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I have a pair of Alden Calf Boots in Cordovan color. They're a bit too red for me and I've tried to polish them darker with black and brown Kiwi. I've had decent results on the cap and heel but the rest of the boot looks lighter and redder then the rest.

Is is possible / advisable to die a boot darker - I could do this next time I have them resoled. My goal would be to get them closer to black or very dark brown. Do you think there will be any impact to the look/feel or wear of the leather? Has anyone ever done this?

Thanks, Mike147
 

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Leather Dyeing

Leather dyeing works just fine. You will need to strip off all the build up polish with acetone or a deglazer producet a repair shop should sell. Choose your leather dye color, follow the directions on the bottle. After dyeing, apply a leather balm and let dry. Then polish with a cream polish to the desired finished color you are looking for. For maintaining the finish, apply cleaner, conditioner and polish on an as needed basis.
 

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Done it ~ as follows:

Good advice above.

I did it this way:

Acetone
Rag
Outside

Take old towel, dip it in Acetone, gently scrub off polish, don't work a ditch into the leather. Takes about 15 to 30 minutes. Fumes are strong so don't smoke any cigars while doing this.

Let dry.

Apply desired polish and build up to desired shine. This take a while.

If working on combat boots, which last I checked Alden was not producing, you can use fine steel wool to get down to the white leather, and with a few more tricks, this forms the base for a blinding mirror shine.
 

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And when you're all done and the boots like like hell, you can send them in to Alden and have them clean up the mess and make the boots look good again.

Attacking a pair of $75 full-grain Sebagos with acetone and steel wool to get the red out made a lot of sense to me, and I'm happy with how they turned out. But a pair of Alden calf boots? I would never recommend that someone go that route. It is not a professional dye and refinish job. It is a hamfisted DIY method of taming an overly red pair of inexpensive, casual, low-grade leather shoes. It works well enough, but the shoes don't look pristine close-up the way a pair of Alden calves do. Obviously, acetone and steel wool is not the equivalent of a professional dye job.

Unless you got those Aldens on eBay for $25 and you don't care how they look up close, I would advise against taking matters into your own hands. Just send them to Alden and tell them you want them recrafted with a dark brown dye job.
 

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Maybe take a look at Ron Rider's shoe antiquing tutorial for basic how tos. Obviously, you're not looking to antique, but it's a good visual reference for even the basic steps you are planning to do.
https://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=45530

EDIT: Actual tutorial on page 2.

EDIT2: And continued on page.

He strongly recommends Angelus Deglazer instead of acetone.
 

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I know that this sort of thing has its fans, but I have to say, those "antiqued" shoes look terrible to me. The Sebagos I scrape'n'dyed don't look pristine up close, but if they'd wound up looking like those shoes in the SF thread I'd have tossed them and started over with a new pair. Really.
 

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@arkirshner

My comments about stripping the finish from corrected grain would apply equally to full grain leathers. Over the years, we've stripped both types of finish in a tannery setting and one tends to be as dicey a proposition as the other.

As to B. Nelson--sorry, I have no experience with them.
 

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Those who say it is simple enough are right, but if you are entirely new to dying leather, you might not want to start on a pair of Aldens. Find a less expensive pair of shoes whose final color you want to be the same, and try your technique on them. Consider some advice I heard long ago from an old gunsmith, "Don't try this the first time unless you have already done it before."
 
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