How to Harden Veg Tanned Leather

1st August 2022 0 By admin3456HytQQ
How to Harden Veg Tanned Leather

Getting started with leatherwork? You might be wondering how to harden veg tanned leather. It’s easy! Here are a few tips for preparing your veg tanned hides before you start working on them:

Allow your leather to dry completely.

Allow the leather to dry completely. This step is crucial! If you don’t allow your leather to dry thoroughly, the oil from your skin will continue to soften it up and make it more prone to cracking over time (the same way that when you leave a pair of shoes out in the rain, they rot). we recommend:

  • leaving it in a warm place
  • drying naturally (not by machine)
  • drying slowly (do not put into an industrial-sized tumble dryer)
  • drying in direct sunlight or on top of the radiator

Harden veg tanned leather by curing it in an oven

To harden your veg tanned leather, you will need:

  • A clean, airtight container in which to cure the leather. A large glass jar or bowl is ideal. The container should be large enough to accommodate all of the vegetable tanned hide and allow for plenty of circulation.
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • Water
  • Soak the veg tan leather in water mixed with baking soda for 8 hours (or overnight). This will soften the fibers and make them ready for stretching during curing. Rinse thoroughly after soaking and pat dry with a towel before putting it into your baking dish for curing.
  • Make sure that your leather is completely dry before placing it into an oven set at 200 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. You can speed up this process by placing an iron over top while drying out any remaining moisture within its fibers; just make sure not to leave it unattended!

You can also dry your leather quickly by placing it near or on a hot surface like a radiator or wood stove.

You can also dry your leather quickly by placing it near or on a hot surface like a radiator or wood stove.

This method works best if you are using veg tanned leather and not chrome tanned because they are both made from vegetable tannins, but differ in how they were processed (full list of the types of tanning methods here). Veg tanned leather is also called “natural” or “vegetable” leather and is made with tree barks, leaves and other plant materials that have been steeped in water for some time. This results in an extremely durable material, but it takes longer to dry than chrome-tanned leathers like shoe soles.

Seal the leather at the end of the drying process.

After your leather has dried, you’ll want to seal it with a product such as neatsfoot oil, beeswax or carnauba wax. This will protect the leather from water damage and prevent cracking. You can apply this sealant with a soft cloth.

Rub the leather with extra virgin olive oil once it dries to make it softer again.

Once the leather is dry, rub it with a soft cloth to soften it. The oil will help the leather return to its original state when tanned with vegetable-tanned leather. You can repeat this step as many times as you like to achieve your desired results.

Harden leather using a chemical solution

  • Rub the leather with vegetable oil or wax to condition it.
  • Mix 1/4 cup alum powder with a cup of hot water, corn syrup, vinegar, or salt. Heat the mixture over a medium heat until dissolved completely (this can take anywhere from five minutes to an hour). Be careful not to let it boil over! If you’re using baking soda instead of salt as an ingredient, add about 1/2 teaspoon at this time as well.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes before applying to your leather goods

Applying the mixture

  • Use a brush or sponge to apply the mixture.
  • The brush or sponge should be soaked with enough of the mixture to soak into all areas of the leather, but not so much that some drips out on the sides when you press down on it.
  • The mixture should penetrate all the way through to the other side of your leather piece, so apply it on both sides as necessary (if you’ve got a small piece or if you’re working with thick material).

Firming the leather

You can apply the alum solution to your leather with a brush, wooden or plastic spoon, sponge, cloth or your hands.

If you have a dauber (a small applicator for applying dye or paint) that is made of leather and has a pointed end then you can use the dauber to apply the alum solution.


We hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions about hardening veg tanned leather, please watch the video below.