Author Topic: Storing leather  (Read 525 times)

Offline Elnathan

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Storing leather
« on: June 13, 2018, 11:30:32 PM »
I'm curious to know how y'all store leather - the raw material, not finished bags, etc, that is. I'm doing a bit of reorganization of my house and would like to get my small store of leather, which includes some bark-tanned deerskin and a hair-on calf-skin I tanned/tawed with alum and neatsfoot oil, into a container with a lid so it won't collect dust. I was thinking about using one of those inexpensive plastic storage bins that Wal-Mart sells, but I'm worried that even though the lids aren't airtight it will hold moisture and cause mold. I've had mold problems with the bark-tanned stuff, and don't want to repeat it or have it spread to other leather.

We may have discussed this earlier, but a search has turned up nothing.
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 12:57:12 AM »
I have many sides, shoulders and other pieces of leather in my shop and make no attempt to protect it.  But my shop's Relative Humidity is 7.5% winter and summer.  So I cannot offer advice.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

Offline James Rogers

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 01:16:42 AM »
Best to store leather laid flat and out of UV. I roll mine and store on a lower shelf below my 4x7 cutting table in concrete form tubes.

Offline thecapgunkid

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 01:40:27 PM »
Periodically check on it, no matter how you store it.

James Rogers has the best idea, but I am willing to roll it providing that a periodic check also includes rolling it the other way before putting it back....flower side out, flower side in...

Also, also remember one basic axiom....the leather would have preferred to remain on the animal.   From skinning through currying, that's why UV, moisture and everything else can affect it so quickly.

Offline rollingblock

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 07:56:08 PM »
Have not done this but I'm thinking putting it in a cardboard barrel with a tight fitting lid would keep it very well. you would want to store where the temp would be cool at 70-80 degrees and checkit at least once a year and maybe oil it once in a while. I have kept clothes in these barrels for 30 plus years with no mold or any problems.

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2018, 07:36:44 PM »
Thank you gentlemen. Doesn't look like there is a simple, easy answer at the moment.

Interestingly, a couple hours after posting this I pulled out a cardboard box full of old shoes that I hadn't look through in quite a long time and discovered that the leather ones had varying degrees of mold on them, so even an open cardboard box right next to a dehumidifier isn't a surefire solution.
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton

Offline Marcruger

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2018, 07:17:32 PM »
I think the key is keeping the leather from getting damp. 

The way I have stored leather is first and foremost in the house in the same climate I like to live.  If you don't have air conditioning, that makes it harder to control the humidity.

I believe that storing finished leather goods is much better accomplished in a plastic tub than a cardboard box.  My dad and I have sold leather for 32 years at shows, and we off-and-on had issues with mildew when we used apples boxes for storage.  Once we switched to plastic tubs that issue mainly went away.  The cardboard boxes were absorbing moisture and holding it. 

My soft hides I store on a PVC pipe, in the house.  The larger hides do well flat, under a bed.  The main thing is keeping mold spores and moisture away.  I'd never store leather outside in an out-building. 

If you get mildew, a light spray with Lysol and a session in direct sunlight will usually stop it. 

I hope this helps a bit.  God Bless,   Marc

Offline Elnathan

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Re: Storing leather
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2018, 09:41:55 PM »
I think the key is keeping the leather from getting damp. 

The way I have stored leather is first and foremost in the house in the same climate I like to live.  If you don't have air conditioning, that makes it harder to control the humidity.

I believe that storing finished leather goods is much better accomplished in a plastic tub than a cardboard box.  My dad and I have sold leather for 32 years at shows, and we off-and-on had issues with mildew when we used apples boxes for storage.  Once we switched to plastic tubs that issue mainly went away.  The cardboard boxes were absorbing moisture and holding it. 

My soft hides I store on a PVC pipe, in the house.  The larger hides do well flat, under a bed.  The main thing is keeping mold spores and moisture away.  I'd never store leather outside in an out-building. 

If you get mildew, a light spray with Lysol and a session in direct sunlight will usually stop it. 

I hope this helps a bit.  God Bless,   Marc

I've been using vinegar, but I might try Lysol. Good to hear some practical experience on the difference between cardboard and plastic.
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
- G. K. Chesterton