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Various leathers in the rain

Longshanks

New in Town
Messages
39
Location
New York, NY
Hi all--
Goatskin, and so I've heard, horsehide tend to do well in the rain (fairly waterproof), without any real damage to the hides. Steerhide does OK, but perhaps a little more porous (and leaving only a slightly stronger leather smell). And of course there are variations depending on how the leather is prepared. Anybody have any experience with buffalo leather?
Cheers
Longshanks
 

jaxx

New in Town
Messages
34
Location
Missouri
my grandpa made me a knife sheath from buffalo leather about 10 years ago. its still going strong after being dropped in a river swam downstream and over a small water fall. its tough stuff. but it all comes down to how it is prepared. obviously the sheath is tougher because its meant to be abused. so idk about jackets and such. but for rain wear i don't think anything beats horse. 2 days ago it hailed for an hour and half and then rained for 3 hours straight giving us around 4 inches of water. i was outside the whole time wearing my aero. it only started soaking through the last 30 min. and is dry and perfect today. amazing!!!
 
Messages
15,549
Location
East Central Indiana
It seems their are several types of "buffalo" leathers..or so called...buffalo named hides. I was informed that Aero's Buffalo is WaterBuffalo. I have their seal Buffalo A2(not available anymore)which has the appearance of some grainy jerky well used HH. This hide seems quite resilent and repells water extremely well due to it's crisp(polished-like) finish. Just doesn't seem to absorb water..it quickly beads up! The Aero russet buffalo is similar(still available)..but has the pebbly texture and appearance of vintage goat(I assume due to different tanning techniques).
I've seen other "Buffalo" jackets(American bison?) that has a somewhat grainy hide....but with a softer..spongier thick hide which seems quite different than Aero's Buff.
Now..it seems there is a tendancy to sell a "naked leather" that feels like a heavy cowhide as "Buffalo leather". Almost has the texture of "nu buck" leathers with a slightly nappy finish. It is used for some motorcycle jackets..but looks to be very absorbant,IMO.
Aero's Buffalo is very tough stuff ....
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HD
 

DBLIII

One of the Regulars
Messages
229
Location
Hill City, SD
I have an American Bison vest. I'd give it a fair for water resistance, with heavy cowhide a "good" and elk a "poor."
Cape Buffalo (boots) are extremely tough, water seems to have no effect at all. In my opinion, the difference between what's better in the rain probably has more to do with the tanning method than anything else, because my comparison regarding Bison is based on a vest that's made from quite grainy, soft leather and cowhide that's very heavy and has more of a waxy (best word I can think of right now) finish.
For what it's worth, the holster makers I know all say that horse is by far the most water resistant, and several use horse as the hide on the side of the holster that would be against your body - when using an inside the waistband method of carry. When the humidity is 90% and the temperature is the same, one holster I have with horsehide as the "in" side, the gun stays completely dry, even when my shirt is soaked with perspiration.
 

BellyTank

I'll Lock Up
Yes but.
There are, apparently some hides, thought to have inherent "waterproof" qualities, to varying degrees. Goatskin, frinstance, seems to have a hard, tight grain structure, which gives it the light yet hard-wearing quality and resistance to wet. Perhaps smaller hair follicles...

Tanning, finishing and waterproofing will yield the desired results but will, perhaps give an UNdesirable appearance. Some of the more "natural" and aesthetically pleasing finishes, such as a vegetable tanned hide, with hand
applied aniline dye, etc., may lose that special appearance if weather-treated.

I guess.


B
T
 
Messages
15,549
Location
East Central Indiana
BellyTank said:
Yes but.
There are, apparently some hides, thought to have inherent "waterproof" qualities, to varying degrees. Goatskin, frinstance, seems to have a hard, tight grain structure, which gives it the light yet hard-wearing quality and resistance to wet. Perhaps smaller hair follicles...

Tanning, finishing and waterproofing will yield the desired results but will, perhaps give an UNdesirable appearance. Some of the more "natural" and aesthetically pleasing finishes, such as a vegetable tanned hide, with hand
applied aniline dye, etc., may lose that special appearance if weather-treated.

I guess.


B
T

I agree..but rather than "waterproof"...I favor more the idea of water resistant. Goat and water buffalo do seem naturally resistant. Although..any hide will soak through if wet enough. A2 weight horsehide will definately soak through in a heavy downpour...but although it can look quite wet...Aero's Hvy FQHH seems to have a somewhat waxy feel to it and has never soaked through for me in heavy rain. I also agree with jaxx...HH does recover nicely.
HD
 

UWS Cowboy

One of the Regulars
Messages
196
Location
New York, New York
I do not know the hide unfortunately, but this leather jacket has been worn in numerous heavy downpours for hours at a time and has never soaked through, though it has grown softer as I think some of the repellent has worn off. The water only beads up on the hide no matter how heavy the rain.
IMG_4026.jpg
 

Madcap72

One of the Regulars
Messages
156
Location
Seattle WA
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This is some vintage french leather jacket, vegetable dyed, and I believe is horsehide. Exposed to rain, it gets dotted up, but they shift and disappear over time.



I know some holster companies make gun holsters out of horse, because the moisture from sweat won't pass through.
 

Corky

Practically Family
Messages
506
Location
West Los Angeles
You are asking an apple to be an an orange...

Leather starts out as the epidermis of an animal. It has pores. This is why it has been used for centuries as a material for shoes and garments.

These pores allow air to pass through the material and allows the garment to breathe. The structure of leather also allows the material to break in and become more pliable and softer with use.

Most leather which breathes will soak through when wet. These same pores can and will allow water to pass through and soak the material. This process can be slowed somewhat by the tanning process, by the type of finish, or by the use of an aftermarket waterproofing agent, such as a silicon spray.

These treatment work by coating the surface, or by clogging the pores to reject water. You can waterproof any leather (even suede) but there are trade-offs.

The jacket pictured above (which exhibited waterproof characteristics) has a shiny, shellac-like finish which probably served to repel water. My guess is that it is made of chrome-tanned leather. If one wants a jacket like that to be completely waterproof one can use dressings, oil, waxes, or a silicon spray. These finishes tend to wear off and need to be re-applied over time.

Also, when thinking about waterproofing any leather item, it is important to consider how the leather in question has been tanned.

Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannin and other ingredients found in vegetable matter, tree bark, and other such sources. Vegetable-tanned leather is not stable in water; it tends to discolor, and if left to soak and then dry it will shrink and become less supple and harder. In hot water, it will shrink drastically and partly gelatinize, becoming rigid and eventually brittle. Boiled leather is an example of this where the leather has been hardened by being immersed in hot water, or in boiled wax or similar substances.

Chrome-tanned leather is tanned using chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium. It is more supple and pliable than vegetable-tanned leather, and does not discolor or lose shape as drastically in water as vegetable-tanned.

Leather—usually vegetable-tanned leather—can be oiled to improve its water resistance. This supplements the natural oils remaining in the leather itself, which can be washed out through repeated exposure to water. Frequent oiling of leather, with mink oil, neatsfoot oil or a similar material, keeps it supple and improves its lifespan dramatically.
 
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