Fiebing's dye comparison

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I've just closed the lid of the first empty bottle (yaay! :) ) of Fiebing's PRO DYE (dark brown, but that's not important right now) and came to point, where I'm ordering new one(s).

What my question here is, is what's the actual difference between:


Fiebing's Leather dye, Fiebing's PRO dye, Fiebing's Acrylic dye, Fiebing's low voc and Fiebing's leathercolors?


I think that Leather dye is the one, which is based on alcohol, while PRO dye is oil based (?). What is advantage of which, if I'm using only daubers to apply the dye?

Probably is best to mention, that I'm doing mostly knife sheaths and gun holsters.


PS: What's with the fiebing's neatsfoot oil compound? Is it good for knife sheaths and gun holsters?

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The leather dye and pro dye don't seem very different to me. They are both spirit based. However the regular dye tends to leave a metallic sheen that has to be buffed away. 

The other products I don't have any experience with.

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Leather dye and pro dye are both alcohol/spirit based.  Oil based pro refers to synthetic / oil based pigments and tend to yield better little better color and I find easier to use.  I haven't used acrylic nor low v.o.c. but they are less toxic for use in schools, etc and places like California where some ingredients are regulated.

Not sure what's in n.f.o.compound, but most say to use pure n.f.o. instead.


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This is based on my experience in wide format digital printing and memory of having read this description of those dyes.

There are two ways to design a dye, either using pigments held in suspension (a colloid) in a solvent (water can be the solvent as well as alcohol)  or actual dyes dissolved in a solvent. The low VOC (volatile organic compounds) can be acrylic or use solvents that do not evaporate as quickly as alcohols. There are regulations in CA making it very difficult to sell certain high VOC products.

That being said, I would and do use the solvent dyes as they tend to penetrate deeper into the leather and require less buffing to remove excess which hasn't penetrated.

Neatsfoot is supposed to be an oil derived from the shin bones of calves. It's unlikely that is the case today but there is a percentage of real neatsfoot in the "pure" derived from bones. The compound is the natural oil extended/adulterated with other oils including petrochemicals.

Here is the MSDS of the pure:

1. Ingredients Name CAS# OSHA ACGIH % Triglycerides 8002-64-0 N/A N/A 100 This product contains no hazardous material. HEALTH - 1 REACTIVITY - 0 FLAMMABILLTY - 0

Here's the MSDS on the compound:

Severely Hydrotreated Heavy - INHALATION: Vapors or oil mist from this product may Naphthenic Distillate cause mild irritation of the upper respiratory tract. (CAS Reg No. 64742-52-5) INGESTION: Considered no more than slightly toxic if OSHA PEL: swallowed. Acute oral LD50 (rat) greater than 5 g/kg of ACGIH TLV: body weight.

Severely Hydrotreated Light - CARCINOGENICITY: Naphthenic Distillate NTP? No (CAS Reg No. 64742-53-6) IARC MONOGRAPHS? No OSHA PEL: OSHA REGULATED? No ACGIH TLV: SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF EXPOSURE: As noted above. Prolonged Exposure limit for total product None and repeated skin contact may lead to various skin as mineral oil mist in air: disorders such as dermatitis, oil acne or folliculitis. OSHA PEL: 5 mg/m3 Minute amounts aspirated into the lungs during ingestion ACGIH TLV: 5 mg/m3 (TLV/TWA); 10 mg/m3 (TLV/STEL)

I stick with the pure.

Hope that helps, but note, I am no expert in leather dyes. I do hold patents on soy based solvents and am currently a partner in an international  wide format printing business.


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