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Hello!

The leather frog on my Japanese bayonet is really starting to dry out. What's the best way to bring the leather back to life and properly preserve it?

Thanks,

Mike
 

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I have read and been told that "Pecard's" leather dressing is the stuff to use. I moisturizes the leather and protects it. Some museums use it as well, or so I am told.

I am sure there are many other products out there and I am sure that others will chime in.

I have used Pecard's and I find that it works great and have had no problems using it.

BTW... don't use petroleum based products as it is suppose to break down the leather.

Just my 2 cents.
 

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Most leather treatments will permanately darken the leather & in my opinion ruin it's original appearance. Piccards is the worst offender. It will really darken your leather!
 

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Darkening leather is really not a criminal offence, but it should be a consideration depending on how you want your leather item to turn out.
There are many ways to "skin a cat" when it comes to leather treatment, and I can't say that any out there really do damage.

Your frog I would classify as a heavy leather, vs a light leather that might be in a bomber jacket.
Heavy leathers, be it harnesses and saddles ect. need deep treatments to do more than just treat the surface.
On new reproduction leather, be it a frog or a sling to go on your 03-A3 I actually soak then in Neetsfoot oil overnight, let them hang to dry and then wipe off the excess for quite a period of time.

Sometimes darkening might be the desired effect, and any treatment should be tested before a full blown treatment is tried.
The 2 repro frogs shown were the same light color, but with differant treatments came out differant shades. (now if I could only figure out how to antique the shiney buckles) LOL

According to Rawhide Johnson who works with the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, WYO, he said to use several treatments of a good grade of olive oil and then after a day or so of drying, top off with a light coat of Saddle Soap "glyserene" to add the shene so that dust does not adhere.

Neetsfoot oil is okay but is said to rot stitches, although Rawhide has said he has never seen it happen. Neetsfoot oil also remains oily and attracts dust.
 

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Pecards antique leather dressing, is the only stuff to use...we covered this before ...
 

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Neetsfoot oil is okay but is said to rot stitches,
This has been discussed frequently on other forums. The bottom line seems to be that traditional Neatsfoot oil made from animal hoofs does not rot stitching, but most modern Neatsfoot oils are synthetic or partially synthetic, and these can rot not synthetic stitching. So on old items it is best not to use it.

The product frequently recommended in the UK is Ko-Cho-Line leather dressing, made by Quay Equestrian Limited under license from Carr & Day & Martin.
 

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I sit as a trustee for the Idaho Heritage Trust Foundation and get to rub elbows with the best in the business in the pacific northwest.
Joe Toluse is the curator for the Idaho State Museum and he is very minimalistic, a vacum and a light brush is about all he will ever use. Of course everything he does is for the museum so artifacts sit on display.

Rawhide Johnson is one of the 2 top restorers of wagons and stagecoaches in the west, so he works with very old leather along with new leather that he will treat and color appropiatly to match the job.
The leathers that he works with, will actually "go to work" and not sit around.
He states that he does not have any neatsfoot oil in the shop.

I have just used neatsfoot oil out of bad habit and I can say that items remain in good condition over a period of years, but will remain oily.

Sorry that I did not fall into "lock step" with the Pecard's recomendation.
The gentleman asked for educated ideas, which I offered.
 

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I've only used Pecard's on two pieces of leather that were really "dry", both already very, very dark - near black, so I didn't really notice a change in color, but it did seem to make the material more supple and flexible, which i guess is supposed to be one of the positive results. I do have a frog that I'd like to treat, but it is lighter in color, so maybe I'll hold off on the Pecard's for that one...
 

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I really do not know about all the fancy leather preservative products out there, but having horses all my life, you take care of a lot of tack, we have always used a good saddle soap and then neatsfoots while the leather is still not quite dry. This put the moisture and oil back into the leather. Doing this you can make a saddle outlive the horse.

You have to clean the leather, get the dirt out, to open the pores back up so the moisture and oil can penetrate. Do not know where the previous glycerin comment came from but I used to use that to cure skins, sucks the fat out of a hide, pretty much the opposite of what you want to do on tanned leather.

Once uncared for leather gets to a certain point it's done, you can not restore it, saddle soap, oil what ever just makes it worse and the leather tears.
 

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What is a good method for the actual cleaning step for leather?
Well I use Fiebings on tack, they make saddle soap, oil, wax ect. no residue. You can get from Jeffersequine or go to the closet feed store.

The closest feed store to my place in California is in a town about ten miles away, any closer than that to the city and you enter what everyone on this forum calls the PRK or Commiefornia, try never to go there.
 

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What is a good method for the actual cleaning step for leather?
To clean the leather - depending on the leather and the heaviness thereof, I use a light brush and compressed air.
Now, of course the courseness of the brush depends on the leather and also the psi on the compressed air, you do not want to leave any marks or do any damage.
And to do a lighter job, a vacum cleaner with a brush out on the end of the hose is another good idea.
If there is some kind of residue on the leather, you have to take that on a case by case basis. I always use a old terry cloth towel to wipe down my slings ect.
 

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The closest feed store to my place in California is in a town about ten miles away, any closer than that to the city and you enter what everyone on this forum calls the PRK or Commiefornia, try never to go there.
Well, I'm lucky - we've got a pretty large feed store pretty close to me right in San Jose, and I think there is still an "equine outlet" in the next town over too. One of my coworkers is a horse guy, I'll ask him where to go!! Thanks for that advice, and thanks to Tom too for that advice.
 
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