Leather dye ?

Discussion in '365 GT4 2+2/400/412' started by raemin, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. raemin

    raemin Formula Junior

    Jan 16, 2007
    Lyon (FR)
    Full Name:
    R. Emin
    Any product you would recommend in order to restore the black colour of my leather?

    As strange as it seams, the colour seams to "peal off" and there are a few spots were my leather is back to its "natural colour". I suspect the leather was restored in the past with a dye that does not stick. Also I am using a mix of turpentine and mink oil to keep the leather supple, maybe this mix was too much for the dye.

    A bit of thinner does smooth the paint cracks, so my plan is to clean this mess and apply a new dye. But i'd rather apply a product that penetrates the leather rather than a coat that will crack again.
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  3. D.J

    D.J Karting

    Mar 17, 2015
    Perth WA
    Interesting the stuff that was put on my tan and brown leader will only come off with isopropyl alcohol.
  4. samsaprunoff

    samsaprunoff F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Jun 8, 2004
    Edmonton, AB Canada
    Full Name:
    Sam Saprunoff
    Good day Raemin,

    I had great results using a color matched dye from Leatherique and it is holding up extremely well after 10+ years. I believe a critical element is the prep of the leather, otherwise the dye has nothing to bond to. The prep is somewhat time consuming and so I suspect this is why some resort to using a dye "paint", etc which simply coats the surface and thus releases over time and/or with application of certain chemicals.

    If Leatherique is not available where you are, I would check with a few of your local leather suppliers and/or tanneries to see if they have any high quality leather dyes. If not, you could send your seats to Henk at HVL (Netherlands), as I am sure he could do this for you.


  5. pattorpey

    pattorpey Rookie

    Oct 16, 2016
    Dublin, Ireland
    Full Name:
    Pat Torpey
    For what it's worth, my experience with restoring leather has been mixed.
    I have done three cars to date, using Gliptone/Liquid Leather products. Gliptone supplies two products- Scuffmaster dyes and a more permanent finish called Flexicote. I called Gliptone for advice prior to restoring the first car, telling them that I was doing the entire interior and not just localised repairs, and was advised to use the Scuffmaster product. I followed the preparation instructions meticulously- basically it involved removing all the old finish using cellulose thinners. The Scuffmaster dye was applied by spray gun, and looked great when finished. Not a painted look, but just like new leather. The colour was a light beige, almost magnolia colour. I was not advised to use a sealer after applying the dye. Supposedly, the Scuffmaster product containes a "built in sealer". I mention this because after very little use, the seats suffered from colour transfer from dark clothes such that the seats rapidly became very discoloured and dirty-looking. I could npoot clean the seats without removing the colour/dye. A second car suffered exactly the same problem.
    On a third car, I decided to try out the Flexicote product which the manufacturer describes as being a more permanent impermeable finish which does not absorb leather conditioner. A final coat of sealer is required. This produced an excellent result in terms of durability and appearance. The Flexicote product is marketed as suitable for very worn leathers. I don't understand why this is so i.e why it would not be recommended as a durable finish for lightly worn leather. I would not be enthusiastic about using it on a more valuable vehicle because of the fact that the leather cannot be further conditioned after application of the dye and sealer.
    Answering Raemin's original post, I never had any adhesion problems, which I put down to meticulous cleaning and removal of the original finish. It's a bit like prepping a car body for painting- even greasy finger marks will prevent adhesion. Many finish suppliers, maybe fearful of litigation, go easy on their recommendations for cleaning the leather before refinishing. In my opinion, you have got to remove all the original finish if you want to avoid adhesion problems, and to avoid that "painted" finish. Once you start with thinners to remove the old finish, you have to remove ALL of it- otherwise the solvent softens the old finish and it just smears all over the place
    Right now I'm in the process of restoring the full interior of my 400. To date I have spent over 93 hours in removing the finish from all the leather prior to refinishing. I know this seems excessive, but even in retrospect I can't see how I could have taken any shortcuts. The leather is a very dark blue colour. My car interior had been recoloured at some point by a previous owner and was generally in very good condition, but there were some areas where the recolouring had an un-natural surface texture, and I had damaged one of the door cards when removing it. There was no area of damaged, torn or cracked leather. I used over three gallons of cellulose thinners to remove the old colour.
    This time I again researched the market for the best finishing products I could identify. It was extraordinarily difficult to find credible stories from people who had done leather restoration, and based on my experience above I ignored all reports from people who had just completed the work. The reason being that it is easy to achieve an apparently excellent result just after applying the dye. I couldn't find much in the way of long-term reports of how durable the various products were in practice. In the end, I purchased product from Furniture Clinic based on the credibility of their support literature and some independent references. I have not yet started the refinishing process, I'm fully occupied getting the bodywork prepped for respray, but I hope to get to the leather refinishing in a month or so.

    If I was to summarise my experiences to date and offer advice to anyone contemplating restoring their 400 interior, I would say don't even think about it if you're not prepared to spend many tens of hours in preparing your work. And if the leather has been refinished in the past, it's my opinion that you have to strip all the existing colour before refinishing
    Schumi and raemin like this.
  6. raemin

    raemin Formula Junior

    Jan 16, 2007
    Lyon (FR)
    Full Name:
    R. Emin
    Thanks for the detailed feedback. I am not venturing in such an ambitious project as the original objective was to replace the coax cable of the radio antenna and I've ended up disassembling all the seats and most of the trunk!

    After a close inspection, the hide natural colour is not the same as the rest of the seat. I presume the seat was repaired and some colour applied so as to match the rest. So the plan is to refrain from stripping all the upholstery, fully clear the patched leather only and give Flexicote a try.
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