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Iron Heart „Pale Rider“ Evolution Thread

Tom71

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Europe
I am taking up a suggestion and open this thread to show the natural evolution of the Iron Heart „Pale Rider“ leather shirt.

While I will show the evo of my shirt in chronological order, I would love other owners to contribute as well (shouting out to @TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead and @Merv).

I will take the liberty to copy in my previous comments on the shirt where I feel they contain potentially relevant info for those interested.

Thank you for looking!
 

Tom71

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Day 1 - The very pale rider.

So, I finally did it. I was debating for a long time, doubtful if I´d ever become a "leather-shirt-guy", but then it was pretty much an impulse decision, followed by a very good consultation with Burg&Schild Hamburg who promised to hold back enough sizes to dial-in the fit.

This is an "XXL" which is one up from my Iron Heart denim western shirts and two up from the older UHF´s and Workshirts I am still wearing.
You can see that there is some excess material, but shoulders are fine, sleeves are not as excessively long as you sometimes see with IH and - most importantly - I could not button up a smaller size comfortably and by now I pretty much dread the "sausage-roll" look and feel..
All in all, I am very happy with the fit (again, a "real-life" fit which hopefully will increase wear-time as opposed to the "lookers" who are a pain to wear. We have been there...), and any remaining issues will surely go away with break-in. That thing is still stiff as a board.

The leather is great. Obviously the "Conipel" hide that Aero uses for their "unfinished" jackets too. The same unsightly pink (before suntan), the same drape, the same very nice aroma. At 1,1 mm a contender for a "jacket" as well, but I find it pretty easy to wear. Big relief, as I have been warned that the first run(s) had been rather unyielding.

Not much wear-time yet, as it´s too hot, but I took it out for a supermarket run during lunchbreak. At this time, I am only planning on a little extra sun, but no conditioning, water etc. for the time being. Keeping it natural...

So far, very happy. Let´s see what the wife will say...

IMG_6165.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Tom71

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Europe
Day 8 - More sunburn than suntan

Temperature drop by ten degrees, so I can actually "wear" the Pale Rider to fetch breakfast in the morning.

Tanning goes according to plan. Current status is the dreaded "English Sunburn" color. Break-in is happening, albeit slowly, due to neglectable wear-time so far. I do notice some loosening up, though.

IMG_6196.jpeg
 

Tom71

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Day 12 - Feeling less self-conscious

First full day in the IH “Pale Rider” yesterday. Went to a family party. A couple of observations:

1. The shirt can be worn as a real “shirt”, not just a shirtstyle jacket. Sure, it’s not as pliable as a dress/sports shirt or even a thick denim, but it’s pliable enough and feels reasonably comfy when sitting at a table, eating etc.
This is good news. I wear the shirt buttoned up and was slightly worried that the thick hide would eventually get on my nerves in daily life.

2. I don’t overheat even with extended wear. It was ca. 19-20 degrees centigrade, and I was switching from indoor to outdoor seating to grocery shopping. I felt totally fine, not too hot, but always warm enough. Another big worry of mine as the leather is obviously not really breathable.

The shirt continues to tan nicely without me forcing it at all, and is well on its way to break in. The left sleeve shows more pronounced grain than the right one. Some may worry, but I just see it as the aging of a natural product.

Last comment: The “Pale Rider” gets you comments left and right. All friendly/interested enough, but don’t wear that thing and expect to go unnoticed. For some of us, this will be a bonus, of course.

IMG_0786.jpeg
 

Tom71

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Week 3 - Making it a daily wearer

Evo is very hard to capture with the iPhone camera. There is already a very nice contrast between the shoulder region of the shirt (already darkened noticeable) and the hem-section (still much lighter due to less direct sunlight). Looks super, IMO, very natural, but somehow the camera feels its something to be filtered away…

The latest picture (indoors) is actually the only one that comes close to the hide as it looks in real life.

IMG_6213.jpeg
IMG_6245.jpeg
 

Tom71

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Europe
I have the same leather in a Simmons Bilt Vanishing Point jacket. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!!!

Thank you!

Indeed, that’s the same leather (only ca. 1,3mm in the jacket). Cannot praise look, hand, smell and aging potential enough.
 

TooManyHatsOnlyOneHead

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Nice one, Thomas.

Alright, I always forget to take the before picture. I think my first shot was 7 wears in and I conditioned the shirt pretty much after the first 10 minutes. I'm pretty sure this changed the chemistry somewhat of the original, kind of "hairy" suedish sort of feel to more of a rubbery touch. The leather is veg tanned, but to my experience has a lot of CXL type qualities. I think adding any conditioner with bees wax or petroleum jelly is mistake here. Unfortunately I made it. Since the application of Skidmores (linseed oil/beeswax), I did a Pecards (pretty much vaseline). Pecards was better than skidmore, but not great. After the last photo, I did a deep clean with saddle soap but then it felt dry, so I did Mustang Paste (pure horse fat). That's the only thing I'm using going forward.

Shirt was also hung in the late winter/early spring sun maybe 30-40 hours total. It hasn't gotten a hot summer blast yet. I also got the shirt wet a couple times and had it bouncing around in a dryer, no heat setting, for maybe a couple hours total.

I'm probably 30 solid wears in at this point. I would say it was only on the last one where I finally felt comfortable in it where I wasn't aware I was wearing a thick leather shirt. IH redesigned some of the dimensions and I think the 2nd batch is better on specs than the first. The shoulders are a little wider. Even though mine is an XL which is what I comfortably wear in all IH western UHF shirts, it was on the edge of being way to tight. Top 3 buttons continually popped open. I think that's why I grabbed the conditioner so quickly, hoping that would help ease up the leather. 1 button still pops if I'm making certain almost exaggerated motions. Most of this I think is because of the narrow shoulder width and the thick doubled up leather on the placket and across the pockets.

All in, this is something I'm going to be wearing the next 30+ years and it will get better and better with each wear. Every time, and I mean every time I wear it, I get someone saying cool "jacket" LOL..

If I had to do again, would have bought the new version with the slightly bigger specs according to tagged size. I could have used another .5 on shoulders and .25-.50 on chest on the "XL" for sure. And I definitely wouldn't have conditioned right away. I still would have hung in the sun though. This gets it away from a pig skin looking kind of thing more quickly LOL.

I got about 5 or 6 evolutions on my IG: https://www.instagram.com/luigivmario/ if you want to see more.

I'll just post a few here to note the start and current;

After 7 wears and maybe 15 hours sun.

1688921015701.png


This was probably 15ish wears and another 10-15 hours sun:

1688921232267.png


25 wears.

1688921474861.png


30 solid wears (yard work, etc), deep clean and 2x Mustang Paste. Touch is getting a lot closer to that original feel.

20230709_094926.jpg
 

Aloysius

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3,448
I like that it didn't develop that meat-red tone that most undyed veg tans I've seen do. I wonder if the conditioning prevented it, or if it's just a characteristic of this leather.
 

AbbaDatDeHat

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,645
Love this thread idea!!
So many jackets here have short lives in terms of ownership and age progression.
These natural hides are a total new canvas that show the paint strokes of time and wear like no other hides.

I will enjoy observing, as the artist brush strokes this canvas, from birth to the masterpiece it will evolve into.
Wish i had the years to begin such a journey.
B
 

Tom71

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Europe
Can you roll up the sleeves of a leather shirt as this?

Well, you CAN... If you open the second sleeve button, there is enough wriggle room to roll the sleeves, and the leather is soft enough to do it too.
I wouldn´t though, as the cuffs are double-leather, thus very stiff, and i would worry about to much stress on the soft sleeve-leather.

It´s also not a desirable look, IMO, as there is a LOT of leather going on around my rather midsized arms. ;)
 

Tom71

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2,462
Location
Europe
Nice one, Thomas.

Alright, I always forget to take the before picture. I think my first shot was 7 wears in and I conditioned the shirt pretty much after the first 10 minutes. I'm pretty sure this changed the chemistry somewhat of the original, kind of "hairy" suedish sort of feel to more of a rubbery touch. The leather is veg tanned, but to my experience has a lot of CXL type qualities. I think adding any conditioner with bees wax or petroleum jelly is mistake here. Unfortunately I made it. Since the application of Skidmores (linseed oil/beeswax), I did a Pecards (pretty much vaseline). Pecards was better than skidmore, but not great. After the last photo, I did a deep clean with saddle soap but then it felt dry, so I did Mustang Paste (pure horse fat). That's the only thing I'm using going forward.

Shirt was also hung in the late winter/early spring sun maybe 30-40 hours total. It hasn't gotten a hot summer blast yet. I also got the shirt wet a couple times and had it bouncing around in a dryer, no heat setting, for maybe a couple hours total.

I'm probably 30 solid wears in at this point. I would say it was only on the last one where I finally felt comfortable in it where I wasn't aware I was wearing a thick leather shirt. IH redesigned some of the dimensions and I think the 2nd batch is better on specs than the first. The shoulders are a little wider. Even though mine is an XL which is what I comfortably wear in all IH western UHF shirts, it was on the edge of being way to tight. Top 3 buttons continually popped open. I think that's why I grabbed the conditioner so quickly, hoping that would help ease up the leather. 1 button still pops if I'm making certain almost exaggerated motions. Most of this I think is because of the narrow shoulder width and the thick doubled up leather on the placket and across the pockets.

All in, this is something I'm going to be wearing the next 30+ years and it will get better and better with each wear. Every time, and I mean every time I wear it, I get someone saying cool "jacket" LOL..

If I had to do again, would have bought the new version with the slightly bigger specs according to tagged size. I could have used another .5 on shoulders and .25-.50 on chest on the "XL" for sure. And I definitely wouldn't have conditioned right away. I still would have hung in the sun though. This gets it away from a pig skin looking kind of thing more quickly LOL.

I got about 5 or 6 evolutions on my IG: https://www.instagram.com/luigivmario/ if you want to see more.

I'll just post a few here to note the start and current;

After 7 wears and maybe 15 hours sun.

View attachment 531309

This was probably 15ish wears and another 10-15 hours sun:

View attachment 531312

25 wears.

View attachment 531316

30 solid wears (yard work, etc), deep clean and 2x Mustang Paste. Touch is getting a lot closer to that original feel.

View attachment 531318

The aging on yours is beyond description!

We talked about sizing, and I can only reiterate that one definitely needs to go up one from the normal size to have a comfortable experience. I guess you finally managed to beat yours into submission. It´s most certainly a 10/10 in the looks department!
 

Tom71

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Location
Europe
Week 4 - It’s getting better man!

Trying to get in as much wear as I possibly can, temperature and social compatibility permitting (interpreting the later rather liberally, as in, “everywhere except for work).

The leather is still stiff in the torso, but there’s a lot happening in terms of colour nuancing and overall temper.

IMG_6381.jpeg
 
Messages
10,989
Location
SoCal
I would love it if someone would experiment on one of these “natural” garments by sealing the character with either Urad or some kind of clear-coat. Hopefully that might freeze the effects for awhile.
 

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