Leather sweat band care?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by SET, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Silver-Wolf

    Silver-Wolf One of the Regulars

    South Australia
    Never noticed till now looking at this photo, being my most worn hat it's conformed to my noggin shape best. Off-topic slightly but I must be long oval as you can see looking at the sides and front/back on the inner hat band.
    You can see some of the crown at brim level at the sides while stitching stays true front 'n back but you can see how it has come in at the side to meet my head and block.
    hatsRme likes this.
  2. Just Daniel

    Just Daniel One Too Many

    On the Leather Doctor, I ordered the Hydrator and Fatliquor and applied them faithfully, but I did not get the Degreaser. I figured I wanted to maybe apply the solution to sweatbands in the hat.

    My idea turned out not to be a good one. Roger Koh answers:

    Hydrator-3.3 > Fatliquor-5.0 > Hydrator-3.3 system commences once the leather sweatband is free from grease and its pH balance to charge the leather protein fiber ionic positive (+ve) to hydrogen bond with the ionic negative (-ve) fatliquor (fat and oil).​

    When the leather contamination from body grease that clogs up the fibrillary spaces, there is little room for the fat and oil content to make contact with the leather fibers.​

    The sweat contamination shift the leather fibers ionic negative (-ve) as leather is an amphoteric material, thus it will need Acidifier-2.0 (with a pH value of less than 2.0) to pH balance the leather protein fiber back to the ionic positive (+ve) state.​

    Fatliquoring works by hydrogen bonding, and pH value of the leather has to be conditioned to an acidic pH value of between 3 and 5 with the help of Acidifier-2.0.​

    What I am sharing with you is the theory and practice of leather chemists in every modern tannery.​

    The practice follows the proven theory and may go wrong when the preparation is not up to standard, as in this case.​

    Bam. Bad Daniel.

    The lotions went in as indicated, I thought all went well. Not so much.

    Here is the test case failure. As you can tell, the sweatband was already in tough shape. I had already written it off before testing. At the end of treatment it seemed like it worked out well, the leather was softer and flexible. Then slowly it dried, thinned out, and came apart.


    ACC11CDE-BB04-4E21-BA7C-FDEF3430A963.jpeg F979EF38-B977-46C2-A468-3775A3D2AC45.jpeg

    Rmccamey, Yamahana and deadlyhandsome like this.
  3. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    Thanks for the update even if poor results Daniel.
    Yeah, i can see how the pH requirement not being met could negate any further reactions.
    Nice try though.
    That last picture with the thin crispy blackened bland looks like a Stetson 100 band i tried everything on to save. Heartbreaking.
  4. Just Daniel

    Just Daniel One Too Many

    Yes, I was not so sure about the pH requirement because the Hydrator and Fatliquor are already acidic. And this sweat was already toast, a good crash test dummy.

    The liquids definitely entered the leather. The sweatband soaked up the Hydrator and got fat and wet. I applied the Fatliquor over as it dried, then the Hydrator again as a last step.

    The crispy result only started to appear a few days later. I noted the worst parts were those that had been colored black before I started; these would apparently be where sweat had already affected the pH of the leather. This brought the missing Degreaser to mind, something Roger Koh has confirmed with scientific enthusiasm.

    Tukwila likes this.
  5. Just Daniel

    Just Daniel One Too Many

    Of course what I am really looking for is a solution to treat the sweat on the hat. Just something to simple for not-too-damaged leather that will keep it from suddenly disintegrating on me.

    This may not be possible, given that this treatment involve fairly soaking the leather. Worse, those sweatbands that suddenly disintegrate already had serious problems under the skin. Working this Fatliquor process without the degreaser would likely end the same.

    Tukwila, Yamahana and AbbaDatDeHat like this.
  6. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

    I await your trials with extreme interest Daniel, as i currently have a very old Stetson No.1 that i dedicated as my new favorite fly fishing hat which to me is a honored hat amongst all my hats. It had a wonderful thick, beautiful, pliable sweatband noteworthy of some of those old Stetsons.
    I wore it on two hot summer occasions this year and sweated through the band and out into the brim. The last outing included much rain. I thought nothing of it as it had been bullet proof all these decades.
    Wrong...it dried hard as a board in it’s entirety.
    It has been treated with Pecard Antique Dressing with zero response which mystifies me as Pecard’s has miraculously saved much lessor leather jackets and sweatbands in the past. It has been slathered for a couple months and seems not able to absorb the dressing. Very odd.
    I have no doubt the alkalinity of the sweat, @7.0 for humans, is the reason the leather “can’t” respond. The sweat is the only variable in the equation.
    Therefore, i’m a bit hesitant to select another Vintage hat as my “best hat on the stream” to show honor to my trout adventures.
    Please update us all as you delve deeper into this conundrum.
    hatsRme, Just Daniel and Tukwila like this.
  7. Just Daniel

    Just Daniel One Too Many

    Tukwila, AbbaDatDeHat and Rmccamey like this.
  8. Bamaboots

    Bamaboots I'll Lock Up

    Great info, Daniel.
    Just Daniel and AbbaDatDeHat like this.

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