Anybody have experience gluing leather to your wood project?

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Forum topic by Granddaddy1 posted 09-15-2012 06:52 AM 25388 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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182 posts in 2195 days

09-15-2012 06:52 AM

I’m building guitar stands which I will post as a completed project soon. I’ve purchased some beautiful soft leather to serve as padding at the contact points at the base and yoke of the stands. I have never incorporated leather into a project before. My question—should I try to pre-cut the leather to fit before gluing it on, or should I glue it on over sized and trim with a sharp knife after the adhesive dries? Also, if anyone can advise on the best leather-to-wood adhesive I would appreciate that info.

Any advice is appreciated.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

19 replies so far

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1275 posts in 2883 days

#1 posted 09-15-2012 07:30 AM

Please advise the type of leather you are considering using.
Are you expecting a “padding” effect, or are you aiming for anti-abrasion?
Is the leather full grain, top grain or a split?
Either way, “Barge Leather Cement”, is what’s used for leather.
That said, for your application, most contasct adheveses will work.
reason for the first few questions, was for further advise on how to install.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

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182 posts in 2195 days

#2 posted 09-15-2012 07:55 AM

I’m using a very soft split grain leather. It has a textured top and a suede back.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

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10372 posts in 3641 days

#3 posted 09-15-2012 08:12 AM

That stuff is pretty unstable. I would glue it to a 4-6 oz
suede split backer for stability if you don’t want the pad
to wander. The edges of supple thin chrome tanned
leathers also have a tendency to separate. If you look
at old leather and see peeling and fraying of the fibers
this is it. Vegetable tanned leathers tend to be a higher
grade product with a more consistent fiber structure,
though generally not suitable for upholstery and garments
due to stiffness.

If you are not building a product to sell, you may want to
just go with what you have on hand.

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Newage Neanderthal

190 posts in 2543 days

#4 posted 09-15-2012 12:05 PM

I know nothing of the different types of leather, but when I glued the leather pads on my vises I used hide glue and trimmed it after, worked like a charm and has held up great. Not sure if you have a different type of leather and maybe that won’t work.

-- . @NANeanderthal on twitter

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4152 posts in 2945 days

#5 posted 09-15-2012 12:32 PM

For my vises and strops I have used contact cement and it has worked perfectly.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

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Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3187 days

#6 posted 09-15-2012 01:47 PM

I’ve built a bunch of guitar stands….I didn’t use leather….I used Velcro to line the body rest and yoke….It’s so much easier to work with, has a sticky-back, and easy to trim to size…...go to my “blogs”, and look under guitar stands and you’ll see pics I posted of how I did them…..Leather needs to be really soft and pliable, but it’s your choice as to whast you use….....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2843 days

#7 posted 09-15-2012 03:09 PM

Yellow glue works too.

Rick, I wouldn’t recommend your choice of loop velcro. Something that could scratch could easily find a home in that stuff and we all know instrument owners who would be appalled at the results. The leather, or a surface like that, soft but smooth, would be a much better choice.

Sometimes we mistake “soft” for “clean.”

I have seen cabinet shops where all the panel sanding was done on carpet samples—dumb idea. Somebody across the room nips an errant staple, the shard goes flying and lands on the carpet and…



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

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8187 posts in 2570 days

#8 posted 09-15-2012 03:14 PM

I’ve used 3M hi-strength 90 spray adhesive for attaching over sized
leather pieces to wood working projects and then shaped to fit.
2 part epoxies have been used for satisfactory results
as well.
I find using a coarse file to shape the leather is
a quick way to shape to fit.

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Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3187 days

#9 posted 09-15-2012 03:55 PM


I’ve never had a problem with Velcro….My guitars set in the cradles when not in use, and nothing gets in the velcro…I don’t have them setting in my shop…..I have a music room for all my instruments, so they are well protected from the elements, and Smith &Wesson…....but thanks for your concern…....!!

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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Joseph Jossem

492 posts in 2262 days

#10 posted 09-15-2012 04:54 PM

3 ms super 77 works real good i think that is the name

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5032 posts in 3887 days

#11 posted 09-15-2012 05:42 PM

spray adhesive, contact cement, white glue. hyde glue, yellow glue, TiteBond III, and more work.

If the part is curved at the yoke and leather wraps all around it and pending where leather ends, using glues like yellow, titebondIII etc, would be more challenging unless you had a vacuum press.

two part glues like contact cement can be quite forgiving or your worst curse where as a good hide glue will allow for movement before glue dries albeit a small window.

I could see using velcro where leather is bonded to back side making it easy to replace but am unsure as to why this needs to be done but I also know that what is aesthetically pleasing on one style might not match another so my guess is that a metal guitar stand would make velcro more appropriate

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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#12 posted 09-15-2012 06:06 PM

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Gary Roberts

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#13 posted 09-15-2012 06:57 PM

Speaking as a long ago leather worker, Barge Cement is the proper selection. Sure, you can use all kinds of other adhesives, but Barge is what pros still use for stability and lasting adhesion. It won’t travel through the leather, will stay pliable and won’t degrade leather over time.

Start laying the leather from the center and work towards the edges as the leather will stretch. Trim at the edges and finally tuck in with a slightly blunted instrument to give a finished look.

Consider a finish of wax once the leather is in place to protect the guitar from any contaminants remaining in the leather as you don’t know what the tanning process was. A non-silicon clear shoe wax will work well and if you can’t find non-silicon containing, then straight up beeswax in a very small amount. The leather will darken but that’s unavoidable.

-- Gary Roberts,

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182 posts in 2195 days

#14 posted 09-15-2012 09:27 PM

Wow, a lot of great information. Thanks a lot guys! I’ll give it a go and post the finished project soon.

-- Ron Wilson - maker of fine firewood!

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Rick Dennington

5851 posts in 3187 days

#15 posted 09-16-2012 02:38 AM

I too am a leather worker for about 26 years…...Carving and tooling leather is a great relaxer….I carve and tool instrument straps like guitar, mandolin, banjo, etc., plus pictoral carving…..if you decide to use leather on the stands, use soft, smooth pieces, and finish out with some carnoba cream or leather balm….both work good. Put a high buff on the leather once the finish been applied…....

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

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