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Letter Re: Leatherworking as a Post-TEOTWAWKI Occupation

Dear Jim,
Basic leatherworking [suggested in the recent poll on potential TEOTWAWKI [1] home businesses] is fairly easy, if time consuming. Shears, a punch and strong thread are all that’s needed. Fine work or more elaborate items than pouches, belts, hats and such take practice, but the leather can frequently be salvaged from mistakes and reused.
I think the most important aspect of the skill for a TEOTWAWKI [2] environment would be skinning, curing and tanning. Brain, urine, vegetable and oak tanning are time consuming (Everything about leather is), but books exist and functional (as opposed to pretty) leather isn’t too hard to produce. It’s worth practicing once or twice now.
Also don’t forget that dried rawhide, or leather boiled for a few seconds. (Oil isn’t necessary. Water is preferred) is hard enough to armor against cutting edges and some blunt impacts. –
Michael Z. Williamson [3]

JWR Adds: Most SurvivalBlog readers will recognize the name Michael Z. Williamson [3] (since he frequently sends us e-mails), and many of you have probably read some of his books. (He is a well-known science fiction and military fiction writer.) But you may not have heard that he is also a part-time sword and knife maker. He is a co-owner of a custom edged weapon biz called, appropriately enough Sharp Pointy Things [4]. He has also considerable experience doing historical reenacting. So when Mike mentions the utility of boiled leather for armor, he speaks from first hand experience! And for any of you thinking about about buying any sharp pointy things to prepare for that dreaded multi-generational TEOTWAWKI (“MGTEOTWAWKI”) scenario, then Mike is the man to see.