cuir bouilli (boiled leather) handle wrap
hi i was thinking of using the cuir bouilli method to make a handlewrap for one of my sword but i read somewhere that in two minutes the elasticity of the leather when ''boiled'' will dissapear so i was wondering how will i cord around it if i only have two minutes to do the job? it seems really impossible to me...

so is there someone who could give me advice to cord a boiled leather wrapped handle that is 11 inches long?
Why would you want to do that? :\
to do something unique for a change ;) also i heard that the vegetable oil tanned leather would reinforce the tsuka (handle) a similar way than same (rayskin)

i wanted also to have the similar look of the cord wrapped leather (albion ,etc) under the ito of my katana.

it will become a nice lion themed katana (my astrological sign)
This might be way out in left field, but maybe you could devise a way to do it while maintaining the heat to keep it supple. Off the top of my head I cannot imagine an easy or relatively safe way this could be achieved. Will the leather even remain supple for an extended amount of time? Perhaps you could just texture the leather with some tooling post humorously. Just ideas.
well i read in the text about boiling leather that the leather when out of hot water gain an elasticity comparable to a thick piece of rubber but after 1 or 2 minutes this elasticity is gone but the leather stays souple for a couple of hours. i think it would be a trial and error thing (good thing i ordered more than a square foot of 4 ounce leather (supposed to have enough to make two wraps for a 11inches long handle but if i mess up the full wrap i may consider to do pannels and take the rest to make a wrap for my viking sword :P
Okay. That's different alright. :)

Just wet the leather and mount it as you like. Keep it slightly damp but not dripping. Remember the leather will shrink so don't make it too tight. Once you have the wrap done to your satisfaction, bake it or steam it. The key is to get the leather fibre up to 167F / 75C in the presence of moisture. Try to do this evenly to the entire work piece. Using a hot air gun won't work because it affects smaller areas at a time. Very difficult to make even coverage.

Have fun with that!! :cool:
the tightness of the cords plays a role in that? i heard that with rayskin its the oposite you must do.

but if you say so i'll search a little more on the net and see what i can find on youtube or things like that.
you could try basting with wax - might get you close to the right consistency if you preheated the leather before basting. i don't know if basting would work with water but it works with wax because wax is denser and maintains its temperature longer upon contact with the leather (once out of the pot water cools off fast). going out on a limb here but you could try preheating in the oven, then a quick dip in boiling pot, but not to the point where the air is really bubbling out of the leather, then take it out, form it and then go straight to basting onto the leather using a brush to get some more liquid into the pore space of the leather grain.

good luck! let us know if you do it and how it comes out! tr
As stated. I would use wax. Heat the leather up to around 120 degrees F and then paint on melted wax. I use it for holster work, and it works well.

You can also try wrapping the handle, wetting the leather, then rapidly heating it in a hot oven.

As with everything, try it out on a practice piece before you do your actual hilt.
I'm going to chime in here with an opinion of "none of the above" :D

A critical part of making a hilt wrap neat and tidy is being able to skive the edges of the leather down to nothing so when they overlap you don't get lumps and the seam is tight and invisible. When you water harden leather it shrinks and thickens and it does so differently in proportion to the thickness of the leather. If you try and water harden a bit of leather whose edges have been skived to nothing you'll end up with nasty crispy bits on the edges. The alternative is to try and make the edges butt together exactly after the leather has been shrunken but before it hardens. You might be able to do this by sewing it onto the grip core, wetting it and baking it hard, but good luck getting an invisible seam doing that.

If what you want to do is substitute a European-style wrap for the same on a katana hilt, then I dont' think a cour-bouille wrap is going to do what you want. What I'd do is wrap it as for a European sword with damp leather glued over the wooden core and compressed/textured by a cord overwrap. Others have managed to do this very well with PVA and contact glue, but in my experience hide glue is the Right Tool for the job, even if it's a bit trickier to use. If you do this, the glue is what gives the leather its hardness, not any water hardening or waxing after the fact.

I hope this helps a bit, even if it's a contrary opinion to what's already been stated.
Well said Al. I do a lot of things with leather but I would never have thought of a sword grip done in cuir boilli.
thanks for the info Al it will help me alot (don't want to waste any material :D )

now for the hide glue where to search...
i forgot to add that i have carpenter's glue at home would it work well?

You can get small quantities of hide glue from Lee Valley. Fine art suppliers like Curry's generally carry it as well. It isn't the nicest stuff to work with but it is as close as you can easily get to medieval wood glue without boiling up rabbit skins yourself. Personally, I use contact adhesive designed for leather and shoe repair. A tube of Barge Cement should be readily available at a good hardware paint department.

Make sure you post photos, eh?
i think i will not boil it but only glue it will be less trouble and from what i've heard from a fellow forumite at SBG sword forum at the end of the project it will have a little of the nihonto's look (with chocolate brown lacquered nubuck ito or maybe the same color in leather i don't know yet...)

but still i'm only in the process to buy all the necessary things to begin the work (a plain tsuba that i will age using the peroxide and salt mix) after this process i will be in need of money for the shipping to the guy who will make the customisation and working with what i have to make the more i can on it.

the rest of the leather will be used to make a wrap for my frankenstein viking (named it because it was built from the parts of three different swords).
ok i've got another question but it is for the strenght of an underwrap on a katana.

i know leather isn't stronger than same but if i lacquer the leather underwrap will it strenghten the leather???

i know that in japan history there was exemple of lacquered leather, silk and even cotton ito and i saw many production katana with lacquered same so i was thinking maybe i could give it a try if i can remove my ***** tsuka from the blade (kind of stuck on it, i think it is glued but maybe it is just hammered on).

if i can't remove my tsuka i'll have to make one myself from yellow poplar even though it is not honoki wood nor ho wood people on sbg told me it was suitable for making an handle for a cheap price so i'll give it a try as last resort option.

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