Monday, April 19, 2010

Print Coat Failure

One of the more common problems we see from our clients is “Print Coat Failure.” Look at the photo below. See how much lighter the tops of the seats are compared to the front face of the sofa, below the seat cushions. While this is a solvable problem, its roots are in how the leather was processed at the tannery.

Here is the content of an e-mail sent from someone who has this problem.

You have what's known as a "Base and Print" coloring strategy used on your leather at the tannery. While this is a common coloring strategy, There are about a dozen manufacturers that buy form tanneries where the coloring system does not hold up to normal use conditions. We've seen this type of color coating failure dozens of times before. The culprit is combination of:

1. Poor wear resistance of the top coat.

2. Poor adhesion of the print color coat.

Both are a function of the tannery that produced this leather.

Definition of terms:

Top coat is a clear coat that is the primary protective coating. It covers all leather surfaces and should provide chemical and wear resistance.

Print coat is the outer color coating in a two color system. The inner color coat is called a base coat.

On your piece, the print coat is the somewhat translucent medium brown color. The base coat is a yellowish color that is now being exposed as the print coat is worn away. The intent of this two color system is to create a mottled coloring affect where the color presented is the interplay of the two colors. This coloring approach is very common but usually much more stable then you've experienced.

In your case normal abrasion of your clothing against the top coat has worn it away. And now the print coat is quickly following suit.

So now you know why this is happening, what's the fix... you prime the leather to receive the color and re-color. In the priming step you'll test for quality of adhesion of the existing color coating. This will determine if any stripping of the existing color is necessary. Go to our website: and learn how we can create a kit for you to solve the problem. It will include everything you'll need for this job, except the stripping agent (denatured alcohol, or acetone). You can get these from a local hardware store paint department.

Call Advanced Leather Solutions to learn more.

Copyright 2010, Kevin Gillan

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