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Hey everyone,

I found a vinegaroon recipe here: https://leatherworker.net/forum/topic/73637-my-guide-to-the-best-vinegaroon-youve-ever-made/#comment-482966 after it was recomended to me as a natural dye. Here is what I did:

I bought steel wool for dishwashing from a local store. I had lots of red wine vinegar (6 percent acid). I took a glass jar and put the wool in an then submerged the wool in it. I left it like that for a day and then I tried it on some vegtan leather I had laying around. Nothing happened. I left it for another day and same thing, no blacking. There were bubbles in the solutiob once and I very carefully stirred them away but that was only a few hours after the wool had been sitting there. Now in the recipe it says that the full strenght is reached in twelve hours but mine does nothing after two days. Did I use wrong kind of vinegar or maybe there is something wrong with the wool?

Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Wrong steel wool. Woolies for dish washing have soap and rust inhibitors on them. Get pads from a DIY or hardware store. Use neat distilled white vinegar diluted with some water. Allow air to get to the wool in the vinegar solution

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It also helps to rinse the steel wool (again, for WOODWORKING) with alcohol to remove any oil.

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here's my vinegaroon recipe:

 

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Thanks everyone! I'll try with different wool and use white vinegar instead.

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Update guys!

I bought white vinegar but every hardware store somehow went out of stock for steel wool so, improvisation time. I took a rust brush and scraped the life out of a dishwashing woolie. Then I cut it into tiny pieces using scissors. I also got some pieces of an iron nail (removed the rust). I left all of that covered in vinegar in a glass jar. In a few hours there were bubbles everywhere. I mixed it a bit. In 12 hours I had 'roon of moderate strenght, in 2 days it blackens amazing. I'm working on a project right now so I'll post images when its done. A great thanks for all of the help!

P.S. I neutralized blackened leather by soaking it in a sodium hydrogen bicarbonate solution. Color holds.

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Well done getting it working, but easy on the sodium bicarb. Veg tanned leather is supposed to be mildly acidic (pH around 3-4 IIRC), and if you take it above its as-made pH it'll break down quite quickly. On the rare instance I use vinegaroon type products I just wash the thing out in plain water rather than adding bases. This brings the pH up a little, which is close enough to its "natural" pH that I think it makes little odds.

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2 hours ago, crazytailorlady said:

Update guys!

I bought white vinegar but every hardware store somehow went out of stock for steel wool so, improvisation time. I took a rust brush and scraped the life out of a dishwashing woolie. Then I cut it into tiny pieces using scissors. I also got some pieces of an iron nail (removed the rust). I left all of that covered in vinegar in a glass jar. In a few hours there were bubbles everywhere. I mixed it a bit. In 12 hours I had 'roon of moderate strenght, in 2 days it blackens amazing. I'm working on a project right now so I'll post images when its done. A great thanks for all of the help!

P.S. I neutralized blackened leather by soaking it in a sodium hydrogen bicarbonate solution. Color holds.

Awesome!!!!  steel wool works fast but any regular iron of will work Nails for example . it doesn't have to be just steel wool if you ever run into this problem again..

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18 minutes ago, chuck123wapati said:

Awesome!!!!  steel wool works fast but any regular iron of will work Nails for example . it doesn't have to be just steel wool if you ever run into this problem again..

Yup, definitely noted that. I'll be making lots of 'roon for my project(s) so there's ny chance to experiment. The fun part of this was: I was cutting some old leather before using the dye and I had a ton of fine leather dust on my hands. Guess what happened when some 'roon got on those hands...

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lol i have a piece of leather speckled because i was sanding a knife  by it as soon as i wetted it to tool .......tiny black speckles. the iron reacts with the tannins used in the tanning process turning the leather black so any iron that touches it wet will turn it.

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5 hours ago, crazytailorlady said:

Update guys!

I bought white vinegar but every hardware store somehow went out of stock for steel wool so, improvisation time. I took a rust brush and scraped the life out of a dishwashing woolie. Then I cut it into tiny pieces using scissors. I also got some pieces of an iron nail (removed the rust). I left all of that covered in vinegar in a glass jar. In a few hours there were bubbles everywhere. I mixed it a bit. In 12 hours I had 'roon of moderate strenght, in 2 days it blackens amazing. I'm working on a project right now so I'll post images when its done. A great thanks for all of the help!

P.S. I neutralized blackened leather by soaking it in a sodium hydrogen bicarbonate solution. Color holds.

A. great !, well done  :thumbsup:

b. no need to remove rust from the nails, basically that's what you are doing, making an iron-rust solution

c. depending on your local water, just a wash in water, or water with a very small amount of soap in it will be sufficient to neutralise

d. depending on the tanning of your leather you may find the colour darkening, or deepening as time goes by as the iron reacts to the tannins in the leather

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44 minutes ago, fredk said:

A. great !, well done  :thumbsup:

b. no need to remove rust from the nails, basically that's what you are doing, making an iron-rust solution

c. depending on your local water, just a wash in water, or water with a very small amount of soap in it will be sufficient to neutralise

d. depending on the tanning of your leather you may find the colour darkening, or deepening as time goes by as the iron reacts to the tannins in the leather

Thanks! And ok, I'll use water instead of soda next time, seems like a better idea.

 

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On a side note, vinegaroon will also darken some woods like oak and after a couple of months it will become less potent, and you can get some very nice gray colors from it for leather which I know of no other way to achieve

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Weak vinegaroon on oak will give it that grey-ish look of very aged oak. We, my father & I, used to make it and use it on oak furniture, doors et cetera. We didn't know it then as vinegaroon, just as 'that jar of wood greying stuff' My father used to make it using old diluted car battery acid. Mixed with a pot of tea it worked on other woods as well. The tea added tannins to it which some woods don't have

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14 hours ago, fredk said:

Weak vinegaroon on oak will give it that grey-ish look of very aged oak. We, my father & I, used to make it and use it on oak furniture, doors et cetera. We didn't know it then as vinegaroon, just as 'that jar of wood greying stuff' My father used to make it using old diluted car battery acid. Mixed with a pot of tea it worked on other woods as well. The tea added tannins to it which some woods don't have

When I tested my batch after only a few hours it gave me a light gray color on some light tan leather. I suppose that if I took our the wool then it would have kept the graying effect.

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