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Leather for bellows and bags

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:12 am
by Tim Rolls
Still running before I can walk, but I've been working under Tom Swinney's tuition making a set of bellows. So far, Tom and Barry have provided all the leather, wood, waxed twins (thread with wire leaders for sewing)and Brass I've needed, but I need to start and source my own materials. Brass is mentioned elsewhere in the forum, but I haven't found leather. Tom tells me there are places in Newcastle and Cumbria i can get stuff, but a) I don't know exactly what to ask for, and b) I'd rather not drive 50 miles if I can get it over the interweb. So, as a starting point, I'm assuming cow hide is the beast, but that may be wrong. What, if any, would be good things to pick from either
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All comments welcome.

Re: Leather for bellows and bags

PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:57 pm
by Richard Evans
Buying leather is tricky, I know from experience you can't judge by appearance.

If the Cumbria place was Scott leathers in Carlisle, I don't think they are in the leather business any more.
We use Neumann Leathers in Manchester, not sure what the smallest quantity they will sell.

The thing with the leather is for it to be stiff enough not to collapse on the outstroke (a very common fault) but thin enough to manipulate.
We have a fairly complex system which works very well. We use two thickesses of 1.1mm leather glued suede to suede. Before gluing each piece is stiffened with a coating of wall paper paste on the suede side. This sounds elaborate but it works well and of course no dressing is required. Anita also glues a welt to each bellows cheek so the actual stitching goes through three thicknesses of leather.