Leather Laminate Experiment - Urban Bushcraft

Bishop

Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
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Cabin Fever Central
One of the biggest problems I have encountered making leather pouches is that I'm a peasant and cannot afford the genuine article that's required for the classical moulded designs. Plus my tooling is limited and I have the hand skills of a blind chimp who's drunk a bottle of Jack Daniels, so short of winning the lottery gearing up just to attempt some practice pieces is unlikely to ever happen soon. Instead I have to work with what I can find and that typically always means upholstery leather of one form another and that stuff is nearly always really thin, soft & floppy making large or rigid pouches impractical... then I had an idea.

Mooching through the local £shop discovered some woven cotton dustsheets and having a handy supply of free bin bags wondered if the two could be laminated together with a domestic hot iron into something stronger, yet still flexible. Turns out it they can and when you get to around six to eight alternating layers the resulting composite feels & behaves like a wood veneer or Birch Bark. Less layers and you are in the realm of being like a tough plastic carrier bag, slightly stretchy where thorns could poke a hole kind of thing.
DSCN2372.JPG

Now the fun begins as we all know hot plastic will stick to just about everything so ironed a piece of the test composite onto a scrap piece of upholstery leather.
Scale is difficult to judge from the photo so got out the digital caliper: white/cream leather is 1mm thick and the blue plastic about half that at 0.5mm
IMAG3621.jpg

Whilst still warm folded in two ninety degree bends and left to cool and there it sits nicely rigid holding its shape
IMAG3624.jpg
So now in theory once I carve a block form and get some little G-clamps I should be able to make pouches like these (below) found on etsy using the faux leather I have lurking under the bench.(sods law it wont be that easy but I figure it's a step closer if nothing else)
etsy index.jpeg
 
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TLM

Settler
Nov 16, 2019
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If you get your hands on EVA film used on greenhouses try that instead of the blue PE (most probably). It has fairly good sticky properties and otherwise handles pretty much the same.
 

Tengu

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Jan 10, 2006
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Wiltshire
Its interesting but I think it complicate the process and does nothing for the leather.

I understand what you say about wanting to do projects...I long ago learned to fit my projects to the material I have in hand rather than the other way around.

Good leather is expensive.

I would let you have some veg tan for the moulded pouches you desire...but at the moment its 250 miles away...

I have some thick veg tan offcuts...these you could use to practice tooling on. Not much other use IMHO. (But PM me if you want them)

Anyone here able to help out??
 

MrEd

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Feb 18, 2010
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www.thetimechamber.co.uk
Its interesting but I think it complicate the process and does nothing for the leather.

I understand what you say about wanting to do projects...I long ago learned to fit my projects to the material I have in hand rather than the other way around.

Good leather is expensive.

I would let you have some veg tan for the moulded pouches you desire...but at the moment its 250 miles away...

I have some thick veg tan offcuts...these you could use to practice tooling on. Not much other use IMHO. (But PM me if you want them)

Anyone here able to help out??
only with blue chrome tanned thin leather from an old sofa :(
 

Tengu

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Jan 10, 2006
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Wiltshire
Hum.

Do you want any of my veg tan pieces to try tooling with? (Most are bits thesoles of shoes were stamped from, so thick and a but small.)

You can have a few if you like.
 

Bishop

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Jan 25, 2014
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Cabin Fever Central
Thanks for the offer Tengu but I'm good at the moment, trying to de-clutter the shed a bit.

Good suggestions from both Robbi & TLM, thankyou.
 

Broch

Full Member
Jan 18, 2009
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Mid Wales
What a great idea - experimenting with different materials (old and new) is a fantastic learning experience :)

Have you tried using old carrier bags to bond with cloth or is it too thick to start with?

I think you're missing the point Tengu - limiting yourself to what you have is fine as long as you can solve the problem; finding new ways to use materials to extend that capability is innovation.
 
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Bishop

Full Member
Jan 25, 2014
1,422
384
Cabin Fever Central
Piecing together sales blurb and several sciency How-To videos many types of plastic are viable such as PU, PVC, HDPE & LLDPE (aka Carrier/Bin bags). As long as the base cloth has a surface the plastic can key into then it should stick. Cotton sheets, pillow cases etc look fair game but FYI those £shop drop cloths are 3.2x3.2m so lots of material to play with and it's very similiar to the stuff used for surgical masks. Apart from that the bugbear of the whole process seems to be getting enough heat into the sandwich with thin layers just about do-able with a domestic clothes iron on full power. For the test piece I just took the bag straight from the roll in it's folded state and didn't open it out, so used thin carrier bags should be more than fine.

Note: remember to use a sheet of baking paper or tinfoil between the iron and the plastic sandwich or the wife will murder you.

The Arts & Crafts brigade have known of the technique for some time and have a really nice range of coloured Iron-On-Vinyl to play with, however they only appear to use it for adding high quality decorative designs to garments & bags. Raspberry fizz holographic sparkle dry bags... anybody?
 
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