Many of us on FPN literally drool over Steve's (Stevlight) Gfeller cover. IMO it has one of the nicest patinas and well worn looks that I have ever seen on a journal cover. The question I had was how did he get that "look".
Steve was so kind and patient in sharing his technique with me and so I thought I would purchase a Gfeller Moleskine cover and then try to speed up the process several years by using his process and some elbow grease. At least I thought I could give the cover a good start toward its own "look" and then let time and usage take over.
1 Gfeller Moleskine cover in your choice of style and size.
1 bottle of Kiwi Scuff Magic in black. (Heretofore referred to as SM). (Walmart or Target has it).
1 very rough rag with a canvas like texture. I used a rough dish rag.
1 can of Kiwi brown shoe polish in brown.
1 terrycloth towel use for buffing the polish. Paper towels will also work for buffing but you need something that will absorb the extra polish.
1 stiff bristle brush used for taking the shine off the layers of SM.
1 soft bristle brush used for the final matte finish.
Step One: Get a Gfeller Moleskine Cover.
This is the one I purchased. NC.LNH Notebook Cover, Natural English Kip leather, For Moleskine© 5" x 8-1/4" Notebook w/ Hard Cover.
Here is what they start out looking like.
And this is the look I am trying to get a start on.
Be courageous! These are made out of great leather and the Kip is very forgiving. The worst you will do is come out with a well made Moleskine cover that will age beyond any mistakes you make.
I took Kiwi brown solid shoe polish, the kind that come in the tin, and gave it one good coat. The Kip leather will soak up the polish quickly so I would cover an area of the cover fully an then buff it off with a towel and the overlap my last area so that the whole finish would be uniform. It's the same process used when staining unfinished wood. I did an area about 3 inches wide that went from the bottom to the top of the cover and then buffed. The next application overlapping the first by about an inch and then buff quickly and vigorously allowing the buffing rag to blend the two areas.
Do the inside of the cover first and should you not like the results it will be on the inside. It's a good way to practice your technique.
I might mention here that Steve did not do this, but actually went right over the natural Kip finish with the Scuff Magic black and it looks fantastic, but I wanted a darker finish to show through when the SM scuffed off so I did the this extra step with the Kiwi brown.
The variations in color are the result of the leather's grain. This is normal and desired.
This is the color I wanted to come through after the SM wears off. If you prefer the lighter natural color, then skip this step.
After letting it dry over night I began to layer on the Kiwi Scuff Magic black. This is a liquid so it took me about five coats to get it to the thickness I wanted. SM is a paraffin based product that is designed to fill in scuffs on the surface of leather so it is ideal for caking on layers and then coming off with age and usage.
After the first coat:
And after the 5th coat. Let it dry between coats. It does dry quickly, but if you don't let it dry, you will simply melt the last coat and probably remove more of it than you put on it.
After it dries, use the soft brush to blend the finish and remove a little of the unevenness and gloss.
Step Five, Six, Seven, and Beyond!
Take the canvas / rough rag and begin to take off the SM around the edges and corners until you see the amount of color you want.
It does take some elbow grease, but will come off. Keep rubbing.
Here I would take the rag and wrap it around my index finger in order to concentrate the force in one area. I would then rub one area taking off the SM and then crisscross and randomize the rubbing.
And more rubbing.
I started to leave SM behind on key areas of the spine and take off more around the areas that I thought would rub off naturally with use.
You can use the stiff brush if preferred. It also helps to blend the edges between the over and under finishes.
Even more rubbing!
Ugly, but coming along. I put a few minor cuts in with a knife and also used my fingernail to scratch it. (It was itching!)
Rub a dub dub....
Don't judge a book by its cover...!
And after some more rubbing and brushing I am going to stop here. I plan on working on the finish more so this is not close to finished yet, but will give those who wanted to try is a good place to start.
Steve's again for comparison. I hope mine will finally get there!
The beauty of this finish, is that you can go back to any step and redo it. Add more SM, take more off, add some Kiwi brown over the whole thing. Whatever you desire.\
Enjoy and don't worry! Have fun!
Edited by Bisquitlips, 08 August 2010 - 19:51.