Full Version: Leather Edge Color for Squamata
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Is there any evidence to suggest that leather edges on squamata would have been colored?

Coloring leather is known from different items and therefore possible for edges. However, how accurate is it to do this?

I would think that when mass producing so many armors, they armorers would have just attached any piece of oiled leather on the edge but a wealthier soldier might go through the expense of having the leather edge colored.

I am having a problem with my water based dyes in that they run even after the excess dye has been removed. I have applied neatsfoot oil to seal the dye but the color still bleeds.

Is it logical or likely that in ancient days bee's wax would be used to seal surfaces like a colored leather item to stop any bleeding? So, after applying the dye, oil would be added first and then the wax.

Thanks in advance.
There may not have been an edging at all. Some lacing patterns create what looks like an edging.
That is a good point...Dan.

However, the Carpow fragments show a piece of rawhide going through the scales with some sort of leather fragment in between.
As do the Dura Europos fragments(leather edging). Some of them are dark I color but that could be from the post preservation efforts.

Try sealing the leather with beeswax. Neatsfoot oil will just help the dye bleed I would think.
I think that putting any oil whatever onto coloured leather should be avoided a good wax polish would be so much better.
Couldn't you colour the oil? Add a dye to it before it is applied. Though the leather would likely stain everything it touches for ever after.
I only use Neatsfoot oil for reconditioning and softening old leather and then as much only as is required.... never found it to have any particular waterproofing quality's by itself though...
I would suggest Leather fat (Dubbin), I currently use a waterproofer Fat intended for hiking boots and a Leather Fat intended for harness which is also pretty waterproof try your local Tack shop.... Also good quality Wax shoe polish to protect the surface from dirt mostly...
I think you may need to find a dye that is more suitable for the intended purpose though as in my experience water based dyes leach....
You know......I checked off the topic to be notified and the only one I received was Dan's initial comments. Good thing I happened just to check.

All good fact.....I have bee's wax. Its just someone I know mentioned it is illogical that a leather edge would have wax. I do not see why so I posted my question.

If I go ahead with the color, I will use the wax. It is true that water based dyes do bleed. The oil is important to make the leather softer after the dye but the wax is important to seal the surface.

This of course raises an important question....the Romans used vegetable based dyes with mordants on garments. In certain texts it mentions that patrician calcei were red. Also, some leather pouches were found in present day Israel and it appears they were colored in red. So how did the Romans stop water based dyes from bleeding? I think there are two logical explanations.....1) They did not dye leather to a great extent 2) They used bee's was or something along these lines to seal the surface.

Lets face were the patrician calcei red and not bleed? Sword scabbards or scuta surfaces would have been waxed to protect the paint or dye. I think that if something was left without color, an oiling was fine. Anything with color applied needed to be fixed. This of course is my opinion and not necessarily based on evidence.
On bleeding: I have dyed alum tanned kid and deer leather with birch leaves (yellow with a greenish touch) and madder (orange to red) and have never has any problems with the colors bleeding into other areas or staining anything in or around it. Same goes for iron/vinegar blackening. Didn't treat the leather other than with neatsfoot oil and/or leather grease afterwards.

See here for examples of the leather I dyed:
I think were talking about two different things here, I imagine Doc is referring to a Modern water based dye such as Ecoflo commonly available from leather suppliers.. this is not the same thing as ancient leather dying methods...

Logical Explanation
3. The Romans didn't use modern water based dyes!
4. Methods of Tanning have changed or are no longer widely used.

The blackening method is likely a reaction between the tannic acid (which has combined with the fibres of the skin) used in the tanning process and iron, so a chemical reaction that should be permanent... but staining rather then dying and without the use of a black dye, if you use oak tanned leather for hobnailed soles you will get the same reaction over time without the vinegar when the leather gets wet....
I understand that the Romans used a acidic mixture to achieve this and speed the process up....