Rub off leather - Rub off finish

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What is rub off leather - rub off finish?

Rub off leather or antique leather is usually dyed in a brighter colour by hand or machine, and a darker colour is swabbed over it, which produces its characteristic two-tone. These leathers are also called antique finish leather. The lighter colour at the bottom shines through the applied darker colour and gives the leather a characteristic patina.

The effect of the antique look can be controlled through the thickness of the darker shade on the lighter shade. The more the patina is applied, the darker is the overall look. The more irregularly it is applied, the more vivid is the look. The patina colour can be sprayed, dotted or wiped. Spraying the colour creates the most uniform appearance. An already applied colour can be changed by rubbing it off with solvents or by sanding down with and without solvents. The different application techniques and the art of distributing the colours give the dyer the ability to create a large variety of looks.




Without patina - slightly darkened - heavily patinated.



In this chair the darker patina colour was wiped on after upholstery work.


In the past, a Leather dealer used to sell leather which already had a dark colour over a lighter one. The leather was then used to upholster furniture and once on the furniture, it was partially wiped with the solvent to reveal the lighter colour underneath. This then created the patina.



Wiped with solvent to crate the desired patina by removing the lighter, upper leather colour.


Video about the production of Chesterfield furniture with final patination using a solvent wiping technique.


Typical rub off leather looks

Depending on the intensity and thickness of the darker patina colour on the lighter background, it will give a different antique effect to the leather.

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Close up of the patina effect in rub off leathers.


Individual productions made in the leather workshop. Most antique leather nowadays is industrially manufactured.

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Genuine hand-patinated leather from the leather workshop.


Car leather with antique effects



Car leathers with an antique effect are rare. Here is a Mercedes with a faded antique effect still visible in the hidden area.


Chesterfield furniture


Chesterfield furniture is known for its classic and elegant style. It is characterized by several distinctive features:

  • Button Tufting: Chesterfield furniture is typically adorned with deep button tufting. This means that the upholstery is adorned with buttons that are pressed into the leather or fabric at regular intervals. This button tufting creates a padded surface with a distinctive diamond pattern.
  • Rolled Arms: Chesterfield sofas and armchairs often feature rolled arms that curve outward. These rolled arms add an elegant and traditional look to the furniture.
  • Decorative Nails: Chesterfield furniture often has decorative nails along the rolled arms. These nails are another characteristic feature that gives the piece an elegant and rustic character. They are placed along the armrests and serve both a decorative purpose and to hold the upholstery in place.
  • High-Quality Materials: Chesterfield furniture is typically made from high-quality materials, such as genuine leather. The leather often has a hand-rubbed antique look.
  • Sturdy Construction: Chesterfield furniture is known for its durable construction. It is often built with solid wood frames and high-quality spring cores to ensure stability and comfort.

Chesterfield furniture is often more expensive than other types of furniture because it is handcrafted and uses high-quality materials. It is an investment in quality. There are also cheaper imitations available that do not meet the quality standards of authentic Chesterfields.


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Current Chesterfield furniture.



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Create a refined ambience: Chesterfield furniture.


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Old Chesterfield furniture with different patina.


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Typical for Chesterfield leather furniture: the rows of decorative nails.


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Chesterfield at McDonald's, Airport Mallorca.


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Cheap Chesterfield furniture with 5 seats for 1,200 € made of imitation leather in the outsides and PU split leather for seat and arm rests (02-2012).


Chesterfield-style in the car

The first closed motorised vehicles had benches upholstered in the Chesterfield style. The rich owners wanted to feel as if they were sitting in a comfortable room in front of a fireplace.


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Car seats in the Chesterfield look.


Additional information

Colourlock-02.jpg -> COLOURLOCK - Help and instructions for the restoration of old leather