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JC2019

Sourcing cheaper leather to make "prototypes"?

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Hi, I am just getting started, bought some veg tanned hermann oak leather which is nice but a little expensive for experimenting and learning. For making things like wallets and playing with various designs, do you guys mostly just go for it or do you use an alternative cheaper material?

Most likely I'll buy some D grade veg tanned leather (saw some for under $3 a square foot). Or maybe I should look into splits, oil or chrome tanned?  Not sure if they would be firm enough or the right material to play with for wallets. I looked at veg tanned pigskin but that's about $5 a square foot.

 

My goals is to move up to more exotics. If anyone also happens to have  good source for cheaper, lower grade alligator skins that I could learn on let me know, would love to hear. I know Caiman is much cheaper but perhaps too different?

 

Thank you

 

 

Edited by JC2019

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I was going to suggest D grade, but you already have found that option.  Springfield Leather has a number of products that will be reasonable.  Their philosophy is that if you are making smaller products, you can buy a lesser grade and still find that much of it is perfect.  You have to cut around some holes and bite marks, but at the end you will have good, usable leather.  You might call them and ask for their recommendation.  They sometimes have product that is not on the website.  I used to be able to buy whole sides of various colors, weights, etc. on a discount table there for $20.00.  I think they are now $30.00.  The colors are limited, but I found some great leather there.  Certainly good enough for prototypes, practice, etc.

There is a Springfield Leather employee that frequents this site.  Maybe he will chime in.

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I am just getting startedI am just getting started


Given that you eventually want to work with "exotics" ( bear in mind that they all have by no means the same working or natural characteristics, the fact that they are all lumped into the category of exotics cab be very misleading as to working with each species ) , IIWY, I'd begin with splits of various weights and scrap pigskins and thin suedes ( thrift shops may well have leather garments that you can take apart for the leather in various weights and types ) That way you'll "learn to walk" , with the cheap stuff, before "trying to run" with the expensive materials..

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4 hours ago, Tugadude said:

I was going to suggest D grade, but you already have found that option.  Springfield Leather has a number of products that will be reasonable.  Their philosophy is that if you are making smaller products, you can buy a lesser grade and still find that much of it is perfect.  You have to cut around some holes and bite marks, but at the end you will have good, usable leather.  You might call them and ask for their recommendation.  They sometimes have product that is not on the website.  I used to be able to buy whole sides of various colors, weights, etc. on a discount table there for $20.00.  I think they are now $30.00.  The colors are limited, but I found some great leather there.  Certainly good enough for prototypes, practice, etc.

There is a Springfield Leather employee that frequents this site.  Maybe he will chime 

Thanks for info, didnt know they had sides at that price, about how many square ft?

 

I was told to stay away for splits because its almost trash? Above genuine leather.  But I saw that they sell 30 square feet for $20 so that seems pretty cheap to practice.

 

Edited by JC2019

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While you are learning..splits are OK..When you can consistently produce accurate patterns, stitches, items, then you can move on..and you won't be put off doing something just in case you are not certain that you can get it right first time..Working on splits is like drawing on copier paper, lets you practice without worrying about making a mistake on hand made paper at $50.00 per sheet or more..

Don't forget the thrift shops..damaged or worn or holed .. leather garments can be disassembled to get the leather..
You can get Crocodilia, snake ( various ) and other exotics that way, just to practice sewing on..even get enough to make small items..

Edited by mikesc

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40 minutes ago, mikesc said:

While you are learning..splits are OK..When you can consistently produce accurate patterns, stitches, items, then you can move on..and you won't be put off doing something just in case you are not certain that you can get it right first time..Working on splits is like drawing on copier paper, lets you practice without worrying about making a mistake on hand made paper at $50.00 per sheet or more..

Don't forget the thrift shops..damaged or worn or holed .. leather garments can be disassembled to get the leather..
You can get Crocodilia, snake ( various ) and other exotics that way, just to practice sewing on..even get enough to make small items..

Ah good idea about the thrift store for exotics, didnt think about that!

Is the problem with splits that they break/tear easy? I was thinking I could also use it to build the structure of a backpack and put a softer leather on the outside.  

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Splits ?
No..they are pretty solid, they just don't have "finished smooth" face..and so don't get used much where they might show..

Yes, they do get used for "structural work" and then get covered by a finer finished leather..

Edited by mikesc

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15 hours ago, JC2019 said:

Hi, I am just getting started, bought some veg tanned hermann oak leather which is nice but a little expensive for experimenting and learning. For making things like wallets and playing with various designs, do you guys mostly just go for it or do you use an alternative cheaper material?

Most likely I'll buy some D grade veg tanned leather (saw some for under $3 a square foot). Or maybe I should look into splits, oil or chrome tanned?  Not sure if they would be firm enough or the right material to play with for wallets. I looked at veg tanned pigskin but that's about $5 a square foot.

 

My goals is to move up to more exotics. If anyone also happens to have  good source for cheaper, lower grade alligator skins that I could learn on let me know, would love to hear. I know Caiman is much cheaper but perhaps too different?

 

Thank you

 

 

I'm cheap so I use craft foam.

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Look on Craigslist and similar sites for free leather furniture, A leather sofa has many square yards of goods.

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12 hours ago, JC2019 said:

Thanks for info, didnt know they had sides at that price, about how many square ft?

The ones I bought were pretty big, maybe 30 s.f.  or more, I didn't measure.

 

I was told to stay away for splits because its almost trash? Above genuine leather.  But I saw that they sell 30 square feet for $20 so that seems pretty cheap to practice.

 

 

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