Leather Question - Color Transfer

MTBob

Well-Known Member
I'm new to leather working, so here's a newbie question. When staining / coloring a leather sheath many makers recommend putting stain on the upper / inside part of the sheath. This gives the sheath an overall similar color when looking in the "knife hole".
However, having applied the stain to the inside I found a problem. The stain rubs off and transfers color to the G10 white handle material. On white G10 material this is really noticeable - and, hard to remove.
So, is there a way to stop this transfer, or is it best to not stain the inside of a sheath if the handle material is lighter color and prone to absorbing the stain?
 

Alden Cole

Well-Known Member
Once the stain dries, could you put a top coat over it (eco flo or something)? Or rub it down with a cloth until it stops staining?
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
I've had that happen before years ago, what I do now is my finish goes like this, after the the sheath is done I give it a brisk rub down with an old tee shirt...you'd be surprised at all the coloring on that cloth afterwards. I then use an air brush and usually give three light coats of Resenol cut 50% with distilled water, getting into the throat of the sheath pretty well. I let it dry over night then apply a coat of Montana Pitch Blend leather dressing just to the outside but not in the sheath. the Resenol seems to seal the dye in the sheath pretty well but if the sheath gets wet in the rain or something it's possible to still have some rub off to the handle where it's tight and rubbing.

Personally, I'm working on a few sheaths now that I'm not using any dye on at all. I should have some pics of those this weekend. I'm just oiling them with Neetsfoot oil and setting them in the sun for a tan, I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. I'll still do the Resonol and Montana Pitch Blend on them. they'll also be my first sheaths I've made with a machine instead of hand stitching.

Also....I've used Fiebing's USMC black and I don't think there's anything to keep that from bleeding no matter how much you rub it down,
at least nothing I've found yet.
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
I've had that happen before years ago, what I do now is my finish goes like this, after the the sheath is done I give it a brisk rub down with an old tee shirt...you'd be surprised at all the coloring on that cloth afterwards. I then use an air brush and usually give three light coats of Resenol cut 50% with distilled water, getting into the throat of the sheath pretty well. I let it dry over night then apply a coat of Montana Pitch Blend leather dressing just to the outside but not in the sheath. the Resenol seems to seal the dye in the sheath pretty well but if the sheath gets wet in the rain or something it's possible to still have some rub off to the handle where it's tight and rubbing.

Personally, I'm working on a few sheaths now that I'm not using any dye on at all. I should have some pics of those this weekend. I'm just oiling them with Neetsfoot oil and setting them in the sun for a tan, I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. I'll still do the Resonol and Montana Pitch Blend on them. they'll also be my first sheaths I've made with a machine instead of hand stitching.

Also....I've used Fiebing's USMC black and I don't think there's anything to keep that from bleeding no matter how much you rub it down,
at least nothing I've found yet.
Thanks Steve, that's helpful. Because I know next to nothing about leatherworking, I'm having trouble trying to identify Resenol. Could you give me a source for that? I found the Montana Pitch Blend. It sounds like it's possibly made somewhere around here in western Montana, though there is no address for the firm that makes it.
I'd be interested in seeing photos of your sheaths without a dye.
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Sorry Bob I spelled it wrong, it's Resolene. here's a link to Amazon. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...p/B071JPPVSM&usg=AOvVaw3-TpyachepIYv3bO182PEe

That price is a couple bucks more than I usually pay but you can at least read the reviews here, I usually buy a bottle with every side of leather I buy.
I found air brushing is the best way to apply it, otherwise you can fight with streaking. I also only use the neutral color, I've never used the colored versions. no matter how you apply it always dilute it 50/50 with water, distilled is all I ever use.

There's all kinds of waxes and balms out there for a final coat but I just settled on the Montana pitch blend. I put it on pretty heavey after letting the Resolene dry overnight then I let the Montana pitch blend sit over night again then buff the leather.
I'll post some pics this weekend of what I have going on.
 

tkroenlein

Well-Known Member
1) Stain. Fiebing's Pro Dye much preferred.
2) Quick rub with cloth while still damp.
3) Condition once dry (post stitch/assembly) with Neatsfoot or Golden Mink oil. Let it dry a day.
4) Top coat with 50/50 Resolene and water for a soft/satin sheen. Straight Resolene can get pretty glossy.

Also, do the entire inside of the sheath. Sometimes (most of the time?) there's a color difference between what you dyed on the back side and what you didn't.
 

Delta Handmade Knives

Well-Known Member
Another alternative is to just buy leather that is already in the color you want.

If you're making a black sheath, get black veg-tanned leather that has been dyed at the tannery and has the color on both sides. There are plenty of sources online (Buckleguy and Springfield Leather Co, etc,)

Benefits:
  • No messy leather coloring
  • No color rub-off
  • Much faster
  • The end result is orders of magnitude better than anything you can accomplish coloring the leather at home because the color is professionally applied at the tannery.
my 2 cents
 

MTBob

Well-Known Member
Another alternative is to just buy leather that is already in the color you want.

If you're making a black sheath, get black veg-tanned leather that has been dyed at the tannery and has the color on both sides. There are plenty of sources online (Buckleguy and Springfield Leather Co, etc,)

Benefits:
  • No messy leather coloring
  • No color rub-off
  • Much faster
  • The end result is orders of magnitude better than anything you can accomplish coloring the leather at home because the color is professionally applied at the tannery.
my 2 cents
Good idea, hadn't really thought of that. Can a pre-colored leather take shapes from stamps, as in a basket weave design? Do you use the same technique of wetting the leather before stamping? What about finishing, are there any precautions for pre-colored leather?
1) Stain. Fiebing's Pro Dye much preferred.
2) Quick rub with cloth while still damp.
3) Condition once dry (post stitch/assembly) with Neatsfoot or Golden Mink oil. Let it dry a day.
4) Top coat with 50/50 Resolene and water for a soft/satin sheen. Straight Resolene can get pretty glossy.

Also, do the entire inside of the sheath. Sometimes (most of the time?) there's a color difference between what you dyed on the back side and what you didn't.
I've got a sheath that's complete except for finishing. I'll try these steps. Thanks!
Sorry Bob I spelled it wrong, it's Resolene. here's a link to Amazon. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...p/B071JPPVSM&usg=AOvVaw3-TpyachepIYv3bO182PEe
Thanks, got some of that stuff on order.
 

Delta Handmade Knives

Well-Known Member
Can a pre-colored leather take shapes from stamps, as in a basket weave design? => Yes. Its more about the type of leather than the color. - More context: Since we're talking sheaths for knives, we can rule out anything that is not Vegetable Tanned leather (veg-tan for short). There are several types of veg-tan leather and many of them take a stamp well but some much better than others. Tooling leather being the best option if you're going to do stamp work. Tooling leather (from Hermann Oak) that is already dyed at the tannery is available online in small quantities for the hobbyist at SLC (Springfield Leather Co - no relation.)

Do you use the same technique of wetting the leather before stamping? => Yes.

What about finishing, are there any precautions for pre-colored leather? => The color is not going to run. So no need to worry there. If you want to do some conditioning to re-moisturize (a LITTLE!!) then that's ok. No need to "seal in" anything unless you added anything other than water for stamps.
 
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MTBob

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys for all the tips. I just watched a video from the guy at Weaver Leather discussing color rub off. He pointed out several things (most of which you'all have said):
- Using Pro Dye (which is oil based) helps quite a bit. Alcohol solvent dye is more prone to color transfer.
- Pre-dyed leather will be much less prone to rub off.
- Nothing will absolutely stop rub off.
 

52 Ford

Well-Known Member
I'm new to leather working, so here's a newbie question. When staining / coloring a leather sheath many makers recommend putting stain on the upper / inside part of the sheath. This gives the sheath an overall similar color when looking in the "knife hole".
However, having applied the stain to the inside I found a problem. The stain rubs off and transfers color to the G10 white handle material. On white G10 material this is really noticeable - and, hard to remove.
So, is there a way to stop this transfer, or is it best to not stain the inside of a sheath if the handle material is lighter color and prone to absorbing the stain?
So, I started leather working when I was a kid. Haven't done it in a while, BUT I had the same issue.

Buff the heck out of the leather with a rag after you stain it.

Also, I recommend alcohol based stain over water based. It just works better for me.

Sent from my Champion Forge using Tapatalk
 
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