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Against the Grain

Officer Dibley

Well-Known Member
If Smithy disagree about my post do you think he would not have spoken by now?
BTW I did'nt say everyone is clueless but its your problem you think that way.
I wasn’t saying only Smithy. Nor were you ...
Thanks for confirming you are a Self certifying know-it-all. Are you Roughwear returned .....
Gotta lurv the ignore function :cool:
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
I probably didn't express myself the best. What I was trying to say is that a lot of the high end repros specifically use leathers which weather very quickly and I'd suggest much faster than originals did.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
I probably didn't express myself the best. What I was trying to say is that a lot of the high end repros specifically use leathers which weather very quickly and I'd suggest much faster than originals did.
Hmm...I don't know about that - for whatever it's worth, BK cites as an influence on the development of liberty hide an anecdote they heard about a pilot who commented that his jacket had developed a decent patina just 6 months after he got it. Also, in light of the fact that the leathers were chrome tanned and had pigment sprayed on afterward, I suspect some of the color on the edges and such would start to rub off rather soon.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Hmm...I don't know about that - for whatever it's worth, BK cites as an influence on the development of liberty hide an anecdote they heard about a pilot who commented that his jacket had developed a decent patina just 6 months after he got it. Also, in light of the fact that the leathers were chrome tanned and had pigment sprayed on afterward, I suspect some of the color on the edges and such would start to rub off rather soon.
There's a very big difference between how a pilot/aircrew member wore his jacket compared with how nearly everyone wears them today. Back then they lived in them literally, and didn't baby them in the slightest. Wear areas on originals are obviously different too, for example fighter pilots' jackets show shoulder wear from the seat harness and parachute straps, and especially those in smaller cockpits like P-51s show rubbing and wear areas on the outside arms and elbows. It's even more prominent on A-2s worn in Spits like the Norwegians in 331 and 332 Sqns. The majority of people wearing a high end repro are far more careful with them and the most exciting and hardwearing thing they do in it is to drive to the shops in it. Most are even careful lying them down and not even hanging them on a clothes hanger let alone the leather hanger. I've lost count of how many times you see some of these babied, cossetted jackets showing more wear and tear in a year than an original does in two or three years of combat operations!
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
FWIW I know that original jackets I've had, and worn on occasion, have not spotted and soaked up raindrops like some of the "high end" [whatever that means] repros I've owned have, wear them in a light shower and end up looking like a Dalmatian mutt until hide dries.

There again I think my comments echo what's already been said on the forum in the past.
 

mulceber

Well-Known Member
FWIW I know that original jackets I've had, and worn on occasion, have not spotted and soaked up raindrops like some of the "high end" [whatever that means] repros I've owned have, wear them in a light shower and end up looking like a Dalmatian mutt until hide dries.

There again I think my comments echo what's already been said on the forum in the past.
I think that’s a vegetable tanned vs. chrome tanned thing, but I’m not sure about that. At any rate, all of my vegetable tanned jackets do that, and none of my chrome tanned ones do.

I’m really not convinced on the aging thing. Wearing a jacket in a cockpit doesn’t sound like especially hard wear to me, even if you are wearing it every day. Meanwhile I’ve seen posts by VLJ members talking about receiving their jacket and immediately going outside to do farm work. They aren’t the norm, but I don’t think we should lump all A-2 enthusiasts into one category. But it sounds like we just don’t agree on this issue, and that’s fine - we don’t have to.
 
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Juanito

Well-Known Member
FWIW I know that original jackets I've had, and worn on occasion, have not spotted and soaked up raindrops like some of the "high end" [whatever that means] repros I've owned have, wear them in a light shower and end up looking like a Dalmatian mutt until hide dries.

There again I think my comments echo what's already been said on the forum in the past.
That is actually the difference in the pigment finish of the originals and the aniline or semi-aniline finish on the repros--again, it confounds me as to how a veg tanned, semi aniline jacket is supposed to be a faithful reproduction of an original. In that respect, an Avirex jacket is more similar to a original than a Good Wear.

There is a great comment by Mr. DiSipio about this in one of the threads here or over at TFL. The reality is that an aniline finished flight jacket would be rather impractical around aircraft of the era.
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
It’s ok to disagree, no problem with that , I agree with Smithy on his observations and to add a bit to it , I think that bomber crew jackets were worn even harder than fighter pilot jackets . It you’ve ever been in a few of them like B-17s and B-25s you’ll see that the crawl spaces to move from the front of the aircraft to the rear of the aircrafts are small tunnel like passages that you have to squeeze through. Wear comes very quickly on your jacket when you doing that as part of a bomber crew.
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
That is actually the difference in the pigment finish of the originals and the aniline or semi-aniline finish on the repros--again, it confounds me as to how a veg tanned, semi aniline jacket is supposed to be a faithful reproduction of an original. In that respect, an Avirex jacket is more similar to a original than a Good Wear.
Spot on.
 
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33-1729

Well-Known Member
I don’t doubt that chrome and veg tanned leather will age differently over the long haul as they are tanned differently, though they both look very nice to me. I suppose the item I noticed most when checking out the high end A-2 reproductions in London recently was how heavy they were. I know an original has a leather thickness of ~1mm, but these felt thicker. Is it just me or are the A-2’s of today heavier than the originals?
Anyone? Is the leather thickness difference from chrome (thinner) vs veg (thicker)?
 

jeremiah

Well-Known Member
Depends on the maker. Leather regardless of its tanning can be paired or split down to any thickness the makers desire.
 

Smithy

Well-Known Member
Wearing a jacket in a cockpit doesn’t sound like especially hard wear to me, even if you are wearing it every day.
Wearing a jacket in a cockpit is actually very hard on the jacket, even in a fighter. Fighter pilots were and are strapped in incredibly tightly so that their main body mass isn't thrown around the cockpit during high speed, high G turns. The straps bite into the jacket and the wearer when under strain. Bruising on the shoulders was not unheard of when having to undertake extreme aerobatic flying. Added to that is the cockpit itself. You might not have climbed into and sat in something like a WWII single seater fighter so if you haven't it is metal everywhere and lots of protrusions, lots of things to rub and scrape a jacket against. Also was the additional wear which came from sweat, oil and grime. WWII aircraft are actually dirty machines, it's the nature of them.

I've heard it before, lots of people seem to think sitting and flying in a WWII fighter was not so far removed from driving a car whereas it couldn't be further from the truth. Flying clothing was treated to enormous stress, strain, exposure to sharp, hard surfaces which were constantly scraped and rubbed against during flying and also grime and fluids.

Sorry but saying wearing a jacket in a cockpit "doesn't sound especially hard wear" couldn't actually be further from the truth.
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
Anyone who has scrambled around inside, say a B-17, will know how difficult it can be even when you are just having a nose around while the aircraft is stationary on the ground. Throw on a load of gear, harness, oxygen supply, comms gear, etc and perform your duties while the plane is pitching around in the air and all those hard sticky out bits, sharp corners, bare metal edges, rough surfaces in sub zero temperature will all take their toll on flight gear and human alike.

We ain't talking heated and pressurised passenger jets whisking tourists off an a package holiday.
 

ausreenactor

Well-Known Member
Vic's Monarch arrived yesterday and I have to say I am impressed with the 'heft' of the latest ELC hides. It has a LOT of natural grain in the hide as well. Compared to my late 90s ELC RW 27752 and others along the way, it is poles apart when comparing the grain.
 
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