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Leather Sculpting & boards



Peter's comments about boards & the sculpting/manipulation of leather reminded me
that something I've been experimenting with may be useful to some.

I've got to admit that being a beginner, I work *very* slowly and bookboard just
doesn't stand up well to my "retardation" -- I don't think it was designed to be
subjected to someone as slow as I or should even be expected to do so.

What I've recently been experimenting with is called "hardboard." It's used by model
builders -- usually for airplane models. I buy it in large sheets at a local
woodworking store.

It's a plywood product that is very light -- lighter than same size sheet of
bookboard  and, so far in my experience, almost impervious to warping. I just
finished a binding that used built up decorations under the leather. I weighted it
lightly to minimize planned-for warpage but even that light weight was too much for
the decorations & they were squished. Well, that was a few days work down the drain.

After removing the leather & decorations & redoing it all I decided to just let it
sit overnight to its own devices without any weight applied, figured I deal with the
warped board the following day(s). Much to my surprise and delight, there was
absolutely no warping of the board & this pasting the decorations and then pasting
the leather down and working it into the decorations was a very wet process.

The big drawback is that this stuff is fairly expensive (5 ply, 24" x 24" sheet, 1/8"
thick runs between $18 & $24 -- also comes in 5 ply at 1/16" thick), but considering
the time it has been saving me in not having to replace bookboard because they
disintegrate under my fingers, for me it's worth the extra bucks. Besides, I've
worked with wood most of my life so it's a very familiar medium.

It may be considered cheating, but I think this stuff is wonderful -- far better than
the much ballyhooed sliced bread -- and more than stands up to my abuse. Maybe one
day I'll be able to work faster & return to bookboard. --Dave.


--
Unlike a skiving knife, Ockham's Razor is a two-edged blade.
David J. Lawrence
Dallas, Texas

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