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Photo essay on Britain's last oak bark tannery

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by ManofKent, Aug 10, 2011.

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  1. Equus Leather

    Equus Leather Well-Known Member

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    Its possibly easier to answer in reverse. A keeper is blocked when a square block type thing, normally a loop stick, is pushed through a keeper after its stitched to stretch it just the right amount to make it easy to use and give it a squarer, more finished appearance. The keeper will probably have been dampened a little to help it hold the shape and also will probably be tapped with a hammer to give it crisper edges. A lot of this is for appearance, it gives the keeper a more finished appearance and is one of the things that show you wether someone is working to a standard or to a profit margin. If its done properly it should mean the keeper is just the right size for the strap in use and isn't either too tight when new or really ugly and gaping like a lot are. We also re-crease the face whilst we do it - again just helps get the finishing touches right.

    I suspect that if you just think a belt is just for holding up a pair of trousers the difference in blocked or not is at best trivial, but it makes a enough of a difference to those who like things to be right that no keepers ever leave here without it being done.

    Very quick and not very good photos......

    An un blocked running keeper
    [​IMG]

    Keeper on a loop stick
    [​IMG]

    A blocked and re-creased running keeper
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  2. Fishball

    Fishball Well-Known Member

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    Just back office today from a trip. And found my belt on my office table, thanks Charlie!
     
  3. TimH

    TimH Well-Known Member

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    Charlie, thanks for your eloquent reply which inspired me to look into my notes from my days at Cordwainers back in the Eighties. When you think about it, a cold crease line will not hold for long so a degree of fibre compression must occur with a hot creasing iron thus reinforcing the edge. Similarly with edging irons as used in other areas of leather production such as shoe making when the sole edges are subjected to this to enhance the finish or when using a single crease line along the feathered edge in fine wallet manufacture and light leather goods manufacture where the turnover is rendered virtually invisible by such a process when done properly. History is Knowledge.
     
  4. Equus Leather

    Equus Leather Well-Known Member

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    It is and I agree. History and our tradition teaches us many obviously correct things like never stitching across a strap for e.g., but if we don't question the minutiae and look at the empirical evidence from our own work we don't progress. I still maintain the only real effect of creasing in bridgework is decorative, but given part of the joy of something as arcane as what we both do is we can argue about the details till the cows come home its fine we don't agree. I suspect however there are better places for discussing it!

    Charlie
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  5. james_timothy

    james_timothy Well-Known Member

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    Oh no, this is a great conversation.

    How else are we supposed to learn about the wonderful minutiae and technology of leather working?

    I only understood about a third of Tim Hardy's post...
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2011
  6. shoefan

    shoefan Well-Known Member

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    When you burnish the edges, do you use gum tragacanth/gum dragon to harden/help compress the fibres?
     
  7. Equus Leather

    Equus Leather Well-Known Member

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    No, we use a burnishable dye thats applied and then burnished in to the fibres. The friction/heat and pressure of the burnishing process helps bind the fibres in the edge and produces a really nice slick edge which we then seal with a top dressing. In something like the lined and raised the join between the two pieces of leather becomes invisible when done properly.

    Charlie
     
  8. TimH

    TimH Well-Known Member

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    Charlie, I will not pursue this further and bore the good guys at SF with such topics or challenge your excellent abilities, but this interesting thread has delved into tradition somewhat! I simply wanted to throw in my four penneth worth. Please keep up the entertainment. Best Tim
     
  9. TimH

    TimH Well-Known Member

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    Sorry if my post became too technical, but with nearly 30 years at this game since training at the Cordwainers college in London (Leathergoods, Saddlery, Light goods/ Wallets, Case making, Luggage etc) and having subsequently made a wide variety of leather goods with a passion for tradition and maintaining the core skills, one becomes a little obsessed by it all.
    For example, I have just finished recreating an old fishing reel case which involved a whole host of techniques too numerous to mention here but the full story will appear on my new blog soon.
    Any time you have a question that needs answering, feel free to run it by me.
    Best, Tim
     
  10. Equus Leather

    Equus Leather Well-Known Member

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    Hi All,

    I thought I'd let the Bakers leather fans know that we've just got in some of their Dark Stain harness leather. Its lovely - very like the Australian Nut but mid brown rather than red brown, a little more dense and more substantial at 5mm. I've been trying to develop a really nice heavy weight belt (for this) for ages that isn't wooden and this is just right, I'm really pleased with it. If anyone would like to see a sample I'm more than happy to send off cuts out as ever, just drop me a PM.

    Some pics

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Charlie
     

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