Vintage Mink Oil?

Discussion in 'Outerwear' started by feltfan, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Hi All,

    I know mink oil products are generally not so great anymore.
    I picked up a can of vintage Bailey's mink oil shoe grease. Generally
    I'm a Pecard's guy, but this cost almost nothing...

    Should I use it on shoes/boots? Could it be spoiled? Could it be great?
    Anyone with any experience with this product? Comments appreciated.

    Mostly I was scoring old Meltonian shoe cream, now that it's no longer made.
     
  2. handymike

    handymike I'll Lock Up

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    Meltonian is tricky...the last few batches were totally off color.. I cleaned out a place in Dallas of their cognac.
     
  3. navetsea

    navetsea I'll Lock Up

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    I use mink oil on vegtan and thick hide. It soften the leather quite well
     
  4. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    I find mink oil weakens cotton seams and they tear.
     
  5. EmergencyIan

    EmergencyIan Practically Family

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    I have had success using mink oil on my Red Wing boots. But, could vintage mink oil be rancid? I don’t know.

    - Ian
     
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  6. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    Ive often read that products made from animal fat can go rancid. But I have no idea the time frame on that. As fat can be used to preserve things...I imagine its a pretty long timeline....but eventually yes it will go rancid. Also probably depends on what other ingredients are mixed with it.
     
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  7. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    @Seb Lucas this would be for boots, not jackets, and not vintage. I'm not sure the same concerns apply.

    @handymike, that's why I'm finding sources of the old stuff.

    Not sure if mink oil is made from actual animal fat?
     
  8. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    I would think it would smell or break down/separate if it was ruined. I wouldn't use it either way though. I've had more than one cobbler and a couple of baseball glove people say it is a not-good thing for leather and stitching. Of course, many more swear by it and/or have used it all their lives. I know I used it on my baseball gloves as a kid, but that's all we had and the mindless indoctrination of "that's how I've always done it" wasn't questioned. I should say, I wouldn't use it on anything I truly care about. Plenty good enough for maybe work boots or items that I'm going to abuse and wear out anyway.
     
  9. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    We used neatsfoot oil. Not sure I ever saw any mink oil. I have heard that neatsfoot oil will rot the stitching, but the stitching in my gloves is fine, even after over 30 years. Could be that it is synthetic stitching though.
     
  10. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    Boots have stitching too. :D
     
  11. Sloan1874

    Sloan1874 I'll Lock Up

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    Red Wings recommends mink oil for its boots. In fact, it markets its own brand of it, £12 a pop. I bought a tin of non-brand mink oil for £4, it did a nice job in bringing the leather up a bit.
     
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  12. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    Which is why I imagine my comment about rancid is a pretty long timeline. If the product is a true mink oil and made from animal fat/proteins it will in fact go rancid. But half the market says use it half says no. My thinking is that it must be a 30 year timeline. Completely arbitrary but you get my point. For a pair of boots that actually get worn in any sort of rotation they won’t make it that long anyway.same for baseball gloves. So it probably does more good than harm. A jacket I would say is probably not ideal. Maybe some beaters but any that are a lifetime jacket I would stick to the occasional Lexol or Pecards. And of course limiting amount used and how often.
     
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  13. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    Yes, it is taken from under the pelt of the mink.

    I have done some research on neatsfoot oil vs. mink oil in the past few days. Most commentators agree that neatsfoot oil is good for conditioning leather products and mink oil is good for waterproofing leather products, especially boots. No mention of mink oil degrading natural (cotton) stitching. But most commentators say that neatsfoot oil will degrade natural stitching. Who knows where the truth lies?

    When I want to condition boots, I will use Lexol or Pecard. When I want to waterproof boots, I will use mink oil. Although I have found that Pecard does a good job of waterproofing as well.

    I just looked at my Red Wing Boot Oil container. Although it doesn't specify, I think it probably contains mink oil, which is OK with me as my boots are pretty darn waterproof. I have had two pair of Red Wings that I have been using Boot Oil on for 20 years with no stitching damage. Also a pair of RW motorcycle boots I have had for about 15 years with maybe twice yearly treatment with their Boot Oil. No stitching damage. Just my experience, YMMV.
     
  14. feltfan

    feltfan My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Hm... leaning toward tossing the tin of mink oil and sticking with Pecard's. Thanks all!
     
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  15. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    No need to do that; just use both for different purposes.
     
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  16. EmergencyIan

    EmergencyIan Practically Family

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    Very good point!

    - Ian
     
  17. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    Yes, definitely agree with use for different purposes. That's how I use SnoSeal too. I bought a few tubs at a store on closeout years ago. I couldn't pass up the deal. It's not my favorite waterproofing, so I use it on gear that means little to me and that I abuse. The stuff I really care about gets Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP.
     
  18. Peacoat

    Peacoat Bartender Bartender

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    I have used SnoSeal in the distant past with good results. I have a tub of Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP as well as the oil. I like the oil because it will seep in at the seams and between the boot leather and the sole. I find the LP grease to be difficult to apply as it is so thick, but it does a good job.
     
  19. dannyk

    dannyk One Too Many

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    A blow dryer or the summer sun really helps with snoseal. My uncle makes handmade moccasins for me. They are dyed but unsealed leather. I don’t really wear them in the sno or pouring rain. But he does make rubber sealed bottoms so I wear them outside a lot. I’ll let them get beat up but if I see discoloring, cracking or the like I’ll lather up with a ton of snoseal so they can continue being used outside.
     
  20. Ernest P Shackleton

    Ernest P Shackleton One Too Many

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    As dannyk said, a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting is the key [IMO] to any good paste waterproofing. That, and using a soft toothbrush to work it into all the stitching, welting, and nooks. A little at a time, because the Obenauf's is too expensive to overapply and then wipe off to be thrown in the garbage. I get a lot more haphazard with the SnoSeal and the same process. I could be wrong about this, but I feel I can control it all better with paste than with oil. I have little experience with oils beyond baseball gloves.

    *I've also used an oven on the lowest setting and then allowed to cool a bit, but it's far safer and easier to judge with a blow dryer. Even an oven on warm is too hot. I think they're usually set to 150°F.
     

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