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If you have a Hobby Lobby in your area, they sell the swabs in a small package.  I use them when I have them, but am frequently out of them and resort to rags, paper towels, q-tips, make-up removal pads, or whatever else is handy.  Old cotton t-shirts work well.

 

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That's interesting, Brian.  I checked their site before leaving the house on errands this morning and didn't find any wool swabs.  I'll check tomorrow when I'm back in town.

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23 minutes ago, Chris Christenberry said:

That's interesting, Brian.  I checked their site before leaving the house on errands this morning and didn't find any wool swabs.  I'll check tomorrow when I'm back in town.

They have them with the leather craft goods in my local store.  SKU 328120

https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Leather-Crafting/Tools-Finishes/Wool-Daubers/p/151988

 

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Springfield leather has them in 100 pack bags. But I would use a sponge or paper towel or old tshirt instead. Sponge working best for me. But before you put on the dye apply two coats of neatsfoot oil before hand. Let it dry at least overnight, between coats. Dampen your sponge then wring it out some, dip in dye lightly and start sort of buffing it in. If you have tooling in your work the dye will pretty much kill it. You won’t get much contrast. To get good contrast is, for me, a mixture of things. Mixing various products to achieve the color and contrast I’m going for. Fiebeings dye on raw leather without any preconditioning turns out the same color and splotchy. I have some pics of projects that show these effects. If you want me to post them? I might even remember the recipes I used to get them. 
 

Jon

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  • 4 weeks later...

I buy the swabs in the 100 pack from Tandy, but most of the time I do the Chuck Burrows immersion dye for a single color.  That eliminates the splotchy effect Jon mentions. 

I mostly use the swabs for edge treatment, oil, or Resolene. Someday I will try Garry Keown's wax method that he shows in this video. I have to get the parafin block, and wait for a day when Liz is out of the house though.......unless I set up the old camping stove in the shop.

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I have a large round artists brush to apply the dye to my sheaths and while it is a water based dye and there are often what seems to be the remnants of the brush strokes showing, the hot waxing seems to smooth ou the colour as it darkens the leather. I like the slightly less than monochromatic appearance of the leather with the dye applied this way. I am thinking of getting an air brush to add a little darker edge and fade in round the  outside face before the hot waxing

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6 minutes ago, Garry Keown said:

I am thinking of getting an air brush to add a little darker edge and fade in round the  outside face before the hot waxing

That sounds like it would look really good.

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