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The Sheath/Holster Makers Forum This is the place to discuss all forms of sheath and holster making.

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  #1  
Old 08-24-2016, 11:00 AM
shiny shiny is offline
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treating leather before long time storage?

Hi guy's.... For ages I have two square meters of expensive leather laying around. I made a 3 sheats and a strop out of it. The rest is just getting old. Ten years now. Still I am going to use it for many future sheats. I don't know the name of this kind of leather. This leather is tanned from both sides, but not al the way through. This makes it extremely stiff and though. You really need to wt this leather before folding it into a sheath or it will crack/break.

It had a tiny bit of mold on it. I cleaned it with water and soda. Because of this there are some dark stripes visible from the wiping with a cloth. It looks just as if it is still wet. Mainly the rougher side looks like that.

Can/should I do something about it? I reckon dark stripes will dissapear when I apply beeswax to a sheat made from this leather?

Since I am storing this leather for such a long time will it be a good idear to use some sort of conditioner for the leather to prevent drying out?

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 08-24-2016, 06:50 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Sounds like you have some rawhide.

I have a piece of vegetable tanned leather that is over 20 years old and it isn't stiff like what you have. I don't know exactly how to treat rawhide, but using some kind of oil sounds like it wouldn't hurt. Is this leather yellowish white? If it is then it's rawhide which is why it is stiff as a board. Keep it dry and don't let moisture accumulate on it. Use it as you go along and be careful not to crack it is all I can say. Veg tanned leather gets browner as time goes by, but it doesn't lose its suppleness much and it takes tooling well.
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  #3  
Old 08-25-2016, 06:20 AM
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Crex Crex is offline
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>>"This leather is tanned from both sides, but not al the way through. This makes it extremely stiff and though."
This is not likely, tanning process does not work this way. Basically tanning goes all the way through. Do you mean stained as in colored/dyed? Many dyes will harden leather surfaces over time.

Tanned leather comes in varying degrees of "hardness" based on how it is processed or "rolled and tempered" to use proper terminology - usually classed as soft-medium-hard.

>>"It had a tiny bit of mold on it. I cleaned it with water and soda. Because of this there are some dark stripes visible from the wiping with a cloth. It looks just as if it is still wet. Mainly the rougher side looks like that."
Sounds like your leather was stored poorly if it has mold spots. It has gone through several changes in moisture/dryness, and has been hosting sporidfors that are attacking it's integrity. All these will breakdown any organic material and leather suffers greatly due to it's inherent porosity. It may be too late to restore suppleness. I would recommend not using it for any leather work that requires hard bends as you have found that it will crack. Even wetting it to make it supple is short termed in it's brittle state and it will most likely crack when it dries out and any pressure to the bend is exerted.

Hate to say it, but it sounds like your leather stash is not completely salvageable. I would not use it anywhere you expect to show quality work. You've already got it in hand so you could try some restoring balms or beeswax concoctions, just don't expect the best results. Unless you do or plan to do a lot of leather work on a regular basis, don't buy more than you need at any given time.

Jim - Doesn't sound like rawhide from what he described. Veg tanned will age and harden if not treated or stored properly. Apparently he either bought poorly processed leather or just did not store it well. It's organic (just like us) some age well some do not and a lot has to do with enviroment surrounding us. At least it doesn't have to listen to all the politics.


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  #4  
Old 08-25-2016, 01:38 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Thanks Carl

It just sounded like rawhide to me. Like I said I have a piece I've had since 1995 and for over ten years it was stored in a box in a storage unit while I lived in my 18 wheeler and other places including being stored in the desert southwest for a spell. It never stiffened like what he described, but you know more about it than I do. I didn't get the " not tanned all the way through" part either except to think it was rawhide. You're right about the mold, that would only come from water damage, whatever my leather went through it never got wet, but it was and still is a nice piece of veg tanned leather. I just made two sheaths with it. They came out fine, just a little darker than normal, but heck I stain the stuff anyways.



How come the picture doesn't show? Too big?
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  #5  
Old 08-25-2016, 02:56 PM
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I don't know where the Original Poster is from, but in Europe, they have what they refer to as "half tanned" leather and if I remember correctly it has a rawhide "core". Might check in on the British Blades web site and ask to hose guys.

Paul


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  #6  
Old 08-25-2016, 10:23 PM
shiny shiny is offline
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This leather is half tanned indeed.the core is rawhide. Thats what this is. The core is whiteish. It is supposed to be very stiff. If I remember well its scandinavian. It is considerred a very high quality leather for knife sheats. It is almost impossible to cut it in one cut. Absolutly insanely tough to cut.

You are right sheatmaker... I am from Holland. I ordered the leather from Sweden..

Apart from a tiny bit of mold that was present on a liittle piece of it its still in very good condition. The only thing I wonder is if I should or could treat it to prevent quality loss. But if I hear you Jim... It isn' really necessary...

The dark stripes from the wiping with water are just cosmetic I think. Stuff darkens when you wet it. I expected it to dry and dissapear, but the stipes stayed exactly as if it is still wet. It surprised me. Hoped someone could tell me that its normal or not harmfull. Again, the leather is still in good condition apart from the darkening. That just happened the moment I wiped it with water (and soda). I think its ok...
Thanks everybody!
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  #7  
Old 08-26-2016, 05:45 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Sorry Shiny I couldn't help as I have never encountered half tanned leather. I looked it up and it isn't widely available here. It is used to make very stiff sheaths in Sweden and the Scandi type knife sheaths. Yes you wet it and form it to the knife. It is very very stiff. As far as I can tell you do not need to treat it with anything to store it. Just keep it dry.
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  #8  
Old 08-26-2016, 11:36 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Further research has shown me that "half tanned leather" is basically the leather equivalent of kydex. Very stiff after it is formed and tooled. I would like a piece of it to experiment with. Kydex needs a heat source and this HTL stuff doesn't. A guy in the UK said it is superior to our vegetable tanned leather, but I do not know about that. Anybody here have ANY experience with Half tanned leather?
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  #9  
Old 08-27-2016, 11:08 AM
shiny shiny is offline
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hahaha, indeed, you could call it the natural equivalent of kydex in a way... You can form it when wet instead of hot. If you knock on a sheath made from this leather it sounds like knocking on an empty box or something. I then used beeswax on the sheats... A few layers applied with a hairblower... it then became even harder and more rigid. Be aware that it is a bitch to cut grooves in and even the cutting is almost impossible to do in one go. One advantage over kydex is of course that it is leather and as such is breathes...
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  #10  
Old 08-27-2016, 11:21 AM
shiny shiny is offline
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btw.: this is what it looks like... the core is white

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  #11  
Old 08-28-2016, 01:47 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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Yep, I have never seen that here in the US. Looks laminated. The outside looks just like vegetable tanned leather we have. Does it take tooling well?
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  #12  
Old 08-29-2016, 01:59 AM
shiny shiny is offline
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It is vegetable tanned indeed. It looks laminated but isn't. It's rawhide in the middle you could say. I am not entirely sure but I think I have read that it is tanned from both sides. Again, not sure if my memory serves me well. It is easy to sand. I have no comparison to be able to say it tools easy or hard unfortunately.. Hard to cut is something I can savely say! I think it is also called orthopedic leather or wet molding leather It keeps it's shape better than other kinds of leather. But you already knew that.

Last edited by shiny; 08-29-2016 at 02:05 AM.
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  #13  
Old 08-29-2016, 02:37 PM
jimmontg jimmontg is offline
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The Orthopaedic leather rang a bell.

They use this leather to make neck braces for disabled kids and adults and it can be formed right to the person and changed over time to help change a person's neck posture or for a leg brace. It is used a lot with developmental problems with crippled kids.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2016, 01:13 PM
shiny shiny is offline
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Very interesting. So you might be able to get some in the US to experiment with. If I would have lived in the US I would have sent you a piece. I have more than enough of it.
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  #15  
Old 08-31-2016, 12:43 PM
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miketheknife miketheknife is offline
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I would really love some of this half tanned leather. Here is a guy that says he carries it.

http://www.bladesmithsforum.com/inde...howtopic=15252

His website: http://www.doorcountyforgeworks.com/

5th and 6th post response down. it is not cheap!

Last edited by miketheknife; 08-31-2016 at 12:45 PM.
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apply, bee, blades, breakdown, folding, hand, harden, holster, how to, knife, kydex, leather, leather die, leather tooling, made, material, mold, sheath, sheaths, show, strop, tanned leather, tanning, tiny, white


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