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Re: Leather Hardening

Poster: Lance Harrop <lharrop@mrj.com>

Lord Eogan wrote, in repy to Michael Limner's question...

> On Mon, 21 Jul 1997, Christopher M Dawson wrote:
> > What type of wax?  Bees wax?  Parafin?
> > Please, some one correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't parafin wax make
> > leather a little harder than just bees wax?
> Completely correct.  And parafin won't make your vambrace taste like
> honey.  Emercing the leather in a pot of melted parafin for a few minutes,
> then taking it out and letting it cool should do the trick.

Well, assuming you want to melt that much wax.  I've made fairly nice
(people tell me so) vambraces and rearbraces (sp) from waxed leather.  The
trick I used was to set my oven on 200 degrees (F) and to put the leather
pieces, tied into shape with waxed thread, in the oven on a cookie sheet
with the parafin set inside the piece to melt.  Once it has started to
melt, you move it aroundh(with tongs) and make sure it saturates the
leather.  Because the leather is hot also, it absorbs the wax better.
Then let the piece cool while making sure it will keep its shape.

Wax harden leather softens from 1) hot weather/hot cars 2) handling 3)
taking blows.  Fortunately, it is easy to reharden, just shove it back
into the oven and reheat it, maybe with some more wax (I should do this
(and a million other things) before the war).

The alternate form, waat hhardening, is more difficult.  First of all you
need a really big pot and a  place to heat it.  I tried to borrow Baroness
Annejka's largest pot, and I still couldn't get the whole piece of leather
hardened for thigh pieces (of course cuises are about the largest piece
you'll do,  other then breast plates).  Then you need forms, I used pieces
of metal armor Lord Siguard lent me.  That seemed to work fairly well.

You heat the pot of water to 180 F.  You put the piece of leather, cut
larger then the form you are molding to, into the water until it starts to
darken significantly and to become very maliable.  This is the tricky
part.  I found I could not get the leather to change all at the same time,
and you only have a few  seconds afat hit starts to change to pull it out
and to form it on the mold.  So I suppose I suggest you practice on small
pieces first to get the sense of it.

Further notes as requested and as I learn the implications of this form of

In Service
Leifr Johansson

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