Leather Patches SOS!

Hey Folks,

Been tryingt o learn and teach myself with the glowforge and doing leather patches for hats. I have gotten good and sewing, laser, designing etc etc.

But I have two problems that arose that I cannot figure out.

Some of my hats do not require stitching and I have failed at finding a superb adhesive/glue/Bonding agent that will hold this patch onto hat no matter the weather and cannot be just simple peeled off with your hands.

From contact cement, leather and suede glue, leather weld, fabric adhesive, super glue etc. I don’t trust any of it to hold the patch on.

Also, on one of my hunts I was wearing a hat I made for myself and the rain just destroyed the patch. The adhesive turned white and came undone, the laser design got water inside and wilted the patch etc.

I have tried saddle soap, leather protect, resolene, leather sheen etc. and seems like waters in issue?

I am using quality tooling Nat veg tan leather, applying leather dye, and then a protective finish. Looks great but not great for weather.

I have an upcoming order of 200 hats and need to be confident?

Thank you for any advice from anyone smarter or farther along the road then me.

I don’t really care if the adhesive/glue is leather o r fabric related but need one tough son of a gun that I can trust.

I use Hardman Double Bubble Blue epoxy as a leather adhesive. It comes in “one-shot” packs, or you can buy it much cheaper in bulk if it works out for your application.

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Have you considered rivets instead of glue?

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I’ll echo the suggestion of rivets (or sewing) but it does take longer. I’ve used E6000 to attach shoe soles, so that’s definitely solid stuff.

Leather doesn’t like getting wet - it dries out and hardens. You can condition and waterproof, but it’s never going to like getting wet. That being said, I condition heavily with Leather Honey Conditioner for most things and that’s enough. They’ll get stiff when they get wet/cold, but soften up again when warm.

You need to rub it in, let it dry, and apply a second coat front and back - just brushing it over the surface won’t be enough (to be fair that’s true of all the protectants/conditioners). For things that are going to be touched a lot - which a hat may - I might suggest using saddle soap. Same process, but there’s more wax in that which will give a layer of waterproofing that’s hard to beat.

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I am very fortunate I have some experience working with leather. I am also honored to be one of the catalog designers for Glowforge.

Instructions

Take a cotton ball of rubbing alcohol and clean the area of the hat where the patch will be located. Now use a little sandpaper and lightly rough up the backside of the leather.

Apply contact cement to both pieces of fabric. This means the leather patch and the hat. Contact cement does NOT work if only one of the materials is coated. Very important wait 15 minutes— you want the contact cement to be sticky.

Then use some type of clamp to put pressure on the area while it is curing. Leave alone for 12 hours.

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Barge rubber cement in the red and yellow label is what I use to put shoes and saddles together. Once cured, it is weather and waterproof and I have never had it fail.

Been using it for years and it has never let me down!!

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I’ve recently learned about Tear Mender adhesive in a shoemaking class. It’s was invented in the 30s for repairing canvas and leather belts on farm equipment. Conveniently non-toxic, washable and easy to find. It may be exactly what you’re looking for.

https://www.tearmender.com/