Leather finishing can be done in a variety of ways including applying oil, waxing, acrylics and synthetic waterproofing. Here is a quick guide to finishing with different types of finishes.
Finish Leather with natural beeswax
You can make homemade beeswax finish by mixing equal parts of olive oil and natural beeswax. Place the ingredients in a boiler or a Pyrex jug, in a pot of boiling water. The mixture has to fully melt. This may take some time but it’s important that it completely melts and mixes together.
When you are satisfied that the mixture has melted completely, remove it from the heat and pour it into a heat resistant container. Allow it to stand and cool. Once the substance has cooled, it is ready to apply to the leather. To apply the wax, you may need to rub it between your hands at first to warm it and achieve some elasticity. It should become similar in feel to a chap-stick.
After this texture is achieved, simply rub the wax over the leather surface. Leave it sitting on the leather for a few minutes, then buff the leather with a soft cloth. This traditional method has been used for centuries and will protect, waterproof and condition the leather.
Finish Leather with acrylic leather finishes
Commercial acrylic finishes are available from a variety of merchandisers and are suitable to protect leather from scratches and associated damage. Acrylic finishes range from matte through to high gloss. The finish can be applied by using a brush to paint it on.
Finish Leather with Neatsfoot Oil
There are several oil finishes that you can use including mink oil, olive oil and neatsfoot oil. The application methods are similar but vary slightly. Neatsfoot oil is obtained from the feet and shin bones of cattle.
When applying it you need to be careful to apply it in small amounts. Too much oil will result in the finished surface attracting dirt and dust before drying and the colour being changed significantly. The correct way to apply neatsfoot oil is to use a soft cloth dabbed with a few drops of oil and rapidly rub it into the leather. Then add small amounts to the cloth as you progress across the surface. Once you’ve covered the entire surface, use a different, absorbent cloth to rub, dry and shine the surface.
As with many leather practices it is best to use some scrap leather to practice your oil finishing technique.
Finish Leather with mink oil
Mink oil needs to be heated prior to application. After heating the oil, dab the cloth into it and gently rub the leather with the cloth. The oil will soak into the leather. Do one section at a time until the entire surface has been covered. Then, wipe off any extra oil and allow the leather to dry overnight. Apply an extra coat if required.
It’s important to clean all surfaces prior to finishing.
Finishing Leather by Leather Circle
Leather work tips
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