Leather help anyone?

AloeVera4

New Member
Greetings all.

Ok, so I discovered this website sheerly by accident and so far I love the ideas and resources. However, now I have a question. I posted on another thread have not received an answer, so now I'd like to open it up to anyone that has worked with leather before.

I'm interested in making a Manica in the style of Spartacus. What's the best type of leather to make one? The poster of the other thread linked to a Company that provided leather, called Tandy Leather Company. He also mentioned that he worked with 8oz leather. However, he did not mention the type of Leather he used.

So if anyone can help me, what is the best type of leather to make a pauldron out of: Latigo leather? Chap Leather? Rawhide? Cowhide? Already dyed? etc. They even have one thats specifically "sole, armor and Shield" leather. But it comes in 12-14oz. Wouldn't that be TOO thick for a Pauldron or even a Manica?

Also, if you have any more Leather Companies, ideas or assistance, I would surely appreciate the steering in the right direction.

Can anyone help me here? Thanks a million guys

Anthony
 

Auryn

Active Member
Hi Anthony,
what you are looking for is veg tanned leather. This is leather that has been tanned but has not been colored. This kind of leather allows you to do any tooling or designing to it.
I personally like to work in the 3-5oz weight as it gives me the stiffness I like (with heat treatment) but is light enough where I can wear a full body suit of it and not want to keel over in a ditch by noon.

To give you an idea, the pauldron in this picture I made with 3-4oz leather.
I also usually buy my leather from tandy because its the only local place for me (40 min each way is still 'local' right?). There are lots of places online that you can order from but I like to touch and feel the leather before I buy it, especially for commission pieces.


 

Auryn

Active Member
accidentally hit submit too soon.
For any piece that needs to be shaped or hardened definitely stick with veg tanned leather.
For something that is a garment, you can use garment leather or more often than not I use 2-3oz upholstery leather as I can usually get a better deal and much better colors.
I use the really thin garment leather when I am doing something that needs to be supple and have a lot of movement- the corset in the above picture is upholstery hide.

If you have a tandy store within driving distance, its definitely worth your while to drive down there (or call first) and show up when they do their free classes- at mine its on saturdays

veg tanned leather allows you to put designs into it like this by hand- upholstery and garment leathers cannot be tooled but they can be lasered (I do that a lot at work)

 

Auryn

Active Member
I guess I am in a sharing mood today :)
This is a leather corset that I made with veg tanned leather.
Its heat formed to maintain a particular curve. While the leather was still flat I laser engraved it (stinks up my shop like crazy) its then dyed and sealed.

 

AloeVera4

New Member
Great help....and AWESOME WORK!!! Thanks a million! I never even thought they were a chain store until you mentioned it, and I discovered one not 10miles from here in Lauderhill!!! You rule!! Thanks my brother!!!
 

Auryn

Active Member
No sweat
hey we are neighbors.
If you are going to the store on Oakland
ask for Bill when you go in- he is the manager
nice guy generally. There aren't any great sales going on this month but I am sure you will find something.
I never walkout without something.
Their classes used to alway be on Saturdays, I think its still the case.

Erika
 

AloeVera4

New Member
Wow Erika (sorry for calling you "brother") thanks so much for the info. I'll be visiting tomorrow morning. I'll let you know how it went. Yes, I live in Hollywood.

Thanks again....sister ;-)

Anthony
 

superDrool

Sr Member
WOW...and HOLY CRAP! I also work in leather and this tooling is phemoninal. I get tired after a 2" x 2" Scooby Doo dogtag I did for my son's pet this morning. I can onlt imagine the time and money put into these pieces.
Any chance of showing the full gear as to see the scope of things?

I live about an 1.5 hours from my local Tandy shop, but I stopped dealing with them online for hardware as they have become too expensive for me, I now go through another vendor that deals with a broader scope of hardware at better prices in Ohio. I work part time as a cobbler as well, and I find myself becoming more involved with leather each day. It's almost become an obsession of sorts. I can't leave the house without wearing my leather watchband, boots and one of my belts. :lol

If you have a site of portfolio, I'd really love to drool over it...

..but to add to the original Q&A, 8oz. is way too thick( most of that size going into Horse tack and saddlery. 3-5oz is perfect for molding and tooling as Aurora mentioned. As far as I know Tandy as most other leather deals mainly in Cow, deer, goat, lamb, some snake and small animal pelts. All other hides are considered rare and exotic like reptile, Ostrich, Kangaroo, Horse, Bison and not to mention the sea going animals like rays, shark and eel. Of which are extremely hard to source at a decent price, hence long waits for custom leather garments.


-Tony
 
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Zlurpo

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Not as nice as a local store, but I've bought from (quite happily) theleatherguy.org and oregonleatherco.com (which seems to be down on my computer at the moment). The Oregon Leather Co sent me free samples of the leather, a small cut of it, at no charge to me. It was great to see a sample before I purchased it.
 

TeresaMRoberts

Well-Known Member
I use tandy leather to. I have to drive like an hour to get there so I tend to order online or wait untill I need a BUNCH of stuff. I love to do Pictoral Embossing though. If you tell the workers at Tandy what your working on most of the time they can sugest a great leather thickness unless you have what you want in mind. Now that I've started I add leather to things ALL the time :)
I did this for my sons Wyatt Earp halloween costume last year.

And I did this just for my 9mm I can't find many girly things for my firearms
 

Shendorion

Well-Known Member
I'm just going to add my voice to the chorus singing 8 oz. is probably too heavy for this application.

Before you buy any leather, consider doing a test piece in cardboard and thin craft foam. You'd want to use the craft foam for the parts near the shoulder that are dished out and the cardboard for the ones that are just one simple curve. That will give you a fairly good idea of how much leather to buy, and how big the pieces need to be so you can price it out as one piece versus a lot of scraps that add up to the right square footage.
 

superDrool

Sr Member
Dayum! All this female leather talent really puts me to shame. :lol I've only been serious about this for the last two years, but on and off for about 10. You guys do this a hobby or for a living? Because this stuff is great! Leather crafting is a dying artform and as a Cobbler there's little to no interest. If there is, it's by older males who own weapons or women who own/ride horses.
 

Auryn

Active Member
Thanks for the compliment superDrool.
I started leather working and then it turned into a side business (laser cutting and engraving is my day to day stuff- that how I can laser the leather).

Personally I would love to find a cobbler down here in FL that would take on an apprentice. Been trying to teach myself through books but its not the same.
Oh and I second what Shendorion.
always make a mockup so you know how much leather you will need.
 

TeresaMRoberts

Well-Known Member
I started last year like end of march. The holster I pictured was my first attempt at tooling leather. I had 1 class before I tried it. Crafting comes so easy for me. I truly think if I can see it I can do it. Or something similar that is. I make a lot of things for my b/f now. Stuff for his knives and guns. Tonight he asked me to make him a vest like crocadile dundee. Why is this time of year (halloween) that all my friends and friends of friends come out of the wood work asking for me to make their costumes and help on their costumes. But no one wants to pay for the hours of work I put into my stuff. The more things I learn how to do, the more and better I can craft :)
 

superDrool

Sr Member
Auryn, I did notice your location as S. Fl but it didn't register, as I'm from WPB, born and raised. Went to a larping once or twice, didn't much care for it, but I respected the gear others made and the skills other had with tooling. Laser etching on leather eh? I may be asking for your assistance if it's available in the near future?


I started last year like end of march. The holster I pictured was my first attempt at tooling leather. I had 1 class before I tried it. Crafting comes so easy for me. I truly think if I can see it I can do it. Or something similar that is. I make a lot of things for my b/f now. Stuff for his knives and guns. Tonight he asked me to make him a vest like crocadile dundee. Why is this time of year (halloween) that all my friends and friends of friends come out of the wood work asking for me to make their costumes and help on their costumes. But no one wants to pay for the hours of work I put into my stuff. The more things I learn how to do, the more and better I can craft

Since my apprenticeship two ago as a Cobbler, I have gained mad respect for commisioned work, so I feel you on that. Glad you see it as the glass is half full though. I hope you tally all those favors from others in the mean time. ;)

Not only are your lines clean in carving, but paint and stitching too. Do you have a saddle stitcher to punch through that thick leather?
 
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TeresaMRoberts

Well-Known Member
I wish, your ganna laugh but when the leather is to thick I accually put it together with either cement or a temp adhesive then mark where I want the holes. My boyfriend takes it out to the garage and puts it in his vice and drills where the holes go. If I can't afford the machinery I find another way lol :lol It take a while but it works. I'm working on my own ren fest cosutme now. I'm trying to make my own boots, corset, and cuffs out of leather. I had to put it on hold to finish the kids halloween costumes. I almost have the boots finished and haven't been able to start on the rest. Maybe finished next year by ren fest? lol
 

Shendorion

Well-Known Member
Psh, don't need to faincy 'quipment to punch your stitchin' holes. I do most of mine with a scratch awl and a scrap of soft pine. I recently bought a couple of hand tools so I can make cleaner, more uniform stitches, but even those are optional.

Once you've got your pieces cemented together, you just very gently score the line you want your stitch to follow in the leather, and push the awl through both layers. If both sides of the stitch are going to be visible, turn the piece over and drive the awl back through the holes you made and they'll both be very slightly bevelled down at the edges. Then if you don't have any tools to make a crease along the line of the stitch, you can use your swivel knife or even a bone folder to deepen the channel between the holes to keep your stitch from standing proud of the leather.

Another place you can go to pick up all sorts of tricks and instructions is leatherworker.net. I learned more lurking around in their forum for a month than I did in ten years of working leather as a hobby.
 
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