The pale color of it (called "Light Oil") has been very trendy in the past few years and usually is natural undyed leather. This bridle, however, had been coated with a paint-like finish of this pale color.
Light oil tack can look very pretty on the right color horse, but my Imp is a dark bay and I felt the contrast of a pale bridle would make his head look funny. Also, my saddle is a dark oil (dark brown) and so they wouldn't match. Finally, the pretty silver accents were not very noticeable against the light leather.
Is this starting to sound like a project? Because, yep -- that's what I was thinking, too! And so I bought a bottle of leather dye at the tack shop.
|I bought "Dark Brown", but this picture shows the black kind.|
I asked them what sort of prep work I would have to do before using the dye, and the girl said that their tack repair guy uses acetone to remove previous finishes. "You mean like nail polish remover?" I asked.
Yep! Cheap nail polish remover. Some of the fancier brands are non-acetone, because acetone is stinky and extremely flammable, but the store brand I keep around for removing labels and paint and other small jobs was full of acetone and perfect. After scrubbing away about two inches of the finish, which took about half an hour, numbed my fingers, and made everyone a little dizzy with the fumes, I decided to see what kind of result I would get from just putting the dye on without taking the old finish off first.
You know, it worked pretty darn well. I had to use a few more coats than I probably would have had to if I'd taken the finish off first, but it saved hours of time and looks just fine. More than likely, I'll have to touch up now and then, but I have half a bottle of the dye left so that's not a problem.
Here's the after picture. I think the silver really pops now, and the dark color will look terrific on Imp. I'll try to remember to get a picture of him in it to share here.