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Author Topic: Need more leather advice  (Read 1361 times)
Herbert West
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« on: April 09, 2015, 11:39:36 pm »

Just picked up some French made ammo pouches for a future pouch belt and could use some care tips.

They're made from pretty heavy stiff leather and were scrunched flat. So I've got them stuffed with some old socks to hopefully expand and stretch them to a fuller shape. Any tips on speeding the process?

Also one of them appears rather splotchy and the other has dark discoloration, so I'm worried it might be mold damage. Anything I can do to clean them up or protect them? Naturally I don't want them to look brand new, but I wonder if the discoloration is anything to be concerned about.



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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2015, 12:02:27 am »

Maybe try remolding (reshaping, not to be confused with the potential mold problem) by using water to make them pliable again.

For the mold damage, I do not have any tips, but to prevent damage to the others, you can get matte, satin, or glossy leather finish from Tandy. Make sure to use a well ventilated area. If they have a faulty finish, it may be best to scotch brite it off and use the above finishes anyways.

To maybe keep the leather in condition, there is a list of oils suitable for the problem online. I cannot seem to remember any except for minksfoot (I believe that is what it's called) and maybe linseed. Hopefully someone will know.
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2015, 12:25:30 am »

The discoloration looks like water staining and general muck rather than mould.

You could clean them with saddle soap to clean them, allow them to dry slowly, away from direct heat and stuffed with newspaper or similar. If they are still too stiff you could apply a leather conditioner. Mink and neatsfoot oil will soften leather but use them sparingly as they can over-soften it and may also be detrimental to the stitching so use them sparingly and only on the places where they are really needed.

For routine protection a good quality wax shoe polish is as good as anything and a mid to dark tan should help to cover up any residual staining.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 01:47:07 pm by Narsil » Logged







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« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2015, 01:54:05 am »

Ballistol is good on leather and lots of other things.  Designed as a universal oil for German soldiers in WW1.
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Herbert West
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« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2015, 03:38:21 am »

Thank you kindly gentlemen. I'm not really knowledgeable on the care and feeding of good leather, so your advice is appreciated. I've hit them with some saddle soap and removed a fair amount of brown dirt, to the point that they're looking clean, but nicely weathered. And no more grey in the creases.

 They have a slight smell of oil, so I'm guessing they were well used, then stored flat for an extended period. Overall the leathers is soft, just that the corners are a bit stiff.

As you can see, there are some pretty major folds on the bottom, so I want to treat these properly to avoid future cracking and soften them and the top flap just a bit.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to hit my favorite leather shop downtown and pick up one of the conditioners you mentioned.

« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 03:42:23 am by Herbert West » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2015, 03:59:24 am »

I haven't tried it, but have heard of people using milk as a mild cleaner/oil. Something about it being very mildly acidic to clean and the milkfats acting as an oil to condition it.

Try at your own risk, but it may be something to mess with until you can get to your leather shop.
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2015, 11:44:46 am »

Pick up sponge brushes as well, as they are recommended for putting on finishes.
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Herbert West
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2015, 08:55:29 pm »

Those I have. Thanks!
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Herbert West
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« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2015, 01:14:09 am »

 Found some Mink Oil at the local grocery. So they've all been given an good buffing, re-stuffed full of newspaper, and are currently sitting on a shelf to dry.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2015, 05:40:42 pm »

Ok sounds to me like you are on the right path.  From the looks of the pictures they are a vegetable tan leather or maybe a light colored oil tan ether way you have done the right things so far.  Clean them with saddle soap or a specialized leather clearer and oil them with mink or neatsfoot oil.  To help get the rest of the folds out ( the small wrinkles are likely to always be there) you might cut a wooden block the size and shape the inside is supposed to be, then dampen the leather ( Some people use water some people use rubbing alcohol some people use one of the above oils) and then insert the block on the inside to stretch it back into shape and let it dry over night..   Once it is dry and holding the shape you want finish with a light coat of oil and use.
 
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Herbert West
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« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2015, 11:00:59 pm »

Thanks for the tips. Lord knows we have plenty of scrap wood in the garage, so I'll check it out. I don't mind the folds really, I just want the pouches to stay somewhat open so they can be used for storage. Another good way to avoid carrying a bag at a con.

I'll give the water method a try then. I was just a bit hesitant because I'd always heard that getting leather wet was the worst thing you could do.
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2015, 02:03:26 am »

You can dampen it. Not soak. To use dyes and the like, they actually suggest dampening it. Same with tooling the leather.

If you soak the leather however, it has the possibility of becoming a very stiff piece of material.
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