Monday, February 27, 2017

Dyeing a Dressage Saddle

While I LOVE my child sized Stubben Juventus dressage saddle because it actually fits my tiny leg (I'm only 5' tall on a good day) and it fits my horse, I do NOT love the way the leather looks.  I found it used seven years ago and have taken great care of it.  But the seat has been fading for a while and last fall was just looking incredibly sad.  I knew I needed to do something to save it, but the thought of dyeing my saddle gave me a bit of pause.  OK, a lot of pause.


So sad.
I found a blog post last November about dyeing saddles and promptly saved it to my Pinterest.  I bought the materials I needed last December and stored them safely in my hallway closet.  Then I sat around and thought about this idea even more, mostly because I was scared to actually attempt to dye it (what if I totally screwed it up?!) and because the horses pretty much had December and January off.  It was too cold to ride or even think about dyeing a saddle anyway!

But this past week was our school vacation and it warmed up enough for me to consider that if I was going to attempt to dye this thing, I might as well give it a shot now.  

Not shown is the Tan Kote and Resolene

I printed off the directions found on the blog above, and I mostly followed the same procedure.  
I went with Fiebing's not just because that is what the original blogger used, but also because I think they are a reputable company and it was easy to find all the needed products on Amazon for only $29.41 (thank you Prime for your free 2-day shipping!)  I ended up not applying the Resolene at the end, though I still could if I wanted to.  

The first day I cleaned the saddle up, removed the finish with the deglazer, and applied three coats of dye.  I ended up doing a fourth coat on the seat because I really wanted to be sure if was covered.  This may have been a bit much, but whatever.  Once I started with the deglazer (which is pretty much just acetone), I knew I was committed and wasn't really nervous any longer LOL!  I used a microfiber towel to apply the deglazer.

I dyed the entire top of the saddle and the top of the "billet panel", plus the billets because they were looking a little sad too.  I did not do the underside of the top flap or the underside of the saddle itself.  I left the saddle to dry overnight.  It looked lovely and black but terribly dull.  I did not take any photos of this step.  But it was fairly easy to apply the dye, and I used a sponge brush and evened it out as needed with the microfiber pad.

The next day, I wiped down the saddle well and barely any dye came off at all.  I applied the tan-kote with another microfiber towel and the saddle started to look magnificent.  I did the first coat and let it dry before doing a second coat.  I didn't glob it on and made sure to buff it well as I went.  

Oh my goodness, the difference was amazing.  I cannot believe I waited this long to dye it!  I looks so much better.  Right now, I have left it like this and have not applied the resolene.  I am a bit worried about how it will look, as I know you have to be super careful with application process.  I don't want it to be streaky and I know it is totally possible I could apply it like the amateur I am haha.  Also, resolene makes an acrylic resistant finish, so while it may assure that the dye won't come off on my breeches, it will make the seat impermeable to leather conditioner.  So, I figure I will give it a shot with a junky pair of my lighter colored breeches and see what I think!




I cannot stop looking at these side by side comparisons!


4 comments:

  1. Looks awesome. I really want to try this, but, like you, don't want to do the resolene stage so I hope you'll do an update with how it works out sans resolene.

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  2. It looks so good!!! My mind is officially blown by how amazing that turned out! It looks like a new saddle!

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