How to restore old embossed leather chairs

Antique chair leather is often very brittle, dry and sensitive. The degree of damage dictates how well the leather can be restored. Only very well-preserved leather can handle the restoration procedures. In most cases, the leather can however, be made beautiful again, but they are usually unsuitable for daily use. Avoid using these items extensively following restoration work, as otherwise the leather can be damaged very quickly.


  1. In case of heavy soiling, first remove the coarse dust or dirt with the COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Brush. Residual soiling should be removed with a slightly moist cloth with some COLOURLOCK Aniline Cleaner. Careful: Do not wet the leather excessively! This can damage old leather!
  2. After cleaning, the leather must be wiped slightly with a mixture of 50% vinegar essence (25% solution) and 50% water. This alters the pH value and makes old leather more resistant.
  3. If upholstery work is required or if the leather needs to be stabilized by gluing from the underside, any ornamental nails must be lifted out to avoid damage. Please note the following: When the heads are lifted, the opposite side of the nail head presses into the leather and often damages it. This damage should be avoided as much as possible. In addition, ornamental nails can also break (head comes off). It is therefore prudent to check whether you need to source the same ornamental nails or have them replaced entirely (size, colour, shape).
  4. Hardened and brittle leather must be treated with COLOURLOCK Licker Oil. Apply a mixture of 20% Licker Oil and 80% warm water. Allow to retract and repeat several times. Two to three treatments are sufficient.
  5. After the Licker Oil treatment, degrease the repaired surface with COLOURLOCK Degreaser.


As such leather is often brittle or leather parts are missing, extensive repairs may be required.

CRACKS AND RIPS: To repair cracks, degrease using COLOURLOCK Degreaser and prepare the repaired areas with COLOURLOCK Primer. Apply the primer with a sponge. The primer improves adhesion. After drying the primer (primed surfaces remain sticky after drying), fill the cracks with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather. Large cracks or tears must be glued on the underside with thin leather or a flexible but resistant fabric with COLOURLOCK Leather Glue. This reinforces the damaged area and stabilises the leather.

HOLES: Holes must be filled by placing a matching piece of leather to cover up any missing leather (usually vegetable tanned leather). Cut a piece of vegetable tanned leather to fit into the hole. Use a thin resistant cloth and glue it to the back. Ensure you also glue the repair patch from above and fill the contours with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather. Vegetable tanned uncoloured leather is usually too light and it is effective to adjust the colour prior to repairing with COLOURLOCK Antique Finish.

BRITTLE SURFACES: In case of larger brittle surfaces use COLOURLOCK Neutral Binder. Neutral Binder is a strong binder which stabilizes scaly, brittle leather and makes it more resistant. Apply the Neutral Binder after priming with a sponge and allow to dry on its own. Repeat this process several times. Once dry, the Neutral Binder can be sanded using the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad to achieve a smooth surface.

For areas where filling is required, Fluid Leather is first choice. The Neutral Binder is to be used for surface damages. The Fluid Leather cannot be sanded and is too tight for a surface application.

Colour refreshment and care

  1. After the repairs adjust the surface colour using COLOURLOCK Antique Finish. The Antique Finish is applied with a sponge after priming. For very rough surfaces, smooth the surface with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad before applying the Primer. The Antique Finish gives the colour the necessary shine, and provides the surface with an increased gloss effect.
  2. Finally, apply COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver. This treatment should be repeated approximately every 6 months for preservation.

Required quantities for roughly 3 to 6 chairs

  • COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Brush - 1 unit
  • COLOURLOCK Aniline Cleaner - 50 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Licker Oil - 250 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Degreaser - 250 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Primer - 250 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather transparent - 1 tube 20 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Neutral Binder - 250 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Leather Glue - 1 tube 20 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Backlining Cloth - about 15 x 25 cm
  • COLOURLOCK Antique Finish dark brown - 250 ml
  • COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad - 1 unit
  • COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver - 1 tin 125 ml

Recommended products

Leather Cleaning Brush normal
The Leather Cleaning Brush is ideal for:  Using with the Mild or Strong Leather Cleaner to remove ingrained dirt Using with the COLOURLOCK Cleaner for Artificial Leather to remove ingrained dirt from vinyl or plastics Brushing up nubuck and suede Polishing shoes and boots with COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver Amount: 1 piece. One brush is usually sufficient for cleaning a car interior or a set of furniture multiple times.With its durable bristles and high-quality wooden handle, the Colourlock Leather Cleaning Brush is great for removing dirt and stains effectively and gently from leather car seats, sofas, chairs, clothing and handbags. It can also be used to clean Alcantara and other Textile materials as long as it is used gently.
Brush Size

Leather Sanding Pad
The Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for:  Smoothing rough areas before applying COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh or COLOURLOCK Liquid Leather. Cleaning greasy areas on nubuck and suede. Careful sanding during professional colouring in the workshop. Amount: Pack of 5 Application Rub the leather gently with the pad in a circular motion. Avoid gouging and deep scratches. Both faces of the pad can be used. It can be washed out with water.  Before colouring nappa leather, the surfaces should be sanded carefully. Our Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for this step.

Variants from US$5.99*
Elephant Leather Preserver 125 ml
Ideal for the care of leather which is exposed to the weather, or for conserving extremely dry or antique leather.Designed for treating genuine "Pull Up" furniture leather (oiled leather). Do not use on Bycast or polyurethane-coated (PU) leather.ApplicationAlways test any products first on a hidden area in case they affect the colour.Rub some preserver onto a clean, soft piece of cloth and apply to the leather. If required, use the cloth to give a final polish. The fat is difficult to use when it’s cold, so be sure to work at room temperature or warm it slightly with a hair dryer.COLOURLOCK Elephant Leather Preserver protects and waterproofs all types of nappa leather.

Degreaser is used in various situations for degreasing. The degreaser is a solvent-free product, yet powerful and gentle to the surface. It does not dissolve the color and is therefore excellent for degreasing all types of leather. Areas of application: for degreasing smooth leather and removing care product residues before repair for the professional and end user. for degreasing grease spots in the headrest and armrest areas of furniture, steering wheels, handles and gear knobs on vehicles, handles on handbags and suitcases, etc.for cleaning/degreasing of "spackled" rough leathers in the furniture tradefor degreasing greasy collars on jackets before washing with leather detergentfor degreasing greasy areas before professional dyeing in the workshop   Amounts of COLOURLOCK Degreaser: 30 ml is enough for steering wheels or handbag handles. 150 ml is sufficient for a furniture set or car interior. 250 ml and 1 liter for more extensive degreasing work or for several objects. APPLICATION Always test all products first on a concealed area for changes! Although COLOURLOCK Degreaser does not dissolve colors, it may cause a lightening of colors in open-pored leathers or if too much was used on smooth leather. Therefore, pre-testing is always advisable. Dampen a clean, soft cloth with the degreaser and go over the greasy areas. Plain smooth leathers can be degreased thoroughly after a test. For open-pored leather (suede, aniline leather, etc.), only briefly dart over the leather with the cloth in order to avoid edging and stains caused by the cleaning attempt. Allow the leather to dry between all treatments. Do not blow dry. Not all grease spots can be removed completely. Areas of contact with skin or hair and areas greased over long periods of time are particularly difficult. In some cases, grease remover spray might help. For large areas, deeply absorbed oils, or heavy greasing, seek professional advice. After cleaning with the COLOURLOCK Degreaser, re-condition and protect the leather with a care product suitable for the type of leather.

Variants from US$9.45*
Fills cracks and holes
Fluid Leather
Fluid Leather is only recommended for damage where a filling is necessary. For scratches and general wear-and-tear on the colour surface we recommend smoothing the surface with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad and refreshing the colour with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh. The surface of COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather is smooth and shiny after drying. To hide the repair, apply COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh in the respective colour to the area. This covers the gloss of the COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather. Lightly dab the COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh several times with a sponge on the repair and dry with a hair dryer between layers until the desired covering is achieved. Degrease the repair area with COLOURLOCK Degreaser in order to remove care product residue. Before starting any repairs with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather, smooth rough areas and scratches with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad  For hardened leathers, use COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather before any treatment with COLOURLOCK Old Leather Softener. This oily treatment would reduce the adhesion of the COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather. PROCEDURE Fill the damaged areas with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather and spread evenly with a spatula. Leave to dry for 1-2 hours, depending on the amount used. Repeat the procedure until the repaired area is as full and smooth as possible. COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather cannot be sanded dry. This would damage the repair.We recommend using the COLOURLOCK GLD Solvent ND Pen to smooth the repair. The GLD Solvent slightly dissolves the surface of the COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather and provides a smoother finish.Open the lid of the COLOURLOCK GLD Solvent ND Pen and press down the felt tip several times until it is moistened. If the felt tip gets too moist, remove the excess quantity by cleaning it with a cloth. Smooth the repair area carefully with the moistened felt tip. When the repair area is wet with GLD, an additional treatment with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad can be done to smooth the repair area. Always work with a small amount of GLD to prevent the repair area from becoming too dissolved. Using GLD, a repair can be adjusted to achieve the best possible result.Professionals can repair the graining on a work area using a Repair Grain. Usually, old leathers are smooth and do not need a new graining.The tip of the GLD Solvent ND Pen can be removed and reversed when worn. Especially when working on a new colour, it is necessary to change or turn the felt tip upside down.Finally, repairs with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather must be recoloured with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh to balance differences in colour and gloss. In order to cover the COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather sufficiently, the COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh should be dabbed onto the area several times and dried between the layers with a hair dryer. After 24 hours treat the leather with Leather Protector.  A HOLE WITH MISSING LEATHER Holes should be reinforced before repairing by gluing a thin piece of cloth underneath the hole with COLOURLOCK Leather Glue. Cut out a small piece of the original leather from a hidden area and adjust its shape according to the hole. Use the COLOURLOCK Leather Glue to glue it onto the piece of cloth and the edges of the hole. Close the visible rims with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather. Leathers with big tears must first be examined in order to decide whether it would be better to replace the weak leather. Especially long tears in old and rough leathers, or in areas of high use, are often irreparable or not durable enough after a repair. We recommend the repair of tears only on stable leathers and only if the tear is no larger than a few centimetres.Procedure: Minor tears which are not under tension should be provisionally glued with COLOURLOCK Leather Glue from edge to edge. Then close the tear with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather, as explained.Tears under high tension should be backed by thin cloth. In the case of very large tears and/or very rough leathers, it is advisable to sew the leather with a thin but strong thread. Place a seam every 3-4 centimetres with the starting knot on the leather's reverse. Cover the thread with COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather.If the leather is not too rough, drill a small hole to the right and the left of the tear (approximately 2-3 millimetres) and sew with a round needle. Lay the knot underneath and pull the tear together. Tears in areas of frequent use should always be replaced by new leather when they are too large; the same is true for weak or hardened leathers. In cases like these, it is more advisable to replace the leather.
Available Sizes

Neutral Binder for Repairing Cracked Dry and Scaly Leather
Neutral Binder is a strong binder which stabilises the surface of the leather without making it too stiff. It is used for damages to the leather surface where it has become brittle and needs smoothing down prior to repair.Amount: 250 ml bottle, 1 litreSome old pigmented, smooth leathers get brittle surfaces which cannot be repaired with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh and COLOURLOCK Fluid Leather alone. Leather Fresh is perfect on scratches, rubbed off colour and slight fading, whereas Liquid Leather is optimal for filling deeper cracks and rips. It is however not suitable if an entire surface needs to be repaired.To find out whether the damage affects just the colour or the leather, simply brush your hand over the area. If you feel resistance in one direction, that means that the leather is damaged. In which case you will need COLOURLOCK Neutral Binder.Application areas: Car Leather, Furniture LeatherFor: Pigmented leather, PU leather, Semi-aniline leatherFirst remove any grease from the repair area with COLOURLOCK Degreaser. Don’t use Mild or Strong Leather Cleaner in damaged areas! The damaged area would only soak the liquid and the leather will get stiffer. The regular cleaning products are only recommended for undamaged surfaces.After degreasing, apply Neutral Binder with a sponge in the direction of the fibre structure and allow to dry naturally between applications (do not use a hairdryer). If necessary, repeat the process and smooth rough areas with the COLOURLOCK Sanding Pad. Neutral Binder is a strong binder which stabilises the surface of the leather without making it too stiff. Rougher areas can also be processed with a brush. Deeper cracks and rips can be filled with Liquid Leather. Finally, smooth down rough areas with the Sanding Pad.Recolour the repaired area with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh. Use a hairdryer to dry after each application.To preserve the repair, apply COLOURLOCK Leather Protector. It contains antioxidants which reduce the disintegration of the leather. Its UV filters protect the surfaces of old leather from fading. In addition, the leather regains its smooth surface.Please note: There is a limit to recovering with Neutral Binder. It will only stabilise the leather for a little longer but the leather will never be as good as new.
Available Sizes

Backlining Cloth to stabilise leather glue repairs
Those larger rips and holes in leather which are still repairable must be stabilised by backlining them with cloth. Material: cloth, approx. 15 x 25 cm / 6 x 10 inchesApplication areas: Car Leather, Furniture Leather, Leather ClothingFor: Artificial leather, Aniline leather, Pigmented leather, PU leather, Pull Up leather, Semi-aniline leather, Suede and nubuck leatherCut the cloth into the required shape, slightly bigger than the hole on the leather and mark the centre with a felt tip pen or a small sticker. The marking helps you to recognize the centre and ensure consistent overlapping. Fix the centre with a needle and spread the edges evenly under the leather with a spatula. Then stick with glue.PLEASE NOTE: Damages which have a hole or leather missing will need to be filled with COLOURLOCK Liquid Leather and coloured using COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh dye available in 30ml and 150ml.Amount: 1 piece, approx. 15 x 25 cm / 6 x 10 inches

Licker Oil
COLOURLOCK Licker Oil is used to make dried and hardened old leather softer before it is professionally colored. Licker Oil is water-soluble and makes coloring easier. Application: First make all the necessary repairs with Filler or Liquid Leather. Then mix 20% Licker Oil with 80% warm water. Wipe the leather with the mixture and let the product sink into the surface. The mixture can be applied with a sponge or a cloth, or it can also be sprayed on very porous leathers on the backside of leather. Repeat if necessary. Wait at least a day before next treatment.Leathers which are to be colored after the treatment with Licker Oil should always be degreased with Degreaser before the coloration. Wait at least a day between the treatment with Licker Oil and coloration to give the oil time to sink into the fibres. The leather can not be made as soft as new, but it will be greatly improved, and the risk of breaking will be strongly reduced.
Available Sizes

Variants from US$30.57*