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Boiled Wax Leather Armour (Armor)

Greymeal on boiled leather:

Boiled leather (cuir boili, or some similar spelling) is made by soaking thick leather in a SMELLY, DANGEROUSLY FLAMMABLE mixture of boiling parafin and bees wax (the exact percentages of each escape me). (I don't know how long it needs to boil.) The leather becomes innundated (soaked) with the wax mixture.

The wax-soaked leather is removed from the wax mixture (with heavy gloves, unless you're Madonna or Willem Dafoe) and bent until it cools, retaining its shape.

Because of the smell and the danger of fire, I've read that a good way to boil leather is to heat the wax in a container (ceramic, I think, or possibly an old roasting pan) over an electric hot plate OUTDOORS. I don't know if a crock-pot produces enough heat, but its another possible option.

[FYI, I learned most of this from an article in the Markland PLAGUE newsletter written by one of the original Dagorhir, Halfdan (aka Ron Smith, or Elrohir of the Dispossed).]

Granifar on boiled leather:

Vereshnik, there are several ways of boiling/waxing leather. For the two ways I can think of you need:

  1. your leather
  2. several pounds of parafin wax (found in any grocery store with the canning supplies) amount depends on the amount of leather
  3. standard stove/oven
  4. a double boiler (two pots, one just slightly larger than other)
  5. you probably will want gloves and a fire extinguisher handy...
The harder of the two ways is with the souble boiler. First, boil water in your larger pan, then place the small pot inside the larger one, add the wax and let it melt. Be careful with the heat, parafin wax melts at a relatively low temperature, but it also catches fire when it gets too hot. When you have enough wax melted, proceed with dipping your leather into the wax until the leather is soaked through with it. Set the leather off to the side to cool and proceed with the next piece.

Doing this to your leather will make it very solid and durable. If your armor ever softens from getting beat on too much, you can throw it back into the oven and reheat it. This will respread the wax and harden the leather right up. Also, be careful when working with hot wax, it burns like a ****** when you get it on open skin, hence the gloves. Pliers or some other cooking utensils are usually good to manipulate the leather.

Just for reference, Pentwyvern allows 9/10 ounce leather as armor and it does not have to be hardened.

The Viking Girl on boiled leather:

Some helpful hints in addition to those already posted about the subject...

  1. I make candles, so I have had experience working with wax.. First_ ALWAYS use a double boiler! Before I ralized this, I never had a problem with fires, but its worth the little extra effort.. The best, (ie cheapest) way to do it is to melt the wax in an old coffee can, sitting in a pot of boiling water. Wax never really gets out of a pan, so dont use Moms good Teflon pans! I have pots I got at a thrift store I use only for candlemaking.

  2. NEVER put wax in the sink! It will clog your drains and disposals and is nearly impossible to get clean.

  3. Wax has a low melting point. To keep your waxed leather from "melting" in the sun, add about 3 tablespoons of stearine to each pound of wax. You can buy a bag fairly cheaply at MJ Designs. It makes the wax harder, melt at a higher temperature (eliminating wilted leather) They also sell crystals, but if you can get it, use the powder, it dissolves completely. I got a pound bag for 5.99 at MJ's. Walnut Hill makes most of the supplies that I have seen, and you can get a 10 pound block of wax for about 9 dollars.

  4. A non-messy alternative to dipping the wax, and saves money is by brushing the wax onto the leather. I think that Bain and Hendrick and maybe Fritz have used this technique with good results. just melt the wax and then brush it on the leather. You have to do it a couple times, but it works really well, and can save a lot of time and mess this way. Try it, see how it does, and talk to someone who has done it before.



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