This video covers how to care for and perform periodic maintenance and or leather restoration on raw, unfinished, distressed vintage hides. (Do not attempt these techniques on finished or sealed leather). What are the best ways to take care of vintage leather is something that customers have been asking about for years. We hope to answer a lot of questions about leather restoration with this short film.
These procedures are not recommended on finished leather of any kind. Real vintage leather has open pores and will breathe and change in appearance over time.
The leather will lighten in color and can lose softness due to the oils evaporating out. This is a natural process. At the same time, interacting with it, such as where you touch it and where the hide rests on your body, flattens the nap causing it to look dark and shiny. This patina process is one of the things that makes vintage leather so appealing to so many people.
To help maintain softness, prevent long-term damage from weather, extend the life of the hides and prolong the aesthetic appearance, it is recommended that the hides be treated and cared for. If you love your bag as many of our customers do, it just makes sense to take care of it.
If you have owned your vintage product for some time, you may have noticed the color has changed. Or the product is not as soft as it used to be or you're worried about keeping the leather protected from the rain. Maybe the original matte finish is all but a distant memory due to the shine that has developed.
We'll review some of the best ways to restore the hides and ensure maximum life from whatever vintage leather product you own. They have been tested and developed over many years providing leather reservation services on our wonderfully loyal customer's bags, sleeves, cases and folios.
The video covers two techniques, restoring the original matte finish to the hide and restoring the high oil content to the hide. Note that both of the techniques will change the look of your bag. But restoring the oil content will extend the life of the product greatly.
First, let's look at bringing back the matte finish - what we're going to use is a brass wire brush. This type of brush is available any hardware store and is not very inexpensive. As you begin to move the brush across the hide you see what looks like scratches.
What we are doing is lifting the nap of the leather back up. The key here is to go very lightly otherwise you risk micro-tearing the leather and shortening the life of the hide. Though they almost look the same, there is a difference between lifting the nap and tearing into the leather with the brush.
Like any other kind of restoration service, leather restoration does take some skill and knowledge of technique to perform successfully. Go lightly! Work the surface slowly and eventually the matte appearance will return.
Now to restore the oil. The first thing to note is the more oil you add the darker the hide will get. If the leather has not been treated for a while it will absorb an incredible amount of oil. But do realize the hide can become oversaturated: too much oil will cause the oil to transfer on your hands, clothing, tabletops, etc. once you start using the product again.
Start light and add oil slowly. You can always add more once you've seen the outcome and can judge the level of "thirst" of the hide. The process is pretty simple: pour some oil into a tray, small dish or other such container, dip in a sponge and just start wiping lightly over the surface. Again you want to use a light hand vs flooding the hide and then worrying about it being oversaturated. You can use more oil in some places than others adding a custom look.
We found Neetsford Oil works very well and use it when customers return their vintage products to us for leather restoration. It's the same oil many people use to break in baseball gloves when they're new. You can go more lightly on the inside of the bag due to the area not being affected so negatively by the weather.
Once complete, it's best to leave the bag untouched for a few hours to let the oil permeate the hides and to ensure there will be no transfer. In the first few hours after adding the oil, the bag will change how it looks quite a bit. Give the leather time to drink the oil in before deciding whether to add more.
So if you have one of our Premium Leather Sleeves, Flight Jackets, Folios, Leather Shoulder Bags or Leather Briefcases following these simple leather restoration steps can keep your vintage MacCase model looking fresh and protected for many years. If you have any questions or are interested in our leather restoration services, please ask in the comments section. Don't forget to like and subscribe to this new playlist.
What is leather restoration?
Leather restoration is the process of bringing back the natural material to as close to its original tanned, finished state as possible.
What processes are used in leather restoration?
Leather restoration can use a variety of processes depending on the state of the hide, the original finish and the desired goals of the restorer. Re-dying, sanding, re-oiling and deep cleaning are all processed that can all be used to restore leather.
How do I know if my leather items need to be restored?
Cracking, no longer feeling soft to the touch, signs of dryness, discoloration or premature wear are all signals that your hides need some attention.
How can I prevent my leather product from needing to be restored?
General, consistent maintenance consisting of cleaning and conditioning will prevent the hides from experiencing dryness, cracking, discoloration or premature wear.