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 Tutorial: Reviving Old Leather Pouches, Belts ect.

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Tutorial: Reviving Old Leather Pouches, Belts ect.
« on: Dec 20, 2013, 04:37 PM »
Tutorial: Reviving Old Leather Pouches, Belts ect.

I had a friend that is new to costuming come to me the other day with an issue. He had purchased a number of WW2 leather ammo pouches and they were stiff and brittle. By the time he brought them to me, he had already snapped on of the leather straps on one and wanted to know if they could be saved.

Since I haven't seen anything on the forum boards about this, I though I'd share a few tips on how to bring life back into these old pouches.  ;D

Basically what is happening to these pieces is the oils that keep them supple are gone.  Warning signs include stiffening up, cracks or ridges forming along the top layer, and ripping that can leaving a fuzzy end.

So how do we fix this?

Basically we need to re-add oils back into the leather. The steps are simple. Buy a leather oil such as neatsfoot, or a leather conditioner.
Both have different advantages and draw back. But in this case I like to use a product called Lexol Leather Conditioner which comes in a pour bottle or a spray (it's the same stuff). A note about Lexol, which I favor. It can darken the leather a bit.


Where do I get these? 
Neatsfoot can be found in leather shops, some hobby stores ect.  Lexol can be purchase at Walmart, automotive stores and some other department and hardware stores. Look in the automotive care section for seat cleaners.

Step One:
 Take the pouch and carefully open it.

Step Two:
  Coat the outside and inside with a large amount of leather conditioner or Oil.  I use a brush to make sure I can work it into all the cracks and crevices. Pay attention to areas where stitching goes, try to work as much as you can into the holes and around areas which get bent or flex a lot.

Step Three:
  Place the item in a sealed container or tied plastic bag, Ziploc ect.  Leave it there for a day or two.

Step Four:
  Take the item out and carefully flex it. If it still fills stiff, apply another coat and place it back into the container for another few days. Repeat this until it gets to the desired softness.

Step Five:
  Take it out and let it air dry, usually over night. If you are using oil, it needs to dry in a warm spot, and can take several days to fully dry.  A light coat on all of your leather goods, even those in storage, once every six months or so will keep you kit looking good and in trooping shape.


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