Leather & Vinyl Repair Kit: "Does It Work?"

Accidents happen. But when they happen to leather furniture, or the seats in your car it's not good news. And short of getting the seats "matched and patched" or completely re-covered, you really don't have many options. You've probably seen the "Leather and Vinyl Repair Kit" on TV... fixing holes, rips and gouges. We put it to the test in this week's "Does It Work?" report. We found an old vinyl chair in an upstairs office of KLTV. The rip measures about an inch and a half. And with constant use, it's not getting any smaller. It looked like a perfect project for the repair kit. On the box is pictured a green leather chair with a nasty rip. Right next to that picture is a photo of the same chair repaired without a trace of damage. It this thing lives up to that, it's a miracle worker. First we're instructed to clean the area with a non-soapy cleaner. As always in these reports, we follow instructions to the "T". The kit comes with some backing fabric. This is what will stick under the hole so the patching kit will have something to hold on to. We cut the backing fabric to a size slightly larger than the hole and stuck it inside, just under the vinyl. The kit comes with something called "clear, air dry adhesive"--- looked like glue to us, but the instructions say to apply the adhesive carefully to hold the backing fabric in place. We did it and took a break to let it dry. There are 7 different colors of repair compound included in the kit. The instructions offer mixing tips to help match the color of the leather or vinyl you are repairing. For this test, we just need plain old black. We started applying the "repair compound" into and around the damaged spot, blending it with the natural surface. So far so good. The kit comes with "grain papers" that are supposed to help you duplicate the surface of the orginal leather or vinyl in your repair job. We found, one of the papers in particular was a pretty good match for this grain. We placed it on top of the job drew an "x" on the back side to mark the center of the reapair and moved on to the next step. Then we grabbed the little gadget called the "heat transfer tool"--basically a wooden dowel with a flat piece of metal at the end. The idea is to hold the metal against an iron for about 4 minutes to get it nice and hot. Then for the next 50 seconds move the hot tip in a circular motion over the grain paper to cure the repair compound. 50 seconds passed---so we peeled back the paper to see what we had done--nothing but a sticky black mess. We tried the little heating element a few more times then took the option in the instructions and used the iron itself before we checked it again. Still wet. And where it is dry, the edges along the tear are starting to show again. No big deal. The instructions say you may need a few more applications. So for a second, third, and fourth time we apply more repair compound. We used the iron again. Made sure it was nice and dry---and when we were done you could still clearly see the tear in the vinyl. It definitely bonded the rip in place, so it won't get any larger.  But is it at all reminiscent of the amazing before and after pictures on the box? I don't think so. Does it work? It didn't work well for us. The Leather and Vinyl Repair Kit get's a "no".