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need advice restoring old leather

630 Views 7 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jay
I've picked up a couple of old leather slings that I'd like to salvage. I'm guessing they're 1940's vintage. They display the expected cracking outside the sling swivel areas, but they are "flaking" pretty heavily on the underside. I'm not sure whether to soak (immerse) them for a while, or try to rub some oil into them. I'm afraid rubbing might tear 'em up worse. Suggestions would be appreciated as to procedure, and type of oil.

Thanks, Jay
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I've had good luck with Saddle Soap &
Neetsfoot oil in years past.

Saddlesoap will clean off the crud.
Then rud in some Neetsfoot oil.

Might check out a local Tack Shop
there may be some better products on the market.Been awhile sence I have needed
any leather clean'in products.
As long as you keep is away from copper/brass, Ballistol is the absolute best leather softener I've ever seen.
I sprayed down a couple of dried out rifle slings that had been in storage for 40+ years and were stiff to the point of cracking.
The Ballistol soaked in and made them supple as new.
I'm told its a pharmaceutical grade paraffin (wax), I just know its a great leather treatment!
Take care,

I use "Mink Oil" which is a product with a wax/paste consistancy. I used it for same thing, old slings!Worked very well...alittle pricey! But obx22 recommedation sounds very good. I think I'll try the Ballistol bacause it will have more than one use.

I have used Ballistol on almost everything. It even stops mould and things eating the leather. I once oiled an old BSA CF2 stock with it with awesome results. It penetrates really good so I had to apply more as it soaked in more.
I tried it on an old leather keyring and it made it soft as and its lasted ages.
It even cleans out powder residue and lubes better than anything I have ever used. eg. I cleaned my .270 until it every patch was comming out clean, then put some Ballistol in to protect it and when i pulled a patch trough the next day it was black as.
Bla bla bla. Its some really good stuff, good on cuts and that aswell.
I cleaned a 40-y-o Case XX sheath the other day with the 2-part Lexol leather cleaner and conditioner I use on my car seats.

This sheath has been in my tackle box or bag(a knapsack) for ever and ever and has never been cleaned before. It's for a 6-inch hunting knife that I use for heavy cutting and hacking jobs. It was a nasty mess with white mildew on it from being put up wet once too often.

Now it's a beautiful and supple black again and doesn't look like baked cardboard anymore.

That's my only experience. Lexol is about $5 for each small bottle, but it doesn't take much.

I've had great results with a number of products over the past 40 odd years. Used to be all you could find was Neatsfoot oil, and it still works too. But today we have other options. Check out the attached link for some very good alternatives. I am particularly fond of Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator.

Gents, thanks for all the suggestions. Proving again, this board is quite a valuable source of information.

Regards, Jay
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