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Old 3rd September 2020, 09:08 AM   #1
Kmaddock
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Default Warped leather shield how to rectify?

Hi All
No pictures as yet
I have just purchased 2 shields and a Tulwar
Dahl and a Sudanese Beja shield
The sudanese one is quiet warped and folded (saw them in an antique shop a while back and seller was not selling, called them last week and they are happy to sell now so deal struck but I will not have in hand for a bit)

Has anyone any experience or do's and don's in getting the warp out
one side of the shield is bent a fair bit but the Boss in the centre is fine, from memory the leather was v solid just warped approx 10mm thick with a few of old staples from previous repairs

may plan was as follows

Holsters seem to get re shaped by soaking in water manipulating gently to shape and then holding in shape while drying out
might this work??

Thanks in advance for advice

Ken
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Old 30th September 2020, 05:41 PM   #2
colin henshaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kmaddock
Hi All
No pictures as yet
I have just purchased 2 shields and a Tulwar
Dahl and a Sudanese Beja shield
The sudanese one is quiet warped and folded (saw them in an antique shop a while back and seller was not selling, called them last week and they are happy to sell now so deal struck but I will not have in hand for a bit)

Has anyone any experience or do's and don's in getting the warp out
one side of the shield is bent a fair bit but the Boss in the centre is fine, from memory the leather was v solid just warped approx 10mm thick with a few of old staples from previous repairs

may plan was as follows

Holsters seem to get re shaped by soaking in water manipulating gently to shape and then holding in shape while drying out
might this work??

Thanks in advance for advice

Ken


Hi Ken

I just saw your post about warped leather shields. I have had this problem in the past and tried to straighten the leather out, soaking the hide and using heavy weights over time etc. However, never with much success, they usually go back to the warped position. So I try to avoid the warped/buckled examples.

Sorry not to be more positive. Please post an image(s) of the shields you mention.

Regards, Colin
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Old 1st October 2020, 09:26 AM   #3
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Hi Colin,

I am glad you posted after I got my shield as I would have been set up for disappointment.

I took no beforehand pics unfortunately.

I soaked shield totally immersed for 3 hours in warmish water, it was rock solid before hand but reasonably mailable after.

I then put it on piece of plywood (the warping one side was bent through 70 degrees)

I eased it flat over a period of a day with heavy weights. Then I took off weights and put planks wood over the shield and screwed the ends of the planks into the plywood sheet to clamp it flat.

Then I left outside to dry over a few days. I then removed the floorboards and used narrow batons and screwed these to the plywood to expose more of the shield to the air to dry an left for around a week.

When I took off the batons it did distort a bit but overall i am v v pleased

I love the repairs and one I have circled in red looks to be a to be gunshot round hole
the boss has 3 repairs alone and there are 7 in total, this Beja shield would tell a great story and i actually really like this item even though the dhal was what I was after. The dhal was in a lot better condition and is in a lot better condition. I will take pictures when I can

Thanks for comments and any idea on hide, Elephant, rhino or Hippo?

Regards,

Ken
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Old 1st October 2020, 01:57 PM   #4
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I wish you had before pictures, however, it looks like you did a wonderful job with a great shield! It looks a little dry, so I would add copious amounts of Pecards leather treatment on both sides and allow it to be absorbed into the shield for a couple of weeks and then gently rub off the excess.
I'll keep your recipe for the reclamation of warped shields for my next project.
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Old 1st October 2020, 02:13 PM   #5
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Yes a pity i dd not take pictures before,
I taught it was going to be a right off of a job so I could see no point in reminding myself of what went wrong

I will mock up what I did and take pictures for reference

Regards
Ken
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Old 1st October 2020, 03:05 PM   #6
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Hi,



While the leather indeed looks like it should be nourished, I would personally recommend (pure) neatsfoot oil, it may darken the leather, but would be easier to apply, and doesn't contain wax or petroleum.
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Old 1st October 2020, 03:45 PM   #7
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I always am leery of adding anything to leather that softens it.
Old leather that is brittle tends to become soft and bits flake off with handling. Adding oils darkens the leather considerably but leather has no memory and does not retain shape well.
I would suggest only Renaissance wax that is a surface treatment that does not soak deeply into the leather. It protects the surface from humidity and handling and does not darken leather nearly as much as oils do.
I one did use oil on a very dry sword grip and the leather was rolling off in bits whenever you held it. The leather fibres over time deteriorate and no longer have their strength and can turn to dust.
You can only revive modern leather to a degree, very old leather I've soaked in oils only to have them crack/break on WW1 saddle straps.
It really depends if the leather was stored well or not that dictates its current condition.
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Old 1st October 2020, 03:50 PM   #8
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I just looked up Neatsfoot oil and Pecards and got the following.

Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening and preservative agent for leather.

Then for Pecard they again mention in their website SUPPLE
A combination of USP grade petroleum products and waxes, including beeswax, keep your leather supple and healthy…just like it’s been doing for all of our customers since 1902

I don't want to soften the leather, might this occur as per above on the product descriptions

Thanks for interest

Ken
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Old 1st October 2020, 04:07 PM   #9
Bob A
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I've used Obenauf's leather preservative with some success. It restores the dried-out leather but doesn't render it soft and mushy.

Here's a link to part of their site, dealing with horse tack. While reins and such need to be supple, saddles need to retain dimensional integrity. This stuff seems to work well for both applications. It was also recommended to me for such items as pistol holsters, which need to retain their shape to properly function.


Last edited by Ian : 3rd October 2020 at 02:43 AM. Reason: Sorry Bob--no links to commercial sites are allowed in discussion forums
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Old 5th October 2020, 04:09 AM   #10
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I have used Pecards on many an African Shield or Indian Dhal to good effect.When the leather gets older and dry, it tends to get powdery areas The Pecards not only stabilizes these areas but preserves the rest of the leather.In painted Indian Dhals, it stops the flaking and restores the color to the painted surface.I use it on rayskin sword handles, straps,scabbards,etc. and I have never had a problem.I use the "Antique Pecards," product.
This is just my experience and should you try this product, you should do so sparingly until you can determine your statisfaction with the results.
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Old 5th October 2020, 08:53 AM   #11
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I've used neatsfoot oil in making a bag for bagpipes: for this, you have to dissolve beeswax in hot neatsfoot oil, then pour it in the bag. Apart from the disgusting smell of the oil, it certainly changed the leather, making it not only oily and waxy [what a surprise !!] but the colour was darkened and the surface sticky.

I would certainly avoid the stuff when treating a shield like this.
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Old 5th October 2020, 09:04 AM   #12
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Agree with LJ ... I've used Pecard leather dressing once in the past, it darkens the leather and spoils the old patina. In my opinion these preparations for boots, horse tack etc are unsuitable for antique artefacts.
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Old 5th October 2020, 09:57 AM   #13
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I believe you'll find these leather conditioners do not suggest using on antique leather but on old leather items that will be used for their intended purpose. Proper storage is the best thing you can do for "antique" leather. Never apply anything to rayskin, dry and hard is what you want, soft only tears. I have recovered sword grips with rayskin and when soaked with water to make it form it tears easily. Once dry it is like a rock and grippy, this is why it was used. It drys tight to a wooden core, any application of softeners will destroy its ability to remain on the grip. For pliable rayskin you will find it is tanned and made into wallets etc. Tanned rayskin was never used on sword grips, for one you cannot form it to a wooden core. Most rayskin sold online is tanned and unsuitable for sword grip use or sword scabbard panels. I find microcrystalline wax fine for rayskin and it will not penetrate the surface to soften the skin.
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Old 5th October 2020, 10:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
I believe you'll find these leather conditioners do not suggest using on antique leather but on old leather items that will be used for their intended purpose. Proper storage is the best thing you can do for "antique" leather. Never apply anything to rayskin, dry and hard is what you want, soft only tears. I have recovered sword grips with rayskin and when soaked with water to make it form it tears easily. Once dry it is like a rock and grippy, this is why it was used. It drys tight to a wooden core, any application of softeners will destroy its ability to remain on the grip. For pliable rayskin you will find it is tanned and made into wallets etc. Tanned rayskin was never used on sword grips, for one you cannot form it to a wooden core. Most rayskin sold online is tanned and unsuitable for sword grip use or sword scabbard panels. I find microcrystalline wax fine for rayskin and it will not penetrate the surface to soften the skin.
Thanks Will. Excellent words of caution with ray skin!
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