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First attempt at shoe antiquing/dyeing

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
A while back, I Ebayed a pair of AE's discontinued Brantley bal boots. While I'd been looking for a pair of bal boots for a while and was happy to snag these after a long time looking, I'd never been terribly happy with the color, an orangey tan that I think AE calls brandy:

I'd tried darkening them with creams and waxes, but the color change wasn't substantial enough. I also burnished the toes a bit with a buffing wheel on my drill. Since they're only AEs and I'd gotten them for about $40, and since I wasn't wearing them much in the orange color, I was willing to experiment with them.

So I finally got around to working on them over the course of the last week. I stripped the top layer of the finish off with acetone, though I didn't take all of the old color off.

I then moisturized with a couple applications of Saphir Renovateur, to feed the leather after the harsh acetone.

Then I used Fiebing's Leather Dye in Dark Brown, using the little wool dauber that comes in the box. I put on several coats, with applications of Renovateur in between to strip off the dye that didn't penetrate the leather and stayed sitting on top.

I'd say I ended up with about 5 or 6 coats of dye overall, and maybe a couple more on the toes. I finished with a couple coats of Saphir #05 dark brown cream and Kiwi dark brown wax, putting a low-grade spit shine on the toecaps.

I'm fairly pleased with the results. The finish is a bit more uneven than I could wish; there are a couple of spots where the old orange color shows through a bit. You can kind of see one of them on the heel counter in one picture. I'm going to keep polishing with dark brown cream and wax, and hopefully the finish will even out with time.

post #2 of 30
Wow, thats a huge improvement. Awesome job!
post #3 of 30
post #4 of 30
Good job ... I liked the original color more though - it will age well with wear and polish.

This is the bal boot that AE should be bringing back.
post #5 of 30
Nicely done.
post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 

I was going for something like Edward Green's Dark Oak color. While these pictures don't show it, under some light the boots almost look more like JLP's Museum Red. There is a pronounced redness to the finish that doesn't come through in these shots, and I'm not sure if that's because the Fiebings has a red tint or because of the base color or both.
post #7 of 30
In my view a nice improvement. Good job.
post #8 of 30
very much an improvement. good job.
post #9 of 30
Agree, they look much better.

post #10 of 30
Originally Posted by Orgetorix View Post

wow, what a great colour.
post #11 of 30
+1 on this, those boots look fantastic.
post #12 of 30
Originally Posted by fritzl View Post
wow, what a great colour.

post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 
Brandy is a great color for some shoes, but I didn't find it all that useful for this particular application. Bal boots are essentially dressy things, IMO, and I'm not likely to wear boots in warm weather with a summer suit. I think I'll get more use out of them in the darker color.
post #14 of 30
Originally Posted by NOBD View Post

good call
post #15 of 30
Not bad at all for your first time out the gate, though I kinda prefer the original color. I'm probably in the minority on that, though, so don't mind me. Just your friendly, neighborhood Debbie Downer.
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