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Old March 17, 2015, 08:25 PM   #1
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Can i dye a brown holster to make it look black?

Can I dye a brown Remington 1858 Hickok holster with black leather wax to make it look black? or will it just look strange? Thanks
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Old March 17, 2015, 08:31 PM   #2
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No. But it can be redyed. Cobblers can do this for you.
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Old March 17, 2015, 09:50 PM   #3
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I'm assuming this is vegetable tanned leather and not chrome tanned?

It all depends on what the holster has on it - if it has been waxed - you might have a problem getting dye to take. You should be able to pick up a bottle of black dye from whee they sell shoe care products - polish, etc. - Meijers used to carry it - check around or call around. The only way you'll know is to try a small spot of the black dye in and area that can't be seen - such as some where on the back of the holster, etc.

One of the blackest dyes I use is "vinegaroon" - an old time dye that has been around for centuries. Made by disolving iron in vinegar. But, you'll probably end up with a "vinegar" smell for a while and usually, I leave mine sitting for several months before using to let the iron I've put in it do its job. Repeated applications will darken it. Many dyes are alcohol or water based which will also dry out the leather. After dying - you need to put natural oils back in to the leather. There are many things you can use - Mink Oil, various commercial leather rejuvenators, etc. When I get done making holsters/gun belts, etc. - I use pure virgin Olive Oil. It puts natural oils back in but will never turn rancid. It also makes a good lubricating oil - clockmakers have been using it for centuries.

A few years ago, I picked up several containers of "Marine Corps Black Dye" at Tandy Leather. It was available in various size containers. It's a very nice dark black - I use it primarily for dying burnished edges on belts, cartridge loops, holster seams, etc. Pretty easy to apply.

Again, though . . . whatever you get to use for dye . . . try it in a very small spot where it won't show to see if it will work or not. Good vegetable tanned leather should be used for belts, holsters, etc. - a lot of "cheap" gear is made from chrome tanned leather - two completely different tanning processes.
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Old March 17, 2015, 10:45 PM   #4
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Can I dye a brown Remington 1858 Hickok holster with black leather wax to make it look black? or will it just look strange? Thanks
Probably waxed. The Hikock holster I bought from Calbela's over a decade ago was waxed. Tough to dye.
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Old March 18, 2015, 01:22 AM   #5
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The original finish will resist the penetration of the new dye unless you use a pre-dye finish stripper. It's a liquid, sold by Tandy Leather, made by Fiebing's. Here's a link to the product:
After that, use their dye, their oil dyes are good, and when it's dried, follow up with one of their finsh sealers. I like their Leather Balm with Atom Wax, and then I finish with Resolene for better weather resistance.
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Old March 18, 2015, 02:40 PM   #6
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yes and no and sorta.
First you have to scrub real good to get any "wax" coating off.
Like shoe polish or saddle soap.
So get a small bottle wax remover.

Then a very light steel wool brushing. Don't leave scratch or scuff marks.
Rinse well with warm water with a paper towel.... do NOT soak the leather.

Then a good dye. I like oil based myself but Tandy and Hobby lobby and I'm sure others sell a eco based dye that is almost a gel.
While surface is still damp rub the dye in, might have to do it 2 or 3 or 4 times, about 30 seconds bettween each

Now it likely won't come out black black but will be condiserably darker.

A nice thing about the liguid oil based you can soak it in from the inside and help darken it.
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Old March 18, 2015, 03:15 PM   #7
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I used the Fiebing's leather dye on my Cabelas Hickok holster and it worked fine. I didn't try black, just a much darker brown. You do need to try and get as much oil out of it as possible before you dye it. The alcohol based Fiebing's dye work very well.

Here's one I restained:

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Old March 18, 2015, 03:56 PM   #8
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I have not tried this on a holster, but it worked on belts & speedloader holders.
Kiwi shoe dye. The stuff in the foam tipped applicator with the squeeze bottle dispenser.
Follow the directions on the label.
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