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10 sep 2010
How are we different from Upholstery Shops?
Upholstery Shops replace entire pieces of material (cloth/leather) with a new pieces of material. Sometimes if there is factor of aging, wear, or not an exact color match the new piece may stand out from the rest. Some upholstery shops have been able to enhance their business by learning some of our repair techniques to correct the color match.
As leather and vinyl repair technicians, most times we do not replace old fabric with new fabric. We have found a way to provide quality repair work that can save our customers money. It is up to each technician's discretion regarding what methods and products he may choose to use to do a repair; and it is up to the technician's skill level and artistic talent to try to replicate the original texture of the material, make a strong repair, work with the nature of the repair, and choose a good color match for the repair to turn out 'perfect'.
Remember, it is a repair. So unless it is new material and not a repair the terminology 'perfect' can be relative. But even in our years of experience, we have seen some really good repairs we like to call perfect.
Can Seats that have been repaired before be repaired again?
Most technicians prefer not to work over someone else's work. The reason for this is because it will work the technician a lot harder and present some unknown variables that can deter the outcome from what would normally be expected of the repair. For instance, the technician won't know what kind of products may have been used by the previous technician; so right away, the technician will have to decide whether or not he should dig out the old repair product or repair over it. Each situation is different and has to be judged accordingly at the discretion of the technician.
But to answer the question, yes it usually CAN be done. The repair will normally not look as good as it would have if that technician was the first one to have done the repair. Re-working someone's work is never the IDEAL situation, but it can be done. Hopefully, the second technician will be able to achieve creating a much stronger patch that will not break like the first one. At this point sometimes when it comes to fixing someone else's work, it is not about looks as much as it is about stength and functionability. Most technicians however stand behind their work. If their patch breaks, they can be called back to fix it. This would prevent a customer from having to pay 2 different technicians for the same repair. However, it is hard for a technician to guarantee his work if he is requested to fix a repair that a different technician originally repaired. This is because of the unknown variables that are introduced into the equation of what products and methods the original technician and repair may have contained.
What kind of leather repairs can we repair?
All sorts of leather repairs can be repaired from damaged to worn leather. Cat, dog, or other pet scratches, chew marks, or other damage. The key to any leather repair is having the right product for the job. If it is a heavy wear area, it needs to be a strong patch that can withstand the wear. Knowing how to repair these different kinds of repairs comes with experience and trying new products until you find your 'faithful campanion' repair compounds.
Heat Repair or Cold Repair?
What factors should be considered when deciding whether to use a heat repair or a cold repair process? Sometimes the answer is just a matter of preference for the technician. However, sometimes it is about doing what is most logical for the best turn out. For instance, if you are repairing a type of leather or vinyl that will shrink or bloat when heated, you may want to consider using a cold process. in times past, technicians have used a good vinyl or leather repair heat repair compound when they are trying to make a patch that is strong and grains well. But with new products on the market like the NEXUS you can have strength, little dry time, flexibility, and easy graining from a cold process.
How Long Should a Technician Guarantee Their Work?
Often times, this is up to the discretion of the technician. When it comes to handling your business relationships with your customers, sometimes it is better to try to make customer happy the best you can. If after 2 years your repair breaks and the customer feels you should take care of it, it might be to your advantage to just take care of it. After all, the best advertisement is word of mouth. That referral from the mouth of a trusted friend means a lot more to people than any commercial or newspaper ad. Great customer service goes a long way and an important key for repeat business.
Of course, this is a repair. This means that originally we are dealing with something that is broken. So it is really hard to guarantee a repair because of unknown variables like the condition of the leather and nature of the repair. Like previously mentioned, this can be up to the discretion of the technician as to what the technician feels would be best for their business.
Leather repair/dye - Can I Do it Myself?
First thing to remember is that our products are designed for professional use with the experienced technician in mind. However, there are those who feel adventurous enough that want to try to do it themselves. For those ones, we try to do our best to assist you over the phone, providing intruction on how to use the products. Often times, the BEST results comes from years of experience; sometimes though we can get away with 'good enough' to save money. Rest assure, our goal is to provide the best quality products as possible to our customers. We will also try our best to help you along the way with your project. The hardest thing about doing your own leather is getting the right leather dye color. IDEALLY, it would be best if a sample of the leather, perhaps a small piece from under the seat, could be sent to us for color matching purposes. However, for those who can't do that, we have color charts according to make and model of cars. Each color chart is located in the Water base Classic Leather Dye Category by car make, like Toyota, Ford, Lexus, etc.
Once you have your Color selected, these are the typical procedures you would take:
1.) Prep your leather. You need to make sure you get the oils and grime out of the pores. So you will need a product that can open up those pores to get the leather ready to accept the leather repair products and dye. Product recommendations include: Leather Prep, DDT, Silicone Wash, and Sand Away.
2.) Repairs. If you have any repairs that need to be done, depending on the nature of the repair will determine the repair products you will use. Often times, if the repairs are not a complete hole through the leather, for first time users we recommend the FCC product. FCC, also known as Fat Color Cat, can be ordered in the same color selection as your dye. It is designed to cut down how much dye you will have to use to cover the repaired area.
3.) Prime your leather and repaired area. The primer increases adhesion for the leather dye to grab onto the leather and repaired area. Recommended product for this is AMIGO.
4.) Apply your leather dye. Waterbase dyes come in aerosol and premix. You can now purchase your premix with a preval sprayer for easy application. Purchasing your dye as a premix is a better bang for your buck. You get more dye for your money. It doesn't offer the convenience of an aerosol, but you can select to buy your premix with a preval sprayer and this can help offer a similar convenience. Waterbase also is known to be lighter when wet, so you may want to have a hair dryer ready to dry your dye once applied so you can see the final color. Keep in mind, you may want to try your leather dye on a sample somewhere else or on a paper to make sure color is a good match. If you spray a small section on your seat and it isn't right, remove dye with your leather prep product. Also, with Premix dye you can add your Crosslinker. Crosslinker will make your premix even more durable. Premix can also be purchased in matte, satin, and high gloss. Satin is the most popular choice. The satin luster is what comes with the aerosol dye. There are also other additives that experienced technicians add to their premix like Flex Ayd, Flat Ayd, Dulling Agent, Skinny Dip, etc. The recommended Crosslinker is called Forgiven Crosslinker. If you are doing the whole interior of your car, you may need to order a Quart of Premix. If you are just doing one seat, you may only need 4 oz; 2 seats, you may need 8 oz. 4 oz of Forgiven Crosslinker will be enough to do up to a Quart of Premix. Forgiven Crosslinker once combines is active for up to 4 hours; after 4 hours, it becomes dormant and will not ruin your waterbase but also will not be the effective crosslinker you bought it for. So a good rule of thumb is only mix what you need.
5.) Topcoat - if you do not use a Crosslinker, it is strongly advised to use a topcoat. If you do use a crosslinker, it is still idea to use a topcoat but not as crucial as it would be if you did not use a crosslinker. Topcoat choices include the aerosol called Killer Shield - available in Matte, Satin, and High Gloss; and Shields Up for those who are comfortable using their Preval or may have their own detail spraying gun. Shields Up is going to be your money saver because you get more for your money; however it doesn't have the convenience of an aerosol. For a perfect texture, you would want to spray on your topcoat and leather dye, not wipe it onl, because it could dry with smear lines.
Doesn't sound so hard, but keep in mind to be careful of overspray. If you do get overspray, you can use products like Silicone Wash and DDT to remove the overspray. The hardest part can be the repair work. The repair work is where experience comes into play. But if your leather is in good condition, with little to no repairs, it may not be so bad.
Do you have a Leather Dye Kit or Ready-Go Package?
We get this question very often. There are people who are looking for kits or packages already assembled that will give them what they need to restore the color to their leather. As of June 2012, we have added a few new items to our list that will take care of this need.
Here is the link to these ready to go leather dye and repair kits: http://www.docstotalpackage.net/product/K-LEATHER-REPAIR-KIT
It talks about basically 3 different versions of this kit:
1.) Leather Dye Kits
2.) Leather Dye and Repair Kits
3.) Color Change Dye Kits
1.) Leather Dye Kits
Pre-fab kit designed for dying your leather only (no repairs).
This kit comes with these options:
Pre-fab kits designed to dye your leather and repair minor cracks and worn areas of your leather. Repair products are not meant to repair holes or cracks that have penetrated through-and-through the leather. Repairs of the latter may require more extensive repairs products and processes.
These kits are identical to the kits listed above with the addition of the repair product called Leather Bee and the Palette Knife for product application. Leather Bee comes in the same color as the Premix Dye you have selected to purchase for your kit.
3.) Color Change Dye Kits
Pre-fab kits designed to provide the dye you need to perform a color change process in the interior of your car. Dye is assumed to be used on Leather, Plastic, and Vinyl. However, most fabric would be excluded from the Color Change Dye process because of the nature of the waterbase dye. Though the waterbase dye can be used on fabrics like cloth and carpet - it may not provide what you need to get a full and satisfying color change. Color Change Kits include:
Note: All prices in US Dollars