What tal­low does to dyed leath­er

Here is a quick look at the dif­fer­ence apply­ing some tal­low to dyed leath­er can make.

This is a pair of early 16th cen­tury style low shoes I’ve been work­ing on, they’re my first ever right-side-out las­ted and wel­ted shoes so don’t look at them too closely. Neither shoe has fasten­ings yet.

The shoes are both cut from the same hide, and dyed with the same batch of iron-based black dye. The one on the right is fin­ished and has had warm tal­low applied to the leath­er. The one on the left is still wait­ing for it’s out­sole and is the col­or of the dye before applic­a­tion of any oils.

As you can see the tal­lowed shoe has a much shi­ni­er, dark­er and more con­sist­ent fin­ish than the un-tal­lowed shoe. I was expect­ing some change but I was quite sur­prised at the degree of dif­fer­ence between the two.

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