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How to Break In Horsehide Quickly

Longshanks

New in Town
Messages
39
Location
New York, NY
A professional's opinion

I asked a friend who is a long-time professional costumer for films/broadway how he makes a stiff new leather jacket look old. He said you put it in a cement mixer with one or two pounds of driveway gravel for about an hour, but you have to make sure it's well away from your workshop "because it's REALLY LOUD." Apparently you can dedicate a clothers dryer for this purpose too.
 

icecold

One of the Regulars
Messages
103
Location
xvbnvb
I used to be furiously opposed to any methods of artificially aging leather, but now that I'm battling a heavy FQHH jacket of my own, I understand the appeal, *especially* if I succumb and by more leather jackets than I could possibly naturally break in...

Speaking of my Aero, I've worn it for about a month now and it breaks in nicely, but it has miles and miles to go until it gets an actual weathered look.
 

omar

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
minnesota
breaking in; the final frontier

Hey Rufus, I was only half serious, although I think it would work! We'll never know because my wife got wind of this one, and needless to say, no one in this house is going to bed in a wet leather jacket! I guess that's more than enough on this particular subject....
 

icecold

One of the Regulars
Messages
103
Location
xvbnvb
omar said:
Hey Rufus, I was only half serious, although I think it would work! We'll never know because my wife got wind of this one, and needless to say, no one in this house is going to bed in a wet leather jacket! I guess that's more than enough on this particular subject....

I just realised that i could sleep in a wet jacket on my couch, which is also leather! Perhaps that would help both the jacket and the couch to break in lol
 

jac

Familiar Face
Messages
91
Location
Pluto
Stiff HH

What is working for me is to take naps in it, and don't hang it up. Now, mind you- the chemical smell straight from the factory was overpowering, so I did have to let it air out for about a week before I could rest in it.
Also, just toss it on the couch, or let it lie in a folded clump on a chair.

My Legendary Black Stallion was rigid as a suit of armor when I got it, so a little folding and shaping with the hands was necessary for wearing it while driving the car. It's winter, so I take every opportunity to wear it out, especially when it's precipitating.

For me, this is reminiscent of breaking in new, stiff jeans in the late 70's to get that perfect fit.
 

Adam in Canada

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Calgary, AB, Canada
Breaking in vintage HH

HoosierDaddy said:
I have been doing something similar to my new Aero FQHH jackets(I have several) for years....except... I use a plastic spray bottle to soak them with tap water only on the outside. Then shape the collar and wear them till dry. As you say...the HH becomes more pliable..and molds to your shape. Makes for a more "relaxed" jacket and adds charactor..rather than the brandnew stiffer appearance.
HD

Aero's vintage HH is soft and supple out of the box and doesn't require any break in, in that regard. But, can you tell me if your (spray bottle) method would still assist a new jacket in vintage HH to mold to the body?

And, does it "shrink" to the body when worn while wet, or does it "stretch"? I wouldn't want to loosen the fit. If anything, I'd want it more form fitting.

Thanks for your feedback.

Adam
 

Corky

Practically Family
Messages
506
Location
West Los Angeles
The shrinking and stretching are a function of what part of the animal...

The shrinking and stretching are a function of what part of the animal the leather came from.

If the leather came from the back of the animal (the best part, protecting the spine) it would be thick and supple.

The sides are likewise okay, but might be more inclined to stretch or shrink.

Leather from the belly of the animal (where the belly has to expand and contract as the animal eats and drinks) tends to shrink and stretch because that's what it had to do when the animal was alive.

The better quality leather is found in the better quality item, and the poorer quality can be found in the cheaper item, as a rule.
 

Mark P

Familiar Face
Messages
56
Location
London UK
Stretching and Shrinking Leather

Leather naturally tends to stretch I think (after all it is skin), but needs movement for that to happen (a jacket stored flat for years and never worn would not stretch). Once soaked in water the leather will definitely stretch a little more easily. So you can achieve the stretching without waiting years, and get the folds and creases of a well-worn jacket.

This is true for all leathers - I've broken in Wesco and Redwing work boots by completely filling them up with water for half an hour, then draining them, allowing them to dry a little, then walking around in them. Works a treat. Remember these things are designed to get wet in use, so they can take it.

I think in normal use leather does not naturally tend to shrink. To force that unnaturally you'd have to subject it to water at higher temperatures. This may work, but I think the results may be unpredictable. Leather heated to very high water temperatures (in a pressure cooker say, where it's over 100 degrees C) definitely shrinks a lot, but hardens in the process. That's not really what you want.
 

Dreispitz

One Too Many
Messages
1,164
Best way is to ask a befriended cage-fighter to take you for a go. That will help and add some natural finish lol

Bonne Chance!
 

H.Johnson

One Too Many
Messages
1,562
Location
Midlands, UK
Why???

You know, I have worn leather jackets of all types (horse, cow, goat, even reindeer) of all weights (including 4+ oz.) from many manufacturers (including Lost Worlds, Aero, Schott) for over forty years. Must be well over a hundred by now. I have worn them in all weathers, from torrential rain through snow to baking heat (in the UK we sometimes get that in a week-end) and I have worked in the leather clothing industry, I used to make leather jackets myself and I have carried out all sorts of activities in leather jackets, from mountaineering to motorcycling (and even, accidentally swimming) and I have never, ever had to artificially 'break in' a leather jacket for any reason.

Moreover, talking to some of my old biker buddies (some of whom are even older than I am) neither have they. We just wear them.

So, what's it all about. eh?
 

Peacoat

Bartender
Bartender
Messages
5,652
Location
South of Nashville
When new, they are stiff, very stiff. It takes time, a long time, to make them comfortable to wear. Most of us aren't in a position to wear them every day, all day. It is wear as we can.

For me it isn't a matter of making them look aged, but simply to make them comfortable to wear. If I can find a way to shorten the process from a year down to 3 months, I will certainly do it.
 

eClairvaux

One of the Regulars
Messages
257
Location
Monaco di Baviera
H.Johnson said:
Moreover, talking to some of my old biker buddies (some of whom are even older than I am) neither have they. We just wear them.

I tried that method for the last four months now and it definitely worked :)
 

H.Johnson

One Too Many
Messages
1,562
Location
Midlands, UK
Comfortable to wear? You have to break in old-fashioned leather walking boots by wearing them progressively to the point of discomfort (or pain, depending on how tough you think you are). By walking until blisters and abrasions make you take them off and let your feet recover, you can gradually make them wearable. As well as softening the boots, the process hardens your feet.

I have never, repeat, never in around 50 years of wearing them had a jacket that was 'uncomfortable to wear' or suffered blisters or abrasions as a result of wearing a new leather jacket, of any type or weight (OK, I did catch myself in a zip once, but that's another story).


Peacoat said:
When new, they are stiff, very stiff. It takes time, a long time, to make them comfortable to wear. Most of us aren't in a position to wear them every day, all day. It is wear as we can.

For me it isn't a matter of making them look aged, but simply to make them comfortable to wear. If I can find a way to shorten the process from a year down to 3 months, I will certainly do it.
 
Messages
15,549
Location
East Central Indiana
Peacoat said:
When new, they are stiff, very stiff. It takes time, a long time, to make them comfortable to wear. Most of us aren't in a position to wear them every day, all day. It is wear as we can.

For me it isn't a matter of making them look aged, but simply to make them comfortable to wear. If I can find a way to shorten the process from a year down to 3 months, I will certainly do it.

Reposted from another thread...
"Works for me"

Well I've purchased several new heavy HH jackets to enjoy the "after effects" of breaking one in. Not all HH is alike. Some has a more bulletproof painted on finish that seems impervious to ever gaining much charactor no matter what you do. Other types are stiff when new...but soften..grain up...and marble with "wear"..and can be helped along by spraying with water and worn wet to mold,shape and relax the hide.
I have a new heavy FQHH "Bootlegger" on order. As soon as I receive it..it will be heavily "misted" with tap water and worn untill slowly dry(several times). Along with normal wear this technique has worked for me to gain that "lived in" comfort of a well broken-in leather houseslipper or baseball glove. I consider it broken in when it achieves that comfort level.
HD
 

eClairvaux

One of the Regulars
Messages
257
Location
Monaco di Baviera
I am afraid you will not be able to tell all of the difference in how the jacket feels, but here is a before/after shot of my Highway man.

When I got it:
P1000791.jpg


Today after four months of continuous wear, some of it in adverse conditions:

P1010478-1.jpg


It's a soft jacket now and if I would keep going at it with this frequency of wear, I fear it's going to look really worn too soon.

So i ordered a second Aero jacket :)
 
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