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Re:Nitrate of iron as leather stain

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  • jwfilipski@aol.com
    Dear Kevin & the List I use a lot of ferric nitrate ( Iron Nitrate) in staining of gunstock wood and horns. I haven t tried it on leather but I m sure it
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 24, 2001
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      Dear Kevin & the List
      I use a lot of "ferric nitrate" ( Iron Nitrate) in staining of gunstock
      wood and horns. I haven't tried it on leather but I'm sure it will work
      well. The only thing I feel that must be done after staining is a quick bath
      in a mild potassium carbonate solution to neutralize the residual acid. I
      have used a mild solution of iron nitrate as a mordant in dying linen fabric.
      This I didn't neutralize and after about two years it started showing signs
      of "linen rot" which are weak spots that develop due to a concentration of
      acid. This possibly could happen in leather also.
      The reason for neutralizing in potassium carbonate as opposed to sodium
      carbonate or sodium bicarbonate is that they tend to flush out too much of
      the stain. Some wood ash in water makes a good neutralizer. I would think it
      best to dye before you sew anything together.
      Hope this helps.
      Yr. Mst. Hmbl. & Obdt. Svt.,
      Jim W. Filipski

      Selin's Independent Rifle Company, CL
      http://members.aol.com/liv18thc/selins.html
    • richard l duvelius
      Dear Jim, Kevin & the List, I ll second that observation on the need to neutralize. I m not sure of the effect on the leather itself, since the critter s hide
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 24, 2001
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        Dear Jim, Kevin & the List,
        I'll second that observation on the need to neutralize. I'm not sure
        of the effect on the leather itself, since the critter's hide has been
        through a rather horrific process just to become leather. The real concern
        is the linen thread, ( I assume you are all using this) which will last for
        centuries if not mistreated. For this reason, I caution all my customers to
        avoid any leather treatment not known to be pure neatsfoot
        oil/lanolin/beeswax in any combination. While I will applaud anyone looking
        for the period-correct method of doing anything, when it comes to leather
        dyes, I forego the alchemy and stay with Fiebing's Institutional dyes. There
        are many reasons we don't have a lot of 18th c. leather artifacts to study,
        being pitched out when the thread dissolved may be one them.

        Rick Duvelius
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: <jwfilipski@...>
        To: <SSchuyler59@...>; <Revlist@egroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2001 7:51 AM
        Subject: [Revlist] Re:Nitrate of iron as leather stain


        >
        > Dear Kevin & the List
        > I use a lot of "ferric nitrate" ( Iron Nitrate) in staining of
        gunstock
        > wood and horns. I haven't tried it on leather but I'm sure it will work
        > well. The only thing I feel that must be done after staining is a quick
        bath
        > in a mild potassium carbonate solution to neutralize the residual acid. I
        > have used a mild solution of iron nitrate as a mordant in dying linen
        fabric.
        > This I didn't neutralize and after about two years it started showing
        signs
        > of "linen rot" which are weak spots that develop due to a concentration of
        > acid. This possibly could happen in leather also.
        > The reason for neutralizing in potassium carbonate as opposed to sodium
        > carbonate or sodium bicarbonate is that they tend to flush out too much of
        > the stain. Some wood ash in water makes a good neutralizer. I would think
        it
        > best to dye before you sew anything together.
        > Hope this helps.
        > Yr. Mst. Hmbl. & Obdt. Svt.,
        > Jim W. Filipski
        >
        > Selin's Independent Rifle Company, CL
        > http://members.aol.com/liv18thc/selins.html
        >
        > Visit the RevList Homepage, which includes a list of sutlers, RevList
        member photos, FAQ, etc., at
        >
        > http://www.liming.org/revlist/
        >
        > TO UNSUBSCRIBE: please send a message to Revlist-unsubscribe@egroups.com
        with "unsubscribe" in the subject line.
      • Sgt42RHR@aol.com
        Hi list, does anyone know if the effectiveness of this solution as a dye is changed if the solution is altered so that the ph is neutral? Does it have to be
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 31, 2001
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          Hi list, does anyone know if the effectiveness of this solution as a dye is
          changed if the solution is altered so that the ph is neutral? Does it have
          to be acid when it is applied to the leather?

          John

          > I have used this method with good success. Nitric Acid is not a
          > requirment however. I use acedic acid, in the form of vinegar. I
          > buy a gallon of the cheapest white vinegar that I can find. Pour it
          > into a plastic bucket and put 8 or 9 pads of fine steel wool in it.
          > The steel wool will disolve in 2 to 3 weeks, according to tempature.
          > When it has disolved all the wool that it can, skim off the scum and
          > put it back into the gallon jug. After the sediment settles, it will
          > make a liquid the color of dark beer. It will keep for several months.
          >
          > It will work only on very dry oak or vegitable tanned leather. I use
          > a foam applicator to put it on the leather. Put on a heavy coat, and
          > it will turn dark in a few minutes. If it is not dark enough, put on
          > more before it dries. I have had no luck in letting it dry then add
          > another coat. Just won't soak in for a later application.
          >
          > If it is a quality hide and well tanned it will dye very black.
          > Poorer quality hides,or ones with traces of oil will be lighter or
          > splotchy. After the leather drys, or you have finished the item, oil
          > it heavily with neatsfoot oil. It will keep it black and supple. If
          > you do not oil it, it is more likley to crack with age, as the acid
          > will degrade the fibers in the leather somewhat.
          >
          > As the leather ages and is used, it will begin to oxidize and over a
          >



          John Johnston
          42d. Grenr. Compy.
          "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness." Dave Barry


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • jwfilipski@aol.com
          Hi John, To try to answer your question concerning the acidity of Iron Nitrate stain; When ferric nitrate is properly formulated, the iron is dissolved in the
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 1, 2001
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            Hi John,
            To try to answer your question concerning the acidity of Iron Nitrate
            stain;
            When ferric nitrate is properly formulated, the iron is dissolved in the
            nitric acid until content of iron reaches a point near saturation. The
            chemical reaction slows to where it is almost non existent. At this point it
            is somewhat stable, being moderately acidic but no where near to the strength
            of the original nitric acid.
            The way the stuff works is the liquid is the vehicle for the molecular
            iron that is in solution. As the liquid is applied, the iron molecules
            penetrate deeply into the surface. Once there they must be converted to iron
            oxide ( rust ). This is accomplished by neutralizing after application. Once
            the solution is neutralized the iron oxide is locked inside the material.
            Different dilution's of Ferric nitrate produce different colors based on the
            amount of moisture retained by the iron oxide. If the surface is heated quite
            hot after neutralization the iron oxide produces red hues, if heated less
            they produce yellow hues. The addition or presence of tannic acid would
            produce dark browns or blacks. I would think this is what you should get on
            vegetable tanned leathers because there is still tannic acid left in them
            from the tanning procedures.

            If you were to neutralize the ferric nitrate before application you would
            drop the iron out of solution and it would form a sludge on the bottom of the
            container. In effect killing the proper action of the solution.
            Please keep in mind that formulating ferric nitrate solutions as well as
            working with nitric acid is very dangerous to you health if not handled
            properly. Also the storage of the stronger solutions can be dangerous (
            bottles can explode from pressure build up) as well as they vent corrosive
            fumes as they mature. This can damage items in the immediate area.

            Hope this helps,
            Yr. Mst. Hmbl. & Obdt. Svt.,
            Jim W. Filipski

            Selin's Independent Rifle Company, CL
            <A HREF="http://members.aol.com/liv18thc/selins.html">
            http://members.aol.com/liv18thc/selins.html</A>



            >Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 08:03:50 EST
            > From: Sgt42RHR@...
            >Subject: Re: Re: Nitrate of iron as leather stain

            >Hi list, does anyone know if the effectiveness of this solution as a dye is
            >changed if the solution is altered so that the ph is neutral? Does it have
            >to be acid when it is applied to the leather?
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