In previous posts we’ve talked about the different types of leather that are used in furniture. There are many different names given to the leather types but the two main ones are aniline and pigmented.
The best analogy I’ve been given to understand the difference between the two is to consider a piece of wood. If we were to treat that wood we can either stain it or we can paint it. Stained wood is like aniline leather. All of the grain is exposed and it is fairly delicate and susceptible to damage. Painted wood is like pigment leather. It has a surface over the leather and most damage is likely to be to that surface. This means that just like scratching the paint on your wood you can repair it be repainting it – or in the case of leather replacing the pigment coating.
Here you can see a before and after of the chair – there are more photo’s to come to show particular areas of repair but I think these shots illustrate how much dirt can be removed during the cleaning process
This particular chair was a favourite of its owner but had seen better days. There were areas where the coating was cracked and worn and even a small split in the seat.
The first job was to clean the seat all over. This is a two part process, firstly a pre-clean to loosen and soiling and then a deep leather clean to actually remove all the built up soil and dirt.
The split needed special attention. Firstly a special adhesive mesh was placed under the split to provide support and then the edges of the split were glued together with a special leather glue.
A colour matched pigment was then made up and then applied using numerous different techniques to the various areas of damage. This pigment is then heat cured before a surface to match the rest of the chair was applied.
Finally the whole chair was given a coat of protector to keep it looking great .
A couple more shots showing the worn and damaged areas in detail. As you can see the warn now looks like new. The badly cracked area on the arm we dealt with somewhat more conservatively. There are lots of cracks in the arm and to cover them all would have made it look false. We therefore repaired the worst of them and blended the rest in so it looks right for a chair of this age.