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Old 07-10-11, 01:31 PM   #1
Don777
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Renew Black/Shiny Finish on a Brooks Saddle

My Brooks has >25,000 miles on it. The shiny/slick/original black finish is long gone. Now the brown leather shows through and I would like to make it black, shiny, and slick again. I waxed it with black Kiwi boot polish like I did for the Army boots but that 'spit shine' only holds up for 2-3 rides and the wax is gone. I tried Kiwi Heel and Edge dressing like I used to put on the combat boots, but it is not the same stuff as in the olden days. Any ideas are appreciated. Kindly - Don
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Old 07-10-11, 06:04 PM   #2
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personally I regard my worn Brooks saddles as trophies, or at least as evidence I actually ride. If I wanted them to be black though, I'd get some leather dye (with the shoe polish in many supermarkets, or check a shoe-repair place), then maybe polish over that. It won't match the factory finish, but at least it will be black. Don't wear the white shorts on your next ride.
A shoe-repair guy might have better advice, and Tandy leather stores used to sell (may still; I haven't been in one in years) a glaze finish that might approximate the shininess for awhile. www.tandyleather.com.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 07-10-11 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:30 AM   #3
ItsJustAHill
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+1 on the shoe repair place. A good old-school cobbler may be able to re-dye it. Hopefully you have one in your area (I'm amazed any are still around in this throwaway society we live in).
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Old 07-11-11, 10:51 AM   #4
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If you are really fussy, Brooks restores saddles as well.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:48 PM   #5
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A friend who is a skilled leather worker once told me that black is the very hardest finish to produce. If I remember and understood correctly that was because the tanning oils and waxes make it difficult to get an even saturation of dye. Vat dying - something rarely done anymore in the US -- is the only away around that except for the more common coating method where the black you see is not really the leather at all but more a plastic coating on the leather.

-don
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Old 07-11-11, 07:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
personally I regard my worn Brooks saddles as trophies.
That's what I was thinking too. I hate that new leather look. I much prefer the "well broken in" appearance.
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Old 07-11-11, 07:26 PM   #7
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Hey 25,000 miles and you want to restore that factory fresh finish? Really?
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Old 07-11-11, 09:12 PM   #8
Don777
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Hey 25,000 miles and you want to restore that factory fresh finish? Really?
I apologize for asking. In my opinion, the bare leather allows sweat with salt and oils to penetrate and the shiny/slick finish is a lot more comfortable, but that's just me. Forgive me and drop it. Thanks for the positive input. Kindly - Don
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Old 07-11-11, 10:42 PM   #9
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I can't offer any suggestions for restoring the original black finish, but Proofide or something similar will help protect the leather from sweat or from drying out.
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Old 07-12-11, 02:27 AM   #10
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I once thought that the shiny surface was a lacquer applied at the factory to seal in the dye. But an English poster bluntly told me it wasn't. So, maybe slip an email to Brooks to find out exactly how they do achieve the shiny finish, and that could give you a clue as to how you might approach the problem. If you do find out, please let us know as my original B17 is looking a bit tatty colour-wise.

There is an interesting thread over in Touring about how to revitalise a stretched Brooks by boiling (I kid you not). It's worth a read to find out what happens. One poster is following the advice.
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