Cuir boille (sp) Leather armour help wanted

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Templar Knight
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Cuir boille (sp) Leather armour help wanted

Postby Templar Knight » Fri Dec 05, 2008 9:31 pm

Have made sample peices of water boiled leather to see how it fares, the first peice I did I hadnt carved, and once hardned I tried to carve it but to no luck it wouldnt work embossing's wouldnt show knife wouldnt cut deep and so on. So i carved a peice and let that dry and then boiled it and it ruined the carving and looks rubbish. So how do i make leather armour with carving on it? I read off alleycatscratch costume site that you can burn it with a soldering iron so I am going to try that, but that obviously doesnt give me any stamp marks. Also when putting rivets in, do you drill holes before boilling and then rivet, or drill and rivet after?

Cheers :D


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Ariarnia
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Postby Ariarnia » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:04 pm

From what our group has experimented with,

If you pour boiling water, or limit the dip to a few seconds, you end up with water hardened leather that has been less distorted by the boiling. If you leave it too long it gets brittle and warps.

If you pour the water you can make up the item first, but there will be sections that are not exposed (depending on what it is of course. If you dip it then you can make the holes first, but they might move, or afterwards, but it might be too hard or brittle.

An advantage to pouring the water has been found with the archery bracers we make up for the local society, pouring the water on one side only allowed flexibility and suppleness against the skin (though obviously the toughest that would be expected to take would be a bow string)



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Postby Templar Knight » Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:07 pm

cheers, I left mine in for 20 to 30 seconds and that makes it as hard as wood nearly. I will try pouring on one side, thanks


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George P.
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Postby George P. » Sat Dec 06, 2008 1:16 am

You need to carve and emboss before you harden. That means boiling the leather is out of the question.
Either tack to a last, or shape by hand, then bake on a piece of wood (a metal tray would burn it) in an oven at 50-60 degrees for a few hours (depending on how wet the leather is). Baste with hide glue if you are feeling adventurous and don't mind experimenting a bit. I've been making leather armour for a few years so if you need any advice, just ask. :)



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border reiver
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Postby border reiver » Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:46 pm

I did play around with hardening leather, for soles and bottles. You can use bees or paraffin wax; bees wax will give you a softer more pliable finish paraffin wax can be over hard and brittle. But as said in other posts the tooling embossing does need to be done before shaping and shaping before the hardening. Wax can be painted on or the parts can be dipped, you can get more wax to soak in if you can get the pieces evenly warm but not too hot if to hot it shrinks and cracks. Hope this helps, try getting hold of a copy of leather and the warrior by john waters (?(might have the name wrong book up stairs))


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Postby Ranger Smith » Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:33 am

I have made some Bronze age leather shields in the past. The best result (a very hard leather with minimal shrinkage and no britleness) was obtained by soaking the leather for 2 minutes in water at a constant 80 degrees temprature then place on or in a former/mould to maintain shape untill dry.

You will need to do any decorative work prior.

The problem with hot water pouring is if your shape is complex boiling water causes uneven shrinkage as will not dausing the whole item.

I would drill holes later


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George P.
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Postby George P. » Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:25 am

Wax acts as a lubricant(blades would cut through the leather more easily), and it also adds weight to the armour...not to mention that it softens in the sun.



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Postby Templar Knight » Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:46 pm

Will try heating in water at about 80 and the baking at 50 to 60 idea. when i boiled it, it went dark brown and was pretty brittle, but still did good at stopping a knife which i tried to stab through it.


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Postby Hobbitstomper » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:46 am

What I have done:

Emboss (not carve)
Soak in hide glue
Nail around former (if you don’t nail it then it will not form properly when it shrinks)
Bake
Leave to dry for a day
Take off former
Leave to dry for several more days.
Paint and varnish

The balance of heat and time is the hard bit and the best way is just to experiment. Stop baking when the surface has darkened to a beech coloured brown.

This works for greaves, vambraces and cops. One day I’ll have a go at making a curie but I’d need to make a big former for that.

The glue stops the material from being brittle while the heat/water hardens it. Don’t just dunk it in boiling water or it will just shrivel up and become too brittle. This happens if you stick leather in water above 80 degrees.

¼” of armour like this stopped a target quarrel from a modern crossbow. It works!



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Postby Nigel » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:37 pm

was wondering when HS would find this thread


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Zachos
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Postby Zachos » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:59 pm

Would it be better to use a single layer of leather, or would laminated armour be better? I'm planning on making some leather vambraces like those in the tournament book.


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Ranger Smith
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Postby Ranger Smith » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:21 am

Heating in water at 80 degrees for 2 minutes then placing in a mould/ former gives the best compromise between hardness and shrinkage. Unless you are spot on with your timing and temprature it is very easy to over heat and cause the leather to shrink/go brittle with oven baking.

You also might want to think about the thickness of leather being used and if it is vege tanned. The results can be poor with other forms of tanning. Also you want to pre soak the leather and give it a good scrubing to remove any exess tanning solution left over It does help to improve the results. Also you can always 'double up' to provide a harder more resilliant surface.


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