This is the Forum for the art of Bookbinding, post your questions and answers about bookbinding here.
Wed Aug 08, 2012 3:22 pm
I am new to bookbinding and experimenting with leather dying. I have aniline leather dye from J Hewit, but just learned that they have a "dye-fix" product as well (http://www.hewitonline.com/Dye_Fix_p/ms-150-000.htm
Is it necessary to use the dye-fix and if so are there alternatives that I can buy locally?
Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:53 pm
You should use the dye fixer to ensure optimum color and water fastness. Heaven forbid the book got wet, but if it did, the surface dyestuff would come off or precipitate to other areas of the leather where you may not want it, and worst-case, into the pages.
All dyes, no matter the dyed material, require a fixative for longevity and fastness, especially on leather before finishing with something water based. Some dyes out there are substantive, meaning that they contain an amount of fixing agent, but they still fade and tend to not be water fast unless finished. In that case, the finish or glaze itself can rub off surface dye, which is the worst thing you'd want to happen when you're so close to the finish line. Definitely use fixer. You don't want any potential clients coming back to you and giving you a what-for about dye fading.
I can tell you from experience that using the dye manufacturer's fixer is your best option. It's specially formulated and tested against their own dyes. Local alternatives may not be what you need and would probably not change the molecular bonds enough to fully fix the dye, seeing as how no two manufacturers use the same formulas. To my knowledge I don't know of any universal alternative to all the synthetic dyes available... but my knowledge might be out of date. I've abandoned aniline dyes and use only natural now.
Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:09 am
We did use Hewit's aniline dyes, but they had a tendency to "bronze" if you made the solution too strong. Never used Dye Fix, is this something they have bought out recently?
We ended up using Russel Book Crafts water based dyes, never had to use anything like Dye Fix.
Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:57 am
Thanks for the helpful responses.
I ended up purchasing the dye fix from Hewit.
I also figured out what you meant by "bronzing". What was supposed to be dark blue turned out shiny olive green! I guess I have some practice to do.
Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:12 pm
I find the bronzing effect will largely disappear with the pastewash prior to glairing/polishing, though I do try to avoid getting it in the first place. I always use the Dye Fix as I found the colour can migrate during the drying out phase. It is very useful as I use the aniline dyes for sprinkling and marbled effects on the leather.
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