Hello Leather Cleaning Restoration Forum,

I have recently been gifted a Zebra Skin from my Grandparents. My grandma had received it 50 years ago, when working in Africa. It has since been kept in a dry climate (Saskatoon), and is in need of restoration. The skin has sentimental value for me, and I would like to restore is as best as I can.

The hide is 2.1m long (6'9" or 8ft with the tail), and 1.4m (4'6") wide. It weighs 2.8kg (7lbs).

Figure 1 - Length of hide photographed with wide angle lens
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Figure 2 - Width of hide
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The hide is backed with a felt. The felt is stitched to the leather around the perimeter. There is adhesive glue bonding the felt to the hide only in locations where there is holes in the leather.

Figure 3 - felt backing 1
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Figure 4 - felt backing 2
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The leather is very dry. It can be folded, but gently.

There are at least 11 splits/cracks or holes that have been previously repaired (and are in need of attention) or are unrepaired. There are a few holes that are missing hide.

The previous repair are either:
  • stitching hide-to-hide (figure 5, and 6)
  • or adhesive hide-to-felt backing (figure 7). The adhesive is soaked through the felt (saturated) and both felt and hide are hard/stiff in these locations (figure 8).

Figure 5 - stitching repair
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Figure 6 - stitching repair
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Figure 7 - adhesive repair
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Figure 8 - back of adhesive repair
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There is hair loss in the armpit areas and some creasing (figure 9).

Figure 9 - armpit creasing and hair loss
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I spoke with Roger on the phone about the Hair-on Hide Zebra and Cow Repair, Rejuvenating and Care - Kit.

My plan would be to remove the felt backing and hydrate the skin as a first-step. The areas that have been glued to the felt, I a planning to sand down until the suede is reached.

Question 1:
I am wondering how much product is required in my situation?

If I purchase the H7+ is there sufficient Hydrator-3.3 and Fatliquor-5.0? The leather is very dry, I don't have the instruments to measure moisture content. Can I assume less than 1% given the history and the climate? Given the mass of the zebra skin (2.8kg), do I need more than the 1.64quarts and 1.58quarts of Hydrator and Fatliquor respectively?

Question 2:
Instructions indicate "Sequence-5: E- Stitching Repairs: A curve needle with hide repair thread is used to stitch/hold up the rip/tear/cut for a fiber bonding repair". Where do you get the hide repair thread? The needle and thread do not seem to be part of the kit.

Question 3:
For the "Sequence-5: F- Sub-patch Repairs" Is their tutorials of videos of this repair method? I can not visualize how this is performed, and I do not know what the end result looks like.

Question 4:
There are holes with missing hide? How should I fill these once the felt is removed? Could I patch with pieces of cow hide, and die the cow hair to blend? What would be your recommendations?

Question 5: There are a few examples of previous zebra skin projects on the forum. However, I have only seen before photos. Does anyone have some finished product projects they can point me to?