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I have a problem and am at my wits’ end, so I figured I’d come ask you intelligent and experienced people for advice. :-) I apologize if this is long-winded. I have designed a cuff bracelet that fits various wrist sizes because it is slotted rather than clasped. I made a prototype that I have worn for months and months to “test drive” it, and it’s holding up great and gets a lot of compliments. But now that I’m trying to make it in other colors to sell, black in particular is giving me trouble. (By the way, I am using 7-oz. natural veg-tanned leather from Wickett & Craig.) Mine is dyed Fiebing’s “LIght Brown” (which is actually a lovely mottled dark brown) sealed with full-strength Resolene, and it’s doing fine. I’ve had a couple since then crack beside one of the slots — that could be due to overcutting the slot and/or not conditioning the leather. So I’ve started using leather conditioner after dyeing, and also using a punch tool to cut the slots instead of a hole punch and utility knife, and I haven't seen the cracking problem again so far. So here is the current problem… The several black ones that I’ve made recently have not held up to a stress test — the finish appears to rub off at the contact points. (See the picture for an example.) I haven’t made many colors, but my brown one doesn’t do this. (Of course, it’s possible that it DOES do this but I just can’t tell because the color behaves differently.) I have a dark blue one that has a similar issue to the black (though not quite as bad). It didn’t get conditioner, so I doubt it’s the conditioner causing the problem. I have tried different dyes (Fiebing’s Pro Oil Dye, and Angelus Jet Black). I have tried Black Resolene (which has had the WORST results for this), as well as clear Resolene (both at full strength). I have tried with and without additional finish after the Resolene (Eco-Flo Satin Shene, or Fiebing’s Leather Balm with Atom Wax). I have tried PRAYER. :-) I have used up a lot of time and leather. I need a durable and flexible finish that will prevent dye bleed when the person wearing the bracelet sweats, and that will not rub off at contact points. I suspect this is possible, as belt-makers seem to do okay… What finish do they use (or is it a certain kind of pre-dyed leather)? Should I be cutting the Resolene with water 50/50 (as I have seen suggested elsewhere in the forums), and would it solve the problem? Any help will be greatly appreciated!
Hi Folks, This is my first post here on LW.net, but I've been lurking for a few months. I'm making belts using 12/13oz English Bridle Leather. I've got the edges like I want them, but I'm having difficulty developing a super-durable finish on the face of the strap. Most of the advice I see on LW.net deals with natural leathers in which dyeing is part of the finishing process. My question is basically this: what method do you use to create the most durable/permanent finish that's possible on English Bridle Leather? Neatsfoot oil? Gum Trag? Wax? I want to avoid having (for instance) the belts "patina-ing" within a few days of use, or, as one of my belts does, have the finish rub off when I wear an OWB pancake holster. Also, there is no "tooling" per se, but sometimes a crease. Thanks in advance, folks, Nic