I’ve been using Fiebing’s oil-based dyes for a while now, but wanted to give the USMC Black a try on a belt for myself, and maybe something for my brother who spent some time in the Marines in the future. The process between an oil-based and a spirit-based dye is different, and I didn’t have the best results on my first couple tries back when I first got going so I figured I should research methodology.
The guys over at Springfield put out a video specifically dealing with USMC Black, so I took notes and decided to do some experimentation on a piece of scrap doodling to test out the effectiveness of Fiebing’s Dye Prep and Lexol Leather Conditioner.
Top Left: straight dye on untreated, dry veg tan.
Bottom Left: Fiebing’s Dye-Prep and then dyed.
Top Right: Dye mixed with a few drops of Lexol conditioner on dry leather
Bottom Right: Dye-Prep, then dye with conditioner.
Click the picture to embiggen for better details.
Well, I can say for certain that dry leather and spirit dyes yield an inferior result, so no matter what, get it damp first. I didn’t think to do a test with just water-wet leather rather than the Dye-Prep, so I’m not sure how much of the result is due to the product vs. just being wet.
Adding a few drops of Lexol conditioner after using the Dye-Prep seems to be the best result.