mikewest

Leather Hides - Super Quality and Price ! Check this site out!

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On 10/16/2017 at 8:59 AM, Steve Moskowitz said:

David, as usual a very informative post. 

 

Do you know where we can find some old worn leather or a process to make new leather look old for a 30's single seat race car?

 

 Check craigslist under "FREE'.

 Look for old leather furniture, just what you want. (excellent price too!)

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Years ago I got samples of leather, for my Studebaker, from a very prominent US supplier. They looked great, and were on sale too. I checked with my upholsterer and he liked what he saw. We liked what we saw so well that ordered enough to do two cars. We were really impress when we got the hides, even though they were different color then the ones we ordered, but they were going to work nicely regardless of color differences. When we laid out the hides we began to see problems. There were anomalies in every hide, wire cuts etc. The upshot was that even with very careful layout we were lucky to be able to get the one car done. I was just fortunate that I had ordered the extra leather from the same lot when I had the chance.

 

My experience taught me that that I needed to be careful. There are a number of variables in leather selection, not the least of which is the quality of the restoration. What is fine for a driver may not be good enough for a Pebble Beach restoration.  

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A few years back, I was going to do a '23 Buick for a close friend....and when time came to get leather it was Hershey season, so we decided to visit Hirsch's tent....I needed 5 good hides, and going through the big stack he had there at the time, was finding one decent hide for every three at which I looked...Bill Hirsch came over in the middle of it and asked "Hey, son, what are you doing?"....looking for the good hides, I replied, and he loudly stated "ALL my hides are good, you don't need to pick through them!"....but I did, and I did....

 

I'm curious to see what hides I get.  The first thing I'll look at is how they're shipped, if rolled that's a plus, if folded in a box that's a minus.  I'm not overly concerned either way, at that price I can always use the leather for covering top bows or making welting or wire-on.

 

I was doing a car at White Post restorations, working with some expensive hides.  I cut one piece, sewed it all together, and when I went to stretch it on the seat, little bubbles started popping out of the leather surface.  Fly eggs, hidden by the finish, but came to the surface under pressure.

 

Minor defects in leather, that's called "character".  Major defects, they either need to end up in a sewn seam, thus hidden, or cut out completely and work around them....

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There was an upholstery shop willing to sell supplies to those like me. They did furniture and refused to do auto, but sold to others who did auto out of garages or small shops. That's where i got some supplies but they have closed up now.

 

From them I got Coats Ultra-Dee T-90 thread, UV resistant bonded polyester. And with that I can use size 16 needles, wedge point, or pointed or round. But I also have size 18 needles, they work for T-90 thread also. Basically I want to stick with T-90, it's simpler, you don't need to change tension like when you use different size thread.

 

When I bought my used machine it came with lots of very heavy size 138 black thread. Supposedly that had been used by the previous owner doing leather. "John Howard Co." branded "Nu-Bond" size 138.

 

It's easier to buy supplies online. 

image.jpeg.6b91a9ce1db4818e10f664cb9a27398d.jpeg T-90 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EZCP4GO/ref=asc_df_B00EZCP4GO5228466/?

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I did buy two hides from the supplier mentioned by Mike. 

 

They are excellent value for the money, very nice surface (a minimal pebbled look) and very clean.

 

I believe they are a good buy, and I'm happy to have them.  As I mentioned, a little thin, but I'll use them for projects that require thinner leather.

 

Only a trimmer would be so picky, I guess...for the money, very nice, but they don't have the "hand" that goes into higher quality restorations....so I guess I still sound like ah upholstery snob....

 

Now, as a side note, thank you, Mike...good source, and I'm considering buying  a few more for "stock"....

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On 10/15/2017 at 6:37 PM, mikewest said:

I bought 2 - 55 sf  hides with a medium sheen Graphite Black for $55.00 each !

 

Just as an FYI, they are now $99 each.  http://www.discountleatherhides.com/

 

Black Graphite, Regular $225.00 on sale for $99.00 ea.

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I now restore cars for a hobby but from 1938 to 1990 my family owned a slaughterhouse which I grew up working and later owning until its closure. There were times where times where “green” hides were worth $60 plus. We skinned traditional with hand knives and proper technique is required to produce the best results which in turn brought you the most money for your hides. Using the correct salt, including the size of the kernels so dents and permanent impressions wouldn’t be in the hide along with the proper amount were all necessary, again to get the highest value for your hides. While one would think the thicker bullhides would be worth more it was always the full large dairy cow hides the tanneries wanted because those hides were large and were of a consistent thickness in the majority of the hide. Bull hides are always much thicker in the neck and shoulder area so much more work is required to thehide to make it usable.Because of my family’s commitment to doing quality work, we would often have multiple tanneries calling wanting to purchase our hides. Being in New England and close to one of the original and largest areas of tanneries, Peabody MA, we would often deliver some choice, hand picked hides to some tanneries in the Peabody area. We also sold a lot of hides to hide companies out of PEI and Boston. I believe the only hide company left in Boston today is Boston Hide which is an Italian firm and tans their hides in Italy.

      While foreign hides are older due to the age of slaughter, many are too scared especially from insects. Even in the US, the bot fly can make quick work of ruining a hide if the animal was in a high infestation area. It’s pretty crazy when you watch a 1/2” diameter worm work it’s way out of a cows hide! They seem to do that at slaughter because their blood supply is cut off I assume. It was nothing to see some animals that came up from the southwest through the auctions to have 15-20 bot worms under their hide. One can only imagine the pain those animals were experiencing. 

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It's discouraging , I've had it happen to me, spend a lot of time going over a hide, choosing nice areas, begin sewing everything, then stretch the leather over a seat and POP out come the little circles where flies laid their eggs.....

 

some slight defects in leather can be explained away as "character", but not that!

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On 10/16/2017 at 5:36 AM, trimacar said:

He does state that it's "automotive" quality, so that's a plus

How much would it take to do my seat in my 1925 buick + doors  . I don't have a cule never did a car seat out of leather . your help is good as gold to me thanks . --kyle

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5 hours ago, sligermachine said:

How much would it take to do my seat in my 1925 buick + doors  . I don't have a cule never did a car seat out of leather . your help is good as gold to me thanks . --kyle

Seat and doors might be done with two big hides, I'd have three hides on hand if I were doing it.  If you need to have matching leather welting or wire-on made, that will take up a third of a hide right there.

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On 11/2/2017 at 3:55 PM, trimacar said:

still sound like ah upholstery snob....

I think you just sound like you know what your doing --kyle 

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