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inside of boots I've been repurposing the tops of leather riding boots, no longer useful for wearing. There is a 5" leather band on the inside top of the boots, and 1" leather down the sides of the stitching in the backs. I like the unlined boots as they allow to have better contact on the horse for riding/jumping. The image is of my custom Vogel boots, showing the inside singing which came off easily, however my partially lined French Waxed Calf custom Dehners are more of a challenge. The leather is a bit heavier, and I'm having difficulty removing the inside liner. inside vogel insidevogel Can the tops of the black boots be soaked in water/glycerine? I did not want to use acetone because I do not want to dry out the leather I'm going to be repurposing. (I carefully removed all the stitching threads and can remove ripples from the brown boots so I can use them for projects).

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  • how do I add the inside view of the project? I only was able to post the outside
    – dht
    Apr 16, 2022 at 16:56
  • Welcome to Arts & Crafts. I fixed how the second link appears, but you want to add a picture of the Dehners showing the challenge? There may be an image limit for the first post of brand new users on a site. Stick the image link in a comment, with where you want it, and I or another user can add it for you.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 16, 2022 at 17:16
  • If you're having a problem getting picture links into a comment, a couple of ways to do it: 1.Open a free imgur account (same image hoster this network uses) or use any image sharing site, save them there, and enter their image URLs in a comment. 2. Start a new dummy question, insert the images, copy the URLs from the resulting links into your comment, then discard the dummy question (the images remain on the host).
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17, 2022 at 17:35
  • Also, to clarify, the problem is both sepatating glued pieces and then removing glue from the surfaces? Is the liner material also leather? Do you know if the glued surfaces are both finished leather or either is rough?
    – fixer1234
    Apr 17, 2022 at 18:27
  • I'm only interested in removing the 1" and 5" lining inside of the leg of the boot. I can was able to remove the strips inside by soaking in warm water, changing it frequently. Only the inside of the unlined leg of the boot is like the inside of any good leather, it is finished, not rough. The glue on the inside of the Dehners and Vogels is not a problem to remove. Basically it was the removal of the inside pieces of lining..Thank you.
    – dht
    Apr 18, 2022 at 18:25

1 Answer 1

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You can soak leather in water. It's a very common step in leather working, especially to decorate the leather with punches. To avoid water stains you should always soak the entire piece of leather.

If the boots were made with traditional materials, the glue is a water-soluble organic glue (there are several different types of glue, but the traditional ones are almost all water soluble). Soaking in warm water can help dissolve the glue faster. However, several modern glues or contact cements are not water soluble, so if the leather piece doesn't detach after a few hours, you can only scrape it off, which probably damages the leather.

Soaking leather in any type of alcohol (ethanol, isopropyl, acetone, etc) dries them out and makes them brittle. Never apply acetone to leather, don't even wipe the leather with acetone! Acetone destroys the tanning components which are the big difference between a raw hide and leather. Leather treated with acetone even once will crack and rip and simply be destroyed.

If you want your boot leather to be softer and more pliable, you can add 1 part glycerin to 2 parts soaking water. That acts like a moisturizer for the leather, but prolongs the drying time.

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  • Just to add a few thoughts: 1. If the glue is not water-soluble and doesn't release when the leather gets wet, it may help to separate the pieces by using a hot knife. Most of the glue materials soften or break down with heat, making them easier to separate. Just be careful not to burn the leather. The leather being wet will help, but even a burned surface might be a better starting point than glued layers if nothing else will work. 2. Once the layers are separated, you may be able to carefully apply acetone to the glue surface, itself, rather than soaking the leather. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Apr 20, 2022 at 19:34
  • It might soften the glue enough to remove a lot of it. If it affects the leather surface, you may be able to treat the surface. 3. If you need to scrape glue off, it is likely to damage the surface, but it might be repairable. I've seen shoe repair experts describing that even deep scuffs can often be buffed out to look like the rest of the leather.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 20, 2022 at 19:34
  • I did soak the leather pieces in medium hot water with a small 4 oz of glycerine in a plastic covered tote in my tub. I have had custom riding boots since the 1960s, and would never use acetone. My Dehners and Vogels are from early to late 1980s. Dehner boots have been making custom riding boots since 1875 in the USA. Vogel Boots since 1879. Since their business is custom hand made boots, ($450-$1600) only the finest leather and procedures would be used. These boots have given me years of service so repurposing the leather is a gift, and a chance to make something useful.
    – dht
    Apr 21, 2022 at 10:38

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