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Old 03-06-2017, 09:37 AM
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Default Leather Oils

Is there something special about treatments sold by holster makers? Is there some reason not to use a regular household leather treatment to maintain my belts and holsters. My wife has some Weiman Leather cleaner and polisher I had in mind but I would guess any commercially sold treatment would work. Should I order a special holster treatment?
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Old 03-06-2017, 10:25 AM
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I don't know what guys like Lob gun leather use, but would be curious and pay attention if he did recomeend one.

I use and like Obenauf's Leather Oil on my holsters, sheaths, belts and boots.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:04 AM
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I generally recommend against the use of any oily or greasy leather treatment for holster maintenance. This is because these products can soften leather and make it supple or limp, overcoming the forming processes and making the holster essentially useless for the intended purpose.

If a holster becomes soiled a dampened cloth or sponge can be used to clean off the soiling. Surface scratches or abrasions can be touched up with a bit of leather dye in appropriate shading. Verdigris (that unsightly greenish stuff that can build up around brass or copper hardware) can be removed with a bit of club soda on a rag, or with a soft toothbrush. For routine maintenance I suggest an occasional light application of neutral shoe polish (Johnsons Paste Wax may be substituted) on exterior surfaces, buffed off with a soft cloth.
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:44 AM
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There are many that recommend " Ballistol " . It was developed by the German gov't during WW I to protect not only the metal surfaces on a rifle but the leather goods as well ( slings , boots , holsters etc) . I have used it a few times but that is not to be taken as an endorsement . Just saying I have tried it .
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Old 03-06-2017, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
I generally recommend against the use of any oily or greasy leather treatment for holster maintenance. This is because these products can soften leather and make it supple or limp, overcoming the forming processes and making the holster essentially useless for the intended purpose.

If a holster becomes soiled a dampened cloth or sponge can be used to clean off the soiling. Surface scratches or abrasions can be touched up with a bit of leather dye in appropriate shading. Verdigris (that unsightly greenish stuff that can build up around brass or copper hardware) can be removed with a bit of club soda on a rag, or with a soft toothbrush. For routine maintenance I suggest an occasional light application of neutral shoe polish (Johnsons Paste Wax may be substituted) on exterior surfaces, buffed off with a soft cloth.
On my BEFORE AND AFTER thread wheelgun610 said:
"I've had good luck using rubbing alcohol on a few older
holsters that felt oily". Have you tried that Ray? (or anyone
else)? Any other tips how to treat a holster that the
owner oiled? I agree that leather should not be oiled, but
sometimes I get one that has been oiled and would like to
know the best way to reverse the damage, if possible.
I enjoy buying "distressed" holsters on that famous auction
site and rehabbing them. Haven't made a lot of money,
but have learned a lot, and had fun.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:26 PM
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Mitch Rosen, unsurprisingly, agrees with Lobo: Stay away from oils or leather softners of any kind. Stiffness a good thing in a holster. Use shoe polish if you need a touch up.
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Old 03-06-2017, 12:31 PM
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The only thing I have used is Blackrock,which is a leather cleaner/treatment. Used like shoe polish maybe every 4-5 years when needed.
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:23 PM
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I keep Renaissance Wax on hand for preserving metal and wood on firearms. I also use it to polish and preserve leather. It is non-penetrating, non-softening, not slippery, and highly water repellant. Renaissance Wax is highly purified carnauba, the main ingredient in Johnson Wax and Simonize Car Wax, without the yellow and stink. Applied with the fingers, a little goes a long way.
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:45 PM
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I also like Blackrock Leather 'n' Rich. The active ingredient in it is
also carnauba. But I would like to know the best way to rehab a
holster that has been oiled, if there is a way. As mentioned above,
wheelgun610 has had some success using rubbing alcohol. Any
opinions on that? Any other suggestions?
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy4evr View Post
There are many that recommend " Ballistol " . It was developed by the German gov't during WW I to protect not only the metal surfaces on a rifle but the leather goods as well ( slings , boots , holsters etc) . I have used it a few times but that is not to be taken as an endorsement . Just saying I have tried it .
I use it in a needle oiler for just the snaps to remove the verdigris and put a barrier film around the metal that either keeps it from reforming or greatly slows it down (I use it sparingly... just enough to wick under the edges of the snaps).

I use Renaissance wax for the rest of the holster.

Ren wax is not made from Carnauba wax, which is acidic, and why premium car waxes made from Carnauba is touted as being "PH balanced". Renn wax is made from micro-crystalline waxes refined from crude oil.

Page 3 of this document has an interesting narrative:

http://www.conservation-by-design.co...ta%20Sheet.pdf
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunhacker;
Ren wax is not made from Carnauba wax, which is acidic, and why premium car waxes made from Carnauba is touted as being "PH balanced". Renn wax is made from micro-crystalline waxes refined from crude oil.

Page 3 of this document has an interesting narrative:

[url
http://www.conservation-by-design.com/pdf/datasheets/Renaissance%20Wax%20Safety%20Data%20Sheet.pdf[/url]
Thanks for that 'Link'. It is absolutely amazing to me as to the store of knowledge that the members of this forum have to contribute. It is one of my goals to learn something new to me every day. The contributions of the members to ongoing discussions almost always provide that daily 'new' bon mot of info. Thanks Gunhacker and thanks to the rest of you contributors. ......
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Old 03-06-2017, 02:47 PM
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Great info on Ren wax, Gunhacker. Thanks for the link!

I was interested to see that ren wax, when applied properly -- i.e., very thin -- is price competitive with more readily available commercial waxes. I would not have guessed that.

(I am also now thinking to use some on my black marble/onyx fireplace hearth.)
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Old 03-06-2017, 03:21 PM
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That will make it "pop"... I use it on polished marble and granite.

My wife has been trying to get me to use it on myself to preserve and protect from further oxidation, if it only worked that way.... it might, it works for leather goods
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:18 PM
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Like I have said before, one coat of Blackrock and second coat of Ren Wax works the best of anything I've tried.........................................M*
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Old 03-06-2017, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoboGunLeather View Post
I generally recommend against the use of any oily or greasy leather treatment for holster maintenance. This is because these products can soften leather and make it supple or limp, overcoming the forming processes and making the holster essentially useless for the intended purpose.

If a holster becomes soiled a dampened cloth or sponge can be used to clean off the soiling. Surface scratches or abrasions can be touched up with a bit of leather dye in appropriate shading. Verdigris (that unsightly greenish stuff that can build up around brass or copper hardware) can be removed with a bit of club soda on a rag, or with a soft toothbrush. For routine maintenance I suggest an occasional light application of neutral shoe polish (Johnsons Paste Wax may be substituted) on exterior surfaces, buffed off with a soft cloth.
SPOT ON!
As a guy who builds holsters as kind of a hobby business, you should NEVER use an oil or other softening agent on a holster, especially a CCW rig.
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Old 03-06-2017, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Workman View Post
SPOT ON!
As a guy who builds holsters as kind of a hobby business, you should NEVER use an oil or other softening agent on a holster, especially a CCW rig.
Well, gee, Dave, that's going to disappoint the heck out of Bianchi, Galco, et. al, who use neatsfoot oil to achieve their tan colour! For like 50 years. And the vintage ones are bought and old every day on eBay, so they obviously hold up well. Lawrence, and Heiser, too, used neatsfoot oil for colour (and weather protection); ditto on the eBay. Tanners (I'm thinking specifically of Fred Hermann in his day) tell me that the oil strengthens the interlocking fibres, too.

I had a local leather supply here, tell me that in Oz no one EVER uses neatsfoot oil on their saddlery nor will they restitch anything that has been oiled; then stopped in at one of their local customers (a local saddlery) and watched them pouring neatsfoot oil over their saddles. These tales have a habit of having a life of their own but have to be scrutinised often.

That beautiful Bianchi X15 on the recent thread (titled Bianchi X15) was coloured with neatsfoot oil; maybe even by me. And it's 40 years old. I have Heiser's that are a hundred y/o.
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Old 03-06-2017, 08:28 PM
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Dave from Diamond D Custom Leather (makers of my guides choice holster) recommends a very lightly damp sponge with just a few drops of olive oil on the sponge. Just lightly wipe the outside of the gear with the sponge. A little goes a long way. I also like Ren wax

How to treat your leather holster.wmv - YouTube
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Old 03-06-2017, 09:11 PM
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I have used neatsfoot oil on old high back saddles and 100+ year old chaps which were dry and cracked. All were helped to become supply again. I also applied neatsfoot to some old U.S. GI holsters with good results. Best applied on a hot day and brush on lots of oil.
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
Well, gee, Dave, that's going to disappoint the heck out of Bianchi, Galco, et. al, who use neatsfoot oil to achieve their tan colour! For like 50 years. And the vintage ones are bought and old every day on eBay, so they obviously hold up well. Lawrence, and Heiser, too, used neatsfoot oil for colour (and weather protection); ditto on the eBay. Tanners (I'm thinking specifically of Fred Hermann in his day) tell me that the oil strengthens the interlocking fibres, too.

I had a local leather supply here, tell me that in Oz no one EVER uses neatsfoot oil on their saddlery nor will they restitch anything that has been oiled; then stopped in at one of their local customers (a local saddlery) and watched them pouring neatsfoot oil over their saddles. These tales have a habit of having a life of their own but have to be scrutinised often.

That beautiful Bianchi X15 on the recent thread (titled Bianchi X15) was coloured with neatsfoot oil; maybe even by me. And it's 40 years old. I have Heiser's that are a hundred y/o.
Red, My friend, Eddie Bacon, kept a few gallons of neatsfoot around when he made or repaired a saddle.
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:03 AM
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Years ago, when I was at Fort Huachuca, the historic cavalry unit there used original leather gear.
It was in amazing condition.
When I asked what they used, the answer was Lexol.
Now, Ballistol works just fine for my leather goods.
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Old 03-07-2017, 03:25 AM
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Bruce Nelson recommended Tandy Super Sheen on his products, nothing else. He said oils and soaps would soften the leather. It is available on Amazon.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:39 AM
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I'm hearing two different types of leather goods being treated here.
I'm not a pro but would think the treatments will be different for chaps, boots etc. as opposed to a holster, which needs to maintain its shape and boning to retain the firearm.
Leather that I'm wearing I would prefer to be soft and supple, but not my holsters.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:30 AM
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Thank you all for the advice. Ton of info here.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:52 AM
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From Galco:

Galco’s saddle leather and premium horsehide holsters, belts, and accessories will need minimal care and maintenance throughout their service life.

Our saddle leather products are made from natural steer hides that are range bred and grown. Therefore there may be natural range markings in the grain of the saddle leather. This is normal for top grain steer hide, and adds to the beauty and character of your Galco leather product. These same natural range markings will appear in our genuine horsehide.

By following the instructions below, you will add to the service life of your Galco product.

DO

Regularly clean your leather product with Galco Leather Lotion or use a hard bar glycerin soap. Work soap and a small amount of water into a lather and apply to the surface of the leather, rub in and wipe off with a soft cloth. Galco Leather Lotion will replace the natural oils of the leather. Do not use additional oils such as Neats Foot or Mink oil, as they will soften the leather too much.

Holsters that come in contact with body perspiration on a regular basis may need to be treated as outlined above as often as once a month, to slow the natural breakdown of the leather fibers.

Dry the leather naturally – do not use any type of artificial heat.

DON’T

Do not submerge or saturate your leather product in water or any other liquid. Do not dry your leather product with heat from a hair dryer, oven, radiator, direct sunlight, etc.

Do not use oils such as Neats Foot or Mink oil, as they will saturate and soften the leather too much.

Do not leave your leather product on the dashboard of your car in summer, or leave it otherwise exposed to the elements.

The above care and maintenance instructions cannot substitute for your good common sense. Following our recommended care and maintenance tips, along with common sense, will allow you to get the maximum service life from your Galco leather products.
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Old 03-07-2017, 09:56 AM
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I've found from experience that rubbing alcohol destroys holsters. It may be ok if used very sparingly to remove a small ink or marker-penned prior owner's name on the back of holster or something like that, but it will completely strip top coat and damage the leather itself, turning it into brittle crumbly cardboard-like material if the top coat is thin or non-existent. The problem is it works too well, stripping not only oils added to the leather but also the natural oils/fats present deep in the fibers. I would advise against using it to try to de-oil an entire holster.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
On my BEFORE AND AFTER thread wheelgun610 said:
"I've had good luck using rubbing alcohol on a few older
holsters that felt oily". Have you tried that Ray? (or anyone
else)? Any other tips how to treat a holster that the
owner oiled? I agree that leather should not be oiled, but
sometimes I get one that has been oiled and would like to
know the best way to reverse the damage, if possible.
I enjoy buying "distressed" holsters on that famous auction
site and rehabbing them. Haven't made a lot of money,
but have learned a lot, and had fun.
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Old 03-07-2017, 04:57 PM
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I think that this is a great thread and there is lots of accurate information here -- if one can just pick it from what's 'kinda true'. Personally I almost never use, for example, neatsfoot oil. Yet it's an industry standard so no reason to be afraid of it; but neither is it really appropriate to use on a finished holster.

When reviewing a company recommend, from Bruce's tiny operation to Galco's large one, you all need to consider that makers have an agenda. Always. Examples: with neatsfoot oil, they just don't want you creating a warranty claim by overtreating the holster and making it soggy; with tight holsters, they just don't know how to prevent it and don't want you bogging down their phone lines complaining about it.

So, as a preventive measure, they tell you what they want you to know. And I know this, because the warranty department was one of my many responsibilities at Bianchi for decades. We didn't ever use that b.s. instruction to 'put your pistol in a plastic bag and leave it in the holster overnight'. Do the same without the bag and you'll get exactly the same result: it's not the bag!

It is completely true that a completed holster with 'normal' use needs no treatment -- at all. I have Heisers that are 100 years old in my collection (that were made with neatsfoot oil treatment, by the way). But when the cosmetics of your holster are threatened by actually using that bad boy, then the advice to use a clear wax (OMG, coloured shoe wax will rub off on your clothes) is workable.

Personally I use Fiebing's Tan Kote which has the disadvantage of needing a bit of skill to apply it, and it darkens a brown leather somewhat. Better is Fiebing's Harness Dressing, though it takes a bit more skill to apply -- but it doesn't darken the leather. HD is what was in the Bianchi leather dressing bottles back when it was a real holster company made in America.
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Old 03-07-2017, 05:05 PM
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That's like asking what motor oil does one recommend. You'll get a thousand opinions.
That said, you'll never go wrong when treating leather with either neets foot oil or plain old fashioned pure lanolin.
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:19 PM
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Lexol is what I use on leather. Back in the day of leather duty gear I always used black shoe polish (paste kind - not liguid) on my Sam Brown belt holster,drop pouch,handcuff case,etc. Keep it supple and nice looking. Properly buffed it never came off on uniform. Inspection on Saturdays of daylight shift (once a month) you better be looking sharp. (That was 40 years ago!)

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Old 03-07-2017, 08:07 PM
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Quote:
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....
Now, Ballistol works just fine for my leather goods.
Ah, yes. That good ol' wet dog smell! Takes me back to rainy days of my youth.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:25 PM
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There are a lot of good comments on here. For holsters we advise the good ol shoe polish for touch up and a little saddle soap on a damp not wet rag.
Be extremely careful with rubbing alcohol this can screw up the finish and color that on many leather goods
There are many types of leather tanning processes out there and each has a purpose with different care needs, saddles need more oil to penetrate the depth of the leather and keep them soft and usable where holsters need to maintain their stiffness to securely hold the weapon but boots can have mink oil (silicone base) to help waterproof them but never use mink oil on saddle tack as it will cause dry rot . In short different leather goods require different care needs.
Some oils are good but too much will damage goods
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:46 PM
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I have a pair of alligator loafers. Real, not faux. Not cheap.
Kind of a chestnut color. Accidentally got a drop of white paint
on them. Used fingernail polish remover to take the paint off.
Not very smart. Took the chestnut color off too. Now I have
a bare spot about an inch square. We have to be careful about
what we are using. Same applies to holsters.
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Old 03-21-2017, 04:57 PM
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Learned years ago to never oil a leather holster...a good polish now and then or clean with saddle soap prior to polish. The leather treatments and oils will soak into the leather and over time will cause the leather to loose it's shape and contours and retention ability....I learned the hard way by ruining a 165.00 Milt Sparks OWB holster for my Glock.............

Don't try this at home.........................................................
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:41 AM
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The ONLY thing that I EVER use on leather Holsters is Kiwi Shoe Polish once every few years. I would NEVER use Oils, Soaps, Treatments, Softeners, etc. as they will soften the Leather, ruin their retention qualities and shorten their longevity as a useful holster. The shoe polish serves to make the Holster look better once again and add a layer of some sort for some level of protection - but mostly cosmetic. Most importantly it does NOT soften the leather.
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Old 03-25-2017, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyphil View Post
I have a pair of alligator loafers. Real, not faux. Not cheap.
Kind of a chestnut color. Accidentally got a drop of white paint
on them. Used fingernail polish remover to take the paint off.
Not very smart. Took the chestnut color off too. Now I have
a bare spot about an inch square. We have to be careful about
what we are using. Same applies to holsters.
Finger nail polish remover contains acetone, which will remove paint, and just about anything else. It's also highly flammable.
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Old 04-07-2017, 10:35 PM
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Thanks to all of the guys who posted here for sharing their wisdom and experience. Personally, although I am certainly not an expert, and didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn last night, I have always used nothing more than a light coat of clear Kiwi shoe polish, (I used clear because it went with any color) lightly brushed and then polished with a soft cloth....once every several years. I have some very old holsters that I have worn (some have been posted elsewhere on the forum) and they have all held up well.

I also have experimented with Lexol, because it seemed to work well on the seats in my car, but never really used it very much, and don't really have much of an opinion about it.

But... I just learned about Blackrock this week, and am going to experiment with it a little.

As Big Cholla says above, the forum is a wonderful place where we all share our knowlege, and the sum total of knowlege here is extraordinary!!

Best Regards, Les
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Old 04-12-2017, 12:46 PM
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Boots: Obenauf's LP or oil
Ancient, dried out holsters: same

New or good condition holsters: clear shoe polish as Lobo suggests. YMMV.

I avoid Armorall type products and even the old-timer's favorite: neatsfoot oil. Neatsfoot can get rancid; too many superior modern treatments to use something made from cattle hooves! Again, just my opinion.
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