Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Leather, knives and other interesting ideas

For some reason people got hooked on the hardened leather thing. :-)


Here is some info on the ancient meathod of manufacturing leather armour. The Romans called the process cuir bouilli.


The process was to heat the leather in wax or oil then shape it before it cooled. Then it would be form fitting, hardened, and water resistant.
(sorry for the font change but I don't have a clue how to change it back)

I am enjoying your blog and forum.

Be well! Have fun!

After reading some of your latest postings I have a few corrections/comments. In spite of what XXXXXX says wax is not the correct way to harden leather for 'armor'. The old term for hardened leather is 'cuirboulli' and it means boiled or cooked leather. As I understand it it can only be done with vegetable tanned leather and not the chrome tanned or whatever else they may use. Using this method the leather will shrink and thicken some and for a short time after it is removed from the hot water it is somewhat elastic and can be stretched and formed into complex curved shapes. As it dries it hardens and retains it's shape. Unfortunately the wax methods look good but they don't work against a sharp edge well. XXXXXX is right in that boiling the leather does ruin it in some respects and it can become brittle but that is the sacrifice that must be made for it to have some use against a blade. I could go on but as I don't really feel this is practical I will skip over the details for something that may be of use.

Years ago my Kali instructor traveled to the Philippines for training and he decided to follow up on an idea he had and bring it with him. He purchased a jacket made of cordura nylon and added some reinforced patches to the lower arms. These patches were cordura and they matched the material of the jacket but under them he had sewn a few layers of kevlar. Kevlar gloves are often used by meat cutters because they are thin enough to not hamper dexterity but cut resistant enough to provide some decent protection to the butcher should he slip. Since a knife fighter will probably put more effort behind the blade than a butcher he figured a few layers would be needed. I don't know the specifics but he did say they tested the idea and found it to be reasonably effective for slashes but only offered some protection for thrusts. Since then at least one company has made a soft (cloth) armor vest that will pass what they call the california ice pick test. Up to that point there were several soft armor vests that were rated for slashing attacks but none before then would pass the above mentioned test for thrusting attacks. Second Chance is the body armor manufacturer that developed the stab resistant vest but they were sold shortly after that. Richard Davis, the founder of Second Chance, has since started another armor manufacturing company, Armor Express. I would think that using the new materials/processes from his stab resistant vests would be better than kevlar but I suspect Kevlar might be the best option for the application due to cost and availibility issues.

That was a good bit longer than I had intended so I will leave it at that for now.


That sounds pretty good, specially, for chest and forearm protection. Bet it would be heavy though, but you'd have a very functional jacket. :-)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once joked that if a company would combine Kevlar, Nomex, Thinsulate, and Gore-tex, you could have a coat that was cold-proof, water-proof, fire-proof, and bullet-proof.

What more could you need?

It would have lots of pockets, too.