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Has Anyone Successfully Dyed a Brooks Saddle?

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Has Anyone Successfully Dyed a Brooks Saddle?

Old 07-23-08, 01:19 PM
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KarmicPedals
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Has Anyone Successfully Dyed a Brooks Saddle?

I'm smitten with the Brooks Lady's B18.. but not its brown color (whatever were they thinking?), which seems to be a drab-down on my emerald green Raleigh mixte or even my pearlized white Peugeot Mixte). So, the brown has to go.

I know I've read warnings about ending up with a colored tush from saddle dyes... BUT -- I've read where straight from the factory Brooks in brown have done this too -- so is a brown tush any better than any other color tush? I've also read that it's possible to properly prep the leather (perhaps easier with a new, un-oiled saddle), dye it, then seal it -- has anyone accomplished this to their tush's satisfaction?

Black shorts aren't an option -- I actually ride in dresses and skirts most of the time (yeah, yeah, I'm not setting any speed trial times -- but was I going to on these bikes anyway?).

Because of the tooled top of the saddle, I'm thinking of 1 of two approaches -- aiming for a Brooks style black or green.. OR, doing a burnished type effect like this (from a hand-tooled leather purse I purchased in Argentina):




Any words of encouragement? Any dire warnings from personal experience (not just rumor?)

Any pointers -- I hope?

p.s.: this is the Brooks B18:

https://www.wallbike.com/b18.html

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Old 07-23-08, 01:40 PM
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I know nothing about dying leather, but I do know that the B18 is now available in maroon. Ite seems to me that you will have to remove the brown color first. I have done that with lacquer thinner.
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Old 07-23-08, 01:45 PM
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Yes -- I saw the maroon -- which is certainly prettier than the brown -- but considerably more expensive (I found the brown on Ebay at a discounted price)...

Hmmm.. lacquer thinner.. now to find out if Brooks uses oil-vase or water-base dyes....
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Old 07-23-08, 02:16 PM
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Could the dyes be alcohol based? It seems like I read that somewhere.
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Old 07-23-08, 02:35 PM
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o.O I didn't think of that... maybe.... so then an alcohol based solvent would be needed...
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Old 07-23-08, 03:27 PM
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Probably the best idea, ask Brooks!
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Old 07-23-08, 05:00 PM
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I have successfully dyed a Brooks saddle, which subsequently dyed the seat of my pants successfully.
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Old 07-23-08, 05:13 PM
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ha... what did you use and how did you do it? (so I don't :-) )
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Old 07-23-08, 05:20 PM
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Perhaps an old fashioned cobbler could help...dyeing leather is dyeing leather......

Another thought is a good custom upholster place or supply. I once used a spray leather upholstery dye/paint to help fix the damage a 2 year old with a sharpie did to light gray leather car seats. it worked pretty well
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Old 07-23-08, 10:19 PM
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+1 on seeing a leather professional (whoops that sounds rather... um)

If your dead set on figuring it out yourself, you could also try visiting thrift stores and buying inexpensive leather belts and purses to try different techniques on, still the Brooks may be different. I'm wondering how a permanant marker like a sharpie would do for burnishing???
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Old 07-23-08, 10:45 PM
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Lacquer thinner will dry it out and probably cause it to tear before long. Don't believe me, put some on your hand. Your skin turns dry and white, evaporating the moisture in your skin as it dries. Try Fiebings dye. It can be found at most real shoe repair shops. Wipe it down with alcohol if I remember correctly, let dry, and apply the dye. Let it dry thoroughly and buff the surface out. I'm not sure if it will rub off on clothing though. I never sat on any of the shoes I've dyed.,,,,BD


You're going to a darker color I hope?
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Old 07-23-08, 11:38 PM
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Yes -- I'm really thinking of doing the black over the brown -- with the brown tooling showing through. That is, if I keep the B18. I'll have to take a test spin on it first to see if I'm really in love or whether it needs to be traded out for something else... (I have to keep telling myself that my newest bike was free -- so I can justify the Brooks...)

p.s. how'd you do with fallout from Dolly?

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Old 10-21-15, 12:58 PM
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Sorry to revive a zombie thread, but has anyone every successfully dyed a saddle white? It would seems white is rather tricky...
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Old 10-21-15, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RedBowTies88 View Post
Sorry to revive a zombie...has anyone every successfully dyed a saddle ?....
No, but I've killed one. (rim shot).

White would be pretty difficult, you'd basically have to paint the saddle, and then hope it never wears through or cracks. Anything can be done, I've seen white saddles on horses, but in my view, it needs to be done at birth.
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Old 10-21-15, 05:30 PM
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yup. you can paint leather and it works fairly good- people do it to their leather car seats fairly commonly. dont just rattle can it, you can get leather specific paints. My motorcycle jacket had its silver patches/shoulders painted back and its lasted for many years..

probably wont last forever but you can just spray it again once it starts to wear.
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Old 10-22-15, 01:06 AM
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I would suggest you ask at your nearest Tandy store.
Probably need a stripper (lets hear all the stupid jokes) to remove the current finish then a suitable leather paint
Eco-Flo Cova Color Pack | Tandy Leather
But I would be asking their expert opinion before I purchased the product, and then I would test it on some leather.
Useful to advise when seeking the advice that the Brooks leather is vegetable tanned and has been treated with Proofide.
In my case I would do it with new leather before I put any Proofide on. Or you could ask member RHM to do this on a fresh cover (on an old saddle frame)

or buy the one on ebay
Brooks Saddle Swallow White Special Edition | eBay
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Old 10-22-15, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Block View Post
Probably need a stripper (lets hear all the stupid jokes)
I once knew a cute leather stripper.....
Who cut her own hair with a clipper.
She dyed her seat white,
It was such a sight,
That everyone wanted to clip her.
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Old 10-22-15, 09:30 PM
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Robbie's on fire tonight! Lol.
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Old 10-22-15, 10:46 PM
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Fiebings Leather dye...the industry standard.
Shop for Leather Care Products :: Shop for Shoe Polish :: Fiebing\\'s Horse & Leather Care Products
BUT, it's no guarantee that there won't be rub-off...preparation and sealing the dyed surface are both crucial.
I'd consult with Rudi Mayr, he's the C&V resident expert.
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Old 10-22-15, 11:01 PM
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If it were me and I was planning to wear light colored clothes, after dying I would do my first ride wearing black I didn't care for but first I would wrap white T-shirt material around the seat and tie it securely to the seatpost. Then I would go for a ride. If the T-shirt didn't stay white, I would repeat it with another and keep doing this until the T-shirt stayed white. (Maybe doing a lot of polishing in between rides.)

Edit: I like the idea of contacting Brooks. From what I have read, I'm guessing they will be very helpful. I'd ask them about the tanning process and preferred solvent and any other tips they have. Then armed with that info, I'd ask a local cobbler what he thought.

Ben

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Old 10-23-15, 12:31 AM
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To RedBowTies: White is very do-able with the proper prep and materials even over dark colors. Meltonian Nu-Life Color Spray. Available @ Ebay, Amazon, Shoe repair and leather supply houses, etc. They suggest using their prep-solvent which is basically a wax and grease remover prior to a refinish. The surface has got to be clean enough to allow penetration, and adhesion obviously. I've used their products for years in automotive projects and am still amazed at it's durability. Covered a bright red headliner with white once. It did take several coats, but it looked like it came white when it was completed.
I just recently did a f'izi:k Alllante. It was white and went to a medium brown with Meltonian spray. I cleaned/scrubbed it with an automotive upholstery cleaner, and then final wiped it with naphtha...and followed the "several light coats" directions. It looked great for one ride. Areas of flexing flaked off, but overall it stayed where it was applied very well. So I decided to get a little more serious on the second attempt. I stripped off all the brown with lacquer thinner and some clean terri cloths, turning them frequently. The recently applied Meltonian came off easily, and this procedure stained the thread in the stitches for an even better final result. The lacquer thinner softened and removed the underlying, original, factory white finish as well, since it was quite a bit stronger than the naphtha. There was No turning back now; so I removed all the factory applied color. What remained was a light gray primer like coat, and it was really sticky. Working quickly in single direction strokes I tried to get as uniform a surface as possible on the gray undercoat. I gave it a few minutes to kinda tack off, and hit it with the Meltonian. I gave it one single, heavy wet coat, and let it dry over the weekend. Have yet to road test this attempt but I feel like it's gonna live this time. Instead of riding on top of the original finish, this coat has probably bit into some real adhesive promoter. Additionally, I can actually see the grain of the material across the entire cover. Will post an update soon or how it does in service.
On the tooled leather Brooks, I think what's going to be needed is probably called a dye, but acts like a stain. It's been decades since I've worked on belts and armbands in shop and art classes, but i do remember the color was water thin, with a dobber in the bottle like you'd see in a PVC cement can. Probably this is going to be an apply, and remove from details wipe down, then repeat, method I would imagine.
If there is a flea market nearby, seems like they all have a leatherworker making belts in there. Find one of these guys for some on site instruction.
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