Boot Leathers

Got any great sources for leather? Tools? Machinery? Looking for sources?
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Re: Boot Leathers

#101 Post by jake » Wed Oct 29, 2003 1:57 pm

Pablo,

Great stuff! Really appreciate you sharing your knowledge with us. I find this stuff really interesting.

Once again, Thanks!

lim

Re: Boot Leathers

#102 Post by lim » Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:34 pm

DW,
Just got off the phone with Loy at Charles Hardtke, and they sell both metallic gold and silver kangaroo.

Lee

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Re: Boot Leathers

#103 Post by tmattimore » Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:14 pm

DW
M&T corp 866-646-9900. The dollar is taking a beating against the euro so I don't know his price on that product but the sample I purchased was around $4.00 a foot. I never thought of using for a liner but it should work well and the scrap makes great sock liners.
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Re: Boot Leathers

#104 Post by dw » Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:06 pm

Tom, Lee,

Thank you both for sharing your sources. I am almost beside myself with the thought of silver and gold kangaroo. I did an inlay of silver kid some months ago and am still smarting from the results. Oh, I guess the inlay turned out OK but OK was not what I was aiming for. The silver kid was too mushy and distorted a bit when stitching on it.

I used to get some lovely milled veg calf from Greg at about 3 ounce. When crimped it ended up looking and feeling for all the world like English lining kip. Then he quit bringing it in. I'm gonna call tomorrow for a swatch.

I wish we had more people who did full wellingtons. I was saying to Lee that I've read most of the historical stuff--Golding, Swayzland, even Probst and tried to peel Al's brain back to scoop out the good stuff--but none of it is consistent really. They all have their own idiosyncratic approach. As do I. Which makes it even more complicated. I'd sure like to see someone else try the Beaumont or Greg's French Calf (I've made 3 or four pair out of it now) and I'd like to talk to folks about making full cuts at different heel heights but you know the hardest thing to do is to change your methods when you've got something that works...or works pretty good, even.


Anyway, thanks again.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#105 Post by dw » Wed Oct 29, 2003 8:12 pm

I definitely think that I have over soaked leather in the past...maybe I still am, although less so that before. That's the way I was taught. I've compensated by not using leathers that will stain. And, of course, like Jake, I always apply a generous coat of Lexol to the wet leather after I'm done lasting to prevent stains and recondition.

I still fall back on the idea that a boot or shoe will get wet repeatedly during it's lifetime. So it seems to me that using leathers that cannot take a soaking before lasting is roughly in the same category as using kidskin that will peel. But fundamentally, I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous about trying it any other way.

Nevertheless, reading all the posts about this subject makes me want to ask question after question. One question for Tom and Al and anyone else who wants to comment is..."do you think that mulling alters the character of the wet leather? Does it make it easier to crimp? harder?" My own experience, which is limited because I haven't tried mulling upper leather very often, is that it makes it harder to crimp, or at least doesn't help.

Another question, a bit more theoretical..."is wet leather stronger or weaker than dry or damp leather?"

Inquiring minds want to know.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#106 Post by jake » Thu Oct 30, 2003 4:41 am

Al,
..."do you think that mulling alters the character of the wet leather? Does it make it easier to crimp? harder?" My own experience, which is limited because I haven't tried mulling upper leather very often, is that it makes it harder to crimp, or at least doesn't help.

Another question, a bit more theoretical..."is wet leather stronger or weaker than dry or damp leather?"

Inquiring minds want to know.


Me too want to know!

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Re: Boot Leathers

#107 Post by das » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:37 am

Jake,

Good question. It all depends on what you mean by "leather" and by "weak". In my experience with vegetable tanned uppers leathers that wet-mold or form to and retain a memorized shape, wetting is necessary to achieve the effect. In lasting or crimping this leather, it can rip, or tear, but I'm not sure that's because it's wet at the time, or just because one is applying really severe force to it while it happens to be wet.

With chrome or combination tannages, some seem to defy getting wet. Sure you can soak them, even in hot water, but the leather just won't go limp, supple, and loose like veg-tanned. And these rip and tear as well during lasting or crimping. But again is it the wetness, or the forces applied?

Over the long-term, leathers that have been over-strained in lasting or crimping tend to be weaker and have less tensile strength, but is that owing to the stress or the fact that they had been wetted at some point? Think of the forces applied in crimping--that really deforms the leather, bending it into an "L" shape. Many leathers will simply not do that without tearing.

We know too, that in wear, as far as abrasion-resistance goes, leather soles worn in the wet wear down twice as fast those worn in dry environments. That could be a wetness=weakness factor too. Certain sole leathers also cut more easily when moist than when bone dry, and certainly they puncture [with an awl or a stitcher] more easily when damp.

Was that what you were after?

tmattimore

Re: Boot Leathers

#108 Post by tmattimore » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:56 am

DW
If by mulling you mean"casing" or waiting for the water to really penetrate as if tooling I don't think it helps. This is more of a "feel" thing then scientific conclusion. With the veg I use I can usually tell as soon as I pull it out of the tank if it will go easy or not. Of course there is the contrary nature of the material itself I have cut two legs from the same hide right next to each other and one will lay flat in less then 10 minutes and the next will take a half hour or longer. Go figure.
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Re: Boot Leathers

#109 Post by jake » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:12 am

Al,

Basically, yes. I don't think there's any good or firm answer here. It all depends on the leather you're using. Got to be familiar with your leather, which is hard these days. Seems like tanneries are changing either their finish or tannage all the darn time.

Gracious Amigo!

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Re: Boot Leathers

#110 Post by admin » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:15 am

Al, Marc, Pablo, et al,

I have move the history discussion here:

http://www.thehcc.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2257&p=13243#p13243

"Boots and Shoes in History" > "Through the Mists of Time"

It's facinating and needs to be preserved wher it can be more easily accessed.

Emmett

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Re: Boot Leathers

#111 Post by dw » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:48 am

Tom,

That's the way I see it, too.

And...don't tell me! Image I've had the same problems with cutting two blockers side by side and having them respond differently on the boards. I've come to expect it. One thing about Greg's French calf, They're whole hides, so you can cut your blockers across from each other. That helps a lot.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#112 Post by dw » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:57 am

Al,

I'm sure you're right about over stressed leather. I'm not so sure that full cut fronts need to be over stressed, though...at least not the leather that goes into actually making the boot. I can cut three inches off the "toe" end of my front blockers and still have *over* an inch to last the toe of a medium size boot. I can cut a little bit more than an inch off the bottom edge and still have more than an inch lasting allowance.

What's left--the body of the "vamp"--still has plenty of give in it. I've had to move the prospective end of my toe bug further and further up the fold of the vamp to prevent it going over the end of the last. I think it's currently an inch behind where I would locate it on a dress wellington vamp. There's that much residual stretch, lengthwise in the foot part of the front blocker. And that's on an absolutely wrinkle free crimped piece of calf. Veg tan...hmmm...might be different there but I'd be able to still trim all that excess off.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#113 Post by das » Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:15 am

DW,

I follow you on crimping, but do you recall that grid chart we, or somebody did way back, to illustrate where the blocker "grows" the most and in what directions during crimping?

Ah, here it is, Carl Lichte did the test. Take a piece of mellow, glovey leather. Mark a one-inch grid on it top to botom and side to side with a magic marker, then cut your blocker, crimp it, and note how the squares distort, elongate, etc.

Seems to me the greatest stress in the boot front after crimping, was right up the side-eam edge maybe 6". From there, in a diagonal line to the crimp-point, the leather is radicaly distorted.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#114 Post by dw » Thu Oct 30, 2003 7:56 am

Al,

Thanks for reminding me...and thanks for passing on Carl's idea in the first place. I think it's on the Archive CD but I did that experiment myself and posted the results on the Forum. (I may even have the scans still stored on my hard drive. I can re-post them if people are interested...???)

No argument about where the greatest sress is--along the bottom edge and along the side seam edge, especially from the iron six inches in either direction. But again, that gets trimmed off. And from the edges inward, the elongation of the grid squares becomes less and less pronounced.

And according to both my grid-crimp experiment and my own experience, from the corner iron to the break point, the leather...and the grid squares...gets more and more *compressed* rather than elongated, the closer to the blade edge of the board that you get. That compression is there in either direction--up the "leg" and toward the toe--to one degree or another for at least six inches in either direction.

For what it's worth, I think that if you are willing to cut your blockers somewhat oversize relative to the patterns and material needed for the finished boot, you'll trim off 80% (maybe more depending on the location) of the over stressed leather and what's left will be significantly less over-stressed than what you have trimmed off. Thoughts?

Tom, what's your take on this? Curious.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#115 Post by lim » Thu Oct 30, 2003 8:12 am

DW,
In reference to your remark about your reluctance in using weathers that can't be wet, I am making boots out of a lot of the leathers, I'm sure, that you're using also: French Calf and Kangaroo from Greg H., Kangaroo and Water Buffalo and other leathers from Hardtke, Ostrich from Durland/Larson, and Elephant from Jay Kelly. All of these leathers can be soaked before lasting. I'm just talking about the careful wetting of them to prevent problems, not create them

Lee

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Re: Boot Leathers

#116 Post by tmattimore » Thu Oct 30, 2003 11:36 am

DW
I have not seen the grid test but have no doubt of the results. The edges are most stressed. From my observation mostly at the throat. I always have to take at least two good pulls and trim over the toes or I can't get the cone to lay down(heels up or down). My fronts are large I have done a 15 wide from my normal pattern but got real close to that stessed area on the side seam where 6oz had thinned to about 3. However with a throat up to about 143/4 I have no problem except when turning where I am careful not to open it too much. I find myself following your advice in a previous post and elimated any allowance and have even under cut the measure for those with a slender leg to no ill effect.
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Re: Boot Leathers

#117 Post by dw » Thu Oct 30, 2003 5:58 pm

Lee,

Yes, I'm using pretty much the same leathers and I soak all of them with no trouble. But I know you are being cautious and I've always said "better safe than sorry." If I weren't so set in my ways I'd probably try to do it more like you're doing it. Old habits and other factors make it hard for any of us to change.

BTW, my remark was just sort of musing out loud...this has come up before and without knowing what leathers anyone else uses, I have to fall back on what I think is "better safe than sorry." I'm sure you would agree that if you knew a leather couldn't take getting wet, without bleeding, with out cracking, etc., you'd consider it poor judgement to offer it to a customer. Your concern with kidskin peeling is evidence of that.

I hate shark but like you story of the kidskin boots you made I just had a customer that insisted. They looked great...from the highway! Image Up close the shark had lost most if not all its character and thinned out considerably. I did what I was required to do, though...I warned him. If a customer doesn't trust his bootmaker to give him good advice, it's his lookout.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#118 Post by dw » Thu Oct 30, 2003 6:07 pm

Tom, Al,

I found the grid experiments (below) I did one on a full cut and one on a dress cut. This wasn't soft creme cow as Al suggested. i thought that was too easy and too easily distorted to really be of use. So I used some three ounce veg calf, instead. thats why the full cut piece is short (that stuff was pricey).

I may be cutting my blockers larger than you are and I am reinforcing the sideseam edge and the bottom edge, as well. But I never have noticed that the edge (either) gets thinned out significantly. It must be thinning some though as you have to keep tightening the iron throughout the process--I've always figured that was due to some thinning. But once I trim off the excess on the side seam edge and all the pincer marks on the bottom edge, the leather doesn't seem noticeably thinner nor noticeably stressed.
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Re: Boot Leathers

#119 Post by tmattimore » Mon Nov 10, 2003 5:29 pm

D.w
I am about to cross over to the dark side and make some modern shoes out of chrome tan. I am looking for some thing with some firmness but a little stretch left would the Beaumont do?
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Re: Boot Leathers

#120 Post by dw » Mon Nov 10, 2003 9:13 pm

Tom,

Welcome! Bwahaha!! Image

Will it do? I think it would. Be aware that it's not really a chrome tan completely. It a chrome retan.

Also, it has a waxy oil finish. I have a student now and we are using some Beaumont for a four piece pair of boots. All purpose seems to get a bit greasy when applied to the Beaumont. What I did was apply a thin layer of the Upaco water based all purpose and that works well just like it is. But I also tried putting a layer of solvent based all putpose over that and that worked really well where I wanted a good solid all purpose cement hold--like against rubber soles or nylon reinforcing tape for the pulls.

The Beaumont *is* firm, though, and although I've crimped it for full cuts, when you've lasted it up, I doubt it will have more than a little stretch left. More I think about it, the more I think you'll like it--the best of both worlds. Let us see the results!

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Re: Boot Leathers

#121 Post by shoestring » Thu Aug 19, 2004 2:24 am

A while back someone wanted to build shoes but did not want to use "animal hides" well Siegals of California announced they have something reccomended by PETA.If there is still a need leather looking but not leather as we know it.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#122 Post by paul » Thu Aug 26, 2004 9:53 am

Good Morning everybody,

Does anyone have a lead on an appropriate boot top leather in Dusty Rose? Kind of a pink with a touch of grey in it?
GH Leather pearlized lamb is as close as I've seen so far. I don't want lamb or pearlized finish for this project. Kid would be good.

Any leads?

TIA, PK

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Re: Boot Leathers

#123 Post by dw » Thu Aug 26, 2004 10:47 am

Paul,

I know exactly the colour you mean. I like it, too. Shrut and Asche, maybe. If not there...I don't know where.

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Re: Boot Leathers

#124 Post by paul » Thu Aug 26, 2004 2:52 pm

DW,

Thanks. Yes, great color. My wife had a dress that color about 25 years ago and it's always been a favorite for a pink.
Hum, Shrut and Asche, huh? They're not in the SHATA Big Book Directory and I can't find them on an MSN search. Do you have a phone number?

Thanks again, PK

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Re: Boot Leathers

#125 Post by sorrell » Thu Aug 26, 2004 3:55 pm

Paul,
I looked through the current color samples for Shrut and Asch and they don't really have anything I'd call a true Mauve. Their phone number is 617-247-2288 if you want to order samples and look for yourself.

I order from them every now and then. If you find what you want and they won't let you order one or two skins, give me a call and I'll put an order together and add yours.

Peter Hardtke was in my shop the other day, and he had a new color in buffalo that was really close to Mauve. They're small, light-weight, glazed skins so they might work in place of kid.

Lisa

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