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Rawhide & parchment


peter johnsson

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Greetings!

 

For a current projekt I am using thin rawhide for the scabbard. It has wood core and a wrap with textile bands for strength and to build up a layered structure under the final layer of thin hide.

I want the look to be wethered and worn with some dark patches and stains.

The intention is that the knife and scabbard should look old.

Hilt furniture is antler and silver and the blade is dirty old wrought with steeled edge. This is pretty straight forward to create an old look with.

However, the thin raw hide (a kind of calf parchment) does not readily take normal leather stain since the pores are closed. It is a really great material: very thin and very strong with a great character. But its strength does make distressing a bit difficult...

A long soak in strong cold tea gives a light tan color that is nice but also very even. I´d like a more rough and dirty look.

Any tips and suggestions are much appreciated.

:-)

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a light torching?

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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Scratching the back is a great suggestion. Will try that.

I shall also try light scorching before the actual wrapping.

Tar could work well for that dirty top layer.

If I had a bead blaster I´d test that as well...

Instead it´ll be steel brush, emery paper and steel wool.

I will try a combo of dry and wet distressing.

 

Thanks for your suggestions gentlemen!

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WOW i think you nailed it

Let not the swords of good and free men be reforged into plowshares, but may they rest in a place of honor; ready, well oiled and God willing unused. For if the price of peace becomes licking the boots of tyrants, then "To Arms!" I say, and may the fortunes of war smile upon patriots

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coffee may work for a darker stain - instant coffee sprinkled onto the tea soaked rawhide may give an interesting effect...

Jake Cleland - Skye Knives

www.knifemaker.co.uk

"We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them."

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the the universe."

 

Albert Einstein

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Well FWIW I use and "age" a lot of Rawhide and have no problems getting it to dye using Fiebings Spirit Dyes.

1) Soak until properly tempered

2) while still damp apply the dye to BOTH sides - the flesh side takes dye quite well. Depending on what type rawhide you use (I prefer deer and elk (NA wapiti not the same as the elg aka moose - red deer is closest to what I use) over cow which has a much tighter grain and that makes it harder to work with) you may/will get differences in colors with splotches etc.

3) To finish (rawhide needs to be as water resistant as possible) I use what was a common finish here in the SW good ole spar varnish.

4) I don't; do a lot of distressing since rawhide when dried and finished general does not scratch easily - that's based on making them unaged and using them for years to see just what wear can occur.

You can take a look at the sheaths I've made with rawhide at www.wrtcleather.com

 

one caveat re: natural dyes such as coffee, tea, walnut, etc. is to be aware that they are high in tannins and if you soak rawhide in it too long it can and will tan the rawhide into leather - stiff but still leather not

Edited by Wild Rose
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Chuck Burrows

Wild Rose Trading Co

chuck@wrtcleather.com

www.wrtcleather.com

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Thank you Chuck.
I was hoping the hear advice from someone like you who have worked a lot with raw hide and get many different characters out of it.
I shall try using dyes when the raw hide is wet. This is how I normally dye vegetable tanned leather.

Since I had hoped to keep some of the translucent quality of the parchment, I did not want to load it up with too much dye when wet, but perhaps this can be worked around? In the end I did not get much of this translucent quality translating in the finished test pieces anyway.

It seems that the translucent property changes when you stretch the material: it turns a whitish when stretched.

 

I have never worked this material before and I have lots to learn. It is different, but I really like it.

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If you're still not getting a very random patterning from staining, maybe try a sprinkling of wood shavings soaked in whatever dye you are using?

edit- could also be a way of controlling how much dye contacts the hide to prevent above mentioned tanning

Edited by John Page
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Well, I find that sometimes when all else fails, tangible aggression helps:

Perhaps putting it through a good thrashing and beat it up, run around the woods and scuff it up against trees and rocks, river water is pretty nasty....,

-then "fix" it as a warrior would on the fly and ready for the next battle!

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Hi Peter...

 

Alcohol based Fiebing's leather dyes work wonderfully on rawhide because of the variable fat content in the rawhide gives a naturally uneven result. Check out John Cohea's work. Potassium permanganate also does beautiful natural aging...

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Experiment continues. Leather has been glued and sewn in place. Strips of rawhide is used to stitch/repare "damage" in the hide. Alcohol dye was used to get a blotchy character. I wanted to include a mark that look like a tattoo. The result is not pretty, but that might be a good thing.

This is the point of departure for further pagination and distressing.

We´ll see what it ends up like.

 

Thank you all for information, sharing of knowledge and suggestions!

 

image.jpegimage.jpegimage.jpeg

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