Recommended Posts

Quick question guys.. I’m dying some veg tan with Fiebing’s Pro dye and I have put some neetsfoot oil on, but now I’m looking for some clarification.. Should my next step be resolene (50/50 mix) and then a conditioner (such as leather balm w/ atom wax) or should it be the other way around? I’m not looking for a high gloss, just something to give my dye a bit more of a richness and not rub off on clothes or furniture (making a messenger bag/briefcase).

Also, may be a dumb question.. After application of resolene, how well do you find that your leather takes conditioners down the road? My mind tells me the acrylic would inhibit it, but I don’t have the experience of working with it to know. So.... edjamuhcate me, fellas!

Thanks for the help!

Edited by jsangl

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you will find folks that do it both ways, and swear by it.  I'm not settled on it yet myself.  One theory says that the Resolene or Acrylic will seal out the conditioners, the other says the conditioners will inhibit the ability of the Resolene to adhere to the surface over time.  I have been doing conditioners first for a long time, but have started to experiment some the other way around.  I think both will probably work, but you'll just have to decide which you prefer!

I am also curious to see how others experience has been, especially on conditioning after acrylic after some time.

YinTx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats a point that I have often thought about

One area where a lot of veg tan is left out in all weathers especially in the olden days is saddles, how did the west look after there saddles and did they last a long time, I assume their boots were also veg tan at that time as chrome tanning was only invented in 1850's and must have taken time to spread its use around the world

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, chrisash said:

Thats a point that I have often thought about

One area where a lot of veg tan is left out in all weathers especially in the olden days is saddles, how did the west look after there saddles and did they last a long time, I assume their boots were also veg tan at that time as chrome tanning was only invented in 1850's and must have taken time to spread its use around the world

In a word: grease. Whatever grease there was on hand. Applied liberally and frequently. Often beef tallow. Not so good for your wife’s posh handbag though. I have a pair of boots with veg tan uppers and they need slathering in dubbin just about every time they get wet, or they go rock hard. Interestingly (at least to geeky old me) is that a lot of older leather stuff that is a dark brown now has darkened over time due to combination of sunlight, oxidised greases and accumulated dirt. Originally a lot of it (especially finer leather, such as fancy horse tack) would have been a russet or London or Conker colour when it was new. Officers kit from ww1 and earlier is a good example: they were expected to buy their own gear, which they often did from the same tailor where they’d bought their uniforms and a high degree of individuality was tolerated. Fair leathers like London colour/tan were very popular and so a lot of officers’ holsters, belts etc were in fact rather light in colour. However a century of oxidised grease and dirt means that most of the examples available now are rather dark — usually somewhere around dark Havana. Reproductions for reenactors are typically no lighter than Australian nut and often much darker as that is what they expect; that’s the colour of the ones they’ve seen in museums and eBay. Plus fair leathers don’t really align with modern tastes, for some reason.

Saddles, boots and harness didn’t last forever of course. Boot soles especially were a frequently repaired, when the primary soling material was leather. Hobnails or heel plates could easily be replaced with just a last and a hammer. Worn through soles could be pasted over with cardboard. Patcher machines were invented to repair boots and such that had worn but were repairable. Most people who worked in conjunction with leather (farmers, carters, cowboys etc.) could do some maintenance and repair, just as today most computer users can do some basic repairs in order to save money and time over taking it to an expert every time something goes slightly wrong.

Frankly I just think that we expect leather stuff to look newer for longer these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, chrisash said:

Thats a point that I have often thought about

One area where a lot of veg tan is left out in all weathers especially in the olden days is saddles, how did the west look after there saddles and did they last a long time, I assume their boots were also veg tan at that time as chrome tanning was only invented in 1850's and must have taken time to spread its use around the world

A form of dubbin has been around since early medieval times. After removal of edible meat all animals were rendered down for their fats and grease and anything else they could supply, eg glues. Fats and greases from animals were used to make soap, grease cart axles, pack with iron arrow heads to prevent rusting,  slicked on long bows to keep the wood supple and many other uses. In medieval times it would be a poor goodwife who could not render down and get the fats and greases for trading for candles, use of grease round the house. Since the first third of the 18th century at least various leather food compounds have been available for buying by those who didn't make their own. My 1907 Sears, Roebuck catalogue lists a 'Leather Preservative' but the relevant page is missing.

to answer the OP: I coat with a couple of coats of diluted resolene, then apply beeswax/nfo mixture. I've not found that the resolene has prevented the nfo penetrating the leather

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys! I usually work with veg tan that I just oil and allow to acquire a natural patina or with pre-dyed stuff. I haven’t worked much with self dying, and it’s my first experience with Fiebing’s Pro and Resolene, so any insight was definitely appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Resolene - I find that it has a noticeable solvent effect on dye and or antiquing. The pro dye you'll be using is a lot more stable in this regard than the Eco-flow (water based) dyes.

In any case, be sure to thoroughly brush the dyed surface after it's dry, before applying Resolene or any other top coat. You must remove any pigment that did not penetrate the leather, or it will be "floated" and can cause smearing. (been there, done that).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What are thoughts on not using Resolene and just using a finish such as Fiebing’s Leather Balm with Atom Wax? I’ve buffed and buffed and I’m not really getting any residual dye on my cloth at this time.

Will the dye still bleed, or should it be stable enough to not need Resolene?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did some basic water tests on veg tan just using 2 solutions. first was sedgwick leather conditioner with two coats on the leather, there was water mark's showing on the leather, I then tried the same with effax leather-balm which is a much more liquid balm and found no water stains after it had dried

Hardly a scientific test and not a vast selection, but also raises the question of how long resolene lasts as a surface resistant with flexible wear

One thing i can say is the effax did appear to soak into the leather a bit like NFO where as the sedgwick seems far more like a surface polish like when you polish your shoes

Edited by chrisash

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now