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Leather Conditioner

Hi,  I have had a black leather 740N for several years. Originally the leather was very soft but with time, and a great deal of wear, it has grown stiffer and appears to require rejuvenation.

I have been unable to establish a suitable conditioner to use, would you be able to give a recommendation please?

wolverine on 11/12/11 at 03:09 PM

This topic has been covered quite a bit...and there are quite a bit of opinions.  If you search this forum under leather conditioner you can spend a few hours reading about all sorts of stuff that people have tried.  I attempted to find out the exact oils that are used in both the tanning process and the products that get used to "condition".  Other than the products that use a petroleum based oil (they have to list it legally) the actual type of oil tends to be a trade secret...of course mink oil or neatsfoot oil are used and not a secret..but you will not get specifics from Arrow Leather Cleaners on what is in their conditioner. 

I was going to mail one of my older used jackets to Arrow but after they refused to provide ANY info on the chemicals they use to clean or condition I thought otherwise.  Their attitude was along the lines of...we have been in the business for so long and we know what we are doing...

 

For what its worth...free...I used to use Lexol and thought it did a pretty good job...it was just a pain to work with because you really have to not let it dry and spend time buffing off the excess...otherwise it can leave a sticky residue.  For the last few years now I have been using Obenhaufs in both their oil and LP.   Most of what Obenhaufs puts into their products is disclosed with the exception of the actual oil(s)...and the oil is not petroleum based.

 

You really need to read about what is out there and then do some testing...personally I would stay away from the petroleum based conditioners.

LeatherFace on 11/12/11 at 03:44 PM

Wow, OK thanks. I am surprised really, given the life span, not to mention the price, of Schott jackets Im amazed they don't have the courtesy, or the marketing know how, to produce dedicated conditioners.

I have a Perfecto which I bought third hand, at least, in the mid eighties. It actually had small holes worn through the hide on the seems on the inner forearms when I bought it, despite that I wore it for many many years and it still looks about the same as when I bought it, apart from the broken zips.

God only knows how they ever managed to wear the holes in it as its as tough as boots. It has a steer on the label rather than a motorcycle, are they the steer hide ones? Trouble was I never knew what to use to condition it,  I used to use black dubbin which did a great job of making it water resistant and preserving it, only trouble was it came off all over your clothes for a month afterwards.

jel361 on 11/13/11 at 10:09 PM

Although leather is very durable, it is not indestructible. Improper care or cleaning can crack and dry leather skin, remove finishes and colors, or make it too stiff to wear. Keeping leather away from chemicals, heat, and humidity are key. If leather is like skin, think of its care as anti-aging; if you wouldn't put it on your own skin, it probably isn't very good for the leather either.

Gail on 11/14/11 at 03:12 PM

I would just like to say we have alwyas had the courtesy to answer anyone's questions on the care and conditioning of their jacket. I am sure on this blog there have been several posts from me. On naked leather jackets you must be careful as the leather has no finish and anything you apply will become absorbed and can cause discoloration or spotting of the leather. We basically recommend mink oil for conditioning and saddle soap for a light cleaning. All leather should be professionally cleaned & conditioned every few years depending on wear. This prevents the leather from drying out and the linings & stitchings from deteriorating from dirt and sweat. Gail

LeatherFace on 11/14/11 at 03:58 PM

OK Gail, sorry I didn't mean you personally were being discourteous, I meant Schott generally.  After all considering the amount of time they have been producing leather apparel they must know a fair deal about leather I would have thought and leaving their customers in the position of having to glean information on the care of their products doesn't seem particularly helpful to me.

Take Red-Wing for example they produce a dedicated mink oil product specifically for their boots and it stands to reason that their customers are going to have to maintain them, this also strikes me as a marketing opportunity being lost by Schott.

LeatherFace on 11/14/11 at 05:48 PM

Here we go the apparel I wore for years, my trusty old Perfecto with a British army SAS wind-proof gabardine combat smock over the top. I just tried the Perfecto on for the first time in years and I cant even get the zip done up any longer, it seems to have shrunk lol.

Thinking about the garment care issue it would be a great idea to have a section of the website devoted to advice on the various aspects, it would also be a great opportunity to showcase some vintage jackets.

 

perfecto5.jpg

Gail on 11/15/11 at 07:02 AM

Every garment that is or has been in our line has a Care Instruction label. We can only suggest you follow the care instructions on how best to care for the item. We do not want to recommend anything that may damage the jacket.. Gail

LeatherFace on 11/15/11 at 08:38 AM

 The care label just recommends mailing to a US address for specialist cleaning. Sorry Gail but that sounds like corporate speak to me  - a damage limitation exercise to avoid any liability. Remind me how much a size 46 leather 740N weighs and do you consider it viable to ship it from the UK to the US and back again for cleaning?


 Schott are not willing to recommend any thing that may damage the jacket, although, Schott appear to be more than willing to have their customers resorting to using their website for endless speculation, and trial and error, on caring for Schotts own products. That hardly screams of quality customer service to me.

Gail on 11/15/11 at 09:27 AM

We do not recommend you send your jacket to the US for cleaning ,the more "important" message is to have the leather jacket professional clean. Wool is also recommended to be professionally cleaned, other items that can be washed will have a care label stating this. Since our factory is based in the USA we do have a label we use in all USA manufactured jackets of a leather cleaner we recommend. It does not mean you have to use this cleaner, as I said you are missing the more important message that it needs to be done professionally. There are international professional leather cleaners, you just need to check in your local area.

If you check our website throughly I have always commented on what not to do, but I cannot stop customers posting their personal experiences on what they have done with their jackets. You are absolutely correct in saying we do not want to recommend anything that may damage the coat, that is why we recommend  to follow our care labels. If we told customers to use conditioners, cleaning agents etc. and the jacket was damaged who would they blame, surely not themselves, it would be "Schott" said it was OK.  Our recommedations are to prevent damages to the jacket by applying products. Some products may cause the leather to become stiff or discolored and then it is too late. We reply to all inquiries on care and have labels in the jackets on care, what else can we do to help our customers? As the saying goes you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it and some customers will try their own home remedies.

Above all use common sense in caring for anything. Gail

LeatherFace on 11/16/11 at 06:13 PM

Not wanting to recommend anything that may damage the coat is a totally different matter to saying that your customers should not use anything to treat the leather. Professional leather cleaners will do just that apply a treatment. Its a cop out to just state that no treatment should be administered by the customer as caring for leather is an ongoing process and returning it for professional cleaning on a regular basis is neither a sensible, or credible, suggestion.

Finally Gail tell me in all honesty do Schott receive any financial incentive for recommending a specific named professional cleaning company on their labels?

Gail on 11/17/11 at 08:28 AM

I can honestly say we are not compensated in any way on advising anyone where to have their jackets cleaned. We do want to recommend a company though that we feel can do the job correctly. Many customers do not have professional leather cleaners in their area, or a cleaner they  know will do a good job. We only recommend this company as we know they are the real deal.

If you check their website you will see they deal with many issues from cleaning and conditioning to restoration of jackets. They are experts in removing the smoke smell from a jacket that have been in a house fire, plus they refurbish the old vintage jackets that people do not want to part with. These are the reasons we recommend this company, as they know what they are doing.

Some people feel leather does not have to be cleaned as you seem to suggest. While you can wipe the leather with a damp cloth or use some saddle soap, you cannot do this with the lining in the jacket. Dirt & sweat deteriorate the lining and the stitching in the jacket. You would not wear a shirt for years with out cleaning it as it would surely have some body odor if it has not already fallen apart. The lining in a jacket is no different it is absorbing the sweat ,dirt and odor.

I am also sure most of our customers appreciate what we recommend for their jackets. I do tell customers who own naked leather jackets not to put anything on the leather for the reason that there is no finish on this leather. The pores of the hide are open, these open pores allow the natural oils of the hide to surface keeping the leather condition. These pores will also allow everything to be fully absorbed into the hide which can cause shading and spotting on naked leather. I did have a customer who purchased a brand new naked cowhide motorcycle jacket, proceeded to weather proof it with a water repellent product, then called to ask what he should do as his jacket was now stiff and shiny. Do I wish he would have asked us first absoulutely, instead he asked a friend how to treat it. 

We do not sell products as we do not need to sell these items that can be purchased at a retailer. If we were looking to increase sales by selling  products this may be an option, but our priority is manufacturing jackets. We are here to advise what we recommend, anyone can agree or disagree with us, it is your jacket, your choice and you can care for it in any manner that you wish. Gail

LeatherFace on 11/17/11 at 10:50 AM

Sound like he made the mistake of wanting to wear a motorcycle jacket for motorcyling Gail. Perhaps he should have bought one manufactured by a specialist, I intend to in future.

Gail on 11/17/11 at 11:29 AM

He made the mistake of putting a silicone product on a leather jacket, whether it was our jacket or another manufacture's jacket the results will be the same. Our customer's that have rode and owned our jackets some for as long as 40 years are well aware what our jackets provide in wear and protection and when you are riding that is what really matters. Gail

LeatherFace on 11/17/11 at 11:50 AM

Trouble is Gail that Perfectos are just far too short in the body for motorcycling, which is the reason I always wore a windproof combat smock over the top of mine. Good for posing but lacking in performance.

Gail on 11/17/11 at 12:40 PM

Even with the windbreaker over the jacket it provided that protection. I know it is hard to find things that fit correctly when you are tall. Now to make you feel a little bit better my husband is 6' 7" so I do understand fit and the cost to have something fit correctly. Gail

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