leather (in ounces)?

Discussion in 'Historical Re-enactment' started by Bard, May 15, 2004.

  1. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    Does anyone know what thickness typical archer bracers should be?
    It would have to be thick enough though to use for armor as well.
    -berensonofbarahir-
     
  2. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    berensonofbarahir,
    I usually make my archer arm guards out of 5 - 6 or 6 - 7 oz leather. I made a pair recently out of 5 - 6 oz leather, which is a little light, but backed it with synthetic fleece to absorb sweat. They work real nice. For armor I typically use 8 - 10 oz. If you are actually going to use them for real combat armor most folks will recommend 10 - 12 oz leather. I find this way too stiff for wearing on my arms. Instead I use 8 - 10 oz leather. After they are finished I soak them, get them real wet, then form them onto my arms. Then gently take them off, trying my best to retain the formed shape. Then put them in a pre-heated oven, 200 degrees, for 10 - 15 minutes. Make sure the oven is turned off! WATCH THEM VERY CAREFULLY!!!!! If you bake them too long they become rock hard. Great for armor.......for the first blow. Then they will litteraly shatter off your arms!! 10 - 15 minutes makes them very stiff but still somewhat flexible so you can get them on and off. If they become too soft after use, repeat the process. I don't recommend boiling them in bees wax, standard method of heat treating leather for the uninitiated and uninformed, unless you are in favor of wearing vambraces that feel like they are coated in 90 weight greese! Of course if you simply wear the vambraces and sweat in them they will become hardened over time. The salt in your sweat will harden the leather - remember those old pair of leather shoes or old work gloves? When you finish your project post a picture for the rest of us to admire.
     
  3. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    thanks,
    will do.
    -bsb-
     
  4. darkdragon

    darkdragon The Black Prince

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    Most of the time I use 8-10 oz leather. I have used the fleece as a liner before, but they get really hot for me to use. Instead I use a suede lining and make sure I harden the leather first before I put the liner on. I have seen some leather crafters who use other types of liners, such as kid skin or even a synthetic material. If you should decide to put them in the oven to harden them, be very careful not to forget them. If they are left in the oven to long they will burn or even shrink. I have had experiences with them cracking or the edges rolling. Make sure you keep an eye on them as you are hardening them. And as Christoph said, make sure the oven is turned off..If you are using them for armour, you might not want to use any oils on the leather either. I use a conditioner after I have hardened them, because the leather will dry out. Using the conditioner keeps the leather from drying and cracking. It is possible to use a conditioner without getting the leather soft and supple. Just dont use to much and make sure you do not saturate it. Hopes this helps..
     
  5. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    thanks again
     
  6. Bard

    Bard Erchamion

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    I tried that oven technique, and needless to say it works.
    Also, do any of you know of any types of needles or sewing string that I should use?
     
  7. Christophe of Grey

    Christophe of Grey Cordwainer to Royals

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    berensonofbarahir,
    Sorry if I'm repeating myself here but....leather hardens through a process called elastomerization. This occurs when leather is brought to a temperature of 120 degree F and held there for 10 - 15 minutes. So you can heat your leather in an oven, or with bee's wax, or water. Elastomerization actually changes the internal latice structure of the leather.

    As for sewing needles, depends upon the project. For heavy sewing, as in quivers, pouches, shoes, and heavy vambraces, I recommend using a leather stiching needle. The point of the needle is not sharp. If you push the tip against your finger it will not puncture your finger (assuming you don't apply too much force!). You use saddle stitching thread with these needles (sometimes called saddle stiching needles) which is thick and strong. It comes waxed or non-waxed. If you get the non-waxed kind, get a small cake of bee's wax. Stroke the thread with the wax prior to sewing. This helps the thread pass through the leather and makes it easier to handle. If you get pre-waxed thread it's ready to go. BTW, if you choose this type of needle let me know. There is a special way to thread the needle.

    For lighter projects, i.e. clothing, you can use a glovers needle which you can get in fabric stores. You would use upholstery thread with these needles.

    Saddle stitching needles, due to the blunt tip, have to have the hole either punched or drilled for the needle to pass through. With the glover's needle it has a trangular sharp tip that makes it's own hole. Of course you may be hard pressed to get the glover's needle through leather much above 3 - 4 oz in thickness!