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Leatherwork

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Not necessarily chain mail related but I am looking to learn how to make a hardened leather vest to attach chainmail sleeves too. Anyone point me in the right direction?

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Like Losthelm on the other mailler board, I too recommend armourarchive.org.  Both Lostie and I post there quite a lot.  Search the Armour Archive on the terms "cuirbouilli" "water hardening" and "bake-hardening," which will be the least frequent.

 

For the task, you want an oven, some way to keep your leather piece off of any metal in the oven (hot spots, not good) and an oven thermometer, to discover if your oven really does accurately hold a temp of 175-180 F.  The core of the leather need only heat up to 167 F to do the hardening, and that will take about 20-30 minutes to do.

Edited by Konstantin the Red

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it's pretty tricky to do actually.  you need to constantly stir the water to keep it evenly heated or your leather has a tendency to curl up or shrink unevenly 

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it's pretty tricky to do actually.  you need to constantly stir the water to keep it evenly heated or your leather has a tendency to curl up or shrink unevenly 

Hence baking moist leather in the oven is easier to get consistent results with.  You can keep the leather propped into the right shape with either a 3-D wooden form, even tacking the leather to that and trimming away the tack holes later, or holding its high spots up with wadded-up balls of paper.  Bake gently, don't stew.  Stewing in steaming (not boiling) water may have worked better with half-tanned leather that was a bit rawhidey, rather than the fully tanned you get modernly.

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