I have been using Fiebing's Antique Finish and am accomplished using it. That said, I have experienced difficulty trying to duplicate the color from one project to the next. I suspect that the problem is definitely not the antique finish itself, but rather the tanning process used on the various hides that I have purchased. I buy my leather from a leather wholesaler in the garment district of Los Angeles. The hides are always in good condition with few range marks, brands, etc. Their appearance is always the same no matter where in the pile I happen to pull my piece from.
I usually apply the medium brown color and have noticed differences in how the color comes out. Recently, I decided to make a belt for myself using better quality blank. So, I ordered a Herman Oak (HO) blank from a mid-western supplier, since the Herman Oak supplier here in California did not sell HO belt blanks. I prepared the blank (after carving and stamping) as usual: oiled it then applied TanKote as the resist. When I removed the excess antique, I immediately noticed that the color was a beautiful medium brown, which was even better looking when I applied TanKote.
Today, I finished a very detailed carving/stamping project on a purse. I went through the same process and got a color that was totally unlike that of the HO belt. What the heck! Yes, it looks antique. Yes, it is very attractive. But, no it isn't the color that I'd hoped for.
So, with that lengthy preamble: my question. Am I correct that the differences in color from one project to the next are due to the leather itself having been tanned using various tanning agents unique to the tannery? I know when I asked the wholesaler about the hides, they told me that they purchased from various places such as Brazil and other South American countries, presumably Mexico also.
I would appreciate hearing opinions from others who perhaps have experiences like mine. It would be great to purchase HO hides but, frankly, my customers would not be willing to fork out the bucks to upgrade to HO.