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Using Rit dye for leather

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by R.C.Reichert, Mar 27, 2010.

  1. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    I've come to the conclusion that I really don't like using leather dye like the Fiebing's... I find it to be kinda messy and the color comes out blotchy...but I also find that the dye can rub off onto clothing.:( I don't know, maybe I wasn't using it properly or something... Is there any way to fix that?

    Anyways, I was doing some experimenting with some other ways to dye leather. I am really likeing the vinegar and steel wool "vinegaroon" treatment, but I wanted a brown more-so than a black color. This led me to Rit dye.... Can this be used on leather for sheaths?
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  2. rayban


    Apr 14, 2007
    Dye should not run off on clothing...are you sealing it with a finish? You line up 6 guys, and you'll hear 6 ways to finish leather. I have used Doc Baileys Leather Tonic for several years now and I'm sticking to that.

    I've heard guys using coffee, boiling walnuts, etc.....talk about messy. Seems like a lot of work, when Feibings is sitting on the shelf waiting to be used.

    As long as you're experimenting, let us know how Rit works out...but in my view, Feibings has done all the experimenting for us.
  3. R.C.Reichert


    Jul 26, 2008
    I think I'm going to stick with the vinegaroon and just go with the black. I am doing old frontier style knives and am pretty sure they would have used something pretty similar anyhow. At least I know the metallic salts have been used for centuries to color leather. As far as the Rit dye, I think it almost dries out the leather too much. I looked at one piece this morning and it looked like shrivelled cardboard.:thumbdn: As far as using the Fiebings...maybe I'll need to try a lighter color or something. The dark brown just isn't working out for me so well. I like to seal my sheaths with a buttery mixture I made of neatsfoot oil and beexwax, so I hope that is okay to seal with.
  4. Steel Talon

    Steel Talon

    Mar 10, 2009
    Try neets foot oil and sunshine. Coat piece with neets and hang outside in the sun several hours.

    also try EVOO Extra virgin olive oil rubbed onto your work and left in the sunshine for several hours

    As for Fiebings reduce the mixture with rubbing alcohol, apply and re apply as need for desired color you will still need to rub between coats and bag kote etc. afterwards.

    Tandy Eco-Flow products dyes and stains may also be your awnser for your desire color depth they can be reduced with water. I like their Briar Stain for the browns I get from it again build up with lighter coats..

    Another thing if your using tandy leather you can de-glaze the leather prior to dying/staining with a rub down of acetone.

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