View Full Version : antiquing?

12-29-2002, 06:51 PM
Hi I have been looking for something to REALLY highlight my tooling. I have done antiquing to alot of sucess so far. But I was wondering what everyone else does to really highlight and make there tooling stand out. I did basic dying, but it washed everything out, have to put a high gloss and hold it into the light to see anything. I'm looking for that special something to make everyone say WOW. (not that my work is worth a WOW, but ya get the idea) I do like antiquing, I like how it darkens the recesses and is lighter on the top, makes detail pop really well. (Must get more colors than basic medium brown)

12-29-2002, 10:01 PM
Hi Pratt, was looking forward to see some of your work in the gallery. Sandy or Chuck could probably give you more info, but I'll tell you how I do it. I apply a very wet cotton swab of dye to the area being done and then wipe off the excess with a paper towel or smooth rag leaving the recesses dark and the tops lighter.Hope this helps, Dave.:)

Let's see some pic's

Sandy Morrissey
01-01-2003, 09:46 AM
There is a great difference between antiqueing and high lighting of your tooling or carving. I prefer high lighting as I very seldom replicate old items. When your tooling or carving is completed is the time to dye in the background of the project. Use a GOOD brush such as camel hair or sable with soft, pliable hair. This helps to prevent dye being flicked off the brush by stiff bristles. The results are not pretty when dye is in the wrong place! When your background is finished you should apply the base dye to the project, being careful not to get any on your tooling or carving. When dry it is time to apply a finish that will act as a resist to subsequent treatments. I prefer an acrylic sealer finish such as Super Shene or Neat Sheen from Tandy or the Leather Factory. Two light coats are superior to one but do not apply second until the first is dry. When the second coat is dry it is time to apply the high lighter. I use Tandy's HI-LITER. Apply with a small square of sponge rubber makng sure that all depressions and all decorative swivel knife cuts arre filled. Smooth out the excess and let dry for several minutes. Fold one sheet of a paper towel until you have a pad about 2 1/2 inches square and dampen moderately on both sides with water. Now the HI-LITER should be dry to the tacky stage. Using the damp pad, wipe the excess off the tooled or carved work. This will leave the cuts and indentations darker than the surface. Examine your work and finesse the removing of any unwanted HI-LITER. When completely dry the surface can be lightly buffed wth a soft cloth and, if desired, a light protective coat of Sheen can be applied. This is VERY EFFECTIVE in bringing out the beauty in your project. Sandy

Chuck Burrows
01-01-2003, 10:53 AM
Sandy is definitely the person to answer and he done good!;) One only has to look at his impeccable work.

99% of my work is historical and is also "aged" so I don't do much of this type of work. BTW my process for "aging" doesn't use any of the stock antiquing methods.

This helps to prevent dye being flicked off the brush by stiff bristles. The results are not pretty when dye is in the wrong place!
For the type of work spoken of here that is absolutley true, but for aged work it is one of the things I intentionally do and I get to charge extra:D LOL!! (Umm yes that's where you shot that guy in the saloon in Dodge City and he was standing so close that you got blood spattered all over your rig! - CAS guys eat that stuff up). But even putting splatters and other age marks on has to be a planned process.

Two light coats are superior to one
Seer these words into your brain folks. No matter what you are doing with leather: dying or finishing, this is the one true path to getting it right.

Sandy-hope you had a good hols! Note you're going up to my old stomping grounds, the NW, have a good trip. It's a beautiful part of the country. If you run into Raymond Richard say hello to the Old Fart #1 for me.


01-01-2003, 03:43 PM
There ya go Pratt. I told you Sandy and Chuck could help .Dave:D

01-01-2003, 07:06 PM
Cool, sounds like I need to pick up some Hi-liter next order. I'm trying to accent my Basket weave designs and such. and a solid dye job just didn't cut it at all. GRR I put a coat of light tan on over all and it looked like flat turd..nasty..couldn't even see my work. Really I had to really look at it and make sure I dyed the right piece. Then I took a medium antique, slapped that on the piece (when it dried) gooked it in all the crevices, waited (very impatiently cause I'm thinking I just ruined all my hard work!) and wiped it off. Got ALOT better! No more turd brown, and you could see my basketweaving! YAY! I'm going to pick up some Hi-lifter next order, I'll add it to the list! Thanks guy! I think it is away how you experts are willing to share your tricks with us "wannabies"


Chuck Burrows
01-01-2003, 07:16 PM
Hey Lara glad to help.

An added word here. Often times, heck most times, tooled leather (especially basket stamp) will have that sort of blaaah or turd color/look to it right after dying with brown. In part, and I know I've said this before but it bears repeating, the dye leaves a film of powder on the surface. ALWAYS make sure you buff this film off. If you don't it will probably leach through your finish no matter what it is and leave stains.
I buff vigorously with an old towel and then with something like basket stamp I also use a shoe brush and then buff with the towel again. Buff like that and it may surprise you how nice your work looks before ever applying any type of finish.


01-01-2003, 07:22 PM
Yeah I noticed the dust film, I did brush it off. Probly not as well as I should have though. I'll make a note to dust the heck out of it next time.


Chuck Burrows
01-01-2003, 07:54 PM
Try the shoe brush especially on something as heavily tooled as basket stamp. A cloth alone won't get the powder out of the indentations .
What brand dye are you using? That can make a difference as well. I use Fiebings Leather Dye (not the Pro Oil Dye - I make my own oil dye) and buff it enough to get a low sheen shoe shine glow.


01-01-2003, 08:05 PM
Currently I'm using Tandy Pro Dye. basicially cause I was at a loss for which shades to get and they have the smaple back on sale. I figured I would get that and see which shades I liked working with and get them in the larger sizes, and not waste money of shades I wouldn't end up using in the end. I also got a meduim brown and antique medium brown in the bottles too, cause I figured I would use brown alot.
I heard Fiebings is good stuff. have to see about buying some of there stuff I hear it has less fumes. My shop is in the basement so that sounds good to me!

Chuck Burrows
01-01-2003, 08:15 PM
The Tandy dyes are pretty good actually although the last time I used some they appeared to have maybe changed the formula and weren't as quite as rich as they used to be. Fumes wise they are about the same. Please use plenty of ventilation if possible and it helps to have a fan blowing across your work table as you dye. This helps keep it from concentrating in front of your face. If/when you can afford it get a good face mask like painters use. Those fumes are toxic and cumulative.

Remember with either brand you can mix colors and you can also thin with denatured alcohol for lighter colors. I mainly use British Tan, Medium Brown, and Dark Brown. To get a light brown I just thin the Medium down. I also like Oxblood mixed with Med ium Brown for a real deep reddish/cordovan color.