90s(?)Bianchi Advantage, '68 Raleigh Grand Prix, 80s(?) Raleigh Gran Sport mixte, '95 Schwinn Clear Creek, '88(?) Fuji, '69 Schwinn Flyer
Removing black dye from leather saddle
I just recently picked up an old leather saddle with black dye and was wondering if there was a feasible way to remove the black die so that the saddle would have a brown patina. There is nothing wrong with the dye as is, I just like the looks of the (to my eye) more natural color. Is this possible? Or would I just create a blotchy mess? Any wisdom shared is greatly appreciated.
No, there is no feasible way of removing the dye without harming the saddle. Dye seeps into the leather, anything that would remove the dye would also remove needed oils from the leather, drying it out.
I agree with the spirit of what he's saying, but having done a lot of leather work in the past, I have removed leather dye from pieces I dyed myself without ruining the leather. But it never takes ALL the dye off and the more you subject the leather to solvents, the greater the risk to the leather. That said, here's one of many links to places that sell Fiebings leather dye and leather products: http://wardrobesupplies.com/store/m2_fiebingsl.html
Fiebings was what I always used, the main stuff being an alcohol-based dye, and so using a cloth or sponge lightly dampened with denatured alcohol was usually what it took to remove MOST of the dye if I didn't like the color. You might also try their Dye-Prep product, and if it's a new saddle with a lacquer coating (not too likely) you could remove the lac with a light and quick wipe of lacquer thinner or acetone (these solvents are riskier to the leather, so keep it quick) Seeing as how leather is a natural product with individual qualities, you may find the dye comes off unevenly, giving you a "blotchy mess", or you may like the look! Best to experiment on a donor saddle you don't care about.
Schwinn Racer (3-speed 1970), DaHon (1984 "Hon") folder, Bianchi Milano
^-- I got a used brooks saddle to which appearently some ****** did something nasty (probably Sheldon's oil softening trick) so now it gets black dye on my pants. Do you have any idea how to seal the saddle so it won't leach the dye anymore?
That's a little tricky, not knowing what the saddle has been treated with. But if it's oil that's lifting oil-based dye, I'd try to remove as much as poss by applying a SMALL amount of known oil (maybe PURE neetsfoot oil, NOT the compound) on a clean towel and rub until it comes up clean on the towelling. Then I'd seal it with a CLEAR pastewax or shoe polish, and keep the wax renewed as needed to maintain the seal. None of this will do any harm to the leather, and will probably help it. Stick to a good wax without harsh solvents, I use and recommend Liberon Black Bison CLEAR wax (you don't want to add more dye) on fine furniture, and have used it once in a while on leather with no ill effects, it has very mild solvents and actually smells good, unlike Briwax, Treewax, or SC Johnson Pastewax NONE of which I'd use on leather if I have a choice.
Also, wear black shorts...
I have removed most of the dye from a saddle using lacquer thinner. It tends to dry the leather, so I treated it with Proofide afterwards. I noticed no ill effects and ended up selling the saddle for way more than I paid for it.
I have a Brooks Team Pro in green that I'm tempted to strip and dye black. I sold the green bike, but kept the saddle.