How To Repair Cut Leather
This was a fun one....Actually it didn't give me to much of a fit. The leather laid just right, I was able to pull it together quite nicely.
I first cleaned the leather seat thoroughly with my prepping solution, I know I always say this, but I can't stress prepping enough, it is the only way to a top notch job.
Next I inserted an under patch with a pair of needle nosed tweezers. This step is crucial, this is what will hold the gap together. I use a cloth under patch that has a heat sensitive glue applied to one side of it. I cut it just right so that the patch covers the inside of the cut about a 1/4" all the way around. When you put your patch in, put the patch in your tweezers so that the edge of the patch is at the tip of the tweezers and the rest is inside the tweezers, then slide it in, keeping in mind not to stretch the leather and adhesive side towards you. Then smooth it out so there are no wrinkles in the patch. Now I know there is an adhesive on the patch but I use a little leather glue to help a little more too. Spread the glue on the patch and the underside of the leather with a pallet knife or your finger. Pull the cut leather together by holding each end of the cut with you finger and thumb, then pull you fingers away from the cut, this will close the gap, then dry with a hair dryer.
The next step is applying your compound. I use a special compound that I get from my supplier that works really well. It's a low heat compound that is sand-able and grain-able. I love it, but we all have our favorites. I first sand the area with a heavy grit sandpaper to give the compound something to adhere to, and again clean with your prepping solution. I then applied a layer of grip base for the water based leather dye and to give a little more sticky stuff for the compound. Now I start applying the compound. I apply thin layers with my pallet knife making sure the compound is smooth and fills the cut completely, feathering it out with my finger. When heating the compound be careful not to heat it to much, if you do the edges of the leather will curl, then your going to have a harder time hiding the leather repair, so low heat. Press your grain mold into the repair with your palm, not to much pressure or you'll put an indention in the repair area. I put about two thin layers of compound then apply a layer of grip base then a layer of leather dye. I do this to give me an idea of where I'm at in the repair. You need to this for a couple of reasons, one to see if your done or to see if you need to add more compound, and the other is to get color in your compound, basically your sandwiching the leather dye with the compound.
When done your repair should be level, smooth, and blended with rest of the panel. Your color is a major thing when doing a spot repair, make sure it is spot on. Your repair may be level, smooth, and blended but if your color is off, your repair will show. If it's close it won't work......spot on.
Here's the finished product, whew.... this one I was really proud of, you couldn't even tell there was a cut when I was done. Now they don't always mend this nicely. Every vehicle is different in so many ways. Your repairs will differ in many different ways, don't be afraid to experiment a little, different under patches can be used, different compounds can be used to get the effect you need to achieve, and different techniques can be used to get that perfect repair.
If you have any questions with how to repair cut leather, leave me a comment or join my forum.
Talk to ya soon - Mike " TIG"