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Leather conservation

Leather conservation

Many of us have problems with impregnating the leather equipment we bought or crafted ourselves. Every larper should have at least a few leather items in their wardrobe. But do we know how to take care of them?

The most important thing about impregnating any kind of leather is frequency. It’s crucial to not only prepare your gear for an event, but also take care of it after your return, before you once again put it back in your wardrobe. Take some time even during the event to care for your boots, vambraces or a belt. You can do it in-character!

Most means of leather impregnation are widely available and practically all of them have the same composition. The main ingredient is lanolin – an animal-derived product acquired from cleaning a sheep fleece. The next ingredient is most often beeswax. Many products also consist of various solvents, which enable other ingredients to enter more easily into the impregnated leather’s structure.

Currently we can find in the shops such products like: shoe polish, oil for leather, disposable impregnation cloths, any kind of leather balm and impregnation sprays.

Before we start the impregnation process, it’s worth to know what kind of a material we’re about to tend to. Leather is mostly divided into two groups: grain and split. This most fundamental distinction will help us impregnate them properly.

The easiest method to distinguish one leather from another, is by the shine on its surface.

  • A grain leather has a smooth and uniform surface.
  • The split, on the other hand, is either uniform and matt or takes the form of suede.

It’s best to treat every split with any kind of a spray.

For grain leather we should use any of the impregnates mentioned above.

Preparation of the leather for impregnation is a very important step. With minor blemishes we can simply use a wet cloth or a brush with soft bristles. For blemishes such as wax excess (which mixes with dirt and hardens on the leather, creating ugly and greasy stains) it’s the best to use strong alcohol. Leather cleaned in such a way should be best left in room temperature to dry completely. Let’s remember that every time we clean leather in such a way makes it dry and flushes out previous impregnates.

It’s also important not to dry the leather on a heater! Exposing wet leather to a high temperature causes it to shrink and deform.

After we clean and dry leather, we should put an appropriate product on it, according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. The most universal maintenance product in this case is a paste based on lanolin. Impregnation can be repeated a few times since leather is able to absorb a lot of impregnate.

If we take care of our equipment in such a way we can be sure that it will be of use to us on many battlefields!

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