The leather before undergoing the process described in the text (*1.)
The dyeing methods used for processing leather materials can be largely divided into "dye finishing" and "pigment finishing."
Another method is referred to as "unfinished leather dyeing," which consists of applying oil or wax onto the surface of the leather with minimal dyeing to bring out the original textures and colors of the leather itself.
Top: The leather after undergoing the process described in the text (*1) 10 times. Bottom: The leather after undergoing the same process 15 times.
The dye finishing method consists of melting the raw ingredients with water and oil to create a pure dye, which is then soaked into the leather. This dyeing method is primarily used to bring out the natural textures of grain leather and ages the leather beautifully over time.
This method cannot be applied to leather with visible scratches or wrinkles, but the higher the quality, the more enhanced the beauty of the grains, making it a popular method among leather craftsmen.
Pigment dyeing consists of using insoluble pigments to color the surface of the leather as if applying a layer of paint to it. While this method can be used to color leather in order to hide the scratches and wrinkles, it also hides the natural expression of the leather and creates a uniform look and texture, which does not show signs of ageing over time.
The most commonly used pigments are organic pigments synthesized from petrochemical components and inorganic pigments, historically created from soil and minerals. Organic pigments are generally cheaper and more durable than inorganic pigments, so most of the pigments used to dye leather today are organic pigments.
Left: The raw ingredient of the pigment is red clay. Multiple colors of the powdered pigments are created by mixing red clay with persimmon tannin (primarily composed of iron oxide.) Right: Vegetable protein solution used to bond the pigments to the surface of the leather.
"Dye finishing" and "pigment finishing" are generally distinguished this way, and in many cases, these processes are used accordingly depending on the quality of the leather and end product application, but the "natural paint leather" dyeing method differs from both of the previously mentioned methods.
The powdered inorganic pigments (made by mixing red iron oxide with red clay) is mixed into vegetable tanned leather and bonded by applying a layer of vegetable protein solution. After naturally drying the leather, the coloring is formed by applying a layer of persimmon tannin, which causes a chemical reaction with the pigment dye.
Viscosity is developed by storing the clear liquid persimmon tannin for a certain period of time, and it is then adjusted to prevent it from excessively spreading into the leather.
This dyeing method using pigments is not aimed at hiding the natural expression of the leather as mentioned earlier, but rather to gradually layer colors similarly to applying light makeup and eventually forming the desired color.
Depending on the final color that you are trying to achieve, the process of mixing the pigments and then applying the persimmon tannin is often considered as one set (*1). This process is then repeated between 10 to 20 times before obtaining the final result. This method is difficult to apply in mass production lines, but the "natural paint leather" helps create a warm and rich texture to the leather that can only be obtained using the "dye finishing" and "pigment finishing" methods.
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