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  #1  
Old 10-01-2007, 09:23 AM
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Hopefully some of our leather experts here on the forum can help here...

Which is a better product to use on holster leather... Lexol, Pecards or Blackrock Leather Dressing?

I've read that you should stay away from neats foot oil as it tends to weaken the leather fibers.

I've used Pecards and Lexol in the past and just wonder if there might be something better to use. The Pecards seems to do a better job than the Lexol (water based?).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:23 AM
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Hopefully some of our leather experts here on the forum can help here...

Which is a better product to use on holster leather... Lexol, Pecards or Blackrock Leather Dressing?

I've read that you should stay away from neats foot oil as it tends to weaken the leather fibers.

I've used Pecards and Lexol in the past and just wonder if there might be something better to use. The Pecards seems to do a better job than the Lexol (water based?).

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:14 PM
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Ive had good results with most leather treatments on old military slings and holsters. Clean first using saddle soap with a soft cloth, then let dry and then use a good preservative based leather treatment.
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:59 PM
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What are you trying to do with the leather? I'm not trying to be difficult, there are different products and methods depending on what the problem is.
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:11 PM
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Good point, you're right!

I guess it really does depend on the condition and age of the holster... I've had some 50 to 60 year old ones that were in very good shape just needs a little conditioning.

Others where the outer finish was abraided and scuffed off.. I don't think there's any way to put a new "finish" on it once it's gone.

Light colored tan holsters with slight scratches and rubs can almost disapper with a little Pecard rubbed into the surface.

I've never tried "Blackrock" before and wondered if it's any better than Pecards?
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:24 PM
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Ok...lets run through a few things.
Generally good healthy leather=Proper color leather polish (wax) will seal the pores and offer a little bit of nutrients to the leather.
Dirty dried out leather=Saddle soap, a light wipe of neatsfoot oil and then wax.
Clean dried out leather=light wipe with neatsfoot oil and wax.
Scuffed up dingy leather=Strip old finish with rubbing alcohol, and re dye it with appropriate color dye, light coat of neatsfoot oil and reseal it with Fiebing's Saddle Lac Spray. Polish as usual.
Neatsfoot oil WILL soften leather, but, its necessity if it gets dried out, soaked in water and dried or sits out in the sun alot. You don't need much. Warm the leather by leaving it the sun for awhile and then wipe on a light coat and let it soak in.

You will be needing this link is you wanna get serious about leather : http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/
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Old 10-01-2007, 09:37 PM
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Thanks Decon & Sgt127 !

I'll check out the link.. There used to be a Tandy Leather store locally, I'll see what they have.

I've got a couple holsters now that probably could use a good cleaning and conditioning.
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:44 PM
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Linda;
There are at least two or more (definitely more ) different views concerning the conservation of leather objects. In particular holsters and other militaria.

Saddlers traditionally oil harness and other leather tack that are exposed to weather, as a preservative. It was once quite common to see "Eureka" oilers in a harness shop. This was a commercially made galvanized tank with a large basket attached to a line on a pulley. The tack was dipped in the oil and left to drip in the basket. The preparations used would vary from commercial harness oils to homemade preparations, usually, based with PURE Neatsfoot oil, not Neatsfoot COMPOUND. The latter contains petroleum distillates.

Really dried out and cracking leather is usually beyond help. Antique leather objects found in that condition are best treated with Pecards. Oils will promote further deterioration over time. Serious cavalry enthusiasts I've spoken with, some of them chemists, have offered these same opinions regarding the museum preservation of military saddles, tack and other leather accoutrements. They offer a very sound perspective from a technical standpoint, which I am not remotely qualified to refute. The Society of The Military Horse website has archival threads concerning this and might be worth a visit.

On the other hand, my experience has been that conservative use of any quality conditioning preparation on leather that is not dried out or cracking/crazing will help to extend it's service life.

Here's "before and after" photos of a McClellan Model of 1904 I restored.





As for holsters. I believe field or service gear (military/sporting) can be preserved or conditioned much the same way. Leather that is destined to receive substantial exposure to the elements or rough field condition benefit from conditioning, as a preventitive measure. Repeated wet and dry cycles, and extended exposure to sun weaken the elasticity and suppleness of leather. Tallows and waxes, called "liquors" absorbed during the tanning process by drum immersion are lost through exposure to the elements. The cell fibers breakdown or deteriorate to a dry rot state. When this has happened, it's usually too late to restore. Preservation is another issue and in my opinion only speaks to stabilizing the objects present condition without alteration in order to prevent further deterioration. Old military or similar type holsters can benefit from some modest attention. But I'd be conservative with any oil. A preparation called "British Museum Wax" (or paste) is touted as one of the best and most expensive preservation compounds, but I've no experience with it. Pecards is a good choice after gentle cleaning of any soiled object and is available from many retailers. Glycerin soap in most cases will gently remove old surface wax and soiling. In some cases it will soften brittle leather but may over soften if used excessively. Horseman's One Step is another cleaner and conditioner that works well. Murphys oil soap, which I (and an awful lot of horse people) use on very dirty tack or saddles before conditioning will deglaze the topcoat to a dull finish. Application of good quality harness oil followed by Feibings Bag Kote (the traditional sealer and finish used by saddlers) will restore the finish. It is water based and contains no petroleum distillates. I hope this is useful.
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Old 10-02-2007, 03:54 AM
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Linda there has been some great info posted above but I don't think any one spoke to Blackrock. I was advised to use it by a collector of fine old west rigs (the real expensive ones). It has worked very well on the vintage holsters I have. I use Pecards when I am out of BR.

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Old 10-02-2007, 08:09 AM
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Thanks for the tips everyone!

Sgt.127... good info on striping off old finish and resealing with Fiebing's spray. I was not aware of this product.

LawAndOrder... I think Turnerriver who posts here uses Blackrock leather dressing. He's got some awesome holsters. I've got Pecards but haven't tried Blackrock yet.

Lefty.... WOW! what a great looking McClellan's saddle.. you really did a good job on it!. A small local shop had one for sale a year or so ago... they eventually sold it cheap just to make room for other stuff. Now I wonder what it could have looked like if it had been cleaned up. I don't dare bring home any more stuff. A saddle would have been hard to hide!

Thanks for the clarification between PURE neatsfoot vs. the compound. I was hesitant to use it. I had read that it "broke down the leather fibers".

On military holsters like the m1911A1 and S&W revolvers the final finish is not slick & shinny like some of the really nice Heiser holsters. I don't know if this is a leather tanning difference or just the final coating and sealer. Pecards seems to blend in the scuff marks nicely on these military type finishes.

I usually try and stay away from holsters that have obvious problems and prefer to buy the better examples. Often times I come across something a little different and not in the best shape. It would be good to know what treatments best for them.

Here's a pic of a Railway Express Agency holster with a Ry. Ex. Agy. Colt. The holster is not in the best of shape... it has some cracking and flaking of the leather. I put Pecards on it to condition the leather and hopefully slow down the flaking problem. The photo might not show it, but you can see the dull spots in the finish where the top coating/finish has worn off. At least the wear of both the holster and the gun are fairly consistant and look like they belong together. In my opinion, a brand new (old stock)holster with this gun would look out of place.

I just wonder if maybe a coating of Feibing's would give it a better appearance and shine up the dull spots on this Railway Express holster.


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Old 10-02-2007, 08:20 AM
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Here's another shot of the top portion of the holster where the finish is gone...

I'd like the holster to look as good as it can and know that the leather has been conditioned/treated/preserved but still have that great "vintage" look.

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Old 10-03-2007, 05:22 AM
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Linda;

When the leather reaches that point where it's condition has deteriorated to "crazing" or actually cracking/splitting at the surface, there is little remedy. Healthy living tissue will heal after being lacerated, but tanned dead tissue cannot of course.

I agree that your vintage holster belongs with the Colt. Despite any condition issues. Use whichever of the suggested preservatives that have been mentioned. Most of them will achieve the same results to preserve and stabilize, which is the best outcome you might expect. Feibings Bag Kote (neutral) will seal and polish the topcoat. It can be dilluted with water to achieve the desired results. A word of caution, areas where the top finish is totally worn or gone may darken with the application of any of these products. So test a small spot first if possible and be conservative. As usual, great photos!
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:49 AM
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Thanks, Lefty!

Good info on holster and leather care. I've been known to pick up a holster or two and THEN go find a gun to fit it!

I've got one now that "needs" a 3" S&W... the holster has a little green on the snaps and could use a light buffing.

I'll clean it up and post some pics and see if I can get some suggestions as to what best would go in it!

Thanks again,
Linda
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Old 10-03-2007, 05:41 PM
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I'm not usually late to the party...
I do indeed use Blackrock-I used Pecard for many years but now find Blackrock easier to use.It leaves less residue/buildup than Pecard,takes only minutes to apply, wipe off & brush & leaves my holsters looking very nice indeed. Thanks for the compliment, I have managed to find some good holsters.
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:22 PM
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Turnerriver,

Thanks for the tip on the Blackrock leather dressing... I'll have to see about getting some. The Pecards is good but it does go on a little thick.
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Old 10-03-2007, 07:06 PM
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Those are some beautiful old holsters you guys are showing. I'd like to ask a holster question, if I might.

I notice that several of Lawandorder's holsters, and Turnerriver's, don't have retention straps or hammer thongs. I'm thinking of buying either a new "1920 Tom Threeperson's" or a "1930 Austin" model from El Paso Saddlery. It's for a 4" 38/44 45 Colt Bowen conversion that I had done recently. EPS says either the strap or the thong are available, but I assume if I asked 'em they'd skip the retention device. I also think both designs originally did not have a retention device.

You guys think if I skip the retention device the holster will fit tight enough for someone who does not envision strenuous activity?
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Old 10-03-2007, 07:22 PM
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Where do you get Blackrock Leather Dressing?
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Old 10-03-2007, 07:41 PM
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Marksman...

I don't know..

I called one of the local saddle shops today and they did not carry it.

I did google "Blackrock Leather N Rich" and found a few places online that carry it.

Does anyone else have a good supplier for it?
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:28 AM
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Pecard's website shows a multitude of leather-care products; which one(s) exactly to purchase? I have a G&K holster for my 1917 that could use a little attention.
Thanks, Rob
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:58 AM
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I buy Blackrock at gun shows-a jar lasts me a long time as I use it sparingly.
Onomea,a well made holster such as the one El Paso Saddlery will no doubt send you should retain your revolver under normal conditions.I think a lined holster grips more than an unlined one.If you're not going to be riding a horse, ATV or swamp buggy & are not going to be hunting in thick brush either style of holster you mentioned should hold your revolver reasonably securely.
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Old 10-04-2007, 01:56 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Turnerriver. I appreciate it.
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Old 10-04-2007, 03:34 PM
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Thanks, John!

It'll give me something else to look for at the next gun show!
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