Jump to content
TLeo

conditioner for leather flight jackets?

Recommended Posts

If the mods want to move this ---it's fine. I have a couple of leather flight jackets and although they are still in very good condition I want to keep them that way. Any leather conditioners you guys recommend for these old jackets to keep them supple and not dried out?


RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have heard of a few , go over to this site and post your question , they're a good bunch and helpful there, Vintage Leather Jackets.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of all the materials we museums folks take care of, leather is one of the most difficult. You are right to ask for advice. Basically, because there have been so many methods of tanning (e.g. vegetable and oil tanning) over the centuries, there is no one product that works on all types of leather. The best thing is to do nothing. However, keeping the temperature and humidity from fluctuating is important. You can create a more stable micro-environment by putting them in acid free tissue then an acid free box. The last thing you would want to use is a petroleum based liquid such as neatsfoot oil. Anything you put on the leather has the chance of shifting chemically over the years and causing more damage that it prevented.

Hope that helps,

Fielding

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pecard's is very good, in my experience.


"We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!"

 

Winston Churchill

" Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."

John Winston Lennon

 

 

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BLACKROCK is the best I found


You are his witness now, without a witness, they just disappear!

Quote from the movie TAKING CHANCE 2009

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for those suggestions. Anybody tried a product called leather honey or someone else mentioned Meguiars gold class.


RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO.....never, never, never apply ANY of this stuff to leather. Keep the item stored in a stable environment, and it will be fine. Dried or damaged leather can never be "restored". Treating the leather destroys the item as a collectible IMO.


I will pay top dollar for original WWII items pertaining to:

 

OSS

OSS Maritime Unit

NCDU

UDT

Scouts and Raiders

FSSF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Leather jackets should be treated at least once a year and more often if they tend to get wet. Leathers contain oils that eventually evaporate or are washed away and need to be replaced. That's what a good leather treatment does. If you don't treat the leather on a regular basis it will eventually dry out and crack. I have been using a product called Pecards Antique Leather Dressing for many years and have been very happy with it. I'm a former naval aircrewman and I've owned and have been wearing USN G-1s since 1980 and I've have always used various high-quality leather treatments on them. Before I was turned on to Pecards Antique Leather Dressing I used a variety of things that I found in high-end leather garment stores. Over the years I'd noticed a big difference between the condition of my jackets as they aged and those worn by my USN colleagues who never did anything to them. You can see some of my old jackets in a previous thread. The newest of these is over twenty years old but they still look and feel great. This is due to very careful wearing on and around the aircraft back in the day (for example, I never wore my leather jackets when loading ordnance, fueling, crawling over the engine nacelles to remove or put on plugs and coveres, checking the oil, etc.,) and regular leather treatments over the years. Note, I also rub beeswax on the zippers from time to time for lubrication.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time I read of collectors applying ABSOLUTE CRAP like Pecards to their historical artifacts, I cringe and my blood pressure spikes. No matter how many conservators and curators say "it creates the illusion of health while causing irreparable DAMAGE to the artifact", they are ignored in favor of the Pecardite collectors who are "happy" with the results.

A number of my museum pals have concluded that any truly significant artifacts should be in museum collections instead of private hands. I argue that since private collectors pay for each of their artifacts, those artifacts are normally just as well cared-for by collectors as they would be by museums. Then they say "well, what about leather?", and they have won. Sometimes we are our collection's worst enemy, and this pathological desire to slather snake oil on good leather artifacts is a perfect example.

If your artifact is already ruined, then using these 'treatments' is certainly no harm. It is already cooked. IF it is still nice, though, PUT DOWN THE JAR AND BACK SLOWLY AWAY FROM THE ARTIFACT! You may be "happy" with what you are doing, but you most definitely are NOT helping to preserve your item.



post-2-0-10415400-1477335312.jpg

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

 



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tough to reply after the last one :)

 

That being said, I've had good luck with Pecards in "restoring" the look on a couple of otherwise dried out flight helmets.


donation2013.gifdonation2014.gif


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time I read of collectors applying ABSOLUTE CRAP like Pecards to their historical artifacts, I cringe and my blood pressure spikes. No matter how many conservators and curators say "it creates the illusion of health while causing irreparable DAMAGE to the artifact", they are ignored in favor of the Pecardite collectors who are "happy" with the results.

 

A number of my museum pals have concluded that any truly significant artifacts should be in museum collections instead of private hands. I argue that since private collectors pay for each of their artifacts, those artifacts are normally just as well cared-for by collectors as they would be by museums. Then they say "well, what about leather?", and they have won. Sometimes we are our collection's worst enemy, and this pathological desire to slather snake oil on good leather artifacts is a perfect example.

 

If your artifact is already ruined, then using these 'treatments' is certainly no harm. It is already cooked. IF it is still nice, though, PUT DOWN THE JAR AND BACK SLOWLY AWAY FROM THE ARTIFACT! You may me "happy" with what you are doing, but you most definitely are NOT helping to preserve your item.

 

There is a thread about leather conditioners ever year or so it seems. I believe this post hits the nail on the head.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a museum guy, I'll fourth what Capa, Kadet and Shenkursk have said. Keep it in a stable environment with minimal humidity and temp fluctuations. Keep it in an acid free box with acid free buffer paper around it and keep it out of the light!

 

Jon


In memory of 1LT Julius C. Goldman, XO of F/330th, 83rd Infantry Division 1944-45.

Come see what's new at the US Army Air Defense Artillery Museum on Facebook: US Army ADA Museum


Looking for P-47 and Tactical Reconnaissance Unit photographs and any items associated with WWII Jewish fighter pilots.

Also seeking photos, documents and associated materials from the 3rd Armored Division and 83rd Infantry Division in January 1945.

donation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only thing about museums is that most of thier items are packed away and no one sees them


You are his witness now, without a witness, they just disappear!

Quote from the movie TAKING CHANCE 2009

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anything applied to leather will ruin it. There's plenty of threads on it.


The paint stripping of M1 helmets, particularly protestor helmets, is destruction of history by the very men who claim to protect it.
Always looking for gear and items linked to the following: Joe S. Tamura US Army; Ken Tamura 442nd RCT; Capt. Emerson US Army Medical Corps, Norman Albert Wells Fifth Infantry Division

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Listen to the wisdom of the ages here. Let me say what has been said hundreds of times on other threads and on this one: NEVER apply ANY treatments to historical leather. The last people to listen to are museum curators, they dress stuff up for displays to make them look good again for a short term display but, the long term damage they do with leather treatments are irreparable. They are curators(by definition: museum managers), not preservationists.


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that the original poster was seeking advice on how to preserve leather flight jackets that I assume that he wears (as I do) as opposed to keeping hidden away in a box. Every leather garment manufacturer that I'm familiar with, without exception, recommends the regular use of a leather conditioner to keep the leather in good condition. I can't speak for how my treated leather jackets will be 200 years from now, but I do know from my own experience as an actual naval aircrewman who has owned and regularly worn G-1 flight jackets since 1980 that jackets that have been treated on a regular basis hold up much better than those that have not been treated. The original poster may be better served contacting a few of the contemporary leather jacket manufacturers such as Orchard MC, US Wings, Eastman Leather, or Aero Leather and ask them what they recommend for regular care of the leather garments they produce. You may also want to check out http://www.davidmorgan.com/leathercare.html.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact remains that the jacket will degrade faster over time.

 

Most of us are here to preserve history. So that's what the advice tends to be.


The paint stripping of M1 helmets, particularly protestor helmets, is destruction of history by the very men who claim to protect it.
Always looking for gear and items linked to the following: Joe S. Tamura US Army; Ken Tamura 442nd RCT; Capt. Emerson US Army Medical Corps, Norman Albert Wells Fifth Infantry Division

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact remains that the jacket will degrade faster over time.

Trying to learn something here, but where is this "fact" from ?? :)

 

Chris


donation2016.gif

donation2017.gif

donation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that the original poster was seeking advice on how to preserve leather flight jackets that I assume that he wears (as I do) as opposed to keeping hidden away in a box. Every leather garment manufacturer that I'm familiar with, without exception, recommends the regular use of a leather conditioner to keep the leather in good condition. I can't speak for how my treated leather jackets will be 200 years from now, but I do know from my own experience as an actual naval aircrewman who has owned and regularly worn G-1 flight jackets since 1980 that jackets that have been treated on a regular basis hold up much better than those that have not been treated. The original poster may be better served contacting a few of the contemporary leather jacket manufacturers such as Orchard MC, US Wings, Eastman Leather, or Aero Leather and ask them what they recommend for regular care of the leather garments they produce. You may also want to check out http://www.davidmorgan.com/leathercare.html.

I haven't been able to check this topic for a couple days so thanks for all the opinions. I was seeking advice in order to preserve two WW2 era USMC flight jackets that are in remarkably good condition and if using some type leather conditioner was advisable. Lots of differing opinions on to use or not to use so I haven't decided as yet. My plans are to keep them out of any direct sunlight and in a well ventilated area and displayed on forms alongside other period USMC uniforms as opposed to keeping them put away. Keeping them put away may be best but that seems to me to diminish the enjoyment that comes from being able to see and appreciate them. Thanks again.


RIP Molly...Oct. 2000 - July 2013 For 13 years you have been my best friend and companion, giving love and asking only for love in return. May you rest now, free from your pain. I will miss you girl, and will keep you in my heart forever....the sweetest dog and best friend ever! I'll see you again one day.


donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gifdonation2017.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over about five decades I have revitalized many, many pairs of boots after thoroughly trashing them in the field, ie; snow, ocean, desert, jungle, etc. There is one pair I have had since basic which inadvertantly became the "contol" because I didn't care for them as well. Guess which pair is in the worst condition and cannot be worn without further damage? The same holds true for an old 7" Camillus knife where the leather handle finally deteriorated from never being cared for, just used hard.

The opposing opinions are both sound but all the leather gear I have, including jackets receive much better care than those old boots and the main prevention is the use of a good quality saddle/leather cleaner.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Over about five decades I have revitalized many, many pairs of boots after thoroughly trashing them in the field, ie; snow, ocean, desert, jungle, etc. There is one pair I have had since basic which inadvertantly became the "contol" because I didn't care for them as well. Guess which pair is in the worst condition and cannot be worn without further damage? The same holds true for an old 7" Camillus knife where the leather handle finally deteriorated from never being cared for, just used hard.

The opposing opinions are both sound but all the leather gear I have, including jackets receive much better care than those old boots and the main prevention is the use of a good quality saddle/leather cleaner.

AMEN!


You are his witness now, without a witness, they just disappear!

Quote from the movie TAKING CHANCE 2009

donation2010.gif

donation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

donation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gifdonation2018.gif

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since there is a great divide among collectors as to what should or should not be done and since most of the advice to use treatments has come from those who are speaking from their own experience but, not from a preservationist view, lets see what those who preserve leather for museums have to say:

From the museum of Florida History:

Quote: "With any leather object, a time comes when its historic value exceeds its utility. At that point, the type of care required to preserve it becomes very different from that which was applied when the artifact was in regular use. Indeed, continuing some practices (for example, saddle soaping, oiling) on aged leather actually will shorten the lifespan of an antique object made of leather."

Quote: "Ample studies have proven that leather dressings and saddle soaps, rather than preserving aged leather artifacts, actually hasten their deterioration. Oils in dressings are intended to provide internal lubrication for leather that is still in use; the oil allows the bundles of fibrils to slip over each other as leather is flexed, keeping it supple. Historic leather artifacts in a collection no longer need to be flexible, since they are no longer functional objects. Research has shown that many oils and fats used in leather dressings (neatsfoot oil, mink oil, lanolin) oxidize and harden over time, causing the leather to become even stiffer and brittle; oils also will darken with time, thus darkening the leather. Saddle soap originally was developed as an emulsified dressing for leather. Its ability to clean a surface is dubious, as the "soap" in it is employed to emulsify the oil/water mixture, leaving little reserve cleaning power. Saddle soap is also alkaline and leaves residues that cause degradation of the leather."

 

You can read the rather long version of this here: http://www.museumoffloridahistory.com/resources/caring/acs4.cfm


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since there is a great divide among collectors as to what should or should not be done and since most of the advice to use treatments has come from those who are speaking from their own experience but, not from a preservationist view, lets see what those who preserve leather for museums have to say:

Not entirely true since keeping old, working leather in good, working condition is also a form of preservation. I just cleaned up an old pair of Korean War russet boots that will be displayed when not being worn. I used a saddle care product that a local cavalry museum also uses on their 100+ y/o tack. I also just finished a 1980s leather bomber jacket and will soon do my 1960s USMC leather flight jacket. I don't know about you but I'm storing items in a hangar in the middle of a very hot & dry desert without the benefit of the climate control available to most museums. Most museums have ideal climate control, the rest of us really don't which means i have to best maintain this stuff for where I am.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess we need to do what we each think is right. I won't change your mind and you won't change mine so:

You like potato and I like potahto,
You like tomato and I like tomahto,
Potato, potahto, tomato, tomahto.
Let's call the whole thing off.

 


"There is no such thing as an expert, only students with different levels of education."
donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2011.gif
donation2012.gifdonation2013.gifdonation2014.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif
donation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good information, I knew there was a reason I never liked neatsfoot oil and saddle soap. However, please don't blast me on this, (your moderate 2 cents would be fine) I had an old Army 1911 shoulder holster that I used for my uniform. It was so dried out when I got it, that if you would have flexed it no doubt it would have broke clean in half. Many years later I noticed my son's baseball glove conditioner (Wilson Pro Stock Glove Conditioner) states that it contains lanoline and vitamin E, doesn't say what or if else. I rubbed that stuff into it a half dozen times and the holster now looks and feels like it did new.

I'm a retired First Sergeant, trust me, I knew what these were like new (the Beretta M9 wasn't around when I enlisted) the only thing I cannot attest to is long term effects. Does anyone know what lanolin and vitamin E will do if a guy "had" to use them? Also, in your professional opinion, is there a point when doing something is better than nothing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.