Chamois Leather vs Kid Leather

Chamois Leather vs Kid Leather

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

March 14th, 2010, 7:12 pm #1


Could anyone shed any light on chamois leather vs kid leather? I have been told before that both types of leather were used on the early microphones, but is there a distinct way of telling the difference between these leathers? Pictures of a microphone with kid-leather on would be nice, as I don't think I've ever seen one with this type of leather before. (I had been told the some mics in Prodger's books had this leather, but I am not sure which one)

Also, was one type used before the other? Or was it just different companies preference?

Cheers,

Ben
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

March 14th, 2010, 8:38 pm #2

Kid leather is made from goatskin (kids) and is very thin and fine. Its usually used for things like ladies gloves as its also very soft. I doubt very much it was ever used for mics or the like as chamois was used used to prevent the metal parts sticking to the hands or other skin at high altitudes / low temperatures, but kid is so fine I doubt it would be able to do the job.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

March 14th, 2010, 9:13 pm #3


A good point, but I have definately heard it was used-I think Neil told me once. He said that mics which have it look whiter in colour (which is understandable).

As far as chamois goes, is there a special type that is good for a re-cover job? Because you can find quite a lot of different types of chamois-leather, and they all range in quality. The chamois that I have seen looks really yellow in colour, and the texture is soft, but not plain (if this makes sense). It doesn't really look suitable to go on a mic.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

March 14th, 2010, 10:45 pm #4

There is no reason if, (and I say If as I dont believe it was ever used) a kid covered mic would be whiter in colour as with any leather it comes naturally coloured and can be articicially coloured. But good kid is as thin as a few layers of silk, hence why I doubt it was used.

As for chamois, as it is a natural material you would be hard pressed to find two pieces the same colour, even if cut from the same hide. A very good quality chamois that has been finished well might be better as it would be bleached or coloured to an extent, but that would be mostly used in fashion (even of the period) so would be finished to a high quality for that reason.

Chamois is very soft and light yellow in colour when new but dries and dulls with age and wear. In the same way that repro officers cap badges (for example) often look wrong because the bullion is too bright, you are looking at them from a collectors point of view, in that you are more used to seeing a badge that is 70 years old with dulled bullion that has oxidised.

A new mic, covered with chamois 70 years ago would be very light in colour and soft to the touch, which would be exactly the same with a recovered example made today (such as my recovered, original Type 19 mic). But its looks unnatural because you are more used to seeing preserved examples that have 70 years of ageing, drying and wear on them. My chamois was a £3.00 cleaning cloth from Halfords and looks fine. Its been done a couple of years now and has been handled so looks less than new.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 8th, 2004, 10:02 pm

March 15th, 2010, 2:46 pm #5

I know for sure kid was used on some D type masks. I saw an example that looked so fine and white, it almost looked like cloth. If it wasn't for the fact the wearer's sweat had dried it out in places and the kid had turned to dust, one wouldn't have known it was leather.
As for microphones covered in kid, in my opinion kid was used as well but on earlier production mics. kid, no doubt, would have proven unsuitable with use by quickly becoming worn with use. There are photos of microphones in ref books that show whiter shaded covered mics. I suppose these could have been re-covered.
Cheers
Neil
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

March 15th, 2010, 4:37 pm #6

It is interesting. I mean, you can see lots of mics and as you say Alex, all look different. I've never handled Kid leather, so I am not sure how it compares to the chamois. Going by what you say, is it closer in comparison to silk than to chamois?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: February 28th, 2004, 3:00 pm

March 15th, 2010, 4:51 pm #7

Well I can see it being used on masks, but if it was definately used on mics would agree with Neil it would have been unsuitable. Kid I think is more expensive than chamois which is generally rather rough and unfinished. Chamois is soft but nothing compared to kid which is very fine naturally in comparison.

Because it is thin, soft and very fine it makes elegant and feminine ladies gloves but isnt suitable for things like shoes, badges or generally speaking, even mens gloves. hence the fact that if used on mics it probably proved to be poor.

Chamois can be very white in colour, which can depend on the animal itself, and also any process such as bleaching or washing used by the company preparing it.
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

March 15th, 2010, 5:46 pm #8

Do you know, then, if the AM gave special treatment to the chamois they used to cover the mics? I mean, did they soak it in anything and stretch it? Or did they literally just stick it on?
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: September 8th, 2004, 10:02 pm

March 15th, 2010, 7:18 pm #9

Hi Ben, I can't say for sure the process the A.M. used to bond leather to microphones. But, having re-covered a C-carbon mic once, in my opinion, no extra treatment would have been necessary. Modern chammy rags, found in Halfords etc, is the same as used in the 1930s/40s. The chamois has enough natural stretch to it to be easily formed and stretched onto the contours of the mic body.
If you are thinking of re-covering a mic - I just used Evostik adhesive - one coat on each surface, let dry for 10 or so minutes and then join the leather to the metal. Upon contact, the chamois is stuck firm and the leather easily stretched into the voids of the mic body very well. After letting set over night, I just trimmed off the excess leather.
Cheers
Neil
Quote
Like
Share

Joined: July 21st, 2008, 7:16 pm

March 15th, 2010, 7:27 pm #10


Neil, do you have any pictures of your recovered mic? I'd love to see how it turned out.

Thanks for all the info here I really appreciate it.
Quote
Like
Share