Question re: Leather thickness?

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I wonder if any one can help me with a silly question I have.

What sort of thickness of leather is best used if you wish to stamp a design on it?

Reason I ask, I am trying to look at the possibility of using leather as a token/medallion for a grading scheme we are trying to introduce at my archery club. The idea would be to use a piece of leather about 2" and have different colours for the 7 levels with different celtic themed animal art stamped on them (if we can source stamps) but wondered if there is "best" thickness to use for the best embossing. If that makes sense.

Also is it better to have softer or firmer leather to take an imprint?

I thank you for your time and help.
 

g4ghb

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Sep 21, 2005
4,241
167
52
Wiltshire
you will need veg tanned leather and I would go for something in the 3-5mm range

leather and stamps can be obtained from http://leprevo.co.uk/, you may have fun trying to get 7 different colours though pre dyed. Give them a call they are very helpful ;)
 
Feb 15, 2011
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Thick leather is best for embossing 4- 5 mm thick veg. tanned & the firmer the better especially for small items such as medallions, key fobs etc. Full grain butt leather would be best, though split leather will be cheaper.
 
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ESpy

Settler
Aug 28, 2003
860
4
51
Hampshire
www.britishblades.com
That said, 3.5 is fine - I've tooled some 2.5mm stuff that was OK, but I'd prefer not to repeat the experience (too thin and it gets mushy - calfskin is a real sod).

I've never had acceptable results tooling splits other than with a hot creasing tool, which has fuelled a prejudice against the stuff. I had assumed that the stuffing & burnishing of the surface was what was knackering the process - where have you found toolable split, out of interest?
 

Kerne

Maker
Dec 16, 2007
1,766
21
Gloucestershire
Just found this post after reading your PM.

I find that undyed leather takes an imprint much better than dyed leather. As a result, I tend to dye after I've stamped or tooled the leather. I usually use 3mm undyed veg tanned leather from Le Prevo.

I suppose the colours might be the equivalent of the belt system in martial arts, but maybe the animals theselves would be enough. Also, some brightly colored dyed leathers use a surface coating rather than an impregnation system. This coating often does not take stamping or tooling very well.
 
Feb 15, 2011
3,860
1
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That said, 3.5 is fine - I've tooled some 2.5mm stuff that was OK, but I'd prefer not to repeat the experience (too thin and it gets mushy - calfskin is a real sod).

I've never had acceptable results tooling splits other than with a hot creasing tool, which has fuelled a prejudice against the stuff. I had assumed that the stuffing & burnishing of the surface was what was knackering the process - where have you found toolable split, out of interest?

Tooling & stamping/embossing are not the same thing, you can't tool splits it's too fibreous, many split leathers have an artificial coating on them, often simulating the grain which take embossing & stamping reasonably well.

I can understand your problem with calf leather, but it's not meant for embossing being too soft & stretchy, it's more used for clothing, footwear & hats & gloves etc. I'm currently making a hat from it( first time I use it ) & like you said, it's a real pain to work with but I do like it's closed grain....never again though.
 

ESpy

Settler
Aug 28, 2003
860
4
51
Hampshire
www.britishblades.com
Tooling & stamping/embossing are not the same thing

Stamping, embossing, carving et al are subsets of tooling as a whole.

you can't tool splits it's too fibreous

Your description of splits is far more charitable than mine - I won't use it for much, it represents a false economy in materials as far as I'm concerned.

I can understand your problem with calf leather, but it's not meant for embossing being too soft & stretchy, it's more used for clothing, footwear & hats & gloves etc.

Depends on the tan, really - this stuff was used for pouches for ceremonial jewels, with an organisation's logo on the front. ISTR I stuck it to a backing before working it with a spoon tool. Of course, a couple of years after I made them they changed their logo...
 
Feb 15, 2011
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Thanks for clearing that up Espy. I'm no expert in leatherwork termonolgy & only work with it as an amateur. Tooling for me meant carving &, gouging with various tools, which I have never done, as opposed to stamping & embossing which were in my mind different things.
Split leather (top split minus the grain) is not my favourite but has it's uses, especially if you want a distressed finish. I mentioned split leather as I wasn't sure of the OP's budget.I don't think the OP was looking to make something exceptional.
The calf leather I'm using is veg tanned,full grained, semi-analine dyed & 2.2mm thick ( about 5 1/2 oz.) it is very supple & doesn't hold a shape. calf leather contains much more collegen than cow hide which renders it so soft & flexible.I can understand it being used in presentation articles such as pouches & boxes as it does have a fine & luxury look & feel to it.
 

Dougster

Full Member
Oct 13, 2005
5,231
210
The banks of the Deveron.
Give le prevo a call.

I asked the very same question once and they sent me a sample of leather that takes a stamp like you wouldn't believe. The back is quite fibrous and the front, once wet and stamped is crystal clear. I have a little left if you'd like to try it but ask Ben or one of the people at LePrevo.

Richard
 
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