Originally Posted by emptym
^Wonderful. Thank you, DW. I think we'll look into the Horse-Lux, maybe try to get a swatch. Although... Now that I read your earlier post again, Horse-Lux is similar in the break to shell, means it will wrinkle like shell? The permanent wrinkles of shell are, to me, its biggest and perhaps only disadvantage. So if Horse-Lux takes a permanent wrinkle, but isn't as durable or water resistant as shell, it would have the worst of both worlds imo, rather than the best of them. What are the properties and uses of Baumont, latigo and waxed calf?
I don't think that anything will crease identically to shell. In one sense it isn't really even leather...it is not the preserved skin of an animal but rather a muscle sheath that sits under the skin of the horse. Beaumont is a dry retan that looks a lot like an unfinished calf. When waxed it could be mistaken for calf. It is not calf, however, it is cowhide and it breaks and wears like cowhide--more coarsely than calf, in other words. Latigo is a retan cowhide that is hot stuffed. It is not particularly greasy, however and it has good depth, and some variation, of colour. I like it a lot. Waxed calf was originally a prime India kip--vegetable tanned--that was curried and buffed on the flesh side. It was then "painted" with a mixture of warm sperm whale oil, lanolin, and perhaps a few other ingredients which I can't remember off the top of my head. The hides were left to age and "cure" in a warm room for up to a year. This process caused the compounds to disperse throughout the fibers of the leather and polymerize--gel, as who should say. The surface gel/grease was then "cut" with a mix of soap and lantern black--fine soot--which effectively dyed the leather black. No brown was ever made that I know of. The leather was used fleshside out...always. When the shoes or boots were cut and made, a sizing of wheat paste was rubbed into the fibrous surface and burnished. The result was a boot that was extremely durable, didn't need lining (the grainside was to the inside), took a brilliant shine (almost like patent), and didn't show the insults of daily wear. The downside was that it was extremely dirty to handle and make shoes from....one of the reasons shoemaking was, at one time, divided into men's work and women's work...and it required that one have a manservant to black and polish your boots each morning. Most modern variations are common quality cowhides hides, hot stuffed with common oils or greases, dyed on the flesh and then "lacquered." The lacquered leather I have worked with had a finish coat with a resinous ingredient but that finish was solvent based--smelled like aeroplane dope. More than you ever wanted to know...but perhaps interesting for the curious.