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preserving old leather


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#1 23engineers

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 08:45 AM

I have a WW1 German leather belt. Is there anything that I should put on it to keep it from drying out? I have never done anything to it in the past.

Thanks,
Joe

#2 23engineers

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 09:07 AM

I have a WW1 German leather belt. Is there anything that I should put on it to keep it from drying out? I have never done anything to it in the past.

Thanks,
Joe



Sorry for posting something that has already been addressed. I read older posts and got some ideas on what to do and what not to do.

#3 dropbear68

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 01:49 AM

Sorry for posting something that has already been addressed. I read older posts and got some ideas on what to do and what not to do.

Dont use anything thats based on neatsfoot oil, I find good old bees wax to be the best, your local saddlery should have something you can use, neatsfoot dries leather from the inside out over time and it darkens leather, saddlers and leather men over here in Australia steer away from neatsfoot products.

#4 garandman114

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 08:05 PM

Use Pecard's leather dressing either regular or the antique dressing, I had a Garand sling that was cracking, stiff and dry, and a liberal coating of the pecards made it supple and nice again! Alot of the civil war guys swear by pecards antique leather dressing for preserving original items, and it works like a charm!

#5 23engineers

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 08:27 AM

thanks guys. where is the best place to find Pecard's? Online? Walmart?

#6 mrhell

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 08:39 AM

I couldn't find it locally and ordered direct. Fast and reasonable shipping.

http://www.pecard.co...e=antique-dress

#7 Tom @ Snake River

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:26 PM

Dont use anything thats based on neatsfoot oil, I find good old bees wax to be the best, your local saddlery should have something you can use, neatsfoot dries leather from the inside out over time and it darkens leather, saddlers and leather men over here in Australia steer away from neatsfoot products.


Several years ago, I bought some reproduction rifle slings and soaked them in Neetsfoot oil, Over the years, I have wiped them down, but they remain very oily. I also noticed that a brass fixture has virtagus (sp) starting on the treated leather.

#8 23engineers

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 10:26 AM

update>>>>

I did buy some Pecard's antique. At first I decided that I didn't want to spend 8.95 for the item & 10.50 shipping but they were willing to work with me and shipped it for 4.95.

I applied it to my WW1 German belt and I REALLY like the results.

#9 ron norman

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 11:26 AM

update>>>>

I did buy some Pecard's antique. At first I decided that I didn't want to spend 8.95 for the item & 10.50 shipping but they were willing to work with me and shipped it for 4.95.

I applied it to my WW1 German belt and I REALLY like the results.


Years ago when I was at West Point M.A.Museum the curators showed me that plain VASOLINE was the BEST way to preserve old leather.
You coat it very thickly and let sit for about 24 to 48 hours. You may see dull spots where it has absorbed, just add more. After waiting, start removeing the excess with paper towles and when all removed wipe with a soft cotton cloth. Wait a day or so and wipe again to remove any glaze. Your leather will be somewhat darker, but will be soft and supple and will stay that way. I have things that I did 30 years ago that are still soft and supple. Picard is mostly Vasoline at a High Cost. Vasoline is Inert and will NOT harm the leather. Buy the cheapest store brand and use plenty and you will be happy with it.

Ron

#10 Shenkursk

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 01:32 PM

For the really good items, I find that if I using Pecard's is not quite enough. To make the 'wonderful effect' last longer, you must sear it into the leather, like searing the juices into a good steak. The vast majority of museum curators and conservators all say that this is quite harmful and will likely damage your item, but what do they know? They're not collectors! We know better. I've done it for years and I am very happy with the results. Besides, the people selling the product also swear that this is the right thing to do.

Here's the trick:

1) Take the Pecard's, Vasoline, neat's foot oil, lanolin, or whatever other product you like best and put as much on it as your item can possibly soak up. Personally, I find that old used motor oil works just fine, and best of all it is cheap. Some of my collector buddies use old fry grease from the local McDonalds, but I find the lingering odor of french fries in my collection to be an unwanted reminder of my poor eating habits.

2) After that has soaked for about a half hour, take the item to your driveway or some other safe place (not inside the house or garage!!). Pour about 32 ounces of 93-octane gasoline over the item for every square foot of leather involved, unless the leather is really thick or the item doesn't want to lay flat (like a saddle.) In that case use your best judgment but make sure it is thoroughly covered.

3) The gasoline will not mix in with the oil that now permeates your leather - it will just sit on the surface. You can now light it. SAFETY TIP!! Don't bend directly over the item with your match - light it from a safe distance.

4) That 'Ka-whoomp!!' sound you just heard confirms that your 'preservation' and 'conservation' work is nearly done. Blow the ashes away with an air compressor if you choose. I normally use a very soft bristle paintbrush - preferably camel hair, or some of the synthetics are ok if camel hair is not available.

5) Ta-DA!! Your item is now successfully preserved, as if nearly new again.

You're welcome.

#11 Nack

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 02:04 PM

2) After that has soaked for about a half hour, take the item to your driveway or some other safe place (not inside the house or garage!!). Pour about 32 ounces of 93-octane gasoline over the item for every square foot of leather involved, unless the leather is really thick or the item doesn't want to lay flat (like a saddle.) In that case use your best judgment but make sure it is thoroughly covered.


Yeah - if you use anything less than 93 octane, you'll get pings and knocks during the preserving process. If you only have 87 octane, use an octane booster available at Napa. ;)

...all kidding aside, I understand that putting pecards, vasoline, or any other petroleum product on leather isn't a good idea, for various reasons. There are various threads on this topic, e.g.:

http://www.usmilitar...mp;#entry403719

http://www.usmilitar...showtopic=35833

Edited by Nack, 24 February 2010 - 02:04 PM.


#12 tylis2

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Posted 24 February 2010 - 03:01 PM

Also works to remove wrinkles. And instead of a fuel additive ( I never like additives on my leather ) just use a higher octane aviation fuel. BTW, best post I've read in days. :) And DON'T try this at home !

#13 SeaDog30

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 10:04 AM

I have an original A-2 jacket from WWII and have done NOTHING to it after reading and re-reading all the posts. It's in fair condition but was stored in a basement for a long time which has made it somewhat stiff. It displays well and because I know the former owner was KIA I can't imagine using something on it that would ruin it! (I must admit that all the Pecards talk has really tempted me!) My question is this: Is there anything out there to clean the surface that will not harm it?

The only reason I ask is because of the storage use, it is somewhat dirty, especially in the folds and seams. I also have the leather B-2 cap which is also dirty. My first thought after reading the post is to leave it alone. I do have the "itch" to lightly wipe it down with a leather cleaner to remove some of the storage use/dirt.

Any suggestions on if that is just as harmful???????

#14 Nack

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 11:17 AM

I have an original A-2 jacket from WWII and have done NOTHING to it after reading and re-reading all the posts. It's in fair condition but was stored in a basement for a long time which has made it somewhat stiff. It displays well and because I know the former owner was KIA I can't imagine using something on it that would ruin it! (I must admit that all the Pecards talk has really tempted me!) My question is this: Is there anything out there to clean the surface that will not harm it?

The only reason I ask is because of the storage use, it is somewhat dirty, especially in the folds and seams. I also have the leather B-2 cap which is also dirty. My first thought after reading the post is to leave it alone. I do have the "itch" to lightly wipe it down with a leather cleaner to remove some of the storage use/dirt.

Any suggestions on if that is just as harmful???????


There are several threads on these issues here and on other forums - just use the search function. Brushing off dirt and tehn using a moist cloth may be your best bet. It would be the least invasive.

#15 SeaDog30

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 03:43 PM

There are several threads on these issues here and on other forums - just use the search function. Brushing off dirt and tehn using a moist cloth may be your best bet. It would be the least invasive.

Thanks. Brushing and vacuuming is always good. I was just curious about a light cleaner.

#16 Nack

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 06:32 AM

Thanks. Brushing and vacuuming is always good. I was just curious about a light cleaner.


The opinions as to what to do with your leather goods run the gamut from the pecards/etc. group to the don't-do-ANYTHING group. Each have their reasons. Ultimately, it's your stuff, so you get to decide what your plan is. That wanders into another debate - the philosophical debate of personal property (do with your stuff as you will) vs. caretaker-of-historical-items (do whatever you can to preserve the items for the future generations). I personally fall in the middle, and use stuff called Bick 1 to clean leather that really needs it, and Bick 4 to rejuvenate leather that's really dry. For stuff that's not to bad, I usually just wipe it with a damp cloth.

#17 SeaDog30

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:46 AM

The opinions as to what to do with your leather goods run the gamut from the pecards/etc. group to the don't-do-ANYTHING group. Each have their reasons. Ultimately, it's your stuff, so you get to decide what your plan is. That wanders into another debate - the philosophical debate of personal property (do with your stuff as you will) vs. caretaker-of-historical-items (do whatever you can to preserve the items for the future generations). I personally fall in the middle, and use stuff called Bick 1 to clean leather that really needs it, and Bick 4 to rejuvenate leather that's really dry. For stuff that's not to bad, I usually just wipe it with a damp cloth.

I fall into the middle as well. I lightly vacuumed the cap and gently wiped it off. Overall the leather is in good shape so I didn't see a need to use anything else on it. For now, that's as far as I am willing to go. Thanks again.

#18 37thguy

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Posted 03 March 2010 - 08:56 AM

Connollys leather creme is the best. Find it for sale on Ebay, comes right from the UK. I have restored old dry leather back to soft and supple.

You won't be disappointed.

#19 tango1niner

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Posted 08 March 2010 - 04:53 PM

anyone ever try using saddle soap or mink oil? ( paste )

Edited by tango1niner, 08 March 2010 - 04:54 PM.


#20 Red Devil

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 06:45 AM

I used saddle soap from the local hardware store (sorry, I cannot remember the name) a couple years back on the stiff old leather bindings on WWII-era US and German skis. It softened the leather up until it was pliable and not going to break off. It did darken the leather a bit, but I think it did a good job of making the leather pliable again. Anyone else use this stuff?


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