This is a request from a colleague of mine and the idea is to create a document case that will fit A4 paper encased in a specific folder. After some research, wet moulding would be the perfect way to achieve this. As this is my first time, I use scrap leather from other projects, the front and the back pieces come from different leather and is rather thick, measuring just under 9mm once completed.
Wet moulding is quite simple in theory but can get difficult getting the shape right. The idea of wet-moulding is to 're-align' the fiber structure of the leather into the desired shape. The liquid, in this case water, help lubricate the fiber structure within the leather, once the liquid has evaporated, the leather is permanently set into the new shape. This can only be done successfully with vegetable-tanned leather.
First step is perhaps the most crucial, creating the mold itself. I opted for 25mm thick AB class Plywood, this would need to be sealed to prevent the moisture from the wet leather seeping into the wood grain that can potentially affect the integrity of the wood itself. The mold will need to have smooth edges for the leather to be able to 'flow'. This will then be attached to a bigger rectangular plywood piece for shaping purpose. Picture below
Next step is cutting the leather, the plywood base provide a good reference on how big the cut should be. Once cut, it's a matter of getting the leather soaked in water. Remove the leather once air bubble has disappear.
The fun part begin, getting the leather moulded onto the plywood. This require some elbow grease. I utilise smoothed wood block to help smooth and shape the edges. 'V' shape cut is made to allow part of the leather folded into itself. Once the shape is set and solid, I tacked the leather to hold the shape. Some photos:
After this is done, it's just a matter of waiting for the leather to dry, depending on the weather, usually take about 24 hours. Photo:
Once dried, the leather can be removed and work on, photo of the completed good: