View Full Version : Leather Restoration?

05-02-2013, 01:59 PM
Not sure how successful this will be, but I'll give it a go. When clearing out some stuff I found a big thick leather belt with a brass buckle that my father bought about 40 years ago in Denmark. I reckon brasso will work on the buckle but the leather itself is stiff as a board and seems to be pretty dried out and dirty. Anyone have any ideas of how to sort of restore the leather or bring it back to some kind of usefulness?

05-02-2013, 02:27 PM
I might try saddle soap, and strop oil if I were you.

Dave Martell
05-02-2013, 02:38 PM

05-02-2013, 03:10 PM
FWIW you can get small bottles of Neatsfoot oil in the shoe department @ wally world etc. You might also try smearing with Bear Grease and gently melting it in with a blow dryer or Mink oil.

05-02-2013, 04:03 PM
I used mink oil on old brooks saddles when they are dried and cracking. Think layer, wait, buff repeat a few times.

sachem allison
05-02-2013, 05:04 PM
http://www.leatherhoney.com/leather_conditioner_apparelfootwear/ my family been using this since the early seventies. works great, still wearing my dads belt.

Chef Niloc
05-02-2013, 08:44 PM

I have used I think every thing out there and I like Bick the best. I wouldn't use pure neetsfoot oil on very dry leather it's likely to crack. Conditioners like bick and the leather honey from above are known as "fatliquor's" will do a better job on very dry leather. Like wise a gliserin based clenser is the way to go.

05-02-2013, 09:10 PM
Definitely go easy on the oil and other additives if you can. Especially if you are going to use it for something like a strop. Once you get it soaked, you can't get it out (well). Try to slowly moisturize it. Depending on the grain of the leather you will have success with sanding the leather as well.

05-02-2013, 09:13 PM
Chef, what do you think of Lexol?

Chef Niloc
05-03-2013, 12:43 AM
Chef, what do you think of Lexol?

It smells good
Seriously the stuff does work well but I find it changes the original consistency "feel"of the leather to much. I mix it with water and a little shampoo and use it to "case" lether, that is to dampen it so it can be worked easier. The Lexol helps keep it from drying out and prevents mold from forming. But when it comes to keeping a finished leather good nice and "New like" I like the cream Consistency of the bick conditioner better and it doesn't change the feel of the leather at all, I even use it to condition strops or mix with compound ( like diamond dust) to charge a strop.

Chef Niloc
05-03-2013, 12:53 AM
FWIW you can get small bottles of Neatsfoot oil in the shoe department @ wally world etc. You might also try smearing with Bear Grease and gently melting it in with a blow dryer or Mink oil.
Mink oil will darken the leather and make it a little waxy, that sad I love the smell of mink oil, could use the stuff as cologne, but that might be a little weird.
I've never tryed bear grease, but if its Actually grease or fat from a bear and not jut a name I could see it too changing the lethere consistence. Oils are Introduced into the Leather durning its tanning process and it's best not to mess with it unless you are trying to change things. bring dry leather back to "new like" should be done with subtle conditioners.

05-03-2013, 08:47 AM
I'm with Colin on this one, 100%.

As an aside, my soccer shoes got rubbed down with dubbin, once a week (playing 7-10 per week takes it's toll). I remember hating the smell of that stuff at the start, and then learned to love the bacon grease scent. You can always tell a player who uses dubbin, or a team that does, because they have actual boot bags (for their cleats), as well as their travel and training bags.

05-03-2013, 09:18 AM
The one I'm most cautious with is Neatsfoot. With thin oils it's easy to apply too much, too fast. Especially on dry or brittle leather.
AFAIK both Bear Grease and Mink oil are blends with silicone and lonoline. I've brought back some very old sheaths with mink oil. Bear grease is da bomb for keeping the shi* kickers in shape or sealing sewn seams. I do recall the finish on one piece turning a bit waxy but I think I was overly aggresive melting the product into the leather.