"New" leather holster care


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bk42261
March 13, 2014, 07:05 PM
I know this has been covered, but my searches haven't worked .
Got a used leather holster and gun belt for my Single-Six complete with belt loops, and just need to clean it up and protect the leather. Also would like to put something on the inside of the cartridge loops to ease loading/unloading as well as protect the rounds. Loops wouldn't stay loaded, just for fun.
I think I read different opinions between saddle soap and some other products.
The leather itself is in really good shape I would just like to clean it up.
Thanks for all of your help!
I'd really like to surprise my wife with a REALLY GOOD LOOKING holster, as this is for the gun "we" bought for our first anniversary.

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ColtPythonElite
March 13, 2014, 08:44 PM
I clean my leather with Murphys oil soap.

BobWright
March 13, 2014, 08:49 PM
I've used Kiwi Saddle Soap. At times I've used a product called Lexol.

Bob Wright

bamabiker
March 13, 2014, 11:10 PM
Blackrock Leather & Rich, you'll thank me later.

MDI_Weapon
March 18, 2014, 12:13 AM
If there are any signs that the leather is drying out, give it a thin coat of neatsfoot oil and then let that soak in for 24 hours. Follow with atom wax and a light buffing.

Drail
March 18, 2014, 11:04 AM
Be very careful with what you use. You do not want to soften the leather at all. Just keep it clean. Neatsfoot oil WILL soften leather. I use nothing but a little saddle soap on my holsters when they get dirty.

MDI_Weapon
March 29, 2014, 01:30 AM
As I stated previously, neatsfoot oil is for when leather is really dried out. That being said, many holster makers give leather a thin coat of it before top coating. Stick with a LIGHT coat and see how the leather responds. It isn't a first resort for people who don't know what they are doing but a very valuable treatment nonetheless.

rcmodel
March 29, 2014, 01:54 AM
Lex-Oil leather conditioner.
http://www.lexol.com/product_leather_conditioner.aspx

DO NOT put anything inside the loops!
They will get loose or too loose soon enough when you start using them!

rc

doubleh
March 29, 2014, 11:47 AM
You couldn't pay me to put neatsfoot oil on a holster. It's really good for what it was made for which is saddles, harness, and other tack.

Lex Oil leather conditioner as already mentioned is very good. Meltonian shoe cream is an excellent product that has kept my cowboy boots, dress shoes, and some holsters and belts in good shape for around forty years.

Water-Man
March 29, 2014, 12:22 PM
Huberds.com

redneck
March 29, 2014, 12:44 PM
Unless it is showing signs of cracking i would not use oil on it. If I did I would use Fiebings saddle oil, it doesn't darken leather nearly as bad as pure neatsfoot oil.

I have been experimenting with "Sno Seal" as a top coat on stuff. It seems to more or less be a thinned beeswax and its cheap. It gives a nice shine and seals things up without affecting color or firmness of the leather.

rcmodel
March 29, 2014, 02:22 PM
When oil isn't called for.
I like this stuff, a lot!

http://www.target.com/p/kiwi-leather-lotion/-/A-13127393

rc

MDI_Weapon
March 29, 2014, 04:12 PM
You couldn't pay me to put neatsfoot oil on a holster. It's really good for what it was made for which is saddles, harness, and other tack.


Many if not most holster makers put a very small amount of neatsfoot on their holsters somewhere in the holster making process - usually after the holster has been wet formed and dyed with a solvent-based dye. After adding a very thin coat on one side of the leather (not the flesh side as it will absorb way too much), the leather is allowed to absorb the neatsfoot oil, any excess is wiped off and then the holster is allowed to sit for 24 hours before top coating. Many of the processes used in holster making remove the oils from the leather and adding a bit back before top coating can greatly extend the life of the leather - especially in areas of the holster that are flexed quite a bit like the area around the mouth of the holster.

I have given every holster, sheath and belt I have made a thin coat as mentioned above before top coating and I have never had a problem with it. The initial darkening of the leather goes away after 24 hours unless you over-saturate the leather. If I use any process to accelerate the drying time after wet forming or after dying, the neatsfoot oil really improves the feel and appearance of the leather as it can be rather dried out by the time the holster is fully formed and dyed.

On the other hand, if the holster is just well-worn and some of the top coat finish has worn off but the leather isn't overly dry, I would likely use a different product - possibly atom wax. If the holster has a proper top finish coat that is still intact, it really shouldn't need much if anything in the way of leather conditioning products on top of it - you actually may be more apt to damage the top coat than anything else by apply cleaners and conditioners to it.

doubleh
March 30, 2014, 10:52 AM
Whatever floats your boat, MDI. I make all my holsters and belts but I can understand why manufactures use anything that makes their process easier/cheaper although not necessarily better.

MDI_Weapon
March 30, 2014, 01:07 PM
It certainly doesn't make it cheaper or easier - it adds another step to the process, adds another product to keep on hand and adds an extra ~24 hours of time to making each holster, sheath or belt.

Btw, in your previous post, you said that it was "made for saddle and tack" - hmm - it was originally made by a cow to keeps it feet and legs from freezing. :) However, that did remind me to point out that if you use neatsfoot oil on anything leather, make sure you have pure neatsfoot oil as opposed to some whacky compound that has mineral oil or something else added into the mix as those certainly can darken leather. Pure neatsfoot oil is often referred to as "cow oil" for a reason - it comes from cows (feet, shin bones and lard in some cases). Neatsfoot compound is neatsfoot oil with other oils or synthetics added to it. If I were going to use anything else on leather just to condition it, it would likely be Lexol.

Side note: neatsfoot oil is also excellent as a tapping and cutting fluid for aluminum.

doubleh
March 30, 2014, 06:50 PM
Maybe it is good for working aluminum. So is kerosene which I'm pretty sure is cheaper and the best of all is Tapmagic for aluminum. Regular ol' Tapmagic can't be beat for steel either.

Well, it was "extracted" from the cow to protect and prolong the life of harness leather and tack and still is. I know the difference between the real thing and the other stuff. Got a can of it that will probably last the rest of my life as I don't do anything anymore that involves "tack" anymore. I use it on my work boots ( Redwings) and since I'm retired ( love it, love it, love it) I seldom wear work boots anymore. Tennies are so much more comfortable and cooler.

Still ain't going to use it on any of my gun leather.

funny2me
May 29, 2014, 06:01 PM
Hi all! I saw this post, and, as I have many years of research into leather care and many trial and errors, here's what I've learned and what works for me:

Things to avoid:

1. Animal products (mink oil, lanolin, neatsfoot, lexol, Doc Bailey's, saddle soap and anything saying it's used in the tanning process)
-trap moisture in the stitching causing it to rot out (the leather will look nice, but the item will fall apart)
-can cause over-softening and weakening of the leather, leaving it more susceptible to damage
-can clog the pores, making it so moisture inside can not escape (in the instance of attire, we're talking about sweat, which contains urea and other salts and acids and will deteriorate the leather from the inside out) and also preventing the leather from being able to absorb the moisture that it does need
-When tanners talk about conditioning, they're talking about re-hydrating the leather, not replenishing or replacing oils and fats.

2. Non-animal Oils like petroleum and silicone (found in Sno Seal, Saddle Soap, Doc Bailey's, lexol)
-due to their molecular size, they sit on top of leather rather than being absorbed (*Note, in order to make the leather absorb the oils, alcohol and solvents are almost always added, same goes for softening waxes like beeswax...those will be covered next), and the molecule size can also cause separation in the fibers of the leather (aka over-softening)
-silicone can actually fill in to the point that it is called "impregnating" the leather. This ordeal makes the leather extremely stiff (think of plastic surgery gone wrong) and fixing the issue must be done by a professional, is very expensive and the chemicals needed are very damaging to leather
-products that are able to get stuffed into the pores, thanks to solvents and alcohols, then get stuck and clog the pores (we went over this above), giving you a nice initial outcome, but with consequences over time.
-silicone products are also "build-up type" agents, that will accelerate heat and uv damage
-all of the above oils also leave a residue...for dirt, dust and whatever else to stick to, as well as wipe off on you

3. Soap (saddle soap, doc bailey's, Murphy's oil soap)
-too harsh for leather
-will dry out the leather
-can remove surface color
-can strip tanning agents, causing drying, cracking, hardening and shrinking
-high alkaline, which can cause damage and discoloration

4. Chemical Solvents and Alcohols (found in Sno Seal, Doc Bailey's, the majority of beeswax items because it's cheaper to produce that way)
-commonly used to facilitate pore clogging agents entry into pores
-compromises water based top protective coating (more susceptible to damage, scratches, pigment loss, fading) breaking it down and leaving a tacky surface
*Note-anything with dyes has alcohol (polish)

Moral of the story: You want a water based, natural product that contains no solvents, alcohols, animal oils or fats, petroleum, silicone, dyes, soaps or polish and won't clog pores.

THE WINNING PRODUCT: Riders Leather Seal http://4beessake.com/

I bought 2 cans of this stuff at a bike rally, only after a 15-20 minute debate with the owner. This is a water based beeswax product (I tried to call her bluff, but she had the right answer of how to make it water based), that cleans, conditions, protects (from uv as well as any damage from drying), and waterproofs without clogging the pores. It is all natural and even has a natural mold and mildew killer and inhibitor for storage (she wouldn't tell me what, but I have my theories). What really blew me away, application is very easy! No heat required, apply small amount with your bare hands, leather will absorb what it needs and you wipe away any excess! It's great for your own skin as well (makes sense since that's what leather is). This is the only stuff I use for any of my leathers and is even the only thing that keeps my hubby's hands from drying and cracking in the winter (we live in MN and he's an electrician).

MrTuffPaws
May 29, 2014, 06:45 PM
I guess I am just lazy. If the leather is dry, I give it a wipe with CLP. If dirty, I take a barely damp cloth and give it a scrub. Mostly, I just don't worry about them.

tommy.duncan
May 30, 2014, 11:24 AM
I use Red Wing Boot Oil for all my leather slings, holsters, and belts.

herrwalther
May 31, 2014, 01:25 AM
My holster care is pretty simple. I scrub the leather, front and back, with saddle soap on a hair (can't remember if it is horse or badger hair.) Wipe it off and then put a thin layer of mink oil on. I learned the hard way to avoid the Kiwi brand mink oil as it has silicone mixed in the oil.

DT Guy
May 31, 2014, 08:42 AM
Hi all! I saw this post, and, as I have many years of research into leather care and many trial and errors, here's what I've learned and what works for me:

Things to avoid:

1. Animal products (mink oil, lanolin, neatsfoot, lexol, Doc Bailey's, saddle soap and anything saying it's used in the tanning process)
-trap moisture in the stitching causing it to rot out (the leather will look nice, but the item will fall apart)
-can cause over-softening and weakening of the leather, leaving it more susceptible to damage
-can clog the pores, making it so moisture inside can not escape (in the instance of attire, we're talking about sweat, which contains urea and other salts and acids and will deteriorate the leather from the inside out) and also preventing the leather from being able to absorb the moisture that it does need
-When tanners talk about conditioning, they're talking about re-hydrating the leather, not replenishing or replacing oils and fats.

2. Non-animal Oils like petroleum and silicone (found in Sno Seal, Saddle Soap, Doc Bailey's, lexol)
-due to their molecular size, they sit on top of leather rather than being absorbed (*Note, in order to make the leather absorb the oils, alcohol and solvents are almost always added, same goes for softening waxes like beeswax...those will be covered next), and the molecule size can also cause separation in the fibers of the leather (aka over-softening)
-silicone can actually fill in to the point that it is called "impregnating" the leather. This ordeal makes the leather extremely stiff (think of plastic surgery gone wrong) and fixing the issue must be done by a professional, is very expensive and the chemicals needed are very damaging to leather
-products that are able to get stuffed into the pores, thanks to solvents and alcohols, then get stuck and clog the pores (we went over this above), giving you a nice initial outcome, but with consequences over time.
-silicone products are also "build-up type" agents, that will accelerate heat and uv damage
-all of the above oils also leave a residue...for dirt, dust and whatever else to stick to, as well as wipe off on you

3. Soap (saddle soap, doc bailey's, Murphy's oil soap)
-too harsh for leather
-will dry out the leather
-can remove surface color
-can strip tanning agents, causing drying, cracking, hardening and shrinking
-high alkaline, which can cause damage and discoloration

4. Chemical Solvents and Alcohols (found in Sno Seal, Doc Bailey's, the majority of beeswax items because it's cheaper to produce that way)
-commonly used to facilitate pore clogging agents entry into pores
-compromises water based top protective coating (more susceptible to damage, scratches, pigment loss, fading) breaking it down and leaving a tacky surface
*Note-anything with dyes has alcohol (polish)

Moral of the story: You want a water based, natural product that contains no solvents, alcohols, animal oils or fats, petroleum, silicone, dyes, soaps or polish and won't clog pores.

THE WINNING PRODUCT: Riders Leather Seal http://4beessake.com/



I'd love to hear the details of your years of research into leather care; by the way, did that research result in your developing the product referenced in your post?:rolleyes:

(Smells spammy.....)


Larry

CraigC
June 3, 2014, 12:04 PM
Smells spammy.....
Smells like horse hockey too!

The only issue with neatsfoot oil is its overuse. You only need a very light application and not very often. It will cause damage if you use too much, as the cells within the hide absorb more than they can hold and burst. This is what has happened when leather turns floppy and it is terminal. Don't treat a holster or belt like a baseball glove.


When tanners talk about conditioning, they're talking about re-hydrating the leather, not replenishing or replacing oils and fats.
BS, that's exactly what they're talking about. When leather is on the critter, it is constantly being replenished with natural oils. Not so when it's been tanned and made into a holster.

Red Cent
June 4, 2014, 12:14 PM
It is interesting to note the practice of John Bianchi. In a a part of his DVDs on holster making, he dips the belt and holsters in a quick bath of Neatsfoot Oil. Warm Neatsfoot Oil

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