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Thread: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

  1. #1
    RR
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    Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    I have two cameras with leather bellows in nice condition and I want to keep them that way. Specifically, I want to prevent the leather from stiffening up.

    Are there any particular creams or oils or dressing products that people use to keep bellows leather supple?

    (Many leather care products are designed to dry quite hard to protect the leather, but in this case we don't need abrasion protection etc, we need softness/flexibility, which is why I am wary of using generic shoe or saddle products.)

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    For softness/flexibility, use some Connolly Hide Care. I've used it for a long time to keep Saab and Jaguar leather soft and prevent cracking.

  3. #3
    Hack Pawlowski6132's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    I like products that are more liquid as opposed to grease. The latter tends to collect dust if not rubbed in completely. And this is difficult to do in the creases.

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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    I use Lexol on my old Deardorff bellows. Works well & is widely available (Amazon et al)

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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    Lexol is a good choice... it was developed for leather-bound books. I used it on once yearly on my Tachihara for a decade and when I sold the camera the bellows were as good as new.
    Saddle soap is for dirty harness tack and neat's foot oil may dissolve the glue along the bellows' seam.

  6. #6
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    Lexol is a good choice... it was developed for leather-bound books. I used it on once yearly on my Tachihara for a decade and when I sold the camera the bellows were as good as new.
    Saddle soap is for dirty harness tack and neat's foot oil may dissolve the glue along the bellows' seam.
    That is well worth repeating, and now it is.

    I got a hand-me-down motorcycle jacket that had an interior label of Sears, Roebuck & Company. God only knows how old it was. I brought it to our rural leather guy every two years to be restitched. He used cotton thread. One day he finally said, "With respect, you gotta quit using whatever you do to clean the jacket. I'm trying to keep it honest. You keep dissolving the stitches." But the leather looked great. (

  7. #7
    RR
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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    Thank you for the excellent responses. I went with Lexol (from Amazon) and it seems perfect.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8

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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    Don't forget the Lexol instruction to shake it well first. It is a good product. Hide Food is nice too, but at least in So. Cal. temperatures it separates in chunks.

  9. #9
    RR
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    Re: Bellows care: what should be used to keep leather supple?

    Did you know that the FDA forced the name to be changed from Hide Food to Hide Care because it is not actually food? That made me laugh!

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