About nine months ago, I realized our old leather chair
was on the way to the curb unless a major miracle could save it. I
sure hated to give that chair up. But like me, it was really
showing its age; all those years of kids tumbling over the
back and sitting three to the seat reading or watching TV together.
With nothing to lose, I borrowed my hubby's sander
( I could have used plain fine grit sand paper) and basically
performed a mini-dermabrasion on the chair. It was neat
watching years of stain, dirt, body oil and light scratches
mostly disappear. Once it was clean and porous, I decided to change
the color as well.
I vacuumed all of the crud away and then I rubbed the leather
with rich brown water-based gel stain applied with
clean cheese cloth. The leather soaked the stain up in big gulps.
This stain is the kind of stuff you find in a can at your local
hardware which stains and seals in one step, advertised for
The tones varied according to how lightly or hard I rubbed it. That
was great because the effect was an antique bomber-jacket patina --
a very expensive look. Some of the deeper scratches picked up deep
color which was attractive too -- instant distressing! I let that
The next morning I rubbed in an over-coat of walnut Bison wax
and hit it with my hubby's car buffer. It looked wonderful! I
was amazed, kids were amazed, hubby was really amazed and
didn't even complain because I used his priceless tools.
The finish now felt supple and smooth plus that bison wax
smells nice too.
I would have shared this immediately but I wanted to make sure it
didn't rub off to discolor skin or stain clothing ----
BUT!!!---- months have passed, and there haven't
been any problems at all with it. This project was a great
investment of time (not much) and money (not much).
In this economy, we all should spread the word of anything that
helps us to make-do when we can. If you want to try this and still
feel nervous about it, test it on an old leather purse first.
Personally, I'm a real happy camper with this trick ---and now,
who knows? Barring some horrific rip, I can refresh the finish
every few years and may read to my great-grand children in it