Repairing Leather Jackets and Bags

Articles on repairing problems with your leather jacket or bag.

Is your leather furnture, jacket or bag worth fixing? PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 14:26

Chris here: I'm happy to post this helpful article from Cory Bernatt a 28 year vet of the leather industry.  I appreciate the honest, easy-going way he helps you decide if you ought to fix your leather or replace it. Find his contact information by clicking here if you live in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area.


"Sometimes things are just not worth fixing. On the other hand, often people will go to great lengths to bring a treasured item back to life"

Although we are known for fixing your favorite leather items in many cases you will find it difficult to spend the money necessary to bring your leather back to the state you would like.

The combination of expensive materials and our labour fee sometimes make it hard for you to repair your leather items.

We want you to understand this Because sometime we may offer you alternatives that will basically be "damage control " in order to achieve a workable solution that is economically sound and will get the job done.

In some cases this is all that is justifiable and our staff may advise you that it is better if you are to replace the item rather than have us perform the repair operation.

Conversely we are commonly asked if an item is "worth repairing". My answer to this question is: That it is not my position to justify the expense and that you the customer will have to crunch the numbers in order to make an informed decision. I suggest that you look to see what a comparable item would cost in today's marketplace so you will have a replacement value to work with.

I can also tell you that half of the repairs and restorations I do, if I were the one to make the decision for you would be, not to fix an item.

That's the funny thing about what we do, people become very attached with their leather. They have purchased an item in a far off land or their spouse gave it to them as a present when they were first dating etc.

The stories go on and on and I have heard many of them.

The bottom line is that we are here to help you restore your precious belongings that you just can't part with. Or just get your leather back on the road for one more year.

Value vs. sentiment, who will win this battle, this can be a very difficult decision. I have seen many a couple standing before me, struggle with this very question.

I always suggest that the customer should never be hasty when deciding if an item is worth fixing, but rather take some time to determine if they can justify the repair.

Either way we will continue to do the best leather repairs this city has to offer.

Cory Bernatt

The Guy

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 February 2010 14:34
Restoring color to your faded or worn black leather jacket or bag. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Thursday, 19 November 2009 16:25

Recently I recieved this twitter question:

@leatherhelpguy Any suggestions for renewing and protecting black leather coat? Color is fading some on the sleeves from wear.


        This is certainly a common wear problem on black leather jackets and bags. It usually occurs on the edges of seams, pockets, sleeves and shoulders.  The wear of the color coat reveals the off-white or grey color under the black.  If you get to the wear when it is minimal, it can usually be reversed and the area protected from future damage.  Though I have seen household suggestions like using shoe polish or black magic marker, I do not suggest these methods. I do have a solution that is easy and inexpensive.  Here are the basic steps in reversing this problem:

Supplies for repair: soft white cloth, hair dryer, rubbing alcohol, black leather color coating, rub-coat additive. You can find the products we recommend here Advanced Leather Solutions Professional Products.  They will cost you about $25 dollars.

Steps to the solution:

  1. Clean the effected areas with some rubbing alcohol applied to a soft cloth.
  2. Place a small ammount of the black leather color- rub onto a soft cloth and rub it into the worn areas on the leather in a circular motion.  Don't place a thick layer of the color on the areas.  Your first layer will not completely cover the wear but will create a good, thin base layer of color.
  3. Dry the areas with a hair dryer.
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 with thin layers until worn areas are returned to black.
  5. After color is totally dry, buff with a soft, dry cloth

A good black leather color rub will contain color and protective topcoat chemicals to help the new color to withstand wear and tear and the elements.  Hope these steps help you find a professional, inexpensive solution to this problem so you can enjoy the beauty of your leather jacket or bag for years to come.

If you would rather hire a professional to repair the damages you can contact me here for a free estimate to repair your leather jacket.  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 March 2010 09:21
Repairing surface scratches in your bi-cast leather PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Monday, 16 November 2009 11:44

             Jacket have surface scratches?  Did your purse rub against the doorway when you entered a room and get light colored scratches?  Did your dog or cat lightly scratch your jacket or bag?  Did you just run your fingernails over the leather and it caused light colored scratches.  You may be able to repair the scratches yourself without even buying any special tools.  Here are instructions for a simple do-it-yourself repair technique for removing scratches from your bicast leather.

1. Be sure that you have bi-cast leather.  Bi-cast leather is a common type of leather that many people have bought over the past 3-5 years.  It is usually shiny, a dark color with lighter "distressed" areas at the edges, seams and in higher use areas.  If you were to place a drop of water on this material it would bead up and easily roll off of the surface. There have been many lower price-point bags and shoes made of bi-cast leather.

2. Here is a section of bi-cast leather with surface scratches.


3. Because bi-cast leather is an embossed combination of leather and polyurethane, surface scratches often only effect the top polyurethane layer of the material.  In fact, the light appearance is the scratching of the polyurethane.  So embossing, or heating up the polyurethane can often remove the scratching.

4. Start with a hairdryer on high heat and wave it over the scratches.  This may darken the scratches.  On the other hand, it may not be enough heat to remove the scratches.

5. If the hairdryer doesn't work you may need to use a heat-gun. WARNING:  Leather must not be overheated because it will shrivel and burn with prolonged direct heat.  So, if you use a heat gun hold it 6" from the leather and wave it back and forth over the scratched area.  As the polyurethane heats it will melt and darken back into the leather.

6. Finally, rub over the area briskly with a soft dry cloth to even out the sheen. You should be able to produce a result like this one:



        That's all there is to it.  Many of you can use this technique to remove surface scratches in your bi-cast leather.  If the leather is torn, deeply scratched or badly discolored you may need to hire a pro.   But you can do the minor scratches yourself.  If you use this technique, take  before/after digital pix and send them to us to show off your handy work. Send them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 12:23
Bi-cast leather scratch repairs. Do-it-yourself or hire a pro? You decide. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Chris Repp   
Monday, 16 November 2009 11:00

          I've said in other articles that I am not opposed to sharing do-it-yourself options with my customers.  Some repairmen may not want to do it because they feel it takes work away from them.  I have found that if I give my potential customers every alternative for repairing their leather, sometimes they take the do-it-yourself option but more often they appreciate my sharing free information with them and are more likely to use my services.  If not for the do-it-yourself project then for something else that is a more difficult leather problem where hiring a pro makes sense. 

          All that to say, repairing bi-cast leather is one of those situations where sometimes a do-it-yourself suggestion will work fine, other times a pro makes sense.  If you have a puncture hole, tear or large discoloration, do-it-yourself may not be an option for bi-cast leather, but if you know you have bi-cast leather and it is scratched on the surface you may be able to fix-it-yourself.  For example, I was just out at a customers home in Bethesda, Maryland to repair delivery scratches in the side of her bi-cast leather sectional. I will show you the scratches before repair.   Then, I will show you the scratches after at do-it-yourself level repair.  Finally, I will show you the scratches after I added some professional techniques to complete the repairs.  

Here is a picture of the scratches before repair:



           Below is a picture of the repairs at a do-it-yourself level.  I say do-it-yourself level because for the 1st part of this repair I used tools and skills that can be easily acquired by a moderately handy person who lives within 20 miles of a hardware store.  Click here for the techniques i used that you can also use for a do-it-yourself level repair of bi-cast leather.  As you can see the scratches are mostly gone. Because I was in the home, I could see the scratch still from a side view and wanted to add some further repairs.  But this is what you could expect with a little practice, using the basic bi-cast scratch repair techniques.



Finally, here is the completed professional repair picture.  I simply added some sanding, color refinishing and leather hi-gloss topcoat to get a more "perfect" repair.



       So it's up to you.  If you want a more perfect repair and don't have the time or inclination to repair your scratched bi-cast leather, hire a good pro.  On the other hand, if you want to give it a try and are happy with the results, go for it.  


Last Updated on Monday, 16 November 2009 12:23

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