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Pecard's Antique Leather Dressing


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I have used Pecard's with good success. Just remember to apply it in thin coats and really work it in and hit it several times polishing it up.

However I prefer to use it on my winter leather work boots.

Upon recomendation of one of the conservators at the Cody Wyoming museum I have been useing a good treatment of saddle soap, letting it dry and then hitting with a treatment of olive oil. So far, I am well pleased with the olive oil.

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Can Pecard's be found in local stores, or is it something you have to order? I found it on eBay for the same price as the factory web site, but the $10 shipping is a killer, more than doubles the price.

 

Tandy used to sell it.

 

I prefer to use Hide Care - http://www.superiorcarcare.net/cohicaco.html A little bit more expensive but worth it in my opinion.

 

It was recommended to me years ago by a well known Luger holster collector. I have used it for years on WWI and WWII leather items with no problems. You have to figure that if it is good enough for a Rolls Royce it should be more than good enough for a $200 holster. :thumbsup:

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Looking for original photos and other items from the First World War US 77th Infantry Division.

Also interested in BAR and M1917A1 BMG related items.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've used Picard for years and never had any problems. I may darken the leather a little for a while but I've noticed that after time it will come back to normal. They make it in a harness oil

but be carefull because it sucks it right in and will darken it. But used sparingly it works great.

Picard as far as I know will not rot any stiching. Neets foot oil and mink oil will. Saddle soap is just that ....soap. It should be usde sparingly to clean leather and not left on as a protectant.

Picard can be obtained form

http://www.ssfirearms.com/

They also have Lexol leather cleaner that I would rather use than saddle soap. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pecard is indorsed by Stephen Dorsey in his book THE AMERICAN MILITARY SADDLE, 1776-1945. Now that is good enough for me.

Some where I have a long treaties on leather care by a learned chemist. It's quite long. If I get the time I will try to copy and post it here. It's a real eye opener. I also know an old timer that brain tans buffalow hides the correct way and says that the only thing to use on leather is Bear grease he renders down him self......but then that is another story too.

Checkmate King 2
White Rook Out

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Picard as far as I know will not rot any stiching.

 

 

Picards contains petroleum products which will rot linen or cotten thread if used over an extended time. Just read the label showing the contents of the product.

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Looking for original photos and other items from the First World War US 77th Infantry Division.

Also interested in BAR and M1917A1 BMG related items.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but Pecard is indorsed by Stephen Dorsey in his book THE AMERICAN MILITARY SADDLE, 1776-1945. Now that is good enough for me.

who is not a conservator, but does happen to a principal dealer for the product in question.

 

I know it is tough to hear that "leave it alone" is the best answer for the moment. We're collectors. We want to DO something. We want to tinker with our stuff to improve it. There are plenty of active things that we can do to help our collection last for the next generation. THIS is NOT one of them. This falls in the same category as painting shellac on helmets, laminating photos, polishing Civil War swords on a wire wheel, etc. etc. You will find plenty of guys who have done those things and still say "I have done that for years and am very happy with the results." Doesn't mean that we would want to follow the example if we really care for our collections.

 

Guys, the only motive I have in warning against this is the desire to see more items last in good condition as long as possible. I used to be a big believer in this stuff. I rubbed it on everything that wasn't nailed down or red hot. Then I went to school to become a museum administrator - took a conservation class - and was HORRIFIED to learn that I had made a number of bad mistakes tinkering around with my collection: putting Pecard's (and other) leather dressings on my Civil War leather collection was chief among them.

 

I am now disappointed to see that my CW items (which were perfectly fine before I got them) are now a greasy mess. They're pliable all right, but the metal fittings are growing verdigris like an underground pot farm, the stitching is noticeably weak, and the items can not be displayed in proximity to uniforms as they will RUIN cloth that they come in contact with. And no - I did not just use "too much".

 

The product was never designed to 'preserve' antique leather. Why? Because you can't. It was designed to pack moisture into leather products that are in current use. This keeps them moist and bendy during their service life. It does a fine job of this. It is not done with any consideration to what happens years down the road. (Why would I care what happens to my farm boots 50 or 100 years from now? I just want them to keep my feet dry today.)

 

Here is what I ask of my fellow collectors: just consider the idea that I (and the balance of the conservation and curatorial community) might not be smoking crack on this issue. If leather items are already in reasonably good condition, leave them be. If something has already dried up to the point where it has no real value - then by all means slather away - give it as much Pecard's as you want (or Lexol, or Neatsfoot Oil, or Cocobutter, or udder balm) or whatever witches brew you care to use. Knock yourself out, as the item has already gone over the hill, and you might reanimate the corpse long enough to enjoy it for a while. Just keep that crap away from the good stuff. Embalm your favorite relative AFTER they have expired - not before. Call it a New Year's resolution.


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A Smithsonian conservator (who was not a leather specialist, but looked into it and reported back to me) once told me that LEXOL was "the worst" for old leather, because it was "food" for microbes that make colonies in old, dried leather. If a generous coat of Lexol is slathered on, the micorobe colony would "explode into life and hungry activity" and break up the leather in a matter of days or weeks. She explained that Lexol is fine for in-use harness/tack, after the leather is cleaned (primarily of horse sweat) with saddle soap -- what it was dseigned for.

 

She told that the microbes could be killed with a dousing of formaldehyde (or solution thereof), but sometimes their departure just made the host material fall apart or flake severely.

 

She siad Pecard's was "OK" if used sparingly -- not enough to soak the piece, just enough to affect the surface.

 

As you said, she was adamant that there was no way to "resurrect" old, DEAD leather. Once it is dried out like a board, or otherwise had its structure destroyed or undermined, it is GONE.

 

She was in favor of British Museum Leather Dressing and some brand of pure lanolin, for maintenance, but not even they would "rise the dead".

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been working on this now for about 4 years, and here is what I have found so far. Pecard's when used on a nice smooth service seems to be fine. HOWEVER, when brushed into cracks and crevises, the white stuff will show.

 

I soaked a 1905 gun scabbard several years ago in Neatsfoot Oil, and it is fine except a white film needs to be wiped off a couple times a year.

 

I am resurecting my grandfathers work horse harness's that are easily 100 years old. They were heaped into an old wash tub and dry, twisted, and dusty.

I have been hitting them with a good medium bristle scrub brush and compressed air to get all the free standing dirt off of them.

Then I have been hitting them with a good lather of saddle soap and working it in with an old stiffer paint brush. Wipe dry and air blow any extra out of the crevises and let dry a day or so.

I then brush on a treatment of olive oil, let dry an hour or so and then wipe down.

 

This is leather that most would consider dry, dead and gone. But I have been rolling up long streches of reins to get them flat, and the large tugs I have hung the large tug straps up on the wall with weights on them to help streaighten them out.

 

Of course the problem now is how to store the harness's for the long run. I may have to make up a horizonal 55 gal drum that I can drape the harness over to help it to lay correct for years to come.

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I am now disappointed to see that my CW items (which were perfectly fine before I got them) are now a greasy mess. They're pliable all right, but the metal fittings are growing verdigris like an underground pot farm, the stitching is noticeably weak, and the items can not be displayed in proximity to uniforms as they will RUIN cloth that they come in contact with. And no - I did not just use "too much".

 

 

Greasy mess is right. About ten years ago I had access to an extensive collection of Civil War cartridge boxes all of which had been treated for years with Pecards. Some you could see the oil making a film on the surface, others had some sort of white residue on them caused by the oil, verdigris on the fittings was rampant and all were extremely greasy. The owner did not apply Pecards heavily but after years of its use his collection was one greasy mess. Finding out at that time what Pecards could do to a long time collection ended any use of it for me.

 

As mentioned in the above quote long term use of Pecards will weakening the stitching because of the petroleum products used in Pecards.

donation2008.gifdonation2010.gifdonation2013.gif

 

Looking for original photos and other items from the First World War US 77th Infantry Division.

Also interested in BAR and M1917A1 BMG related items.

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I've always used a product called Bee Natural that's out of Battleground, Washington and it's never stained the leather on my WW II flight jackets that had the nap showing on the jacket where it was worn and all the other products I've ever used did stain the jackets.

Mike

 

 

 

 

Wow, Pecard's is amazing stuff

 

Not only did it turn my Pop's original M1907 sling into a buttery-soft piece of leather gain, it just saved an old leather jacket of mine that three different leather places told me was "not saveable"

 

All that for eight bucks. Plus it also darkened my repro M1907 sling nicely and instead of the stiff piece of hide it was an hour ago, it's soft and supple. Recommended!

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  • 1 year later...

Have any of you had experience with "Renaissance Wax"? :unsure: I've used it on visor caps, and edged weapon blades with great success, but now I have a great A-2 jacket that needs a little care and I'm not sure of what to do.

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I am now disappointed to see that my CW items (which were perfectly fine before I got them) are now a greasy mess. They're pliable all right, but the metal fittings are growing verdigris like an underground pot farm, the stitching is noticeably weak, and the items can not be displayed in proximity to uniforms as they will RUIN cloth that they come in contact with. And no - I did not just use "too much".

 

The product was never designed to 'preserve' antique leather. Why? Because you can't. It was designed to pack moisture into leather products that are in current use. This keeps them moist and bendy during their service life. It does a fine job of this. It is not done with any consideration to what happens years down the road. (Why would I care what happens to my farm boots 50 or 100 years from now? I just want them to keep my feet dry today.)

 

Here is what I ask of my fellow collectors: just consider the idea that I (and the balance of the conservation and curatorial community) might not be smoking crack on this issue. If leather items are already in reasonably good condition, leave them be. If something has already dried up to the point where it has no real value - then by all means slather away - give it as much Pecard's as you want (or Lexol, or Neatsfoot Oil, or Cocobutter, or udder balm) or whatever witches brew you care to use. Knock yourself out, as the item has already gone over the hill, and you might reanimate the corpse long enough to enjoy it for a while. Just keep that crap away from the good stuff. Embalm your favorite relative AFTER they have expired - not before. Call it a New Year's resolution.

 

Couldn't agree more with Jeff!

 

Especially that last part, never use it unless it's practically gone!

 

Worst thing is to buy something someone has "fixed".

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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To add to my post,

 

I've never actually used any of the "standard" leather products many collectors use, just seen too many "greasy" pieces of leather and I didn't see the purpose in adding any to leather that was not actually deteriorating.

 

That said, I don't see a problem at all when it's about gone. As pointed out it may actually save it for a while longer.

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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donation2016.gifdonation2017.gifdonation2018.gifdonation2019.gifdonation2020.gif

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