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Casing Leather

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TN Mongo:
I haven’t done any leather carving in 25 years and I would like to start again.  I have a question on casing leather.  A number of top leather makers recommend placing the wetted leather in a plastic bag for 3 or 4 hours before carving.  Do you just fold the bag over to allow some of the moister to get out or, do you close the zip lock, or close the bag with a twist tie, to retain as much moisture as possible? 

Secondly, I vaguely remember something about wrapping the project in plastic wrap and placing it in the refrigerator if you had to finish the carving the following day.

Any insight that you experienced carvers could give would be greatly appreciated. 

Springfield Slim:
I just wet mine and when it has almost returned to it's natural color I tool it. A lot of it is just experience, doesn't take long to get the hang of it. Just a personal quirk but I don't like stopping and starting tooling if I can help it, so I haven't ever tried the freezing thing. On the few occasions I have had to stop I just wet the leather again the next day.

Ten Wolves Fiveshooter:
   TN, I do what Slim does, if I'm working on a large piece of leather, I wet it under the faucet and then wait for the color to return I leave my wet leather on my granite slab, and wait for the color to return, then I start my carving, Cowboy WC got me off to a good start with this. I also keep a little pan handy of water with a small piece of sponge, to re-case as I go along, I don't want my leather to dry, I keep a small spray bottle on my table filled with water and use it also to re-dampen as needed, if I can't finish my carving for some reason, I dampen my leather and put it in a plastic zip lock bag, and then in the refrigerator, I've gone as long as three days before returning to my carving and the leather was cased perfect. hope this helps

        tEN wOLVES  :D


TN Mongo:
I've done a lot of stamping and minor carving and I know about wetting the leather.  What I'm trying to get more information on is the more complicated Sheridan style of carving.  I know that some of the top guys in this style of carving are quite particular about casing their leather to just the right moisture content.  Back in the mid 1970s when I was just getting into leather work, there was this very accomplished leather carver that I met who had a wooden box that was lined with galvanized steel.  I remember him placing wetted leather in his "box" and waiting a specific amount of time before did any carving or tooling.

Ten Wolves Fiveshooter:

  TN, the pard to talk to is Cowboy WC, I'm sure you have seen the quality of his work, he does mostly Sheridan Style carving, I know he cases his leather, but I don't think he goes to all that much trouble to do it, maybe it has to do with us living here in California, who knows, if he doesn't chime in here, you might want to give him a PM, he'd be more than happy to explain how he does his.


             tEN wOLVES  :D


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