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Thread: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

  1. #1
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Houston Texas

    Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    I posted a question on another thread here asking about preserving the finish on antique brass lenses with a thin coat of wax.

    I now have another question on preserving very old gear.

    I have a set of Waterhouse stops in their leather pouch. If they are from the 19th century the set may be 120-150 years old. The stops are in good shape with little wear. The leather pouch is also in pretty good shape; intact, tight and flexible.

    What should I do to keep this leather pouch in good shape? A shores wrangler recommended salad oil (really!) but I can't see myself doing that. What about "Neat's Foot Oil" or a shoe polish or dressing? What do museum curators use?
    Drew Bedo

    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  2. #2
    Ron (Netherlands)'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    The Netherlands

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    Treating (old) leather bellows I use this so-called leather balm:
    When day is done......

    My Flickr

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2015
    SooooCal/LA USA

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    Lanolin based leather preparations are the most common universal use... These replace missing collagens that keep the structure strong and supple...

    Other preparations that contain silicone seal off from moisture, but don't allow new treatments to be applied evenly in the future, or allow anything to bond to leather when making future repairs...

    Neat's foot oil is used as a softener, such as stiff baseball gloves...

    Steve K

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2001

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    When I was 9 yrs. old I was given a new baseball glove for my birthday. It was so stiff I couldn't close it. A friend in my class told me to bring it to his families leather shop, and that his dad would know what to do for it. The shop was a 4 minute walk from my house. His grandfather was the only one there and as I was telling him about the "recipes" that some of the other boys said, like "put in in a bucket of motor oil", the grandfather leaned down, put his hand on my shoulder and said "son, never put anything on leather that you wouldn't put on your own face."

    Show the pouch to a leather worker for the best advice.

  5. #5
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Ottawa, Canada

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    New baseball gloves always got coated in Vaseline.
    By day, we'd work the glove to make it softer and snappier, by night it went under the mattress to get it to close easily.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    I wouldn't use something like salad oil as that will eventually turn rancid.

    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    now in Tucson, AZ

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    Lexol has worked well for me. Meant for leather-bound books, It's also popular among people whose cars have leather interiors.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    I use only on leather

    Many restore wood with new finish. In 500 years they may curse us

    Cleaning is OK, Renaissance wax is OK

    almost any bicycle, car, truck, motorcycle is worth far more as 'original survivor' than restored, even Tin Cans!

    I try to not clean my lense's glass unless it really needs it

    I have 50 to 120 year old leather bellows that do not need I just lightly dust them

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    I use baby oil on bellows and pouches. Not sure if it is a scientifically acceptable solution but i can not see any harm so far.

    You may have to apply many coats until the leather is saturated. And then leave it to dry for many days before puting it back in any sort of case.
    Your thoughts on that?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    North Dakota

    Re: Preservation and maintainance of old stuff

    Some good information in the link above. Have used Saddle Soap on heavy leathers, like horse saddles. Works well. The light stuff we moved to the Lexol years ago.

    Then treat with Mink Oil. Has worked for leather bellows now for a long time.
    "My forumla for successful printing remains ordinary chemicals, an ordinary enlarger, music, a bottle of scotch - and stubbornness." W. Eugene Smith

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