Advise on what leather to buy for seat

Welcome! Forums Project Series Rocking Chair Advise on what leather to buy for seat

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #695324
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    I’m working on the rocking chair now and would like to put a leather seat on it, but I’m not too sure where to get the leather from or what cut to get. It looks like the piece Paul uses is about 30″x30″ or so, which is about 6 to 6 1/2 square feet. I see shoulders online that range from 4-6 sq feet, which is probably pushing it, so it looks like I need to get a full hide or a side? I’ve looked at some at buckleguy.com, since they sell Horween and that’s the only tannery I’m familiar with due to their chromexcel being used in shoes and boots (and I think they supply leather for NBA basketballs…).

    Thanks!

    #695325
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    I’m also not sure of what weight to get. I assume a rather thin leather such as 3-4oz?

    #695385
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    What continent do you live on?

    And which chair of Paul’s are you trying to make?

    #695394
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    I’m in Portland, Oregon. I’m making the rocking chair.

    #695399
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    That makes it easy. Oregon Leather Co on NW second a block north of Burnside or Tandy Leather on NE Whitaker Way near 122 Nd Ave will have what you need and all the leather working tools for more advance projects. Tandy seems to have a better selection of stuff like fasteners on display. Oregon leather probably has all that in the back. They move lots of leather and it’s a small show room.

    Oregon leather has a remainder heap by the front door you might want to pick through. The last project I did I found some for 2 seats and enough for a couple tool rolls left over ( and a couple strops) for about $20.
    It’s luck of the draw.

    That particular stuff was about 1mm thick, so 2-3 oz. Looking at Paul’s video it looks like he is using maybe 4 oz stuff. Since it’s supported by the ply, thickness isn’t a big deal. Go by feel. Some leather is tanned softer than others.

    For upholstery you want chrome tanned , I’d say anywhere from 2-6 oz, the foam will wear out before the leather does. 6 oz might be a tad thick for the small seat.
    just make sure you allow proper room around the sides of your plywood.

    the thinner stuff will be easier to work. On the 1 mm, I used a muslin under layer to make sure the foam was shaped right and then put the leather over that.. you might consider gaffer’s or duct tape around the edge of the ply to soften wear points.

    And I found a large rotary Olfa fabric cutter makes short work of foam and leather. If your wife sews get your own damn cutter to avoid strife.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Larry Geib.
    #696032
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    Thanks a ton Larry. This is very helpful!

    I’m surprised Tandy still exists.
    I took a leather craft class in 7th or 8th grade. It was mandatory, and this was around 1992-1993. Super small town in Montana, so if the shop teacher could also teach leather craft, then that’s what was offered. Anyway, I got some of my own tools from Tandy back then. I bet they are around my mom’s place somewhere.

    #697099
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    I may have missed it, but what thickness of upholstery foam should I use for the rocking chair? In the video it looks like 4 or 5 inches.

    #697131
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    It depends on how “cushy” you want it. I don’t know about the specific chair, but in his two part video on chair upholstery he uses 4”.
    And it depends on the density of the foam, .I like firm seats that don’t bottom out so I use a high density foam and close cell ensolite 1/2” layer as a base. Since it is closed cell foam, you have to make sure you have holes in the same place you do on the seat.I use a spay adhesive to make sure it stays aligned.
    And some people like to put batting over the foam, which evens out the stresses.

    If you do any of this, be sure you allow for a little extra leather.
    It’s all pretty forgiving.

    #697356
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    Thanks Larry. Looks like the foam he uses in the link you shared is two inches thick, and the foam he uses in the rocking chair video is at least double that, so I might go with 4”.

    #697422
    deanbecker
    Participant

    I used 4 on a chair i did and wished i had gone thicker. We are bigger folk however

    #697424
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    Yeah, I think I’ll go with 5 or maybe even 6, and maybe add the layer of closed-cell foam like Larry suggested. I could always cut an inch or two off the top of the foam if it was too thick.

    #697503
    deanbecker
    Participant

    The layer of closed cell is a real good idea. I sewed a cushion so i could still add a thin layer of it. I also. Heated and put the foam in a plastic sack. Sure made it easy to install on the cushion cover

    #698369
    Bryan Donovan
    Participant

    Oops, Paul does mention that he’s using 4-inch foam at the beginning of the upholstery episode of the rocking chair series.

    #732004
    Ed
    Participant

    @LORENZOJOSE Tandy Leather lists all sorts of names for their various leathers, like Denver sides, Loredo Crazy Horse, Faraon sides, etc. Do those names mean anything? I’m not talking about “side,” “whole side, “”back,” etc., but “Loredo,” “Denver” and so forth. I’m looking for leather for a rocker seat.

    See, https://tandyleather.com/collections/finished-leather/tannage_chrome+weight_3-6-oz+leather-type_cowhide?

    That’s a link to 3-6 oz chrome tanned leather at Tandy

    #732030
    Larry Geib
    Participant

    @ed

    Most of those descriptive names don’t mean much to me since I don’t buy all that much leather. They are usually a description of how the leather was dyed and finished. Sometimes they dye with a marbled effect, some leather is pressed to look like the hide of a particular animal. Sometimes they make it look like alligator. I see one of the ones in your link says Ostrich.. I presume that means they pressed it while wet with a stamp that simulates that type of hide. ( sort of like chicken skin) Sometimes the finishes are made to hide ( enhance) flaws in the hides. These are real animals on an open range mostly they get life scars just like we do. . Really fine leather is from cows or horses that are coddled when raised. I used to live in horse leather farm country in Pennsylvania and the fences were even padded so the horses didn’t scar.

    When I see Laredo I think of veg tanned leather with a pebbled finish pressed into it often seen on cowboy boots. but it may just mean the impression.

    That’s why I said originally you should go by look and feel. I haven’t dealt with enough leather to know what to expect from the descriptors. Pay more attention to how the leather was tanned and the thickness. Chome or oil tanned will be generally soft and dyed dark to hide the blue color the chrome imparts to the raw leather. If you see a light color is usually vegetable tanned. Expect that will be pretty stiff. Lastly , pay attention to whether they tell you it’s top leather ( the outermost layer of a hide) or a split inner hide under it. The split will be less durable and less waterproof. They can buff a split to look like top leather, sort of.

    Hope that helps.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 25 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.