Things have been a bit quiet here lately, mainly due to a new job but also a dose of shingles left we with no energy for anything.
I’m on the mend and have finally got around to dyeing the samples for the paint tests. I’d prepared the dye about the first week in January, by pouring about 125ml of cider vinegar in a container and then adding enough 0000 steel wool to just be covered by the liquid. I agitated it every couple of days and two weeks later when the steel wool had dissolved, added as much again. It has sat that way for the past three weeks and now is a grimy brown liquid with residual grit sitting at the bottom.
I’d done some reading and everyone seemed to complain that the best one could expect from this sort of dye was a darkish grey that would darken on application of tallow or wax, so I was prepared for patchy results. I did a single dip for each of three pieces of the same harness butt I use for my blackjacks and leather bottels. As I lifted each one out, it was a pale grey that darkened almost immediately to a deep grey, deepening within minutes to an even, deep black. So black, I had to label the samples so I could tell them from the samples done with modern spirit dye.
Just in case it was a particularly high-tannin leather, I also tried samples of carving leather, newly tanned calf leather and a piece of heat-sealed goat skin. All but the goat are jet black, it has gone a pleasant pale silver.
So what have I done differently, or what did I do right? Did ignoring the mix for three weeks contribute to this success?