Can you dye a saddle?(western)

Discussion in 'Tack & Equipment' started by skysthelimit, Feb 11, 2008.

  1. skysthelimit

    skysthelimit Senior Member+

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    hey guys! I have a leather barrel saddle that fits my horse superbly but is UGLY beyond UGLY in its color regime. It has a faded (from use) purple seat and is a very light oil with a white rawhide horn. *pukes* I wanted to let my show team do western eq at the local show this year, but I can't afford a brand new saddle, so I was hoping to get away with a dye job. It has some cute silver on it, and I think with a darker color, it could pass in the ring. Thoughts? Thanks!

    *btw- I'll have pics later today*~Brittany
     






  2. Heavenly Jumper

    Heavenly Jumper Senior Moderator

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    It is very possible to dye a saddle :)

    It is quite the process though...you might have better luck oiling it until it darkens. ;)

    If you still want to dye it though, I would suggest taking it to a saddler. He is a professional and will make sure it's right.
     
  3. Blistering Winds

    Blistering Winds Senior Member+

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    yes you can.

    But there is a lot that goes into it, you have to strip the top coating off, condition the saddle, redye it, then seal it off.

    Personally, if you don't know how to work with leather, I would take it to a saddler to have it done right or you will have horrible streaks, bad blending, etc.
     
  4. Blistering Winds

    Blistering Winds Senior Member+

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    does the school not have their own tack???
     
  5. skysthelimit

    skysthelimit Senior Member+

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    school? :D lol. I have a handful of girls (5, actually)that I give lessons to who are interested in doing the local circuit. I'm not made of money and neither are they, so we're making do with what we've got.:)

    I think I'll shop around for price quotes on the dye job. I definitely don't want to make the ugly thing even uglier!!!!! If it runs over $100, I may consider saving up for a nice used pleasure saddle at the local tack shop.

    Thanks everybody for your help!~Brittany
     
  6. Tack Collector

    Tack Collector Senior Member+

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    Yes, you can dye one yourself. I've only dyed '70s dark oil show saddles, though. Don't have exact experience with light oil westerns.

    If you want the seat not purple, a black or very dark brown or possibly medium brown should cover it. Use an artist's brush at the edges for control and a dauber throughout the middle of it. If typical leather dyes don't penetrate, see info below about shoe dyes.

    How dark do you want the saddle? The Fiebings medium brown will give skirting leather a reddish dark oil type brown most likely. The dark brown will be very dark chocolate. British tan will probably come out medium oil color.

    As for the white horn: Not sure what to do with that. I think it won't dye much. A true dye might only change it from white to splotchy tan but that would be about it. There is some shoe dye company that makes dyes in lots of colors. Starts with a T or something. (I found them w/ Google). Those dyes are more of a paint, but they don't look like plastic. People use them for custom color roller derby skates & such and the finish, if properly applied, appears to hold up. I'm thinking maybe you could get one of those shoe dye kits w/ the prep liquid that would strip the rawhide as much as possible then paint over it?? Don't know if that works or not.

    As for dying the skirting leather, you can probably get by w/ wash w/ glycerine bar saddle soap, then wipe down well with rubbing alcohol. Use an old worn toothbrush to get gunk out of tooling or basket stamp. Leave it dry, then dye. Two thin coats are best for getting even color with minimum excess dye that will have to be cleaned off. I usually let dye dry 24 hrs then wipe down w/ rubbing alcohol, then wipe lightly w/ saddle soap. Put mink oil on it as a sealer. (use same surface prep for seat, maybe a straonge solvent like denatured alcohol or lacquer thinner or 50/50 mix of those)

    Pay attention to any product safety warnings about flammability!!
     
    Catarina Rose and skysthelimit like this.
  7. skysthelimit

    skysthelimit Senior Member+

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    awesome post! Thanks a lot!~brit
     

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