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Jonathan U.

Joined: 24 May 2014

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2015 11:55 am    Post subject: Natural Leather Dyes         Reply with quote

Hello! This is my first forum post so I hope it's a good one. Up until recently I've used fiebings dye, and I've been really satisfied with it so far. But I'm looking to up the authenticity of my work by using more historical dying methods. I've been trying out iron dying and walnut dye. Both have yielded good results, but this has also lead me to wonder if there is more to know about these processes. I especially have questions about the brown dye.

For one I was wondering if there were plants other than walnut that could be used. I don't have a tree of my own and sourcing them when I have 0 experience has been a little hard, the few I've managed to get still in the hull I've come by 3rd hand. I also have questions about wither I should be soaking whole skins of leather or if its more sensible/accurate to cut out the leather I want to use first before soaking it. Lastly, I'm not sure what the historical treatment of the leather is once It is finished. Up until now I've treated the leather with olive oil and beeswax, but I'm not sure of the accuracy of this, and I've noted that the beeswax mixture tends to produce more of a grey color to my leather dyed with Iron.

Thank you for your time.

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Jeffrey Faulk

Location: Georgia
Joined: 01 Jan 2011

Posts: 578

PostPosted: Mon 05 Oct, 2015 1:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I believe you can make a serviceable black dye by soaking iron filings in vinegar for some time. It's medieval, so it's legit. Called 'vingearoon' I believe.

This is in relation to woodworking (staining wood, works particularly well with oaks as the tannins in the wood will react with the iron in solution and make it even blacker) but I believe they may mention some in relation to leather-work.

A lot of dyes use metal oxides. The trick is making it permanent, so you need a mordant. Basic alum would do; I believe it's a laundry supply, though I could be wrong. Of course, read it up wherever you can.
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Ken Speed

Joined: 09 Oct 2006

Posts: 656

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2015 3:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dyed a sheath for a Finnish Pukko with a walnut husk and ammonia wood stain I made and it turned out pretty good after I treated the leather with a soft wax. The ammonia based stain drew all the moisture out of the leather but the wax revived it.

I've wanted to experiment with poke berries which were used for dyeing cloth although I've heard the dye faded with washing regardless of the mordant, I don't think that would be the same for leather which isn't washed. In any cas I have yet to find any poke berries in the area so I haven't had the chance to try it.

Some mushrooms are used for dying, you might want to research that.
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Giddelo Kristian

Location: Belgium
Joined: 05 Nov 2014
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Tue 06 Oct, 2015 4:40 am    Post subject: Natural black         Reply with quote

I used vinegar and steel wool to make liquid rust. Heat the vinegar to boiling point, take a hand full of steel wool . stir with a brach ore something disposable. You will notice the steel will fall apart. Iff all the steel wool is dissolved, the rust is ready for use.
I started witch some straps and a belt. Just soke them in the rust till you see no bubbles comme up. Wash the leather with running water. You will notice that the leather is a bit brittle. To stop the reaction you put the leather in a jar with lots off backingpowder. stir, Shake the jar so the powder can soke out the rust. It will turn red/brown. Again washing under the tap.
The leather is now really degreased. I use lard to feed it again, do it regular.
Let the leather dry and it is ready fore use.

Here you find some pictures.
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