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Thread: Antique leather case repair help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    Question Antique leather case repair help!

    Hello!

    Iíve recently purchased an antique leather case that is around 100 years old. I was wondering what the best way to restore it might be?
    The leather is quite hard and cracked in places, and I was looking for a way to recondition it to bring it back to being softer and usable again.
    I was worried about buying normal leather conditioners and I wasnít sure of this would be the best thing for antique leather - any guidance as to what might be the best way to recondition the leather without damaging it or changing the colour too much would be really appreciated! Ideally Iíd like to be able to keep it as close as possible to itís original condition.


    Thank you!
    Caja
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Greater Vancouver, Canada.
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    Default

    From appearance this is a vegetable-tanned leather, whether it has a clear finish, we have to test if the leather is absorbent or non-absorbent.

    >>> The leather is quite hard and cracked in places,

    Vegetable-leather is very thirsty for faliquor (fat and oil), the tannery specification for such leather is about 14% of fat and oil content. As the fatliquor content diminishes through 100 years of age it is already too dry. That is why it is quite hard and cracked in places.


    >>> and I was looking for a way to recondition it to bring it back to being softer and usable again.

    Before conditioning, the surface has to be clean of surface soiling otherwise with uneven absorption of fatliquor may appear blotchy. As the leather is subject to body contact, I would recommend degreasing of body oil, grease, and sweat with Degreaser-2.2 > Acidifier-2.0 system and while wet continues with Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system.


    >>> I was worried about buying normal leather conditioners and I wasn’t sure of this would be the best thing for antique leather - any guidance

    You must ask what is “normal leather conditioners” and there are various conditioners and sure if you do not know what your leather is and what the conditioner can do, you will not get what you want.


    >>> what might be the best way to recondition the leather without damaging it or changing the colour too much would be really appreciated!


    If you are talking about “structural” reconditioning, then we must follow the original principle of softening the leather from the tannery. In the tannery process in India and worldwide, softening the leather structure for suppleness is through the fatliquoring process. Since this leather is already made into a three-dimensional bag, we have to take a similar fatliquoring principle and improvise from there, from an immersion system into a non-immersion system. Before fat and oil can be deposited into the leather structure fiber system to lubricate all the connecting fiber to soften its flex, it must first be hydrated with Hydrator-3.3, until all the stick together fibers separates and opens up prior to introducing Fatliquor-5.0 into the fiber structure system, well the fiber system looks exactly like the reverse suede side.


    >>> the best way to recondition the leather without damaging it

    If to soften up the leather, the conditioner needs to lubricate the suede fibers, so if any conditioner that is not recommended for suede will certainly damage or denature the leather (reverse of leather is suede).


    >>> Ideally I’d like to be able to keep it as close as possible to it’s original condition.


    All vegetable-tanned leathers will darken under sunlight just like our skin. Sweat, body grease, and oil contacts will also darken it, to restore close to its original appearance may need a redox (reduction-oxidation) reaction with VachettaBrowningRemover-2.8.

    Products mentioned can be found in this Vacchetta Leather Grease Darkening Effect Remover Kit-V4
    http://www.leatherdoctor.com/vachett...emover-kit-v4/
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    Let me know what you think?

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    Roger Koh
    Leather, Skin, Hair, Eye & Acne Care System Formulator
    Consultant / Practitioner / Instructor / Coach
    web: www.leatherdoctor.com
    forum: www.leathercleaningrestorationforum.com
    email: [email protected]

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2020
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    2

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    Hi Roger,

    Thank you so much for your reply, its been really useful!
    By 'normal leather conditioners' I was refering to leather balsam conditioners available in the UK, like Renapur leather Balsam or Rihard leather restorer. I didn't know if you should buy a specific conditioner for antique leather?
    Frustratingly I'm unable to purchase the Vachetta leather doctor kit in the UK but you've been really helpful and I should be able to find some alternatives, thank you!

    Caja

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Greater Vancouver, Canada.
    Posts
    4,655

    Default


    >>> Frustratingly I'm unable to purchase the Vachetta leather doctor kit in the UK


    A scientific leather-safe product system available at the consumer level is from www.LeatherDoctor.com.

    We ship worldwide even to India.

    Otherwise, go to a leather chemist supplier that supplies to a tannery for a leather safe rejuvenating.

    Products used aftermarket must be products also used in a modern tannery to be leather-safe and produces effective results, and India is a more likely place you can source your product.

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