Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reply: Knives and leather

"...leather used to be treated with boiling oil to make it harder..."

Actually that is something of a myth. Boiling in oil ruins the leather.
While the oil wouldn't hurt the leather, the heat destroys it.
Me and a friend of mine made leather armor as kids to sell at Ren Faires.
The correct method is to heat a pan of wax on a double boiler until it is
just molten and dip the leather in the wax. While the leather is still warm
it can be bent into shape (won't be able to after it cools). Excess wax is
polished off after the leather cools.


Didn't know that, thanks Jared for the explanation!



Lweson said...

Actually boiling in water is more accurate. Wax hardened gets soft with heat and stab tests with knives and swords have not gone well. get your water to about 200 degrees and dip your leather in for about a minute or so. Pull it out and put it in a mold or form quickly. Be careful, you can over harden it so that it shatters. It also shrinks when boiled. All in all, it isnt bad but I rather would have modern materials like Spectra to line my jacket.

Anonymous said...

Interestings stuff that Spectra fiber:

Storm curtains made with Spectra fiber are extremely lightweight, yet are 15 times stronger than steel, pound for pound.

...and is highly resistant to abrasion (15 times more resistant to abrasion than carbon steel).

...fibers are used in ... cut-resistant gloves

Anonymous said...

This link has some interesting bits on the topic of leather boiling.


Matt said...

Waxed "boiled" leather is great. If you live in a cold weather climate. Exposed to steady heat and the wax softens and leaches out.