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How to recondition dried out leather boots

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Sprinter, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I have a very expensive pair of wildland firefighting boots that I used in my volunteer firefighting days. I think they cost about $250 over 20 years ago and are really nice boots.

    Anyway, now after 10 years in city hibernation I want to start using them again, but the leather is dried and the boots a bit stiff. I hope they can be revived but I'm not sure how to properly do it.

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  2. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Neatsfoot oil? It's great for baseball gloves, which are leather.
  3. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    A lot of folks used to to use Snow seal, just get the leather warm (not hot) and rub it in then let its sit where its warm.
  4. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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  5. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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  6. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    I used to do my Redwings with mink oil. I'd use that or neatsfoot to soften them up, then Snow Seal.

    Ehouse
  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the replies. Seems like everyone has a favorite product.

    I see that Obenauf's has a particular following among wildland firefighters so I may try that just because of that connection. It is pretty expensive, especially with shipping, but they sure swear by it and boots get a hell of a beating in that environment, which is why these need help.
  8. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    In the 80s I used to use Snow Seal. I didnt like the fact you had to heat up the shoes to apply it.

    Later on for my mountaineering boots I would use biwell cream that didnt need heat (I think they are out of business now), and then Nikwax products. They make a dedicated leather conditioner and a wax waterproofing/conditioning paste that also applies without heat.

    http://www.rei.com/product/625797/nikwax-liquid-conditioner
    http://www.rei.com/product/788211/nikwax-waterproofing-wax-for-leather

    EDIT: looks like nikwax changed the formula for the worse. Glad I still have old tubes of the original and biwell.
  9. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Good ol' REI. Member since 1971 in Seattle. My card is so old they have to have a supervisor check it;em

    Maybe they changed the nikwax because of Goretex. Beeswax apparently pretty much clogs up the Goretex membrane, so you need to use non-wax stuff for them. Just guessing.

    It's really hard to get objective information from product sites because they try to make all their products wonderful for every conceivable application. And then there's the problem of how the leather was tanned which makes a difference, and whether or not you may ever want a re-sole because they are all glued down, not nailed.

    I'm still confused, actually.
  10. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    olive oil
  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Interesting you say that. I saw one recipe for homemade reconditioner using olive oil and beeswax. I've been suspecting that a lot of these products are not much more than that.
  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Mink oil softens then up pretty good and add some degree of waterproofing. I usually do mine a couple times a year.
  13. festerw

    festerw Member

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    I use Fluid Film on my work boots keeps them soft and provides some water proofing.
  14. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    Hair conditioner. Its used by DIYers all over the net.

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