Baize And Wool Fabrics

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  • Post published:13th May 2021
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Choosing the right lining material for your gun case restoration project can really add value both aesthetically and financially.

Restoring Gun Cases

Gun cases have a long and interesting history. With some notable antique gun cases – after sensitive restoration – fetching £5000 at auction alone.

Potted History of Gun Cases

The rise of the gun case is intertwined with the manufacture of guns. In the UK this was an artisanal craft, that had many hours of work put into sports firearms, often commissioned by and sold to members of the landed gentry.

Naturally, these works of art, couldn’t be sent out to a customer wrapped in newspaper so – over time – an equal amount of time was invested in the creation of gun cases to, package, furnish and show off the gunmakers art.

From around 1770 gun case designs began to look like the antique and collectable ones we see now. Made of oak or leather-covered pine wood and later mahogany. These cases included internal compartments for the gun and its accessories for cleaning and maintenance.

The use of baize for gun case lining material started in around 1780 or so, proceeded by the use of patterned paper. This baize would have been coarse and rough, gradually transitioning to the refined fabric we have today.

Which Baizes to Use for Gun Case Restoration

The production methods of British baize hasn’t changed vastly since the late 1700s. Today baize is woven from worsted yarn, either using pure wool or a wool and nylon blend – typically 95% wool to 5% nylon. The inclusion of nylon increases the longevity and durability of the baize.

Big Baize Myth

There is one persistent myth surrounding baize and that is the idea of “felt baize”. Felt and baize are entirely different.

Felt is matted fibres, and can be made from wool but is more commonly available in pressed synthetic fibres. Without a warp and weft, it lacks the incredible strength and durability of baize.

Baize on the other hand is a tightly woven material, which makes it highly durable.

With that cleared up these are the fabrics we stock that we’d recommend for relining and restoring gun cases.

Standard Baize – A Classic Baize

Our Standard Baize range, is admired by furniture makers and restorers, for the ease with which it can be applied to wooden surfaces. It has a 95% wool to 5% nylon mix, which makes it highly durable and long-lasting. With a traditional range of colours that make it a perfect antique gun case lining material.

Upholstery Classics – Has a Natural Shine

Not just for upholstery. The Upholstery Classics range is one of the newer fabrics that we stock. Specifically designed for hardwearing use, with public transport, stadium and arena seating in mind. It is still a beautiful fabric, with understated and timeless colours, that can be used for elegant and refined detailing.

100% Merino – Striking Colours that Shine

Our 100% Merino Wool range of fabrics have a natural sheen to them that reflects and radiates the light. These are truly modern baize fabrics. Available in a wide variety of rich, exciting and modern colours. Suitable for modern gun cases but ideal for antique restorations with twist.

Vivid Hues Baizes – Understated Modernity

The Vivid Hues range of baizes – also made from pure merino wool – have a melton finish. This means that they have a matt look and don’t reflect the light. The fabrics in this range are slightly thinner making them pliable and easier to work with. Chosen for its rich and striking colours, this fine baize is often used for costume design in the film industry.

Extra Wide Baize – The Widest…Twice

The Extra Wide Baize range of baizes are the widest fabrics we stock with a generous 220cm roll width. This range also has the widest range of colours, from subtle shades to wild hues. There is a colour for any taste and style.

Choosing a Gun Case Lining Material

If you need any help in choosing which fabric to use, please feel free to get in contact with us – we’re always happy to help.


The Potted History of Gun Cases was based on this much longer article written on the Antique Firearms Restoration Blog

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