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Thread: Rejuvenating a shearling (suede?) coat that's been exposed to massively alkaline environment?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Cool Rejuvenating a shearling (suede?) coat that's been exposed to massively alkaline environment?

    Hi,

    I have a shearling coat that I would love your expert advice on. The coat was a gift to me from an ex-gf ( : I may note that she gifted it to me after we broke up : ).

    I have owned this coat for about 15 years and exposed it to large amounts of alkaline dust (ahem Burning Man ahem). I wore it almost yearly for 13 years with minimal maintenance.

    About 2 years ago I took my chances and took a hose to it with a gentle soap. It came clean and wore well the following two years.

    This year I decided to wash it again to rid it of the dust before storing it. I used a mild vinegar and soap mixture in the bathtub. I aimed a fan at it to dry it over the coarse of 48 hours. It is once again clean but it is *showing signs that it needs rejuvenation. The leather has shrunken and stiffened.

    I started out doing my online research as the coat was drying knowing that I would need to rejuvenate the coat. I have Lexol handy, read about not using Mink Oil, looked at Olenauf’s, heard of a couple other products, and know the ancestors used olive oil on their leathers. I still wasn't convinced.

    Well tonight I somehow happened upon the proper search terms for cleaning and rejuvenating a shearling coat and to my great relief and surprise I found your site.*

    I am attaching pictures but I am guessing that I could use a Hydrator and Fatliquor followed by a Protector.*
    http://imgur.com/44tvcS6
    http://imgur.com/oHR9xVD
    http://imgur.com/bQhxWBF
    http://imgur.com/TRLwBaI
    http://imgur.com/fYZBOuT
    http://imgur.com/qlzuHPo
    http://imgur.com/n9V5OCh
    http://imgur.com/CgSkbsv

    I have a couple questions:

    1) What type of coat is this?

    2) I would like to know what your recommendations are, especially considering the coats history.*

    3) What is the longevity of such a coat (given it’s past and my willingness to take care of it properly going forward).

    4) Where can one source a similar coat?*

    5) How hard would it be to make a coat like this, given that I have the pattern and moderate haberdashery skills?

    6) If I wanted to, how would I dye it blue again?

    For a little background, I don’t necessarily take any issue with the coat’s current aesthetic (though I am in favour of aesthetics), I am more wholeheartedly interested in preserving the utility of this coat going forward for years to come.

    Any help would be very much appreciated!

    Thank you, Thank you,

    Best,

    esc*

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    It is easier to view pictures direct, so I have re-post it.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default

    continue. . .

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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Greater Vancouver, Canada.
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    >>> 1) What type of coat is this?

    This is a shearling or sheepskin suede jacket, I believe this is from a black sheep or lamb (sheepskin would be bigger in size and thicker than lamb) otherwise the suede face would also be black if it is dyed. Pretty rare to have it lambskin in black (I wish I can find one myself).


    >>> 2) I would like to know what your recommendations are, especially considering the coats history.*

    My recommendation is to have this Kit Ss4 designed for both faces (suede and wool)of the jacket.


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    Leather Doctor Kit Ss4 – Shearling Suede Care Kit
    Leather Doctor® Kit Ss4, shearling suede care kit is an innovative leather-safe (pH 3 - 5) system designed for keeping shearling suede outer garment at their highest level of appearance, enhancing their softness and strength and prevents premature ageing. Suede when dry of its fat and oil becomes more absorbent and easily creases and wrinkles. Softening it begins with Hydrator-3.3 to relax the creases and wrinkles prior to fat and oil replenishing with Fatliquor-5.0. The fat plumps the suede with fullness and the oil lubricates the fibers for smoothness during compressing, stretching and flexing thus reduces creases and wrinkles. Unlike conditioning oils that darkens suede, fatliquor seasons the suede to a richer tone that helps reduce the ingress of liquid stains and making soiling removal easier where the fibers is full of fat and oil. Maintenance cleaning before soiling build up on body contact areas is done with Cleaner-3.8 and Rinse-3.0 respectively. Protector-S+ imparts a non-stick rub-resistant silky-feel that shields the effect of sticky soiling, keeping a high level of appearance for a longer period of time. The wool face is clean and rinse with Cleaner-5.5 and Rinse-4.0 respectively using the same non-stick protector to enhance the wool with a silky feel. Moreover, it diffuses a classic leather scent that charms. Note that the mentioned product suffix number denotes its pH value in this leather-safe holistic care system for double face shearling suede.


    >>> 3) What is the longevity of such a coat (given it’s past and my willingness to take care of it properly going forward).

    This coat will outlive our life assuming we will be a centennial or live over a hundred years. The strength of the leather lies in its pH chemistry integrity (pH 3 to 5) and the periodic replenishing of fatliquor up to average 14%.
    Leather protein fiber is “amphoteric”, its leather chemistry constituents like the tanning agent and the fatliquor are non-amphoteric. When the protein fiber is maintain at an ionic positive (+ve) charge, the hydrogen bond between the non-amphoteric tanning agent and the fatliquor ionic negative (-ve) attraction increases. Alkaline solution will influence the protein fiber and shift it ionic negative (-ve), thus the denaturing of the leather begins and in extreme cases revert to rawhide beginning with tackiness and worsen with sliminess. Leather-safe care products with pH value between 3 and 5 will best maintain the chemistry integrity of the leather averaging pH 4.
    The tanning agent preserves the leather from reverting to rawhide, however it is the fatliquor (fat, oil and water) to impart the softness and strength to the leather – the more the softer and stronger.


    >>> 4) Where can one source a similar coat?*

    First source black lambskin and have them tailor is one option. I have not seen another shearling like yours only black on both faces.


    >>> 5) How hard would it be to make a coat like this, given that I have the pattern and moderate haberdashery skills?

    It depends on how details you wanted it to be, however without a lining makes it simpler to make one.


    >>> 6) If I wanted to, how would I dye it blue again?

    You may dye it with a transparent dyestuff using Aniline-21 or a translucent hybrid dyestuff Nubuck-28. Always use transparent dyestuff to go deeper into the skin and translucent dyestuff to camouflage unwanted blemishes if any thereafter.


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    Leather Doctor Kit S7.cl – Suede Dye Refinishing Kit

    Leather Doctor® Kit S7.cl is designed for dye refinishing suede leathers after degreasing in a holistic approach. Most severely penetrated, prolonged and neglected stains from the bare head and hands that show a darkening effect with a sticky feel have its dyestuff probably deteriorated by the oil, grease and sweat. When the stain feels sticky, it is a sign of leather denaturing and reverting to rawhide from breaking of bonds with the tanning agent. When sign of dye is transfer to a white towel, it indicates that the dyestuff has also break bonds with the protein fiber. When leather is stiff or show signs of whitish residue migrating, it shows that the fatliquor is breaking bonds as well with the protein fiber. The main component of the leather protein fiber is amphoteric while the other constituents are not; shifting of the pH caused from sweat to alkalinity affects the pH imbalance. To revert from denaturing into rawhide prior to dye refinishing, contaminated alkaline soiling is removed with Degreaser-2.2, a waterbased (pH 2.2) multifunctional degreaser that emulsifies greasy contamination besides controlling dye bleeding and charging the protein fiber ionic positive for strengthening the attraction between the ionic negative tanning agent, dyestuff and fatliquor. Deflocculated and suspended soiling is towel extracted, thereafter rinse and pH balanced with Acidifier-2.0 to prevent the leather from reverting to rawhide. When leather feels sticky or slimy it is a sign of leather denaturing, a squeaky feel when wet is a sign of healthy leather. Hydrator-3.3 relaxes stiff leathers and removes surface tension free from surface blotchiness prior to fat and oil replenishing. Fat and oil is replenished with Fatliquor-5.0 to rejuvenate the leather for the desired suppleness when dry. Protector-S+ enhances a non-stick silky-feel to shield against sticky soiling. Note that the mentioned product suffix number denotes its pH value in this holistic leather-safe suede dye refinishing system. For fine suede, treat it as nubuck (Kit N7.cl) using nubuck Brush-2 / Eraser-4 instead.


    >>> For a little background, I don’t necessarily take any issue with the coat’s current aesthetic (though I am in favour of aesthetics), I am more wholeheartedly interested in preserving the utility of this coat going forward for years to come.


    Interested in preserving the utility of this coat is to preserve its pH chemistry integrity, (by charging the leather ionic positive (+ve) to increase its ionic attraction between the tanning agent and the fatliquor), however as fatliquor is a volatile organic compound (VOC) it evaporates as gases or leach out during non-leather-safe cleaning and will need replenishing to maintain its softness and tensile strength for practical usage from stiffness and cracks.


    Roger Koh
    Leather Care Consultant
    www.LeatherDoctor.com

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