Your leather products will be protected and will not be wrecked for many years to come if you harden leather. This can be achieved by either boiling products in water, using sealant, waxing, or utilizing many other techniques hardening leather has benefits but has certain drawbacks as well.
Effective Techniques to Harden Leather
Leather is a fine fabric if handled with proper care it can last a lifetime. People use leather in many forms such as leather outfits like jackets and trousers, it looks decent and makes them feel comfortable with its warm and durable material. Hence, hardening is a good tactic to make leather extra long-lasting. Following are some helpful tips and tricks.
Put Leather in Boiling Water
Water exposure to leather accessories can cause dryness and cause them to get rigid. We can use this to our advantage with the right moves and using the appropriate method, leather can be hardened to the point of necessity. It should be kept in mind that this process is only appropriate for vegetable-tanned leather. Any other leather might get damaged beyond repair if put in water.
The procedure starts with filling a pot with tap water and putting it on medium flame till the water starts boiling. (Cowhide or sheepskin leather is perfect for this procedure as it is comparatively resilient. Lambskin or calfskin might not survive this). This procedure is done for thicker, sturdier leather. Place the leather in the boiling water. No need to worry if your leather starts getting dark and becomes overextended. After taking the leather out stretch it into the required shapes. For a few hours let it sit, once it is fully dried it will be stiffened. Leather will become much more firm the longer it is in boiling water. It shrinks to around 7/8 of its original size. It will be super brittle if left in boiling water for more than 30 minutes.
If dealing with delicate leather such as calfskin then the leather should be soaked in room temperature water. To get rid of excess water, place the leather on a dry towel and fold it. Then let it sit to dry. Once the leather dries it will become harder nevertheless, it can cause the leather to lose its moisture and cause it to crack. To evade such damage apply a small amount of leather conditioner on the surface of the leather.
Bake The Leather
Immerse the leather in a bowl of water and let sit for a few minutes. Set your oven to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and place into the oven. Then mold the leather out of the water with your hands. Shape the leather. This can set the pace for leather to keep its shape. Once the leather starts to hold manipulated shape for another 20 minutes put it back in the oven. For a while let it sit at room temperature. If set in the oven for more than 30 minutes then your leather can be damaged hence you must be very careful with your timing. You should take it out and let it cool for around 10 minutes. If the leather is not as hard according to your expectation repeat the process.
Deal with extra caution in this method. Firstly you will have to bake the leather for 20 minutes. This will firm the leather a bit because the molecules in the leather will be liquefied causing them to become more stretchy. This makes it easier for you to manipulate the form you desire. Not letting it get too hot or it would become hard. Melt the wax till it’s liquefied. By using beeswax, melted candle, or any other type of wax. Take the leather out and lay it on an even surface, to avoid making any mess, place it preferably over a newspaper. By using even and generous strokes, brush the wax so it doesn’t absorb the wax anymore. Then check if it is hardened to the point of your requirement. If it is not then you can put it inside the oven again and apply some additional coats of wax.
A leather protectant or sealant should be applied to further shield leather from wear and tear by simply rubbing it on a piece of leather with a sponge till it is fully immersed. Make sure that you smear a substantial amount to all your leather’s sections this will help extend its lifespan.
Apply a Sealant
Smear a sealant on the leather. Apply a product explicitly used for hardening and protecting leather such as wax, petroleum jelly, or any other product. Put on it evenly across your whole piece of leather without leaving any sections exposed.
Pros and Cons
There are numerous advantages to hardening leather, irrespective of the technique being used. One of the main advantages is the greater resistance to water damage. This occurs because a protective barrier is formed on its surface causing it to seal off potential moisture. Leather is hardened and it becomes more resilient to wear and tear. Fibers of the leather's become more compact causing the material to be more resistant to cracking. Stiffening leather is a brilliant strategy to make it last longer and endure more damage.
One of the major drawbacks of hardening leather is if proper techniques are not used leather can break and cracks can cause it great deal of damage. According to some specialists oils and sealants can be harmful to leather. The effect of oil on leather differs with nature and the amount of the sealants being used.
Conclusively, leather is one of the finest materials that are pretty tough if handled with care and can last for a lifetime. So if you experience that your leather is appearing too soft then you need to stiffen it with the techniques mentioned above. It’s important to remember that using the correct methods and accurate gear is crucial to your success in this venture.