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Yeoman

1944 leather jerkin

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Hi Guys,

I have just obtained a WW2 military leather jerkin,the leather of which is dry and needs 'feeding'.

My Dad always swore by saddle soap but I am seeing reports that because it contains lye it is not recomended on leather.

What do people use nowadays please?Thank you.

Kev.

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I used Connolly Hide Care Cream on my jerkin which was unused/unissued but dried from years in storage. Connolly leather used in Rolls Royces so I assumed it was good stuff and it certainly fed and softened the leather. As ever test on small patch first though.

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6 hours ago, Yeoman said:

Hi Guys,

I have just obtained a WW2 military leather jerkin,the leather of which is dry and needs 'feeding'.

My Dad always swore by saddle soap but I am seeing reports that because it contains lye it is not recomended on leather.

What do people use nowadays please?Thank you.

Kev.

  • Saddle soap is pure Glycerin. No lye. You best stuff to renovate old leather is, Neatsfoot Oil, made from boiled cow feet, apply with a brush or sponge Saddle soap is applied damp, not wet enough to sud. Not kidding but cold black tea, which contains tannin is ideal stuf to damp the saddle soap with,  just rub in with sponge.,  or if you want something a bit more modern Nikwax waterproofing leather  wax. Vegtable oil will also work. It is boot polish that contains lye, so for every layer of polish on shoes and boots add a layer of saddle soap. Hide Foods are mostly Lanolin, always use gloves with it as Lanolin can cause skin reactions.  About 58 years of mesisng about with horses and saddelery.

Surveyor- Leatther is still used for tack, I have one side saddle about 118 years old, still being used, so it's durable if properly looked after. There are Synthetics available, but cheap and nasty, I wouldn't trust my life to them, which you do with tack.

Edited by Tony B

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Leather is skin.

What do you put on your skin?

Basically a after sun moisturiser, what you put on you after a sunburn or dry skin.

Don't use greasy stuff which repells water.

 

Moisturising is the trick. I learned this in a museum workshop.

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Thank you all very much for your useful informative replies - very much appreciated.

Neatsfoot oil- gosh I havent heard that mentioned in a long time!- my Dad started the war as a cavalry man and Neatsfoot oil along with saddle soap were 2 products that he had a lot of time for.

Kev.

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So accept the Old Man knew exactly what he was talking about! 😀

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5 hours ago, Enigma said:

Leather is skin.

What do you put on your skin?

Basically a after sun moisturiser, what you put on you after a sunburn or dry skin.

Don't use greasy stuff which repells water.

 

Moisturising is the trick. I learned this in a museum workshop.

Sorry to disagree but Leather is not skin. Leather has an altered protein that does not putrify. Moisteriser that is used on humans isn't the best on leather. The accepted method for musuems to conserve leather used to be single dairy cream. Glcerin, used in saddle soap keeps the protins flexible and also water proofs, it is not primarly a cleaning agent. . This is used on Vegetable tanned leather, the best being Oak Bark tan. Chrome leather, intorduced in the late 1800's usins metal salts that produce a harder les flexible leather that is waterproof. This is the type you find on vehilce canvas, easily identified as if you look at the side you wil se ea Sandwich of thre layers, also has a mainly blue shade. Various hides produce leather with diffrent quality''s dependent on tanning. Pig skin has a distinct texture and is extremly hard wearing, Kangaroo hide is non slip when wet, and Buffalo hide is nearly unbreackable if kept properly dressed and flexible.  Cheap nasty leather, mostly from India and Far East is tanned with what was called in England 'Pure'. you feed dogs white raw meat to get it. (I kid you not1)  The other natural taning materail is Brain. And you wonder why Tanning wasn't allowed in most cities? 😣

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2 minutes ago, Tony B said:

Sorry to disagree but Leather is not skin. Leather has an altered protein that does not putrify. Moisteriser that is used on humans isn't the best on leather. The accepted method for musuems to conserve leather used to be single dairy cream. Glcerin, used in saddle soap keeps the protins flexible and also water proofs, it is not primarly a cleaning agent. . This is used on Vegetable tanned leather, the best being Oak Bark tan. Chrome leather, intorduced in the late 1800's usins metal salts that produce a harder les flexible leather that is waterproof. This is the type you find on vehilce canvas, easily identified as if you look at the side you wil se ea Sandwich of thre layers, also has a mainly blue shade. Various hides produce leather with diffrent quality''s dependent on tanning. Pig skin has a distinct texture and is extremly hard wearing, Kangaroo hide is non slip when wet, and Buffalo hide is nearly unbreackable if kept properly dressed and flexible.  Cheap nasty leather, mostly from India and Far East is tanned with what was called in England 'Pure'. you feed dogs white raw meat to get it. (I kid you not1)  The other natural taning materail is Brain. And you wonder why Tanning wasn't allowed in most cities? 😣

 

For me it worked but I see your point.

Normally I first use moisturiser and then a grease treatment for waterproofing.

But then again I don't know everything about leather so am willing to learn.

 

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1 hour ago, Tony B said:

And you wonder why Tanning wasn't allowed in most cities? 😣

Wasnt urine used in the process as well?

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Urine was, indeed, used in some historical tanning processes.

There is some useful information from professional conservators here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/conservation-institute/services/conservation-preservation-publications/canadian-conservation-institute-notes.html

Just scroll down the list until you reach the Leather, Skin, and Fur section. I hope this helps.

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5 hours ago, simon king said:

Wasnt urine used in the process as well?

Stale Urine, producing Ammonia, was used for Vellum and white leather. Also used as a Mordicant (Trans: With Teeth) to treat cloth for dying and as a cleaning solvent. Also for us, in the production of Blakc Powder, where thers's muck , there's money! 😁

But who was the first one willing to try it all?

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6 hours ago, Enigma said:

 

For me it worked but I see your point.

Normally I first use moisturiser and then a grease treatment for waterproofing.

But then again I don't know everything about leather so am willing to learn.

 

I used to know a Saddler Called Fred Chandler. He was the person who made the harness for the RHA. He had the 'Sealed Pattern' ' of harness. 

Whilist we are on restoration/preservation. Recommended to me for metal, leather and wod by the Late Graham Ley. Renaissance Micro Crystalline Wax Polish. You can use ordinary uncoloured floor wax, but this stuff is it! Not cheap but very little goes a long way.

Edited by Tony B

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