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Hello Everyone,

So I bought some Eco-Flo Range Tan Leather Dye from Tandy to try out. I am working on a long wallet and the exterior piece is 2-3oz veg tan and the interior pieces are 1-2oz sheep veg tan. I put two coats of the leather dye on (not drying in between) all the pieces and let them dry. A few hours later I get this curling happening. I also think that I have some shrinkage that happened because my exterior/interior pieces, which should be pretty much the exact same size, are about 1/8" size difference. So what is happening? 

I did not wet the pieces down before hand, which I thought later that maybe that would help it all dry at about the same rate. 

Is it the Eco-Fo? 

Or is it the leather itself?

Is there a big difference  in behaviors between sheep veg and cow veg?| 

What did I do wrong? 

Thank you for the help! 

IMG_6402.JPG

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That dye dried out the leather and thus the curling.  I would treat the pieces with a good coat of NFO and flatten them out with a weight overnight.  Probably not much you can do about the shrinkage because pieces of leather may shrink at a different rate.

Gary

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If you moisten them from the back and then slick them, you might get some of the size back as they will stretch while slicking.  Just make sure you don't over do it or they will be too big or not square anymore.

 

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This happens to me sometimes, particularly on thinner leather and with Fiebing's Oil Dye.  I think it is just a natural phenomenon.  I am in the construction products industry and believe me, you wouldn't believe what can happen to products like concrete while they are drying.  Concrete tends to shrink, but curl up around the edges, not too dissimilar to what you are experiencing, albeit quite a bit less!

I agree with wetting and slicking the backside.  Should it stretch you can always cut it square again.

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3 hours ago, garypl said:

That dye dried out the leather and thus the curling.  I would treat the pieces with a good coat of NFO and flatten them out with a weight overnight.  Probably not much you can do about the shrinkage because pieces of leather may shrink at a different rate.

Gary

Would NFO before dying help prevent this? 

 

38 minutes ago, immiketoo said:

If you moisten them from the back and then slick them, you might get some of the size back as they will stretch while slicking.  Just make sure you don't over do it or they will be too big or not square anymore.

 

Sounds like it's worth a try! 

30 minutes ago, Tugadude said:

This happens to me sometimes, particularly on thinner leather and with Fiebing's Oil Dye.  I think it is just a natural phenomenon.  I am in the construction products industry and believe me, you wouldn't believe what can happen to products like concrete while they are drying.  Concrete tends to shrink, but curl up around the edges, not too dissimilar to what you are experiencing, albeit quite a bit less!

I agree with wetting and slicking the backside.  Should it stretch you can always cut it square again.

I used some Fiebings Pro Dye (which I'm assuming is there newest recipe for oil dye) on another wallet and it got some waviness/slight curling, but not like this. Concrete curls?!?

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21 minutes ago, Chief Filipino said:

Would NFO before dying help prevent this? 

 

I have never tried NFO before dyeing - but I have read on this forum about mixing NFO and dye to color leather.  I suggest experimenting on some scrap leather and see what works for your purposes!

Gary

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Oil before dye will help the color set better and reduce streaks to a certain degree, but I don't know about the potato chip effect.  When dealing with thin leather, I place it under glass or weights to prevent curling.

 

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On 7/3/2018 at 8:37 AM, garypl said:

I have never tried NFO before dyeing - but I have read on this forum about mixing NFO and dye to color leather.  I suggest experimenting on some scrap leather and see what works for your purposes!

Gary

I'll experiment and see what I get! Thank you!

 

On 7/3/2018 at 9:42 AM, immiketoo said:

Oil before dye will help the color set better and reduce streaks to a certain degree, but I don't know about the potato chip effect.  When dealing with thin leather, I place it under glass or weights to prevent curling.

 

The glass idea sounds good but I think I'll have to wait until I have an actual shop space/room instead of my teeny space I have at the moment. 

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I just bought a glass cutting board without texture from the grocery store.  Its the same size as my slab and it works for most projects. I have also been known to use brass weights or my leather weights to hold pieces flat til they dry.

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I was taught to oil before dye, and I haven't had much problem with edge curl. I don't do a lot of thins stuff, so maybe that's helped me.

If that sheep leather reacts like that to surface dye, perhaps a dip-dye method would help.

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I CHEAT on those light weight items -- dye the leather, and THEN cut out the parts.

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Since I'm dealing quite often with pretty thin leather I ran into this problem pretty often. There are several ways to handle that issue:

  • In my experiments, oiling the pieces before dyeing doesn't prevent the dry-curling from happening but it lessens the effect
  • Putting plates/weights on the leather slows the drying down significantly (at least in my experiments and some of the dye went into my marble slab). You'll have no curling but you will have shrinking and hardening effects nonetheless 
  • Buffing off the excess after drying gives the leather a bit of it's softness back
  • After buffing, I treat it with 1-2 coats of NFO and buff it after it sits for a few minutes. Let it dry completely then
  • Depending on the item you make (I do a lot of wallets) apply your finish. I often use Carnauba Creme, which additionally gives the leather some smoothness and after buffing it it's almost back to normal
  • As JLS mentions: Cut it after that treatment and take care of the edges then

Hope that helps

Charon 

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First of all, the thinner the leather the more risk you have of seeing the edge curl and also the shrinkage; this is true whether you have cased it or merely given the moisture from the dye/stain.  It helps immensely to oil it before you dye it but be very careful because the thinner the leather the quicker it can become TOO conditioned and feel spongy.  Everything you do with the thinner leathers is compounded because you are only dealing with the uppermost surface of the leather and the bulk of the more woven fibers has been removed.  I only use 2 to 3 oz. for my interior parts (pockets, flaps, etc.) and the thinnest that I will use for a back (exterior) is 3 to 4 oz. but it will end up getting a lining.  My normal go to weight is 4 to 5 oz. for things like wallets, card cases, phone cases, etc. and I have been very successful with this over the past 40 years or so.  The type of leather also makes a big difference (goat, sheep, cow, pig, etc.) as each type of animal has a different cellular structure and natural fat content in the skin with lamb, goat, and pig being the highest; this lends itself to absorbing too much moisture when applied and then rolling and wrinkling as it dries so you need to place a weight over these things as they are doing so.  I place mine under one of my 5 granite slabs so they dry flat and also don't get a chance to shrink.

Hope this helps clear some of it up for you.

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On 7/26/2018 at 7:16 AM, JLSleather said:

I CHEAT on those light weight items -- dye the leather, and THEN cut out the parts.

Nice, I didn't think of that! Thank you! 

 

On 8/2/2018 at 4:25 AM, charon said:

Since I'm dealing quite often with pretty thin leather I ran into this problem pretty often. There are several ways to handle that issue:

  • In my experiments, oiling the pieces before dyeing doesn't prevent the dry-curling from happening but it lessens the effect
  • Putting plates/weights on the leather slows the drying down significantly (at least in my experiments and some of the dye went into my marble slab). You'll have no curling but you will have shrinking and hardening effects nonetheless 
  • Buffing off the excess after drying gives the leather a bit of it's softness back
  • After buffing, I treat it with 1-2 coats of NFO and buff it after it sits for a few minutes. Let it dry completely then
  • Depending on the item you make (I do a lot of wallets) apply your finish. I often use Carnauba Creme, which additionally gives the leather some smoothness and after buffing it it's almost back to normal
  • As JLS mentions: Cut it after that treatment and take care of the edges then

Hope that helps

Charon 

I will definitely try this out. I don't really have much room/plates/weights to put on my pieces. Thank you!

 

18 hours ago, NVLeatherWorx said:

First of all, the thinner the leather the more risk you have of seeing the edge curl and also the shrinkage; this is true whether you have cased it or merely given the moisture from the dye/stain.  It helps immensely to oil it before you dye it but be very careful because the thinner the leather the quicker it can become TOO conditioned and feel spongy.  Everything you do with the thinner leathers is compounded because you are only dealing with the uppermost surface of the leather and the bulk of the more woven fibers has been removed.  I only use 2 to 3 oz. for my interior parts (pockets, flaps, etc.) and the thinnest that I will use for a back (exterior) is 3 to 4 oz. but it will end up getting a lining.  My normal go to weight is 4 to 5 oz. for things like wallets, card cases, phone cases, etc. and I have been very successful with this over the past 40 years or so.  The type of leather also makes a big difference (goat, sheep, cow, pig, etc.) as each type of animal has a different cellular structure and natural fat content in the skin with lamb, goat, and pig being the highest; this lends itself to absorbing too much moisture when applied and then rolling and wrinkling as it dries so you need to place a weight over these things as they are doing so.  I place mine under one of my 5 granite slabs so they dry flat and also don't get a chance to shrink.

Hope this helps clear some of it up for you.

This is 1.5-2.5 oz sheep skin that I got to try on the inner pieces to try to take out some of the thickness. I normally work with 2-3oz at the smallest but thought I'd give the thinner stuff a shot. I may stick with it and try all these suggestions, at least until I'm out of leather then maybe go back to the 2-3 or maybe just get 1-2 in cow (if I can find it). Thank you! 

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16 hours ago, Chief Filipino said:

I will definitely try this out. I don't really have much room/plates/weights to put on my pieces. Thank you!

I'm using floor tiles that I picked up as sample, works pretty good and you don't need any fancy weights or space. You can even pile them up to save space. I'm doing my stuff in the living room so I know the pain...

16 hours ago, Chief Filipino said:

This is 1.5-2.5 oz sheep skin that I got to try on the inner pieces to try to take out some of the thickness. I normally work with 2-3oz at the smallest but thought I'd give the thinner stuff a shot. I may stick with it and try all these suggestions, at least until I'm out of leather then maybe go back to the 2-3 or maybe just get 1-2 in cow (if I can find it). Thank you! 

As I said I really almost exclusively work with that thin leather and it works pretty good if you keep a few points in mind. Sheep skin is really difficult for inner wallet parts since its really soft and supple. You're better off with baby calf, baby buffalo, kangaroo, kid or goat (going from good to ok). I once did a complete wallet out of lamb skin in my beginnings and I even utilised the fact that the leather gets stiffer from dye to make it work for a wallet. However I never did that again afterwards. In my opinion even goat is too supple. I'm sticking with calf, buffalo and kangaroo...  

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On 8/6/2018 at 5:56 AM, charon said:

I'm using floor tiles that I picked up as sample, works pretty good and you don't need any fancy weights or space. You can even pile them up to save space. I'm doing my stuff in the living room so I know the pain...

As I said I really almost exclusively work with that thin leather and it works pretty good if you keep a few points in mind. Sheep skin is really difficult for inner wallet parts since its really soft and supple. You're better off with baby calf, baby buffalo, kangaroo, kid or goat (going from good to ok). I once did a complete wallet out of lamb skin in my beginnings and I even utilised the fact that the leather gets stiffer from dye to make it work for a wallet. However I never did that again afterwards. In my opinion even goat is too supple. I'm sticking with calf, buffalo and kangaroo...  

I tried tracing out the parts and dying them as a whole and that seemed to work fairly well but I think I'll follow your lead and never use sheep for a wallet again. I do like the suppleness but it was too much of a pain to use for wallets. 

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On 2018-07-26 at 4:16 PM, JLSleather said:

I CHEAT on those light weight items -- dye the leather, and THEN cut out the parts.

My view is that outside of school and gambling there is nothing called cheating, just smart use of resources and knowledge...

Which you demonstrated here.

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