Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Leather Craft

You have now got some idea about the origins of Leather Craft & mans long association with this versatile material and how it developed from a primitive necessity into a thriving industry between the two world wars. The introduction of Nylon and Plastic has changed the trade to a degree but most of the construction techniques & making skills still apply to these materials and provide the Craftsman or Artisan with an extended range of materials to work with.

Of the two Nylon offers the better long term usage for a customer and has replaced leather to a degree for medium priced and cheap luggage due to it's hard wearing qualities, it is practically scuff free. All this makes it an ideal material for the ever expanding travel industry especially air travel. Plastic likewise has proved successful for a wider range of uses, handbags and other small leathergoods items are made from it as well as luggage. There are manufacturing restrictions however as neither material can be worked with in the same way as leather which means that only certain methods of construction are feasible. Plastic does have one major drawback in that it has a short life, being a by-product of the petroleum industry it gets brittle as it ages and the molecules break down, cracks and breaks occur especially at flexible areas like lids and flaps.

Both these materials being 'Man Made' are popular with people who have problems with the entry of animals into the food chain and the use of the waste from them (leather being used). However these materials due to the chemical process involved in making them pollute the atmosphere and are probably an area which environmental campaigners while have problems with.

In the next posting I will explore the present day industry & craft side looking at modern training, courses and the ability for people to acquire these ancient skills.


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