WWII Shoulder Holster


May 23, 2013, 10:19 AM
A friend of mine that sells at a flea market has about 6 of these holsters, I snagged one to go with a display I setup showing 1940 gear. They are in great condition with the age of them, but I need to find something that will soften up the leather. Pictures are not of the actual holster but these show what they look like, $25.00 not a bad price.

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May 23, 2013, 11:06 AM
The holsters are a really cool find. I have a couple of recommendations on products to soften and protect vintage leather. Both of these dressings are highly regarded in the bicycling community to protect and revitalize leather saddles.

Pecard Antique Leather Dressing - This is a petroleum based preservative. I was told this product is used by museums to revitalize and protect vintage leather pieces. This may just be bicycle lore, so take it with a grain of salt. I use this on an early 60's Brooks saddle. After a few applications there was a noticeable difference in the suppleness of the leather. After 5 years of use and an annual re-application of Pecards, the saddle looks and feels just as good as it did after the initial treatment.

Obenauf's Heavy Duty Leather Preservative - This is a natural product that smells like bees wax. I use this as a preservative on my bike saddle that sees the hardest use. Over the last 7 or so years this saddle has seen regular rain, sweat, and road grime. It certainly doesn't look brand new, but it is holding up great. I was told that this is the product that fire fighters traditionally applied to water proof their boots. Again this could be bicycle lore.

In my experience both of these work really well, and neither will harm your holsters.

I hope this is helpful.

May 23, 2013, 12:43 PM
Might try Pecards.



May 23, 2013, 02:05 PM
About 30 years ago, I bought an old holster that was dry and hard as cardboard. I soaked it for about 3 days in pure neatsfoot oil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neatsfoot_oil), blotted the excess and let it sit for a few days then soaked it again and started flexing it while in the oil. I took it out of the oil, stuffed it and wrapped it with rags for a few days to absorb the excess oil. Afterwards, it was very supple and 30 years later it still is.

But if I had known about Pecard's I might have used it instead.

May 23, 2013, 04:23 PM
A potential problem with old leather is that you don't know what was used for a finish...it could be something that a leather conditioner will not penetrate.
Best to scrub the leather down best you can and add small amounts of conditioner (pure neetsfoot would be my choice)...it will take several applications til you get it where you like it.
The most important thing is that your getting oil back into the leather.

May 23, 2013, 04:46 PM
As I have posted here before about the members of THR. Thanks to all for the information

May 23, 2013, 06:49 PM
Ballistol should work well. I've had really good luck with it on leather.

May 23, 2013, 09:05 PM
Good looking Shoulder Rig.

May 23, 2013, 09:56 PM
I found the car clean up kit and found a bottle of Armor All Leather Care. Soaked a couple of the straps and left them sitting and already feels better. Sat morning I think I will go back to the flea market and see how many he has left, can't have too many of anything.

May 23, 2013, 10:57 PM
Here's a tip from an old military knife collector.
Take it or leave it.

Ballistol, Armor All, WD-40, and other petroleum based products will all soften old leather quickly.
I use WD-40 on my leather work gloves to make them buttery soft.

And then they fall apart after a year or so, and I buy new ones and start over again.

Old GI leather will too, if that's what you insist on using.


May 23, 2013, 11:02 PM
RC thanks for the heads up. I tried this just because it was here and the nearest store is around 10 miles, which is no problem but doubt that the one store would have anything even remotely similar.

May 24, 2013, 12:02 AM
Try a saddle tack store.

Alabama should have some horsey people near the borders who know how to treat old leather.

Bama is somewhere close to Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas, right??
That's where the old horse leather is treated right I betcha. :D


May 24, 2013, 12:36 AM
RC, glad you mentioned people with their horses, I have a great niece that works at my doctors office. She and her husband and kids all ride and have around 30 horse now so she should be able to help. See answers come from all sides.

May 25, 2013, 05:13 PM
Asking horse owners will get you some great advice; horse sweat is just about the worst thing for leather. For my horse tack I like Lexol Cleaner, Lexol Preservative, and Farnam's Leather New, a spray-on glycerine saddle soap. I don't consider neatsfoot oil to be better than "OK" as it can actually break down the fibers in the leather over time; if you must use IT, use PURE neatsfoot, not the compound.

Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator is my dad's favorite. It's available from Tandy Leather.

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