doing any background work. Mushy/overly wet leather will not give you the contrasts that you are looking for and it also allows the leather to stretch excessively which can ultimately lead to your finished piece now being the wrong size or looking "out of shape/distorted".

Very rarely should your leather be soaked or, the more common method of dipping it in water until all of the bubbles quit rising, unless you are either working with moulded items as indicated by juxtaposed2 or you are working with thick saddle skirting that needs to be heavily formed and shaped into place.

The best way to case your leather for common stamping/tooling use is to wet it well with a sponge, allow it to sit for a bit until the leather appears to return to the original color, and then check it for a cool feel. It should feel cool to the touch but not wet. During your stamping/tooling, if the leather starts to dry out too much just run some more water over it with the sponge (just enough to moisten the leather) and allow it to return to color again.

Patience is the biggest thing that everyone, regardless of experience level, tends to fight with but it is a necessity in this trade and probably one of the things that you will forever be working on nailing down. I have been doing this for over 40 years and still find myself wanting to accelerate a process only to slap myself down and get a grip on the reality that I can't rush something. Clients pay good money for a quality piece and I would be doing them a serious injustice if I were to shortcut in any way.

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The reason for casing is for a good burnish when tooling and a crisper and better 3d effect. The drying time will depend on the temperature, humidity and thickness of the leather but it's not uncommon for me to wait 6 to 8 hrs before putting 6/7oz in the fridge. If you put it in the fridge before it's ready then your stopping the drying process. I always case the day before I intend to start carving. If I'm doing a project I can complete in a couple of hours I do NVLeatherWorx method, If it's a large project I do the long casing version because if the moisture is consistant thru out the leather there is less rewetting and the less rewetting the better for the carving.

Edited by Troy Burch

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Holy cow! I have so much to learn! It may sound stupid, but my mind was blown reading this...I had absolutely no idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

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Holy cow! I have so much to learn! It may sound stupid, but my mind was blown reading this...I had absolutely no idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

You're welcome, Doubletap and thanks for the feedback.

Hope it helps and Happy New Year!

Bobby

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Thank you Bob for the information. I have been trying this method out and even though I am still not 100% on how much moisture this system seams to be working better than what I used to do ie just wetting the leather while i am working it. this combined with increased attention to swivel knife sharpness has made a big difference.

Bri

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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.

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My question is on the "Wetting the Sides of the leather" when it's covered with the glass. How is this done? Do you wet with a sponge or do you dip the edges in the bath? The glass method makes sense to me, just confused on the method of applying water?

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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.

The glass is used to preserve the cased leather. You case your leather first and then to preserve it, you place a sheet of glass on the leather which inhibits the drying process. To case, you first dip the leather in a water bath and then let it begin the dtying process. When the leather is "ripe", place the glass sheet over the top to hold moisture in. Using glass is something you use when you're tooling and need to stop and want to presrve the moisture content of the leather.

Hope this helps....

Bobby

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