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Thread: Leather Maintenance & restoration

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    209

    Default Leather Maintenance & restoration

    I was going to PM Paquette, but realized that others may both have an opinion on this topic and/or benefit from the question and its responses.

    I'd like to make sure that my leather seat and saddlebags are maintained as much as possible, as well as some of the vintage horsehide jackets I have. I know others are concerned with boots and other pieces of clothing.

    In doing research on leather treatments, the opinions seem to be like you know what ... everyone has a different one. Anyway, I know that silicones are bad, but have seen all kinds of products that are both recommended and disdained. It seems that mink oil (without any silicone additive) is generally recommended. I am curious as to what folks with practical application and are independent of product profits recommend.

    My seat is a new manufacture repop (I intend to have an original seat pan recovered and replace it). Any recommendation on treatments and cleaners on new stuff?

    I also have a pair of original Speedball Saddlebags, and a couple of old horsehide jackets. The saddlebags are in nice shape, but the previous owner seems to have oiled the straps pretty heavily and they seem almost too flexible ... almost seem like they could be easily torn.

    The horsehide jackets are in generally good shape, but one has a few areas where the original surface has worn away or degraded, and the raw leather is exposed. Is there a way to preserve as much as possible these exposed areas?

    Thanks in advance for any recommendations.
    Vic Ephrem
    AMCA #2590

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    N W Ohio, USA
    Posts
    580

    Default

    Yup, I got one. I try to use it daily. I don't know about the old leather, but for my jackets, gloves, shoes and repop bags, I like Meltonian Leather Balm. I think just about anything will work on Vinyl. I have had good results with ArmorAll.
    Mike

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hummelstown, PA
    Posts
    901

    Default

    I use products from a company called Obenauf's. They have a web site and sometimes have closeouts on private lable stock. Thier site can explane it better but basically the stuff was designed to preserve the leather boots of the people who fight forest fires out west. If it's good enough to protect leather against standing in boiling lye for hours on end..... well lets just say it works real good.
    Brian Howard AMCA#5866

  4. #4

    Default

    Stay away from any type of oil such as neetsfoot, mineral, baby, etc. as it has the effect of sealing the leather and does not allow it to breathe. Mink oil is OK for boots buy not seats or bags. I use a lot of glycerine in restoring old leather. It sinks into the leather without sealing it and attracts moisture which is just what leather needs. I also use a lot of Lexol brand products, leather cleaner, preservative, etc. and I think they also have a product for garment leathers. Lexol also contains glycerine. Remember: leather needs moisture, not oil!!!!
    Michael Paquette--6671

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Much appreicated guys ... I'll do a little more research specifically on Lexol and Obenauf's for the right product for the right application, and ensure that the product content is what I need. I guess as I was skimming the internet, I would see product sites swearing by their stuff, and finding that it contained silicone or sealants, etc. and became skeptical of what I was finding out there. Your real world experience is much more credible. Thanks again.
    Vic Ephrem
    AMCA #2590

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    3,433

    Exclamation

    40 Knuck!

    Please stay away from Neatsfoot oil on horsehide at all costs.

    It will shrink and turn as hard as oak, and it cannot be rejuvenated.

    ....Cotten

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    209

    Default

    Thanks, Cotten. By the way, I think I'll be getting with you soon on my M25 Carb. Based on everyone's info, I'm thinking of going with the Lexol PH Cleaner with glycerine (rather than Glycerine Saddle Soap ... alkaline?), and then using either the Meltonian, Obenaufs or Lexol Conditioner. There is also some pure glycerine out there sold in a jug ... not sure if it would be helpful to give the leather a light treatment of that every now and then.
    Vic Ephrem
    AMCA #2590

  8. #8

    Default

    I have had this discussion with Mr. Cotten on another forum before, but neetsfoot will cause cowhide to become hard as a rock as well as horsehide. Believe me, this is what I do for a living and glycerine and the Lexol products are tried and true in my experience. The pure glycerine ( which is a by-product of bio-fuel production) is used in hand soaps, hand lotions, etc. because it ATTRACTS MOISTURE, making leather more supple and workable. Neetsfoot oil, while upon application, makes leather supple, it seals out the moisture and hardens both horsehide and cowhide,---M--6671

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    3,433

    Default

    Neat'sfoot oil is why these saddlebags hang upon my roof and not upon a machine: (attached).

    The bottoms of the bags were cowhide, and suffered not at all. The lids turned to rock.

    Only then did an old farmer tell me they were obviously horsehide.

    Neat's foot means cow's foot, because that's what its made from.
    Horses are a different animal.

    It should be no mystery why so many solos are found with a cover that remains supple and intact, but the binding strip, even though protected from the elements and sun beneath, has disintegrated into chalky fragments.

    ....Cotten
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by T. Cotten; 11-07-2008 at 08:20 PM. Reason: to kill an insipid smiley face

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Posts
    1,626

    Talking

    When those fast food hamburgers cool down and the taste changes drastically.....now you know what they are made out of.

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