Leather Hat - to dye or not to dye?

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Beer Monster

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Aug 25, 2004
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Ok. I have a very nice leather wide brimmed bush hat (similar to the Rogue hats) that my good lady bought for me :) . Now the only problem is that the leather is very very light brown in colour (more so than she was expecting!) ...... very nearly pink :yuck: if you see it in broad daylight!

So the question is how do I go about darkening it? Do I attack it with some brown shoe polish? Do I dye it? If I dye it do I need to prep the leather to take on the dye at all?

Any help much appreciated!
 

Eric_Methven

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 20, 2005
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Durham City, County Durham
It depends on whether the leather has been waterproofed. If it resists water, it'll resist dye most likely. Stick the brim under the cold tap and see what happens. If the water runs off, you have a waterproofed hat (either oiled or waxed leather). If it gets wet, and the water soaks in so will the dye.

I wouldn't recommend using boot polish to darken it. Then it really will look pink.

Eric
 

Beer Monster

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Aug 25, 2004
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Ok. Looks like the leather is unproofed (water ran off a bit but then soaked in) so I'll be dying. Now what variety of dye should I use? Had a look at Le Prevo and there seem to be a few different varieties ..... I assume I just go for regular leather dye?

Anyone have any tips or hints as the best way to go about it?

On another thought ....... if it rains am I going to be left with a brown cirlce round my bonce or will I have to "fix" the dye to the leather in some way?
 

Eric_Methven

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 20, 2005
3,600
40
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Durham City, County Durham
OK, I'd go for the Professional oil dye.
ProfessionalOil.gif

It's product number C26. £3.48 for a 4oz bottle.

Wear rubber gloves. Get an old sponge and give the outside of the hat a good soak - get it damp. Get an old cotton T shirt or tea towel and scrunch up a bit about the size of a man's hankie. Make it into a tight ball. Tip the dye bottle onto the cloth so you have a little leak out and stain the cloth.

Lightly rub the cloth onto the hat, going round in circles. That way the damp leather will help absorb the dye and not leave a hard edge. You don't want it to look patchy. Keep adding dye to the cloth and go over the entire hat, the rim and the underside of the rim. Repeat the entire process as many times as you like until you achieve the colour you want. Avoid dying the inside. The hat band won't show anyway so there's no point risking a brown forehead when you get rained on or start sweating.

That's all there is to it. Of all the oil dye colours available, I think the dark brown will be most suitable considering the hat is already a very light brown colour. Either that or black.
Don't try and get it done in one application, you'll definitely get streaks that way. Three or four light applications with the ball of cloth works best. Also don't use a cloth that will pill, or you'll get loads of little bits being left on the leather. Cotton is proven to work.

Have a go, and have fun.

Eric
 

Squidders

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Aug 3, 2004
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Harrow, Middlesex
hydrophane darkening oil...

hydrophaneoil.jpg


will darken and waterproof your hat... it goes on very even also so no lines or marks. no gloves required... I thin it uses dark magic not to stain your skin at all... it's very odd!
 

Ogri the trog

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Apr 29, 2005
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Doesn't leather darken of its own accord in sunlight anyway?
Rather than risk getting dark streaks down your head next time it rains, just wear it a lot and leave it in the sun whenever you can - oiled and conditioned periodically, it should take on a hue all on its own.

ATB

Ogri the trog
 

Eric_Methven

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Apr 20, 2005
3,600
40
70
Durham City, County Durham
hydrophane darkening oil...

hydrophaneoil.jpg


will darken and waterproof your hat... it goes on very even also so no lines or marks. no gloves required... I thin it uses dark magic not to stain your skin at all... it's very odd!

Ooooh! that's interesting. Never come across that before. I'll have to get some and have a play. Sounds like it might be the answer Beer Monster. Certainly a lot less messy than my suggestion.

Eric
 

Squidders

Full Member
Aug 3, 2004
3,853
14
45
Harrow, Middlesex
It's top stuff Eric... been using it on all my horse leather for decades... if i'm doing a sheath, i'll decant the container in to a bowl and quickly dip the sheath in it... wait 5 seconds and then wipe off all the excess.

The sheath will take a while to dry out but will be fully penetrated and coloured.

Get it from most horse type places.
 

Beer Monster

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Aug 25, 2004
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Cheers Squidders. I'll give that one a the go!

Many thanks for the instruction Eric I'm sure it'll come in handy ...... I'm going to start attempting my own sheaths etc in the future ....... currently making zipped book cover which I'll try dying!
 

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