Advise on what leather to buy for seat
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Tagged: chair leather hide foam
- This topic has 24 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 5 months ago by Sven-Olof Jansson.
That helps a lot. Thank you. I probably need to buy online, which is part of my problem. Also, I am buying for a chair I’m making for a client. I’ve asked her to look through Tandy’s web pages, select a few. Tandy has a store about an hour away, so I’ll drive down, look for things they actually have that are close to what my client picks, and then haul back what she doesn’t want.
If anyone knows of leather supply houses in the broader DC area, please let me know! Tandy is out in Baltimore. Something closer to DC would be better, especially on the MD side or Northern VA side.
@LORENZOJOSE does the rotary Olfa cutter work on thick foam, like 4″ high density? Do you do things as Paul does, namely thick foam on a ply base, or do you use frames, webbing, etc., with thinner foam?9 November 2021 at 8:08 pm #735979
@LORENZOJOSE does the rotary Olfa cutter work on thick foam, like 4″ high density? Do you do things as Paul does, namely thick foam on a ply base, or do you use frames, webbing, etc., with thinner foam?
The 45 mm Olfa style cutters will cut the 4” foam Pauls shows, closed cell foams like the 1/2” ensolite I mentioned, fabric, and leather. Just make sure it’s sharp.
You have to squash the foam under something like a board or a straightedge so the 45 mm wheel will go through in one pass. It might take more than one pass otherwise.
If you are cutting several chairs at once, it is sometimes worth taking a couple minutes to make a pattern out 1/4” or 1;2” MDF or ply . I have a pattern I keep for a style of leather tool roll I like which saves time when I have to make a couple up. Just place the pattern on the work, press town, and trace around it.with the cutter.
I’ve done upholstery over ply , tempered Masonite, and a web frame. The web frame is a bit cushier, which is why I use the ensolite uder the foam on solid chairs.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Larry Geib.
@LORENZOJOSE …by funny coincidence, I just happened upon an upholsterer’s comment that he cuts thick foam on his bandsaw. I just tried 4″ high density foam on my saw, which happened to have a 3/4″ resaw blade mounted (3-4 tpi). It worked beautifully. Other than lung protection, I cannot think of any safety issues (but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.) It isn’t fibrous, so I can’t pull out fibers that would snag a finger. It doesn’t seem to act in a grabby way that could cause it to suddenly be sucked down into the blade along with a hand. Not sure, but it seems okay. If so, this is the route I’m going to take. Beautiful, clean cuts.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by Ed.
More leather questions…..I ended up buying a full hide. I have about 4/5 of it left and need to figure out how to store it given that I have very little room. I was going to fold it into a box, but apparently you’re not supposed to do that because it can crease. I’m not a leather shop, so I can’t leave it on a “horse.” What are practical ways for a woodworker to put aside a full hide?
By the way, Tandy Leather does not seem to have managed the hide well in that they did not have it flat or on a horse in the store. Instead, they folded it over and then rolled it loosely. So, there is a mild crease down the spine. Maybe I’m being unfair and this is typical?14 December 2021 at 9:30 am #740697
Failing any better suggestions from folks more knowledgeable and experienced than I (of which there are no doubt a large number), you could always make a frame, tack the remains of the hide to the back side, hang the frame on the wall or the back of the door to your workshop. Or if you have some space overhead, maybe make a large-ish octagonal cylinder, wrap the hide around the outside, and then hang it from the ceiling. (This may also help storage of other long things that you might want to keep hold of if you leave one end open.)
Colin, Czech Rep.
For furniture making, would you ever cut a piece that goes across the spine or would you always put the spine at an edge where it will be pulled under and stapled? If so, I could split the whole hide down the middle along the spine and this would make it easier to store. I’ve resisted doing that because it reduces the size of the biggest piece I could take from the material.14 December 2021 at 9:57 pm #740779
My Swedish cowhide and British Suede hide are loosely rolled around “broom handles”, which rest on the rafters. Soft smaller pieces I keep in a box, and the more resilient ones, flat in a drawer.
Please read the above remembering that I have wide and varied knowledge of nothing at all in particular.
As for cutting across the spine: the collagen fibres of the skin follow the direction of muscles, and the latter do not cross over the spinous processes (processi spinosa vertebrae [just to keep my old professor in forensics from rotating in his grave]). Thus, there is a weakness, but then again: the whole hide of a four feet subject hangs from both sides of the spine, it seems improbable that the load of sitting down across that line would rip a leather seat.
London, UK; Boston, MA
- This reply was modified 1 year, 5 months ago by Sven-Olof Jansson. Reason: Addition
Thanks Sven-Olof. Strength is one consideration. Another is whether there is a change in orientation, stretchability, etc., at the spine that would cause the stretched leather to always show a line along the spine. This could be via a line of wrinkling, a line of puckering, etc. Just to clarify, I was going to split along the spine, not across the spine, i.e., a cut from neck to tail along the spine.15 December 2021 at 3:33 pm #740883
Sorry for this scholastic reply.
The looking glass is telling me that wrinkles and puckering occur during life, which for some form of leathers are mechanically removed in the manufacturing process. Then, the result of tanning is crosslinking of broken up collagen fibres, which should confer the leather to be to have homogenous properties with regard to stress. Finally, my foster father had extensive experience from leather making and its use in clothes, and he was very particular on the type of leather, especially for coats and bags.
My “quasi-educated guess” therefore is that factors other than stretch dependent are behind why one should avoid having the spine of a hide visible. Could it have something to do with hair follicles along cattle spines being coarser and deeper, and that having an impact over time?
London, UK; Boston, MA
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