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#AskAmanda: How To Give Leather That Beautiful Antique Look

Hi Amanda! I am absolutely in love with the look of antique leather furniture, those old club chairs from the 1920s or chesterfields older than my grandpa have such great character to them. I love how the decades of use have darkened the nooks and crannies of the tufts and how the original color of the leather still comes through in the bright spots. The downside is all these pieces don’t just look like they’re from the last century, they feel last century too. Is there a way to get this same antique aged look with a brand new piece of furniture?

—Aged & Confused in California

Hi there, California! We can’t help but to whole heartedly agree, that vintage patina on antique leather furniture is warm and inviting (even if the actual antique furniture isn’t). That’s why we bent over backwards developing our own hand staining process to age and develop that exquisite luster you’re in love with.

Hide & Seek

When we make a custom hand-stained antiqued leather chesterfield for one of our lovely customers, we start with a completely unprotected leather. Our collection of Life Resistant Leathers are stain, scratch, and fade resistant, which is usually a good idea, but that protection gets in the way of this antiquing process. Instead we use the completely opposite side of the spectrum, hides with no wax like our Waxy Pull-Up leathers, no stain resistance at all, just raw hides fresh from the tanning process with little more than the dye color added to them.

From there, we apply our own secret sauce of oils, dyes, stains, and pigments, one layer a time in a time consuming process of buffing and staining that can take up to a month to completely finish.

We Begin at the End

Other manufacturers use a less natural-looking process of staining the hide with a dark black coat of residue before building the piece of furniture and spending a little bit of time buffing off that residue before shipping out. This results in a piece that has an abrupt unnatural fade between the bright highlights and dark shadows like the paint had faded off a worn out toy, and worse yet, if done incorrectly, that residue can wear off onto your clothing.

Instead, of Iron & Oak takes the time to do it right, we start with a completely built piece of furniture in the full grain natural hide I mentioned before, and build up the patina layer by layer mimicking the decades of cigar chomping and whisky spilling in just a few weeks. The dyes and oils emulsify with the leather itself creating a magnificent (and permanent) depth of color and development.

A Modern Masterpiece

The final result is a sensational completed piece with all of the charm of an antique but packing the modern comforts you’ve come to expect from of Iron & Oak!



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