Leather Culprits

By: Ed Mayorga

We receive many calls concerning leather damage. The following are the most common leather “culprits”.

Cat Scratches – Cats are my friends. The sad reality is they are good for business. Cat claws punch holes in leather and create long surface slices. Typically, the repair procedure is sand, fill, sand some more and spray a primer, color coat and finish coat on top. A character mark where the damage occurred will be visible, but significantly muted.

Cracking – Most of the time customers are concerned with spider web cracks forming on their furniture. My usual response is: “SORRY TOO LATE”. Cracking is primarily due to the leather having dried due to age and environmental conditions. Sitting in front of a window or over a heat register also dries leather.

 Stains – Stains vary from fruit juices to ink to cat urine and everything in between. If people have blotted out the liquids immediately, they have better success in the restoration process. If they use protective cream (like Scotchguard for leather) the offending liquid would have beaded up or been a surface issue which is relatively easy to clean. Stains on pigmented leather often require a new color coat to mask the area. Accidental stains on nubuck, suede and other dyed leather normally do not respond well to treatment.

Cuts – A clean cut is normally easy to repair. Cuts at the seam or are not linear are somewhat more difficult. Repair requires a patch behind the cut, some filling of the imperfection and some coloring to match.

Burns – Cigarette or match burns, matches and other small damaged areas typically require a patch which is borrowed from an unseen area of the furniture and transplanted to the damaged area. This is very similar to repairs done for burns on linoleum flooring.

Flea and tick remover – Unfortunately, this is also great for business! One of the chemicals contained in the popular flea and tick remover products is also a wonderful stripper. When you rub that product on your dog and it decides to nap on your sofa or chair, it WILL remove the pigmented finish on your leather. The fix for this is a costly refinishing of that damaged quadrant. A little tip: manufacturers avoid putting this warning on their products. If you call them and complain, they may offer to pay for the damages to your furniture.

Do it yourself repair kit – There are cheap products sold which suggest that you can repair your damaged leather goods yourself.  Don’t fall for this or you will probably then have to call me because the problem has been made worse and the cost of real repair may be doubled.

Faded colors – People are astonished that we can refinish or recolor leather sofas, chairs, ottomans, and other pieces. This process is very similar to refinishing wood pieces. We strip, sand and repair, spray our color coat and then top coat the furniture.

For more information contact:

 Master Craftsmen Services, Inc.
            Ed Mayorga  
            97 Heathcliff Rd.
            Wilmington, NC 28409
            (910) 793-5945