Jump to content

preserving old leather


Recommended Posts

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

My Dad Royal Australian Infantry and Artillery from 1962-79

My Grandaddy Australian Commonwealth Military Forces 39 to 46 served 70AASL Darwin.

My other Grandaddy Ray murdered on duty 1957 South Australian Police 1936 to 57

My Great grandaddy James 3rd Light Horse served Gallipoli and Palestine 1914 to 1918

My other Great Grandaddy Harold KIA Gallipoli Battle for Lone Pine 1915 12Battalion South Australia

My Uncle Colin RAAF served Middle East as Air Gunner 55 squadron

My Uncles Herb,Max,Theo 2/10th battalion 2ndAIF served Tobruk, New Guinea

My Uncles John and Owen RAN Pacific WW2.

For the 6 other WW1 and WW2 Uncles I havent mentioned I havent forgotten you and never will forget any of you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


post-2-0-10415400-1477335312.jpg

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

 



Link to post
Share on other sites
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.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...mp;#entry403719

 

http://www.usmilitariaforum.com/forums/ind...showtopic=35833

Link to post
Share on other sites

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 !

Steve T.

donation2014.gifdonation2017.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

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???????

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Looking for for 37th Division

VietNam and earlier Special Forces &

USS Hemminger DE 746 items

"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

See my FB sales page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1928884587130681/pending/

 

 

donation2007.gifdonation2008.gifdonation2009.gif

donation2010.gifdonation2011.gifdonation2012.gifdonation2013.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

donation2011.gifdonation2015.gifdonation2016.gif

donation2017.gif

 

 

postwar1.jpg

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.