Vintage leather care opinions

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by So33, Aug 23, 2018.

  1. So33

    So33 One of the Regulars

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Phil Silv3rs likes this.
  2. So33

    So33 One of the Regulars

    I may have posted this without text, picked up a 1930's leather jacket with patina galore. Leather on arms and wrists are dryer than body. I tried some Langlitz Treatment on inside of collar, see picture.
    What worries me is the treatment applied on inside collar darkened the leather (see picture of collar) What I hope to achieve is saving patina with more luster and oil the leather. Is this possible? I'm thinking like what I saw on Mike Wolfes picker jacket after a season or two in transformation. Maybe that was television magic.
    What are your thoughts and opinions?
  3. Bamaboots


    I have no experience with Langlitz but I've used gallons of Lexol and Bick 4 on everything from saddles and bridle leathers to custom cowboy boots and neither has ever darkened or discolored any leather from lighter colors to black.

    I like that jacket.
    Monitor and willyto like this.
  4. robrinay

    robrinay One Too Many

    Sheffield UK
    Some leather treatments temporarily darken the leather but the leather lightens gradually as the treatment soaks in and evaporates from the top layer of the surface.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
    Monitor likes this.
  5. Monitor


    I'd use Lexol on this and a lot of it. It should have any profound effect on the patina or the character. Any leather conditioner will darken the leather at first, of course but once it gets soaked in and the surface dries up, the jacket should revert to its original colour. It's a beautiful jacket but at this point I'd be more concerned to preserve the leather from drying up and cracking, than about color.

    Sadly, leather conditioners don't seem to have any significant long term effect. I prefer silicone based conditioners (which is what Langlitz conditioner is, I believe) but majority of people seem to be against it, so... I don't know. Though so far I've gotten best results with it. Lexol is good too because the jacket easily soaks it up.
    robrinay likes this.
  6. Carlos840

    Carlos840 I'll Lock Up

    I have used Lexol and Pecard and my favourite combo is Lexol cleaner followed by Pecard vintage leather dressing.
    Like people have said previously, its normal for conditioner to darken the leather at first, but it should be back to normal within a day or so.
  7. ShadowBoxer

    ShadowBoxer Familiar Face

    Los Angeles, California

    I'm new here and not any kind of an expert.
    However I am also currently trying to save a special jacket (one of the reasons I found Fedora Lounge).
    Since the jacket I'm working on is a Langlitz and I was given some Langlitz Leather dressing before, after much back-and-forth and indecision I decided to "risk it" and just go with the manufacturer's suggested product.

    My jacket is in worse condition than yours. Multiple cracks and peeling/flaking of the surfaces, breaks where the super dry leather was mistreated, etc. Interestingly (maybe a coincidence), the sleeves are also the worst. The front and back torso panels have some damage and cracking but are basically just old and dry.

    I think what you are asking is if you can have it old & distressed but new & fresh but not change anything. If you want to wear the jacket, I would say this is not what you should be aiming for. I assume you are not trying to save this for a museum or something. You intend to wear it.

    As soon as you start treating the leather, you are changing it.
    That's okay because you are trying to preserve it. When I put the Langlitz Leather dressing on my jacket it darkened the colored part a bit and darkened the exposed, worn leather parts a lot more. However after a day or two the surfaces all dried or are still drying back to their original colors (or close enough for me).

    As Monitor said, I would be a lot more concerned with preservation than changing the tone. If you can save the jacket and enjoy wearing it (now safely that won't cause further damage) you won't care if it's a little darker. When people complement you on it, you won't say, "Yeah, but it used to be a lot dryer and more scuffed up looking..." You will simply wear it and enjoy it.
    So I'd say apply the Langlitz dressing in thin coats, multiple times and let it dry for a few hours or over night. I put on a lot because thin coats were drying so fast I lost track of what I had done. By the time I shifted the jacket around to do another part, what I'd just done had absorbed the conditioner and was bone dry again! You probably won't have that problem.

    On mine, when it was still "damp" from the night before I left it alone. By the second day, the leather felt dry/normal again with nothing transferring to my hands. Some parts are beginning to feel more normal, some parts go back to feeling like paper. I apply thin coats now.

    Good luck with your project.
  8. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    If you're thinking about Mr Wolfe's 1940's 3/4 jacket with the half-belt - that one had so much rot it was falling apart.

    My take on conditioners after using them for 3 decades now is that they don't do much. They certainly create the impression of an improved hide by temporarily putting some moisture back and covering up the rough spots and producing a shine or improved surface look. But like make up, it's a superficial change. It wipes and evaporates away.

    Or maybe it's more like a car re-spray - where the rust starts to come through again after a while. Dressings might have a preventative function to protect leather before it gets bad, but my experience with older jackets using Pecards and Lexol is that the improved effect is temporary.

    I spoke to the senior curator at the Smithsonian a few years ago and she advised that they do not use any Pecards or commercial leather dressing and that leather conservation is really about the careful use of light and air/moisture regulation.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  9. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah A-List Customer

    Not "ALL" leather conditioners will darken leather. I use Eastman liquid leather. It will not darken and makes the leather feel soft and smell wonderful. Leather should not be conditioned regularly. Perhaps the only exception is if you say have a pair of boots that are regularly exposed to water and drying from say wet grass. One should condition a little more regularly in this case. Before the boot is completely dry is preferable.
  10. So33

    So33 One of the Regulars

    I went with what I had on hand and used the Langlitz conditioner. Here's the results. It's darkened the color and softened the leather. I'll post up in a month or two to show how it effects the leather. By then the buttons will match and have new pocket liners made. image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
    Michael A and Bamaboots like this.
  11. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

    South of Nashville
    Well played. Use what is available, and use it on a regular basis to keep the cracks away.

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