Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Leather Canteen Continued

I had learned from an experienced leather worker that I would likely have to fill and refill the canteen with hot wax.  He indicated that it may take up to 15 times.  Initially that didn't make sense to me.  I thought that the lining would get thicker and thicker like a candle being dipped over and over.  As he explained it when you dump out the wax and re-heat it, the second pour will melt any wax in the canteen and absorb a little more each time.  

I have to say I was very skeptical, but had to get this done.  Here is an image of the canteen before any wax was applied.

This is a one pound brick of pure beeswax purchased from Hobby Lobby.

I purchased this old pot from Salvation Army.  I believe it is meant for melting chocolate or other candies.  I filled the bottom with water and the the top with wax.  This would prevent the wax from getting too hot..

To hold the canteen in place I would need three hands.  One for the pot, one for the funnel and one to hold the canteen up.  I chose to use a cereal box instead of developing a third arm.

After once pour in and out this is what the inside looked like.

The following images were taken in sequence after each pour.  I had to fill and empty the canteen 17 times to  get the final coating that I desired.  You will note that you cannot even see the wax penetrating the leather until about the eight image.  Getting the neck to soak up the wax significantly is what really required the last 3~4 pours.  Using the funnel I think it allowed the wax to pass by most of the neck.  I didn't have enough hot wax to fill to the top each time.  I simply filled about 1/3 of the way up and then sloshed it around and then dumped it out.  To get the neck filled I had to keep trying to slosh it while holding it on an angle to allow the hot wax to travel up the next.  Yes, I spilled once and yes I got burned.  Ow!

At this point the wet surface was VERY hot.  The wet surface is HOT WAX.  Yup it soaked through just like I was told and didn't believe.  From this point on handling was difficult and had to include the use of pot holders.

This totally rocks.  One of my favorite projects so far.  Not because of how well I did, but because of how much I learned and how my skepticism was just totally shot down.  Very cool.  I let it cool/dry over night and then filled it with water and NO LEAKS.  You'll notice that the stitching edges are lighter colored.  They never really soaked up any wax.  Not sure if that maters or not.  I'll probably either spill some wax on the outside or oil them just to make sure moisture doesn't soak in from the outside.