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Old 05-14-11, 06:06 PM   #1
RobE30 
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Coloring a Brooks

By now I've just about given up on finding a dark brown Brooks Pro. The honey is nice but I see that they are quite common and I like the dark color better. There probably is a thread on this somewhere (couldn't find it) but can you treat a honey colored saddle to make it close(r) to a dark brown? I just have this vision of my Raleigh project in my head, blue paint w/ a dark brown Pro w/ dark brown leather perforated bar wrap....

Black w/ copper is second place but I've been a red ribbon winner throughout school and it's time for what I want
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Old 05-14-11, 06:38 PM   #2
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I know from experience that water will (permanently) darken a honey-colored leather saddle. If you want more color than that, I'd mix up a cup of very strong black tea, and paint that on with a soft brush. Let it soak in until the saddle is completely saturated; then let it dry in the sun. Sun is important, it does something to the tannin in the tea. You can probably explain this better than I. Anyway, you can repeat this as many times as you like, just don't ever ride the saddle wet. If you try this, please post before and after photos!
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Old 05-14-11, 07:13 PM   #3
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I used mineral oil to help soften a honey Brooks saddle. The mineral oil, the kind bought from a drug store, turned the saddle a rather dark brown color. Maybe not as dark as you would like though.
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Old 05-14-11, 07:14 PM   #4
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Aniline dyes are used to color leather.

You can get them in a variety of colors from Behlen Bros, a wood finishing specialty supplier, under their product name of "Solar-Lux" stain. Anile dye can be used on wood or leather. Be sure to get some reducer and some retarder (stuff that makes it dry more slowly), Start with a weak color solution and build up to the final color you want.

I cannot recommend the water-based Solar-Lux simply because I have not used it. I know the regular works.

Mahogany comes to mind as a color you may have in mind............<I am reading your mind>

OPen the product catalog at this link - http://www.hbehlen.com/products.asp

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Old 05-14-11, 08:04 PM   #5
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This is the brown I want. http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...erforated.html It's a dark, warm brown (I sound like an interior designer!) that almost matches my woodwork in my house. It is very close to a mahogany....

This is the color I'm considering for the bike. http://photos.cokertire.com/showphoto.php/photo/45 (see the Beetle). I haven't decided if the chrome lugs can be brought back to life, pictures to follow. If they can, it'll be this blue, chrome lugs and a burgundy headtube w/ complimenting seat tube stripes. (This color might be close) http://www.texasvwclassic.com/cars/v...austin-tx.html

This bike is going to be so nice.... I hope
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Old 05-14-11, 09:37 PM   #6
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Russ's Brooks always has me panting like a dog.

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Old 05-15-11, 11:34 AM   #7
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I have dyed a couple of the honey Brooks black with basic leather dye. But they come new with a coating of some sort, you need to wipe the seat down with some lacquer thinner to let the dye absorb into the leather.
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Old 05-15-11, 11:48 AM   #8
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In my experience (one saddle), sanding the original finish off will give you the best results on a new finish.
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Old 05-15-11, 11:59 AM   #9
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Not to rub it in, but I bought a very nice 1975 Dark brown brooks Professional at a bike swap this morning for $50 and there was another one that I left for someone else.
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Old 05-15-11, 01:17 PM   #10
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If it were me I would try Fiebing's medium brown leather dye. The oil based version, not the "standard" stuff. A new saddle will have a finish on it, or a "glaze", which will prevent good absorption of the dye so it will need to be "de-glazed" prior to application. No guarantees, of course, as I've never tried it.
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Old 05-15-11, 01:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobE30 View Post
...can you treat a honey colored saddle to make it close(r) to a dark brown?
You can trade a honey colored saddle for a dark brown Pro in the For Trade forum; might work.

-Kurt
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Old 05-15-11, 04:08 PM   #12
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Here is an article on maintaining a Brooks and using oil, the saddles in the pic were both honey. http://dutchbikeco.com/_blog/Dutch_B...Brooks_Saddle/
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Old 05-15-11, 05:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmagruder10 View Post
Not to rub it in, but I bought a very nice 1975 Dark brown brooks Professional at a bike swap this morning for $50 and there was another one that I left for someone else.
Interesting. Did they even make a brown one in 1975? All I remember is black ones back then.
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Old 05-15-11, 05:37 PM   #14
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Interesting. Did they even make a brown one in 1975? All I remember is black ones back then.
I have a very old (60's, I guess?) professional that appears to have been honey brown originally; it's weathered to a beautiful brown. Probably not quite what Rob's looking for, but I'd definitely call it brown. There's no date stamp on the cantle plate, but the guy I bought it from said he'd had it almost 50 years... and no ebay seller would lie about such a thing, right?
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Old 05-15-11, 08:16 PM   #15
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Here is one I aged by using black walnuts growing in the yard. Black walnuts husks when green produce a blackish dye.
I crushed and extracted some of that dye and used it to darken my Brooks. Afterward continue treating normally.
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Old 05-16-11, 04:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
You can trade a honey colored saddle for a dark brown Pro in the For Trade forum; might work.

-Kurt
That's another option I suppose. I might have a lead on a brown saddle
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Old 05-16-11, 12:28 PM   #17
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This is the brown I want. http://store.velo-orange.com/index.p...erforated.html It's a dark, warm brown (I sound like an interior designer!) that almost matches my woodwork in my house. It is very close to a mahogany....

This bike is going to be so nice.... I hope
That color brown is easily achieved with a little bit of Proofhide and some sweat. I don't think you'll need a dye to get there.
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Old 05-16-11, 12:52 PM   #18
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I think Spookeay Bird's suggestion, to use black walnut husks, is a really good idea. That stuff makes a stain natural dark stain that won't come out. And once you've separated the husk from the nut, you can dry out the nut, crack it and eat it. Healthy and very flavorful.

I'm not sure it's timely, though. Don't you have to collect them in the fall?
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