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Using "Leather Honey"conditioner on my ELC Irvin (demo)

Stand By

One Too Many
Messages
1,740
Location
Canada
This is a demo I thought may be interesting to some of you on using Leather Honey conditioner and I’m using my ELC 1942 pattern Irvin for the demonstration.

When I first saw this pattern jacket, it was in the old ELC “Golden Book” and it leapt from the pages and said “Buy me! Buy me!” and I eventually did – but only after I’d seen the movie Pearl Harbor and first bought the 1940 pattern in 2005 and then, in early 2009, traded it in for the 1942 pattern which I liked a whole lot more. Trouble was, in that space of time, ELC had just moved on from the smooth, satin finish on their leathers (as seen in the book which impressed me so much) to a distinctly matt and “aged” finish, which I liked less. I asked at the time Gary if he had any recently-made ones in stock or could run me off a type of the other style but he said no … so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem and I’d just condition the heck out of it and bring it up to a semi-gloss finish that way, so I ordered mine – and I must admit, I love this jacket immensely as it is a perfect copy of my old Doctor’s Irvin (who was in the Fleet Air Arm dropping “tin fish” as he called them from Fairey Swordfish torpedo bombers. His Irvin had gone “in the drink a few times” and it still looked good when I saw it in the late 80s). I love the brown fleece of this pattern most of all and think it very "Bomber Command".
Anyway, as it turned out, this jacket has been the “thirstiest” jacket I’ve ever owned where conditioners are concerned in my attempts to give it a permanent satin finish. I tried various brands on it (which had all worked perfectly well for the 18 years I’d had with my Aviation Leathercraft Irvin) and it just drank them up and, in a matter of weeks, magically reverted to its intended factory finish (i.e. matt and looking dried-out)!
But a few years ago I tried Leather Honey on it and it seemed to put down a really good “base” which held much longer and didn’t disappear like the others and onto which I could later put Renapur on and it to give me the finish I wanted through the rest of the season.
So I was in my girlfriend’s saddlery/tack shop at the weekend and I saw a bottle of Leather Honey and I picked up a fresh bottle and, as I knew a cold Arctic blast was coming to my neck of the woods and I’d need the Irvin again, decided I could show you how it works and what it looks like.

The jacket before I began – looking as it does at the beginning of the winter season; matt and dry and on the thirsty side of things.
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I did this at work on my recently-swept hardwood floor. Make sure the working surface is clean as the conditioner is a bit tacky at first and will gladly pick up any bits of dirt or lint, so I wouldn’t do this on a carpet. A fresh old towel would be good too.
The instructions state that Leather Honey works best above room temperature, so I like to warm mine in a bowl of hot tap water (no need for a kettle) and let it sit there for just a couple of minutes. That makes it nice and runny and will aid in the absorption process.
With a clean cloth, simply pour it on and smooth it over and work it in. It spreads very easily and a little goes a long way and it isn’t at all viscous or honey-like as one might expect from the name but is more akin to mineral oil or glycerin in substance. And it’s not sticky – it will just have a low-tack at first.
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Simply work it all over the jacket. There’s no smell to it either, so the wife won’t be offended if you do this on the (clean) kitchen floor.
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Then, when it’s all done, simply brush off any bits of lint with a hand and then I hang my jacket to dry and let it absorb the conditioner. The instructions say to leave two hours for this before rubbing off any excess, but I always leave mine overnight (no harm in that) … and the next day, there is no excess and the jacket isn’t remotely tacky either (as one might assume from the name of the product) – not at all. Just nice, supple and ready for the cold weather.

I took my jacket home last night after the photos yesterday and threw it on the back of a chair in my den and left it there – which is coincidentally in the warmest room in the house! I wore it on the dog walk this morning and I must say it seemed even more perfect – no discernible tack whatsoever with a gentle satin finish and it felt so warm and supple, so leave your jacket in an airing cupboard if you have one.
And that’s that and I’ll let the pictures say the rest.

And lastly, I should say that I have no financial or commercial interest in this product or brand. I just like it a lot - and just for this one jacket.

Cheers.
 
Last edited:

Stand By

One Too Many
Messages
1,740
Location
Canada
Sadly I was limited to 10 images per thread, so here's a visual reminder to remember to use the warm water beforehand!

demo6.jpg
 

rocketeer

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,612
Location
England
I know there are lots of opinions on leather conditioners and which one does what to what, and this one is used by so and so or recommended by certain museums etc. Some will say you should not use this but as long as you are happy with the immediate results thats fine, I have used Connelly hide food, Nick Wax, and other stuff on leathers and sheepskins including my favourite Ko Cho Line over the last 35 years. But to be honest, no one will really know the effects on the leathers durability unless a reasonable amount of time has passed.
This looks great, glad you recommend it. I may try to source a UK similar brand for my old sheepskins(repro stuff :)
J
 

navetsea

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,862
Location
East Java
it looks like it's being absorbed well evenly, I don't dare to pour conditioner directly on the leather like that so I pour it on my hand and rub my hands together which also warms it, and then I do symmetrical mirrored hand movements on each side of the jacket.
 

TREEMAN

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,048
Location
USA
it looks like it's being absorbed well evenly, I don't dare to pour conditioner directly on the leather like that so I pour it on my hand and rub my hands together which also warms it, and then I do symmetrical mirrored hand movements on each side of the jacket.
Very interesting.......
 
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