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Leather Care


Col Del Rio

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Regarding caring for holsters after a match, what are the recommended treatments? Is there a spray to protect the leather?

 

Thanks,

 

Col. Del Rio

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Depends on the leather.  I have a 20+ year old Mernickle rig.  I once asked him for a recommendation for something to treat it, and he said not to use anything, that the leather was sealed.

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After a match nothing, I just hang’ em up and let them dry.  Usually a 2-3 times a year I’ll clean by washing with mild soap and water with a sponge (don’t get the leather soaking wet) to get the dust and dirt off.  Then I use Leather Balm with Atom Wax, but there are a whole host of other things you can use.  Keep in mind that leather is a skin and needs lubrication from time to time to keep it from drying out.  

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We learned of some new products just last week.  Check out the site uradus.com.  The man selling it cleaned, conditioned, polished my boots.  This stuff is nice and not like what we currently use which seems to be Kiwi.  

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I throw mine on the floor of my gun room when I get home. Worked for almost 20 years :D

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I went completely old school and made my own wax. I use it to resurrect those really neglected holsters. 

 

Pure beeswax mixed 50/50 with real neatsfoot oil. Then it's back to the routine used by Michigan Slim.

 

The holster in particular was a military copy of a M1916 and had shrunk well below 1911 size. Soaked for a minimum of 24 hours in water with some detergent. Then wet formed a 1911 wrapped in some paper and plastic wrap. Let it dry for several days. Applied my Big Boston Holster and Boot wax and it's been good since. 

 

It also works to burnish the rough side as well. 

 

Most holsters are soaked in liquified beeswax when made. Neatsfoot oil is a boot and harness protector.

 

BB

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6 hours ago, Rip Snorter said:

I've used Pecards Antique Leather Dressing on both new and antique leather with good results.  

 

This product is great for old dried out leather.  I read somewhere that this is the product that the Smithsonian Museum uses on its leather exhibits.  A gentle cleaning with quality saddle soap works for dirty leather.  Some leather workers recommend Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner for dirty leather.

 

I'm fond of Fiebing's carnauba cream.  It's a mixture of a number of waxes.  It gives leatherwork a nice polished look and helps with water resistance. It won't darken the leather.  Apply it after you've cleaned your leather with a glycerin saddle soap and the leather has dried. 

 

Honestly, unless your rig gets super dirty, soaking wet, or has some serious salt/sweat stains, you really don't need to do anything with it except hang it up so your holsters don't get crushed. 

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Haven't encountered a bad Fiebings product.  Have used Lexol, very good but it can soften a bit.  I had a couple of antique holsters and belts the Pecards reconditioned pretty well and seemed to stabilize them

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I clean with saddle soap, just a little.

 

Condition with Pecards Leather Dressing. 

 

On holsters, boots, slings, etc.  Have done that for 40+ years and nothing has dried out in NM yet.

 

good luck, GJ

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The old police academy trick was if you heard a surprise inspection was coming you sprayed down your leather with Lemon Pledge. It has some wax in it to repel water and really shines up. This is on new leather in good condition.

 

After graduation academy staff said they knew if we figured out an inspection was coming because they could smell lemons down the hall. 

:D

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Just now, Lawdog Dago Dom said:

The old police academy trick was if you heard a surprise inspection was coming you sprayed down your leather with Lemon Pledge. It has some wax in it to repel water and really shines up. This is on new leather in good condition.

 

After graduation academy staff said they knew if we figured out an inspection was coming because they could smell lemons down the hall. 

:D

Hah! Don't forget Simonize on the revolver.  Clean, dry and wax.  The piece glittered and nothing would stick to it.

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Armor-all makes some wipes for leather. Works well on jackets, boots anything leather for a quick wipe down.

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I use Lexol products they have a cleaner and a conditioner that works very well. I learned of these products from a ranch hand at President Reagan's ranch. This was all "the Gipper" used on all his leather goods.

 

 

 

conditioner-new.jpg

cleaner-new_0.jpg

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Use a leather dressing specifically made for leather. 

The Smithsonian uses Pecard leather dressing, for their leather, both new, and antique.

Pecard's moisturizes the leather fibers, and doesn't dry them out. Remember, saddle soap is just that...SOAP...and alone it can dry out the leather fibers over time. IF you use saddle soap, follow that up with Pecard's. You want to moisturize the leather fibers, NOT dry them out!!! If they get dried out the leather will get stiff, and could crack. 

After an event, when you are done shooting, and ready to put up your leather...wipe down the leather with a damp (not wet) cloth, and then apply the Pecard's by hand. Work/message it into the leather. The heat of your hands, and the Pecard's leather dressing, will work into the leather fibers, and keep them moist and swelled.  

NEVER use products that are not made specifically for leather!!! (this is the part that I usually emphasize with a Navy cuss word!)

Never use: butter, transmission oil, axle grease, crisco, olive oil, corn oil, wesson oil, vasoline, vicks vapo-rub!!! Some use neatsfoot oil, but...I have seen, first-hand, what that can do to leather. Avoid using that. As the name implies, it is an "oil"...it is not a "conditioner". Do not put an "oil" on leather.  

 

There ya go. My experiences from messing with leather since 1964. Take it or leave it. 

 

My Two Bits.

W.K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Waxahachie Kid #17017 L said:

Use a leather dressing specifically made for leather. 

The Smithsonian uses Pecard leather dressing, for their leather, both new, and antique.

Pecard's moisturizes the leather fibers, and doesn't dry them out. Remember, saddle soap is just that...SOAP...and alone it can dry out the leather fibers over time. IF you use saddle soap, follow that up with Pecard's. You want to moisturize the leather fibers, NOT dry them out!!! If they get dried out the leather will get stiff, and could crack. 

After an event, when you are done shooting, and ready to put up your leather...wipe down the leather with a damp (not wet) cloth, and then apply the Pecard's by hand. Work/message it into the leather. The heat of your hands, and the Pecard's leather dressing, will work into the leather fibers, and keep them moist and swelled.  

NEVER use products that are not made specifically for leather!!! (this is the part that I usually emphasize with a Navy cuss word!)

Never use: butter, transmission oil, axle grease, crisco, olive oil, corn oil, wesson oil, vasoline, vicks vapo-rub!!! Some use neatsfoot oil, but...I have seen, first-hand, what that can do to leather. Avoid using that. As the name implies, it is an "oil"...it is not a "conditioner". Do not put an "oil" on leather.  

 

There ya go. My experiences from messing with leather since 1964. Take it or leave it. 

 

My Two Bits.

W.K.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day, or before a match, you may want to wipe down the leather with a clean cloth if a little of the Pecard's remains on the surface of the leather.

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