Leather repair and restoration specialist Paul Ford

Leather Restoration - Your Leather Refinished And Restored To Original Colour, Feel And Performance

Leather Couch - before and after

If the leather in your car, on your lounge suite, your office furniture or clothing is looking a little worse for wear, having your leather restored and recoloured could be an option worth looking at.

A question I am frequently asked is, “Can anything be done to bring my leather back to its original look and feel without having to spend a fortune on reupholstery or total replacement?”

The answer is most certainly, yes, and that's what I would like to talk about now.

The above before and after photos show an example of leather furniture restoration.

I Can Restore Your Leather Without Having To Replace Or Recover It

You see, most people who own leather, believe that when it is worn, faded or even damaged, it is past its 'used-by-date' and their only options is to recover or replace.

That used to be the case way back in the past but now, technology has improved in leaps and bounds and leather can now be refinished and brought back to its original condition for a lot less than the cost of recovering or total replacement.

First, to help me explain how and what I do, let look at how your leather got it's colour in the first place ...

Your Leather Was Originally Dyed, Then Pigmented ...

Contrary to what many believe, the colour of leather is NOT consistent all the way through.

When it is processed in the tannery, the hides are first, soaked in a dye. Now the dye is usually a similar colour to the intended finish, and is first rubbed in, then sprayed for even coverage.

Once colouring is completed, a clear, protective sealer is applied.

That's why leather can mark and scuff very easily … it only has a thin pigmented film of over the surface. And it is this thin film which eventually wears off, fades, discolours, stains or just looks plain sad and tired.

What Exactly Is Leather Restoration?

The restoring process is simply the stripping off and reapplying the colour, matched to the original, and also reapplying the protective sealer.

You see, in most cases, the substrate of the leather is still good … it's just the surface, pigmented film that is worn out.

This process is the for both furniture and car leather restoration.

Are you starting to get a glimpse at why this is could be such a cost effective option?

What Is My Refinishing Process?

prepping the leather

First the old finish is chemically stripped off using a specially developed solvent.

Here's a some Jaguar leather seats I restored. This photo shows how I strip off the old finish in the preparation process.

Not only is much of the old finish removed but also years of contamination such as body oils, sweat, dirt and care products.

The leather must be spotlessly clean so that the new finish will perform to the highest standard.

Next, any damage such as scuffs and scratches are repaired

The custom matched colour is then rubbed into the pores of the leather, then sprayed over the entire surface for uniform coverage.

Finally a high-performance clear sealer is sprayed on for maximum protection and longevity.

And Here's Why Refinishing Is Such A Good Option ...

Leather item is NOT pulled apart

The leather itself is NOT removed from seat or frame etc. In other words, it does not need to be disassembled or unpicked etc. We are only concerned with the surface of the leather, so there is no need to pull it apart.

This is a huge advantage especially with classic cars ... once leather has been in a certain shape for 40 or 50 years, the last thing you want is to disturb its original shape. Getting the leather tensioned correctly again can be a real challenge.

Accurate Colour Matching

When I restore leather, I custom match the colour … not with standard formulas … eye matched! In other words, I match to the original pigmented finish of YOUR leather so you can be sure that it is bang on!

Huge Cost Benefit

This is the most cost effective way to have your leather looking great again.

An average lounge suite can cost around $6,000 to $8,000 to reupholster in new leather … car seats $5,000 to $7,000. This also depends of the quality of leather and other factors such as springs, webbing, foams etc.

Can All Types Of Leather Be Restored?

I have a very simplistic way of looking a leather ... it's either top-finished or sealed ... or unsealed (aniline). So far, I've been referring to sealed or top finished leather. As far as sealed leathers are concerned, these are the ones I do refinish.

Unsealed? I stay away from these because usually when they are in need of attention, the dirt and contamination has penetrated so far into the substrate, it can't be successfully extracted, therefore, delamination problems can occur further down the track.

So, I specialise only in sealed leathers.

What Can I Do With Cracks And Splits?

cracked leather car seat

People have different expectations about what they want their leather to look like.

A good example is, owners of classic cars. In many cases the leather has surface cracking. Most of the owners want the cracks to remain because that is characteristic of old car leather.

In these cases, the colour will flow into the cracks but won't fill them.

If you don't like cracking and you want the gone, the offending panels can be replaced with new leather and then refinished to blend in with the original.

And What Abour Rips And Tears?

There are many leather repairers claiming they can repair/glue/weld ripped leather but from my experience, this is only a short term fix. The best long term solution is to have these offending panels replaced with new leather, then matched to the original colour.

What To Do If You Would Like Your Leather Restored

If you like the idea of having your leather restored without the price tag of reupholstering or replacing, then all you need to do is take some photos and send them to me so I can take a look. Once I can see what you've got, I can discuss the best way to go about bringing your leather back to its former glory.