By: Mitch Frieber, Bedminster ON-SITE Drapery Care
Leather upholstery naturally deteriorates over time due to sun fading and general drying out over the years. Most homeowners are unaware that as long as the leather has not started to crack, there is a very good chance that a favorite, leather chair, sofa or ottoman can be brought back to life using professional restoration techniques.
A big part of our business here at Bedminster ON-SITE is leather restoration. We use the same natural cleaners, softening agents and protectants that are used at the tannery. Our softeners are far more effective than the off-the-shelf, leather treatments. Off-the-shelf treatments usually contain silicone, which may make a piece look nice for a while but tends to damage the leather with repeated treatments.
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In many cases, in addition to softening the leather, which should be done regularly, most aged pieces will benefit from adding color. In the case of aniline leather, which is unprotected, we use dyes, which are custom mixed to exactly match the original color. Dye will also help to camouflage stains. If the leather is semi-aniline, which is protected leather, we will apply a custom mixed, flexible, leather paint again matching the original color.
The “Before” and “After” pictures show a magnificent, 20-year old, aniline leather chair, which was the victim of severe drying and sun damage. We deep-cleaned and rehydrated the leather. We then applied softener to replace lost collagens and proteins. Next, we applied several coats of stain to bring back its original, rich color. Finally we applied a special, protective, wax pull-up to bring out the original sheen. The result is a luxurious, renewed leather chair with many more years of added life.