Antiquing a belt - photo essay

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by MalfordOfLondon, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    Here's another mini project of mine (I've obviously got too much time on my hands at the moment...)

    Managed to snag an EG belt from eBay which was listed as Birch but was a lot lighter than I expected.

    I already have a belt in this colour so decided to try and antique it and darken it to a burnt pine.

    I used to try and antique leather with applying darker polish but that always resulted in dark patches, harsh antiquing (Berluti style) and flat colours.

    The aim was to build up colours from light to dark to achieve a subtle antiqued effect.

    1) The original belt

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    2) Stripping the original polish / finish

    Fiebings deglazer would have been better for this but I used white spirits (paint thinner) to strip any original coating off. Take care to scrub or brush around the stitches as there's usually a waxy build up here where new polish will not take:

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    The surface after 2 good old scrubbings:

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    3) Building up the colour layers

    For this process I used 3 different colour Sapphirs. Starting from tan to dark brown:

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    Take a small amount of sapphir and thin it down with the white spirit:

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    I applied the mixture onto the belt with a brush and then rubbed a little harder in certain areas with a cloth:

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    Leave to dry for an hour and then start with the darker colour:

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    This is the belt so far:

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    The final coat which was half black, half black brown:

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    After drying for an hour - give the belt a buff with a cloth. You can see the subtle nuances in colour showing through:

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    4) Apply shoe cream / leather conditioner

    After allowing to dry overnight - the belt still felt quite tacky and rough. I applied some leather conditioner:

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    5) Apply natural wax polish

    After allowing the conditioner to take and dry - apply a single layer of wax polish sparingly:

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    6) The finished belt

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  2. oshinex

    oshinex Senior member

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  3. kev777

    kev777 Senior member

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    Whoa hidden talents !!
     


  4. coffeecupman

    coffeecupman Well-Known Member

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    very cool and informative!

    ccm
     


  5. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    While I compliment you on your patience and thoroughness in putting together this photo essay, I cannot agree with the process of using polishes. For this type of project, whether it be belt or briefcase, dye washes should have been used. Polishes will rub off by the friction of the belt hoops, clothing and daily wear, resulting in the polishes get onto your clothes. A dye wash or washes would have penetrated the leather fibers and given a much more enduring result. Again, my compliments on taking the time to photograph each step of your project. Perhaps let this belt sit at least several days and buff with a soft cotton cloth one more time before wearing, and please update us as to how the finish holds up with wear.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011


  6. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    This is probably true. Saying that - if you rub the belt very hard with a cloth - no colour or residue is transferred. This might be due to the fact that the polish was mixed with the thinner and seems to have actually soaked into the leather rather than coated it.
     


  7. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Your use of the thinner may well have made the difference, yes it may have made it possible for deeper penetration along with the hard rubbing. The hard rubbing alone may have added a burnished effect which is very beautiful. Your method may well be related to the 'Bulling' process that is commonly practiced by military and police officers to polish their shoes to a high shine. Ofcourse with Bulling, as I understand it, water is sparingly used to assist in the penetration of the waxes into the leather fibers. I concede at this point to your use of the thinner. Only time will tell. I hope it works out well for you and please do update this thread, say after 5 wearings of this belt? and then again after 10 wearings? Long term wear results would be valuable information for all. If the results hold up after 10 wearings I would say you have a reliable method. Thank you again for your efforts and stamina in photographing the step-by-step process. You have the patience I lack in documenting a project. :cheers:
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2011


  8. Blackhood

    Blackhood Senior member

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    Very even colour and a nice change.

    I would have thought that removal of the polish through friction would effectively "antique" better than anything, so maybe its for the best?
     


  9. NotDickDiver

    NotDickDiver Well-Known Member

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    Excellent thread. Excellent result!

    As fellow posters already have encouraged you to do, please post pictures after a few wears.
     


  10. Ich_Dien

    Ich_Dien Senior member

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    You're on fire.
     


  11. HarleyBob

    HarleyBob Senior member

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    Do you think it would be possible to take a light colored belt and turn it into a burnished dark green belt? I have some green shoes that need a green belt. Thanks.
     


  12. Agatha Crusty

    Agatha Crusty Senior member

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    Excellent work. Always nice to see a bit of handiwork to furnish one's desires instead of just purchases.
     


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