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Leather Quality and Properties - Page 7

post #91 of 1197
A few shoemakers tools used for burnishing leather. (the only ones I don't use are the deer bones)



Left to right: cow bone, cow bone, deer bone, deer bone, boxwood, cocobolo(?), cocobolo(?), cocobolo, osage orange
Edited by DWFII - 7/12/13 at 10:20am
post #92 of 1197

DWFII

That is a revealing photo and seems to solve a question often asked on here about why deer bone has such a reputation. You are offering evidence that the 'deer' bit is not particularly necessary, (although I appreciate that you are using these tools for burnishing and (I think) other contributors are discussing bones as a means of getting rid of damage to shoes). 

 

The two on the left of your photo are ones that look like those I used (nearly 50 years ago) for working in bookbinding with faux leather. I wonder if they would be used in bookbinding that involved real leather. 

post #93 of 1197
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munky View Post

DWFII
That is a revealing photo and seems to solve a question often asked on here about why deer bone has such a reputation. You are offering evidence that the 'deer' bit is not particularly necessary, (although I appreciate that you are using these tools for burnishing and (I think) other contributors are discussing bones as a means of getting rid of damage to shoes). 

The two on the left of your photo are ones that look like those I used (nearly 50 years ago) for working in bookbinding with faux leather. I wonder if they would be used in bookbinding that involved real leather. 

I don't think the deer bone brings anything to the game that cow bone doesn't. Or the cocobolo for that matter. Or a nice piece of boxwood. Boxwood is one of the closest grained woods known. And one of the few that is hard enough to cut threads in.

I suspect that the "getting rid of damage to shoes" is simply another aspect of burnishing. Deer bone, spoons, etc., they're not magic wands. All you can do to scuffs and so forth is burnish them flat...and to some extent shiny.


I made most of those tools...my wife does some bookbinding (with real leather--we have a bit as you might imagine) and she uses a cow bone folding tool I made her. It's a bit flatter and more delicate than mine but fundamentally the same.

--
Edited by DWFII - 7/12/13 at 11:00am
post #94 of 1197

Thanks for that; really interesting!

post #95 of 1197
I meant to mention earlier - Betty at Carmina told me they just use anything that's has a hard surface on shell. I think she said they even use shoe trees sometimes.
post #96 of 1197
You can see her demonstrating the shoe-tree-in-a-bag on shell technique in one of the pics here:

http://www.styleforum.net/t/338057/carmina-at-pitti-uomo
post #97 of 1197
cross post from the shoe porn thread, I just realised this thread is more appropriate,

With my lower grade shoes: like Loakes and Allen Edmonds, and they are all full grain finish, not correct grain bookbinder finish; but I can easily get mirror shine finish on them with just one layer of polish and buffing, I don't bother with renovateur on them yet.

However, with my Tricker's and Alfred Sargents, which cost nearly double with better grade leather and finish, and I put a lot of more care into them, like wipe, reno, polish and buffing, but I just can't get to mirror shine.... after 3 layers polish, quite depressing for me after my shoe care sessions. shog[1].gif

Anyone else experienced this? And can someone shed light on this?
post #98 of 1197
I have another question on leather quality rating.

I understand the rating of 1 through 4 for the various areas of the hide (back versus belly and so on), but is there a rating on cowhide quality in general?

I believe you can order full grain or corrected grain from the tannery, but are there quality ratings of each type? and if so what are they?
post #99 of 1197
Quote:
Originally Posted by wurger View Post

cross post from the shoe porn thread, I just realised this thread is more appropriate,

With my lower grade shoes: like Loakes and Allen Edmonds, and they are all full grain finish, not correct grain bookbinder finish; but I can easily get mirror shine finish on them with just one layer of polish and buffing, I don't bother with renovateur on them yet.

However, with my Tricker's and Alfred Sargents, which cost nearly double with better grade leather and finish, and I put a lot of more care into them, like wipe, reno, polish and buffing, but I just can't get to mirror shine.... after 3 layers polish, quite depressing for me after my shoe care sessions. shog[1].gif

Anyone else experienced this? And can someone shed light on this?

My guess is that you are primarily dealing with a finish issue, and secondarily with a leather issue.

I suspect that the lower cost shoes have a thicker finish on the leather that the more expensive shoes. The thicker finish allows you to build a flat wax surface easier than the thinner finish.
post #100 of 1197
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by glenjay View Post

I understand the rating of 1 through 4 for the various areas of the hide (back versus belly and so on), but is there a rating on cowhide quality in general?


Here is how to grade by Hewit & Sons.

Quote:
http://www.hewitonline.com/Leather_s/3.htm

Grading - The grading of leather is based on holes, grain scratches and other defects such as staining or shape. In principle, we look at the undamaged part of a skin and try to assess how usable it is. A first grade skin should yield a large rectangle, centered on the spine and extending most of the way to the edges. There may be one or more small damages near the edges but these should not detract from the overall efficiency of cutting. A second grade skin should be suitable for smaller full bindings or for large half- and quarter-bindings. Where offered, such as in our calf range of products, lower grades are likely to have more defects spread across the skins and are most suitable for repair and rebacking work where relatively small pieces are required. If you need to order leather for a specific project, the safest option is to let us have details of the number and dimensions of panels you require. We can then choose the most appropriate skin or skins and provide a quotation for your consideration.
Quote:
http://www.hewit.com/skin_deep/?volume=10&article=2

Grading

I write about grading with a little trepidation. The reason for this is that everybody has their own ideas about how a skin should be graded. I thought however that it would be worth putting J. Hewit & Sons grading system down on paper considering that we are now dealing directly with more new customers since the advent of our on-line web catalogue. I am going to divide the leather types into "Commercial" (all resin pigmented leathers) and "Craft" (all leathers suitable for handwork).

Commercial

I have included in the commercial leathers all smooth, glazed and embossed pigmented leathers. These leathers are generally only sold in 2 grades, 1st and 2nd. Generally the grade I skins are blemish-free, although it is possible that a small defect might be found at the edge of the skin. Grade 2 skins will have either a hole or some defect that has not covered with the embossing or haircell print, however in most cases there is still sufficient clean area for at least one full binding. As a rule we normally assume the glazed sheep skivers are more often going to be used for titling pieces, and this results in a higher proportion of grade 2 skins being found in this leather.

Craft Leathers

I have included in the craft leathers all those leathers with a natural grain suitable for handwork - Bookcalf, Chieftain and Clansman Goats etc. The majority of our craft leathers are available three grades - 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

I am first of all going to mention Bookcalf, (and associated pure aniline leathers). In the case of these leathers where there is no surface coating at all the number of perfect skins runs at only about 1-2%, although there is a sizeable proportion of skins with VERY minor damage. In the case of Calfskins this small percentage are separated out as "Super" grade, whilst the "near perfect" skins are sold as grade 1. Don't expect to be able to order 15 Super quality calf at one go, but if you require one or two perfect skins for some priceless book they are there if required.

With the other craft leathers where there is a degree of surface coating, the 1st grade skins, as one would expect, are as a whole blemish free. There might be a small defect on the belly edge or up in the neck area of the skin, but any such damage should be outside the main cutting area in the centre of the skin. Whilst it would be wonderful to be able to offer all grade 1 skins, we do not live in a perfect world. The proportion of grade 1 skins varies depending on the leather type, but is normally in the range of 10-25%. The bulk of what is left is made up of grade 2 skins.

All grade 2 leathers have some sort of blemish on the grain or flesh of the skin that will show up if incorporated into a binding. These blemishes can vary from a flay mark on the back of the skin, through scratches to holes in the skin. As a rule grade 2 skins will have sufficient clean areas to allow at least one full A4 binding to be cut blemish-free. On the smaller leathers such as the Clansman Niger this is not always possible, and in these cases a view is taken on whether the blemishes are "closed" - can be incorporated into a binding, or "open". There has, of course, got to be some sort of boundary between a grade 2 skin and that of a grade 3 skin, and this by its very nature has to be indistinct. The grading will depend on the number and severity of the blemishes taken in relationship to the size of the skin. A large skin with several major blemishes concentrated in one area leaving a good clean area on the skin will be classified as grade 2, whilst a smaller skin with a series of minor marks scattered over the whole surface will be downgraded to a 3rd grade skin.

This system of grading has worked fairly successfully for many years with our customers in the UK (although I'll no doubt now be flooded with complaints!!). If you are at all unsure of the grade you require, or have an unusual book size, it is worth noting that we are very willing to size skins to customer's requirements. This generally benefits both J. Hewit & Sons and you as Binders since you will receive the most price-efficient skins available from stock, and we can hold onto the limited numbers of grade 1 skins for those customers where price is of lesser importance.
Quote:
http://www.hewit.com/download/fs-tol.pdf

Bookcalf
Our Bookcalf originates mainly from New Zealand and Scandinavia. The skins are vegetable tanned using Tara and/or Sumac. They are then aniline dyed and dried on our 'glass' drying machine to enhance the natural smoothness and beauty associated with this quality of leather. The surface is absorbent and lends itself well to additional dyeing by the user.

Library Calf
This leather undergoes the same processing as the Bookcalf, but instead of leaving the skins with the aniline look, we finish off the surface with a light pigment coating. This finish lends itself very well to the "trade" binder, as it is more scuff-resistant than the Bookcalf.
Quote:
http://www.hewit.com/downloads/#price-lists

Book Calf
1st grade, 274.90 GBP
2nd grade, 194.90 GBP
3rd grade, 169.90 GBP
4th grade, 107.50 GBP

Library Calf
1st grade, 237.40 GBP
2nd grade, 167.40 GBP


Quote:
I believe you can order full grain or corrected grain from the tannery, but are there quality ratings of each type? and if so what are they?


I have heard tanneries do not usually sell only 1st grade to distributors. When a distributor order 10 pieces, some tanneries sell 5 pieces of 1st grade and 5 pieces of 2nd grade, for example. Of course, you can choose 1st or 2nd at a distributor.
post #101 of 1197

Is this going to be the One and Only Official Thread on all matters concerning tanning and tanneries, leather qualities, and similar subjects?

 

If so, this is a good idea (I had been looking for a thread of that sort). But may I suggest changing the title to better reflect the entire scope of the discussion?
 

post #102 of 1197
As I understand it lower grade leathers used on like AE, and Loake and such is partially corrected. Also they spray on these coatings on them. I have even heard that they are partially corrected full grain leathers but not enough to deem to "corrected grain". EG, G&G, JL etc. don't put a heavy shellack finish on them therefore a lot more work needs to be put into bulling because the leather is more porous and filling in the pores with wax takes more time and effort.
post #103 of 1197
EG and G&G shoes are much easier to shine as they are usually all creamed up during th antiquing process.

JL and Vass are a bitch to bull due to the lack of finish.

Just my two bps
post #104 of 1197
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Celadon View Post

But may I suggest changing the title to better reflect the entire scope of the discussion?

Sure. What is better?
post #105 of 1197
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

As I understand it lower grade leathers used on like AE, and Loake and such is partially corrected. Also they spray on these coatings on them. I have even heard that they are partially corrected full grain leathers but not enough to deem to "corrected grain". EG, G&G, JL etc. don't put a heavy shellack finish on them therefore a lot more work needs to be put into bulling because the leather is more porous and filling in the pores with wax takes more time and effort.

yes, I reckon that is it, I am slowing getting mirror shine on my AS shoes now.
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