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Is there any way to make a piece of leather stiff/rigid without distorting it to much? Answered

Looking to make a leather and canvas bag, the bottom 2-3" in leather, and the top canvas; with a zipper closure between the two sections . Would like the leather to be stightly rigid/stiff so that the bag will stand up straight and not sag.



Look at "Cuir Bouilli" as a search term - its basically heating leather to harden it, either in water or wax. You'll get some shrinkage, if you don't hold the leather against a former.

you only loose form if you water harden it . no form at all is lost in wax hardening


7 years ago

Go to your local hardware or woodworker's supply store and pick up some low gloss tung oil. (Or high gloss tung oil if you want a glossy sheen) Wipe it on the leather with a soft rag and let it dry. You can apply several coats to both sides of the leather, if needed. Keep in mind, it will darken the leather.
I used this method to help my son make a Native American leather shield for the Scouts and it worked quite well.

I think it would be much easier to just use thicker leather or perhaps a processed leather like latigo. You can purchase good quality leather from the Tandy Leather Company at www.tandyleatherfactory.com

I have had some success hardening small pieces of leather (frayed watch straps and the like) by soaking the back in superglue.

You want it fairly thick, if you've thin leather some stiffener would help. E.g. sew a sheet of card or similar in there.


Yes, no , sort of:

Google produced this result

"Wax can be used to harden leather just like boiling it in oil or water, but you have to boil it… The temperature is the important part not what you boil it in. I have had great success boiling in both normal water and wax. Baking it is also an option. You could melt wax and brush it on or wet it down and bake it. I've not had mush experience with baking though. Were I to make it I would likely boil it in water.

The important part about boiling in water is to not actually BOIL it. The water should not be actually at boiling temp… just below it... a few small bubbles should form but not a hard boil. Maintaining the temp can be tricky (especially on an electric stove), and you normally need to soak it for a good 5-6 minutes as well.

I imagine how you re-harden it depends on how it was hardened in the first place. "

Not my idea and never tried it.