Darkening/aging leather

Sulla

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
How do I darken/age leather without making a mess that will rub off, or dirty clothing and furniture, or weaken the material?

Thanks.
 

Gigatron

Sr Member
My favorite method (depending on size of the material) is a light sanding to roughen up the surface, a few coats of brown and black shoe polish and a top coat of Pecard's leather dressing. Then you can use a very fine grit sandpaer (like wet/dry) to add highlights and distressed areas.

Haven't had any issues with ruboff in over 2 years, and that's on a bag strap I use everyday.

-Fred
 

Sulla

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Kewl thanks.

The leather is trim on a canvas repro WWII bag. I will need to figure out how to weather/distress the canvas duck, but I have some thoughts on that. I may just take the darned thing on a heavy camping trip...
 

Eaglewood

Sr Member
Tandy Leather is the place to go--They WILL have whatever you need to color and seal the leather. Google them or I can send you a link.

Appliedmetal

PS--I have an account with them so I get discounts... Let me know if I can help
 

Sulla

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks everyone. I think I'm going to head to Ladwerelyn's leather here in central Indianapolis and see what they have. Last time I was there there they had two huge tables groaning under the weight of leather tratment stuff.

You've been a huge help. And that canvas bag tutorial was great. I dunno if I wanna burry my bag in the wet clay we call soil here, but not bad, not bad.
 

Lukes Roommate

Well-Known Member
For a suede-ish type leather, I HIGHLY recommend Atom Wax.
Rubbing it in creates that sweat-stained look that comes with abuse, age and well, sweat.
 

Mechinyun

Sr Member
Originally posted by gnrlotto@Mar 14 2006, 01:48 AM
Also, good old fashioned mink oil works too.
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Mink oil is actually horrible for leather. Now if its a cheap item and you want something quick from walmart or whatever to do it, sure. But if its an item you want to keep and preserve for however long dont use mink oil, it will rot out the leather over time.

Pecards as I recommend above is known to not harm leather at all. The smithsonian institute uses pecards to restore historical leather items (we are talking hundreds of years old) and keep them in good shape for future generations.

-Cliff
 

gnrlotto

Sr Member
That's utterly bizarre to me, as centuries ago they only had things like Mink Oil and Neetsfoot. I'm fairly certain there weren't medieval barkers hawking "Ye Olde-timey Pecard's Leather Dressing--Also good for boils and the gout."

If you buy shoes from The Bostonian, they only sale Mink Oil. Guess they want folks to ruin their shoes...
 

Mechinyun

Sr Member
Originally posted by gnrlotto@Mar 14 2006, 07:20 PM
That's utterly bizarre to me, as centuries ago they only had things like Mink Oil and Neetsfoot.  I'm fairly certain there weren't medieval barkers hawking "Ye Olde-timey Pecard's Leather Dressing--Also good for boils and the gout."

If you buy shoes from The Bostonian, they only sale Mink Oil.  Guess they want folks to ruin their shoes...
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Yes they do, if they didnt wear out they couldnt sell your another pair. ;)


A simple google search about mink oil will bring up plenty of sites with studies and results about these "leather dressings". Trust me they are all bad news. Sure people have used this stuff for years, but people also ate poision to cure sicknes for ages too. Times change, technology and research advances.

http://www.watchpolishing.com/leatherguide.htm

Quote of the important part:

Ample studies have proven that leather dressings and saddle soaps, rather than preserving aged leather artifacts, actually hasten their deterioration. Oils in dressings are intended to provide internal lubrication for leather that is still in use; the oil allows the bundles of fibrils to slip over each other as leather is flexed, keeping it supple. Historic leather artifacts in a collection no longer need to be flexible, since they are no longer functional objects. Research has shown that many oils and fats used in leather dressings (neatsfoot oil, mink oil, lanolin) oxidize and harden over time, causing the leather to become even stiffer and brittle; oils also will darken with time, thus darkening the leather. Saddle soap originally was developed as an emulsified dressing for leather. Its ability to clean a surface is dubious, as the "soap" in it is employed to emulsify the oil/water mixture, leaving little reserve cleaning power. Saddle soap is also alkaline and leaves residues that cause degradation of the leather.


So yeah, mink oil is bad. B)

Most leather items I own are props and I have done extensive research into the subject, specificly keeping leather in its best possible condition. This was due to my first David Morgan Whip which I purchased in 1989, I used mink oil on it for years and I could see the leather had deteriorated alot in just 5 years. Lesson learned. :)

edit for url link.
 

Sulla

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow, thanks for the heads up. I've been using Neetsfoot oil on my SCA straps and belts for years now... Guess I need to change to Pecard's?
 
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