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Design Dilemma

need help with leather refinishing

Kenneth CantrellJanuary 7, 2013
I have a DIY project that I need help with. We recently purchased a great leather chair from a resale shop and would like to refinish the leather myself. Has anyone ever done this, and would you share your experience and wisdom?
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I think if it was doable someone would have already refurbished this chair. You might re-moisturize it some and prevent further damage, but you may have to appreciate its worn appearance and call it patina.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 8:29AM
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I looked into this, and there are companies that do leather repair and refinishing. If the leather is in good shape but just faded, there are DIY kits available. I haven't tried it yet. If you do, please come back and let us know how it turns out. Best of luck!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Aja Mazin
Very nice chair and ottoman.

I use either of the following 2 methods:

Remove the existing finish and color with alcohol.
Put alcohol on a soft color and rub gently over entire surface.

When no more color appears on the cloth, let dry and apply leather dye [same colour or darker].
such as Kiwi or Griffin.
Reapply until the colour has been absorbed uniformly.

Let dry overnight, then condition with a good leather product. containing glycerin, vegetable oil, lanolin, etc.

Finish with saddle soap and buff to shine.

Acetone is harsher and can be used and will strip the colour,

If the leather is dry, brittle, use lots of vegetable oil.
If the leather is deeply cracked, nothing will "restore: it.

Also, there is an excellent colour dye made by Meltonian that comes in a multitude of colours.
The colour of the leather can be changed dramatically and it does not "rub" off on
clothing, etc.

Meltonian products are excellent and I recommend without hesitation. EXCELENT!!!

I clean the leather with alcohol before using the Meltonian Nu - Life dye and
Meltonian color preparer.

With the proper care, leather will last a lifetime and is virtually indestructible.
Keep leather clean of body oils and prespiration.
Never use animal oils which destroy the stitching.
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Aja Mazin
Colour chart:
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:30AM
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Aja Mazin

We must have been writing at the same time!

I have had a horse since I was 6, so I have spent my life around leather ~
everything from Hermes saddles to chaps for training.

I was amazed the first time I saw new braided leather reins soaking in a bucket of
Crisco oil in the back of a tack store!!

I was also amazed when my horse reared and broke away while in leather cross ties and broke her new leather halter that was made of 1/4" x 1" stitched leather .
Now that is horsepower!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:40AM
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Interiors International, Inc.
Orange and Aja have given you good advise. I am too busy for this so I call Leather Medic. They do a great job. If you don't have a franchise of that company there will be someone in your area that does this.
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Aja, is there *any* surface you don't know how to refinish? You are amazing!!!!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:25PM
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Okay, how did I not notice this before??? You are, actually, "A. Mazin"
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 3:28PM
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Kenneth Cantrell
thanks everyone for the comments, I think I will take Aja's advice and try to refinish. I will post a pic and let you know how it went.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 4:59PM
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Aja Mazin


My maiden name works for a great screen name!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 5:04PM
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Aja Mazin
I would love to curl up in that chair under a sheepskin throw on a cold winter night!

Good luck!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Aja Mazin
orangecamera, ,

Now I have to decide between the crib you suggested and another I found!
I change my mind every 15 minutes!
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 6:01PM
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In the grand scheme of things, we have the troubles of very lucky people, don't we? I'm sure you'll make the right decision... :)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 7:23PM
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Aja Mazin
From your lips to God's ears!

This is our third attempt.
    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Another option would be to use the same stuff the pro's use to condition their baseball gloves, there are a variety of different products out there.
    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 2:46AM
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Aja, no words of wisdom from me about that, I'm sure you've heard or thought it all yourselves. Just know you're in my thoughts, and I keep a positive outlook! :)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 8, 2013 at 4:53AM
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Aja Mazin
Uzbekistan ??
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:18AM
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I just used the Danier Leather "Rejuvenate" conditioner yesterday. I'm not sure how similar that may be to what olldbobbi suggested. I normally use it to get salt off of my boots before I apply Dubin, or I use it on my leather satchel. Yesterday I used it on the leather parts on an old pair of snowshoes and it really brought them back to life. It contains aloe, vitamin e, mink oil and possibly some other ingredients. I'd try a similar conditioner if you like things feeling sort of worn in but just want to get rid of the white scuffing on the bottom parts.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 7:47AM
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Aja Mazin
Kenneth Cantrell,

Have you tackled you project yet and , if yes, how did your chair and ottoman turn out?

My mom recently discovered 2 AUTOMOTIVE products for restoring AND changing the colour of leather [and vinyl]. - SEM and VHT.

Consumer reviews attest to the ability to withstand high temperatures one would expect in the summer
heat, and it does not crack, stiffen, or rub off .

In addition, a complete colour change from a dark colour to a light colour is possible.

Both products are LESS expensive, but the colour choices are limited.
And it is not likely that one would be able to achieve the subtle distressing effect.

My mom scored two BLACK leather parson's chairs in perfect condition for $30, but she can't use black and wants to change the colour to either a light gray or off white.

She did lots of research and found them on ebay and called the owner of the automotive shop who carries one of the brands.!
[He sells surplus stock on ebay as a sideline.]

She plans to tackle her chairs as soon as the order arrives - she bought 1 can each of light gray and ivory.

I wanted to let you know this, in case you had not yet decided.
[AVOID Rustoleum Automotive Fabric and Vinyl and Rustoleum Leather Sprays because of the nozzles]
    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:19PM
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