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Restore leather on old desk

WH1105's picture

I am refinishing an old partners desk and I need some guidance retoring the leather top.  It has some staining, but it seems to be dried out from lack of care. There is some gold leaf around the edges of the leather that is in pretty good shape.  I don't want to damage any of it. I am attaching a photo.  Do any of you have suggestions for giving this old top some new life?

MSS325's picture

(post #111046, reply #1 of 14)

There is a company called Leatherique that makes products for cleaning and rejuvenating leather. Their primary focus is on car restoration and care but their products will work on furniture just as well. Check out the website at Leatherique.com. I've been using their products for a couple of years on my cars and love the stuff.

WH1105's picture

(post #111046, reply #3 of 14)

Thanks to both you for your comments.  I have looked at their web site and I may give them a try.


Edited 3/10/2007 12:21 pm by WH1105

Gretchen's picture

(post #111046, reply #5 of 14)

If you are going to do a nice refinish job on the wood, make the leather "new" also. It will not harm this vintage of furniture, as I see it in the picture. I can envision a lovely glowing finish on it.

Gretchen

Gretchen

Kevin's picture

(post #111046, reply #6 of 14)

Actually I agree with Gretchen. If you're going for a refinished look then I would put on new leather. If you are wanting a nostalgic look with the used leather surface then I would suggest antiquing the refinish  with a glaze or something like that over the initial sealer coat to sorta simulate age. But inbetween with newly finished looking wood and old looking leather seems like it'd sorta clash. IMO, of course.

Gretchen's picture

(post #111046, reply #7 of 14)

Well, I don't think he needs to "glaze" it or anything to simulate age.  That is more what you do with painted pieces, I think.  This is not an ancient piece. It IS a more formal piece of furniture and with a nice refinish of the wood, it will be even better looking (in my opinion) than in its new condition--it will have some patina and not be so "shiny". 
The leather desktop could be left as is and treated with saddle soap and a leather conditioner if he so desires. It will somewhat darken the parts that are faded--and it might not be a bad idea to try that first, just to see how it looks. Could look really good.

Gretchen

Gretchen

Gretchen's picture

(post #111046, reply #2 of 14)

I might have to say that this may be beyond the restoration. It has been faded by use, and perhaps by a desk blotter being rubbed over it.  That leather top can be replaced--maybe VanDyke's has it. If not, there are definitely places that do. 

Gretchen

 

Here is a source--and within the site, excellent methods for doing a first rate job.


Edited 3/10/2007 8:46 am ET by Gretchen

Gretchen

ptu's picture

(post #111046, reply #4 of 14)

It does look like the grain in torn/worn through, and if so, it will always be alittle rough. Neatsfoot oil will help moisturize the leather. There are finishes you can put on it that may give it a working surface. That car leather restorer is probably your best bet.
Pedro

MSS325's picture

(post #111046, reply #8 of 14)

I've attached a photo showing what can be done, using the proper materials, to restore leather. Also as stated in a previous post, I would strongly discourage the use of saddle soap to clean leather. In all my reading on the subject, saddle soap can cause more harm then good. It has to do with the ph of the product.

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Gretchen's picture

(post #111046, reply #10 of 14)

Wonders can be done in these cases such as yours (or a saddle) with a whole hide to deal with. But these leather tops are basically leather veneer--and dyed to boot. They can be conditioned--and it this were a 100+ year old desk, I might try harder not to just replace it. We did save one on a French desk that was my parents', but I have replaced others that just wouldn't  look good.

Gretchen

Gretchen

Dave45's picture

(post #111046, reply #11 of 14)

Gretchen -


That was just a random thought on my part. - lol 


The guy who made my saddle several years ago was a leatherworking genius who taught me a lot about the care and feeding of saddles, boots, belts, chinks, etc. 


Where are you in NC?  In the late '80's and early '90's, I spent a lot of time in Wilmington and worked on the nuke plants in Southport.  It was a real nice place - except during the summer. - lol

Dave45's picture

(post #111046, reply #9 of 14)

Are there any saddlemakers in your area?  I've seen some really beat up old saddles restored to almost-like-new condition by an old time saddlemaker.

EdwinBaker's picture

Good company for Leather Repair? (post #111046, reply #12 of 14)

Hello All, I am looking for good company in Austin for leather repair? I heard about the Austin Furniture Repair? Is anyone knows about that company? I want to know it in terms of service and cost of repair? Thanks in advance.

aishamcan's picture

If you are going to do a nice (post #111046, reply #13 of 14)

If you are going to do a nice refinish job on the wood, make the leather "new" also. It will not harm this vintage of furniture, as I see it in the picture. I can envision a lovely glowing finish on it.

 

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Barry12's picture

The way that the leather (post #111046, reply #14 of 14)

The way that the leather looks right now, I would wager that it might not be restored anymore. In fact, I would be surprised if anyone else could bring that back to life again. My personal recommendation would be to spruce up the wood and see if you cannot replace the leather with new, similar leather.

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