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rubbing alcohol aging leather

Discussion in 'Ask The Artisan' started by regius, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. regius

    regius Practically Family

    Can someone with experience describe the theory and process to discolor and age a leather jacket with rubbing alcohol? especially the black leather.

    My understanding is the alcohol draws out the dye, but here's the question, if it's a dyed through black leather, then what's left would be white, if it's a brown leather dyed superficially, then it's easy to imagine. What I don't understand is how a dyed through black jacket could turn brown too? For example, the wardrobe people of Terminator II aged the black Bates jacket, and made some of them brown, but the leather was a through and through black cowhide.

    Thank you!
  2. kirkaero

    kirkaero New in Town

    I only know about this from shoes. The London bespoke shoemaker Foster & Son left shoe samples in the window of their shop for years and they became sun faded, some from black to a brownish color. Customers liked the look and they have replicated the look using cotton balls and alcohol. You have stop at just the right time to get the brownish look if you go to far it does start to turn white. This is done on standard leather unlike the Japanese teacore look which is a black dye over a brown one. It takes a while to do a pair of shoes so it would take a long time to do a jacket. Of course it may not work at all on some leathers. I would test it on a hidden area.
  3. regius

    regius Practically Family

    THanks! my theory of the white vs brown evolution is due to oxidation, heat required (e.g. sun). the protein in the leather reacts with the carb in the dye and other tanning chemicals and turns brown (Mailard reaction). I just witnessed the whitening effect after i rubbed alcohol on my boots. The boots has black leather but the rough side is brown, suggesting it's not dyed through. I was hoping an instant brown but it didn't happen, instead the rubbed area became white and tacky. I think if I expose the area to sun, soon it will be brown.
  4. regius

    regius Practically Family

    I think this is how movie makers distress leather. Acetone to remove color aggressively, then use a brown shoe polish to polish and re-dye the whitened part.

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