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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 709

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 10:32 am    Post subject: painting leather         Reply with quote

I'm going to make a spolas, a greek leather cuirass.

the leather that i have available is in natural colour but i would like to have it White

i have thought to paint it using acrilyc paint, but i have two questions:

there are more suitable colours for the task?

once Painted, considering that the surface is pretty big and that the leather will be subjected to a certain amount of stress,
there is the risk that the paint will crack?

never Painted leather before so i have thought to ask

thanks
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Traditionally, casein paint and gesso were used to decorate leather. A proper spolas is thick enough to be completely rigid so the paint is less likely to crack compared to a flexible surface. Athens had a large alum tawing leather indfustry. White shoes made from tawed leather was a major export.. It is likely that some types of spolas were covered with tawed leather, which is already white, so no paint is required..
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Leo Todeschini
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Location: Oxford, UK
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 2:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Admission - this period is not my core area.

As Dan points out tawed leather is white, but he also used the word 'covered' and this is critical as tawed leather cannot be moulded, so it can be stuck to something that is formed, but cannot be so itself - stays floppy rather than goes rigid.

However it is basically suede like on the surface and picks up dirt instantly so if you want it to be white and stay white, it may make a good base but it would still need to be painted for maintenance.

If it cracks - so what? Theirs would have cracked too so it will be all the more authentic for doing so. Not sure what they would have used if they did, but probably a distemper, tempera or casein paint filled with chalk or lead oxide etc.

As the result of all these paints sets fully rigid I would imagine that any movement of the substrate would create cracks, so that even though a spolas is essentially rigid, it will not be completely so, so cracks will form.

Tod

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David Hohl




Location: Oregon
Joined: 07 Feb 2011

Posts: 57

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You could use rawhide. That's pretty white, though a little translucent.
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Matthew Amt




Location: Laurel, MD, USA
Joined: 17 Sep 2003

Posts: 1,247

PostPosted: Sat 28 Jan, 2017 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rawhide is only white if it is boiled or bleached, otherwise it's a greenish brown. Tough as anything, yes, but difficult to work with. Obviously you can shape it as you like while it's wet, but controlling shrinkage and warping as it dries will be a real challenge.

If you do end up painting your leather, there has been some discussion over on the Armour Archive about white leather dyes. Apparently they are all messy and disappointing! I believe white acrylic paint was offered as the best alternative. It doesn't look like anyone has tried casein paint--I've used casein paint on the leather facing of a shield, but not on leather armor. However thick and "rigid" it may be, there will always be some flexing--there has to be, or you couldn't put it on without hinges. Whether it cracks or not may depend on how thickly it is applied. Don't know!

Matthew
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Mikko Kuusirati




Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Acrylic paints are somewhat flexible and rubbery and unlikely to crack, to the point that you can usually roll or even fold up a painted canvas without damaging it (I've stored and moved some wall-size paintings of mine like that before, though obviously I wouldn't recommend it for actual valuables Happy). Whether that's good for a historical look is another matter, though...
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Mark Moore




Location: East backwoods-assed Texas
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 12:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Just a shot in the dark here, but what is the stuff they used to use (and still do, I guess) on wide white-wall tires? I wonder how that would do on leather over time? Or the stuff they use on white tennis shoes? Both are cheap, and might merit a little bit of experimentation. Yes? No?.... WTF?! ....McM
''Life is like a box of chocolates...'' --- F. Gump
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 709

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 1:22 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you guys,

my leather supplier is not able to provide me with alum tawed leather, so my options are limited to what i can find locally,

now i have a 4mm thick veg tanned leather,

i believe i'll try Acrylic, may be a little experiment with a scrape piece could be usefull, as now i don't feel so confident to use a more accurate system like casein paint, because i do not have enough experience and i'm not sure about the result

another way could be to buy directly White leather, i'm not sure if i can find it veg tanned, for sure chrome tanned is readily availabe
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Dan D'Silva





Joined: 28 Apr 2007

Posts: 102

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 2:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mikko Kuusirati wrote:
Whether that's good for a historical look is another matter, though...

About that -- all the acrylic paints I've used dry somewhat glossy. I understand milk paint dries matte, though perhaps a water-repellent finish like wax might give it a bit of shine.
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Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

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PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 3:00 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriele Becattini wrote:
thank you guys,

my leather supplier is not able to provide me with alum tawed leather, so my options are limited to what i can find locally,

now i have a 4mm thick veg tanned leather,

i believe i'll try Acrylic, may be a little experiment with a scrape piece could be usefull, as now i don't feel so confident to use a more accurate system like casein paint, because i do not have enough experience and i'm not sure about the result

another way could be to buy directly White leather, i'm not sure if i can find it veg tanned, for sure chrome tanned is readily availabe


If the leather is only 4mm thick you'll need 3-4 layers on the chest.

Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
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Todd Feinman




Location: USA
Joined: 15 Mar 2007

Posts: 10

PostPosted: Sun 29 Jan, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Real Spolas!         Reply with quote

If you are going to make a spolas, I woukd recommend using two layers of natural unbleached oxhide or red deer hide; you can purchase it at Centralia Hide and Fur. It is brown and translucent, so paint both layers with a casein-oil emulsion:
http://www.sinopia.com/Artisanal-Casein-Paint...p_213.html
The casein is super tough and will permanently bond with the hide. You can even paint on decoration when it is done. Give it final rubbing with artist-grade safflower oil. Make it in sections if you'd like and drill holes and stitch an edging holding the two layers together:
https://www.uwgb.edu/aldreteg/Vase1.close.jpeg

If you get the very thick hide and use the sections along the back which are thicker, it should make excellent, very water-resistant armour. Easy to deal with blood stains with more casein! You WILL want to nail the hides to a board while painting, so they won't warp as they dry. Store flat. I have made scale armour this way:
https://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=sOR39hn6zBg

and one day will make a spolas this way. Anything else would be a Halloween costume! :AND, there are a lot of thise out there..

Todd


Last edited by Todd Feinman on Thu 02 Feb, 2017 6:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 709

PostPosted: Mon 30 Jan, 2017 11:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you for all the imputs,

probably we'll settle with veg tanned leather is layers, the techniques involved includes dying, painting and sewing...

may be i'll start a pèroper thread when it is done!
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