Do you have any tips on how to revive leather hides that were stored incorrectly?
I recently received some leather hides that were folded over on themselves and now they have creases. Are theses creases permanent? Is there anything I can do to get them out?
– William Duffy of Medford Upholstery in Patchogue, New York.
Thank you for a great question.
It all depends on the leather type.
Leathers with more fat liquors are generally softer and can be stretched more easily. These are normally furniture leathers, both printed and natural grain. You should be able to have the leather stretch out and relax by just hanging it on your horse (see this previous question about storing leather). You can also stretch and flex the leather by hand to try to break apart the distinct pattern left by the fold. You are essentially breaking the fibers of the hide, so it can create a little more texture in the area of a smooth grain hide. If it was back in the tannery, we would put it back into the heated tumbling machines, then heat and stretch the hide once more, but that’s not really an option for you.
Automotive leathers with a smooth nappa grain typically have less flex to them, and therefore the creases can be difficult to remove. The hides are prepped like this intentionally to reduce stretching and bagging over time when in use. Because of the way the hides are prepared, we could not put them into the tumblers or you’d destroy the nappa print.
If you want to try something, you can add a little water to the back side of the hide to re-moisturize in the area of the fold, then heat and stretch the hide by hand. You might have some success.
Generally, fold lines in thicker and stiffer leather are very hard to remove completely.
If you can get away with working your templates between the folds, that’s your best bet.
I hope this info helps. Thanks again.
Aaron Laithwaite is founder and CEO of Hydes Leather. To ask him a question about automotive leather, email email@example.com. Learn more about Hydes Leather at HydesLeather.com. You can also follow them on Instagram and Facebook.