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Old 09-21-2018, 05:38 PM
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Default Holster restoration

I just picked up this great looking S.D. Myres floral carved holster to go with my engraved Chiefs Special. What is the best way to clean/restore/soften it? Is it something I can do myself and have it turn out looking good, or should I defer to someone that restores leather professionally? Can anyone tell from looking at it, itís likely vintage? Will cleaning/restoration destroy any collector value? And how collectible is it?
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:15 PM
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I have no information to share on leather restoration - sorry. What I DO have is great big congratulations on one of the coolest looking old time rigs I've ever seen. Gun and holster make my palms sweaty.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:57 PM
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Step 1: Warm (not hot) water with a bit of dish soap, soft cloth (old towel or wash cloth) dipped into the soapy water and wiped over the exposed portions of the holster, followed by clear clean water wiped over to remove grime and soapy residue.

Step 2: Allow to air-dry completely (12 to 24 hours, depending on climate conditions).

Step 3: Touch up dye in worn areas using Fiebings oil dye (try Tandy's or other leather craft dealers, available in 4-oz. bottles for minimal price).

Step 4: Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 5: Soft cloth with just a touch of neutral shoe polish, rubbing it in with very thin applications, then buff off with a soft cloth (old towel works well). Just enough wax to restore the exterior finish and provide some protection against abrasion.

Should look as good as it will ever look. Avoid oils or greasy products, and don't worry about it being dry or stiff (much better than being soft and useless for the purpose).
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Old 09-21-2018, 09:41 PM
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Step 1: Warm (not hot) water with a bit of dish soap, soft cloth (old towel or wash cloth) dipped into the soapy water and wiped over the exposed portions of the holster, followed by clear clean water wiped over to remove grime and soapy residue.

Step 2: Allow to air-dry completely (12 to 24 hours, depending on climate conditions).

Step 3: Touch up dye in worn areas using Fiebings oil dye (try Tandy's or other leather craft dealers, available in 4-oz. bottles for minimal price).

Step 4: Allow to dry thoroughly.

Step 5: Soft cloth with just a touch of neutral shoe polish, rubbing it in with very thin applications, then buff off with a soft cloth (old towel works well). Just enough wax to restore the exterior finish and provide some protection against abrasion.

Should look as good as it will ever look. Avoid oils or greasy products, and don't worry about it being dry or stiff (much better than being soft and useless for the purpose).
Of course all excellent. To it, I would add that I use Fiebing's Tan Kote (Tandy, in quite small bottles, I buy the huge one) instead of the wax that Ray suggests. Rub it into the leather with a bit of shearling (not 'wipe onto' but 'rub into'), it has a kind of lacquer inside it that dries to a very modest gloss; yet the treatment adds a kind of richness that my customers quite like.

It does a bit'o'cleaning on its own.
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Old 09-22-2018, 01:22 AM
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Both Ray and Red have forgot more than I will ever know about leather,
but I will add just a couple of more specifications:
Not just any dishwasher soap. Use Dawn. It is what they use to clean
the oil off the birds when there is an oil spill. Powerful but gentle.
Instead of the neutral polish I would massage Black Rock Leather N Rich
into the holster as a conditioner. Then after throroughly dry, I would use
the Fiebing's Tan Kote for a nice shine. I was watching that holster and
came close to buying it. Glad it found a good home.
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Old 09-22-2018, 12:39 PM
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Thanks for the great ideas and for sharing your expertise. In only four posts, I’ve gotten the benefit of over a hundred years of experience in leather. This forum is great! I can’t wait to see what it looks like when I’m finished and I’ll be sure to post pics of the gun and the holster together.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:00 PM
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Here it is after a good scrubbing with dish detergent and a soft cloth. I put my SP-101(because itís stainless) in a plastic bag and stuck it in the holster. I needed to re-bone it slightly since it had been pressed flat as a pancake.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:10 PM
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Lookin good. Much, much better. Good work.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:25 PM
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Lookin good. Much, much better. Good work.
Thanks

Iím going to be out of town working in Miami for the next couple of days, so it will have plenty of time to dry thoroughly. I also located a Tandy store just a few miles from where Iíll be working, so Iíll go pay them a visit during lunch tomorrow. Would they also have the shearling? I had to google that to find out it was the tanned skin of a newly shorn sheep. Sheepskin with just a bit of wool fuzz might be an accurate description, I suppose.
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Old 09-23-2018, 03:34 PM
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Our local Tandy has Shearling, so yours probably will also.
The Fiebings Tan Coat comes in little 4 oz. bottles for about $8.
They may also have Black Rock Leather 'N Rich. About $10.
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Old 09-23-2018, 10:06 PM
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I had been eyeing that one myself, for a DS. Glad to see a "family member" snagg3d and cleaned it up !
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Old 09-28-2018, 10:52 PM
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I picked up the oil dye and tan kote from Tandy on Tuesday. They didnít carry the Blackrock leather n rich, so I ordered from Amazon. Went home Tuesday night and put two coats of black oil dye on it, one when I got home and another early on Wednesday morning before I left for work. Then it was back to Miami for two more days. The leather n rich was waiting for me when I got home tonight, so I slathered on a nice thick coat and massaged it in for a few minutes. How long should I leave the leather n rich on? Should I wipe it down before reapplying, or just put more on and wipe it down good just once in the end? Should I let it ďdryĒ or ďcureĒ for any length of time before I apply the tan kote?
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Old 09-28-2018, 11:13 PM
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I picked up the oil dye and tan kote from Tandy on Tuesday. They didnít carry the Blackrock leather n rich, so I ordered from Amazon. Went home Tuesday night and put two coats of black oil dye on it, one when I got home and another early on Wednesday morning before I left for work. Then it was back to Miami for two more days. The leather n rich was waiting for me when I got home tonight, so I slathered on a nice thick coat and massaged it in for a few minutes. How long should I leave the leather n rich on? Should I wipe it down before reapplying, or just put more on and wipe it down good just once in the end? Should I let it ďdryĒ or ďcureĒ for any length of time before I apply the tan kote?
I do believe you're best not to use the Tan Kote over the 'slathering'. It's a stand-alone finish that would have gone over the dyed surface instead of the Black Rock. Hopefully (I've no experience with the Black Rock) what you've done will finish the job completely :-).
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Old 09-29-2018, 01:44 AM
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After applying the Black Rock I wipe off all the excess with the soft cloth
and then let it get completely dry. When its dry you can shine it with your
shoe brush. Then wiping on a little Tan Kote just gives it a little better
shine. That is what I did to old stinky and it looks pretty good.
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Old 09-29-2018, 10:31 AM
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Of course all excellent. To it, I would add that I use Fiebing's Tan Kote (Tandy, in quite small bottles, I buy the huge one) instead of the wax that Ray suggests. Rub it into the leather with a bit of shearling (not 'wipe onto' but 'rub into'), it has a kind of lacquer inside it that dries to a very modest gloss; yet the treatment adds a kind of richness that my customers quite like.

It does a bit'o'cleaning on its own.
Red Nichols is right, as usual. Fiebings Tan Kote, or the similar Bag Kote, are very good products. The primary reason I have always recommended neutral shoe polish is because it is readily available just about anywhere, whereas there is not a Tandy store near everyone, and not every Tandy store will have the small bottles of the Fiebings products suitable for occasional use by hobbyists.

Coincidentally, just about a week ago I cleaned up a couple of my wife's leather handbags using the Fiebings product, which I keep a bottle of handy.
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Old 09-29-2018, 07:56 PM
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I wiped off the excess leather n rich after letting it get well absorbed. Left it in the safe for about 18 hours (38-40%RH and 80 deg.), then gave it a good rubbing with tan kote. I let that sit awhile, then wiped off the excess again and put it out in the sun for a few hours, turning it every so often. Then I brushed it well with a Kiwi horsehair brush. And here is the finished product.
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Old 09-29-2018, 08:34 PM
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They don't get much more beautiful than that. Good job.
I get a lot of enjoyment from making silk purses out of sows ears.
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