Leather Quality and Properties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VegTan, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    My wife owns @ 50 pairs of shoes and not one shoe care product . A friend from my coffee shop ( female) asked me a while back if I knew anyone in town who could polish a pair of brown leather boots for her . I think it is actually uncommon for most women to " care" for shoes at all
     


  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Most of them don't even deserve "care".
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Human and animal skins are comprised of cells that are plump with constantly replenishing lipids (fats) and water, so there's not much room for more.

    Nevertheless, living skin actually absorbs more of everything...from water to moisturizers to volatiles...than you might imagine or notice. Look at your hands after you washed the car or a load of dishes. And where does the Corn Huskers go? It doesn't evaporate. Ever feel slightly strange/"high" after stripping a pair of shoes with acetone? It's all going into the skin.

    As for "expensive cosmetics" ...the strict answer is "yes". And sometimes "no".

    Leather needs to be replenished and/or "fed" on a regular basis. The body is absent...there is no support system supplying nutrients or emollients to the skin.

    But to the extent that the formulations among brands of creams and or conditioners are near-as-nevermind identical, it is clear that some brands are highly overpriced.

    Probably the most interesting product I've seen on the market is GlenKaren creams and conditioners--completely natrural, no solvents or petroleum based chemicals.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013


  4. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Glen's stuff does sound very intriguing. I believe he adds orange oil to act as the "solvent" as it evaporates quicker than stoddard solvent and turpentine. I think the use of coconut oil is interesting as well. It looks like he really did his research.
     


  5. Numbernine

    Numbernine Senior member

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    I don't know about that mine has her good points . Oh! wait ! Your talking about the shoes
     


  6. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    As usual, a detailed and interesting response from you, DW. Thank you.

    I am not sure that I have your confidence about human (or animal) skin absorbing so much. One of the points of it is, after all, to protect the underlying organs. Most cosmetics (and other skin products) sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed by it The crinkling of the fingers after they have been in how water is more to do with stretching than with absorption. I can understand that dead leather is more likely to absorb what you put on to it.

    I have an allergy to turpentine and GlenKaren was helpful in recommending their products a few months ago. Having living though something of a summer, here in the UK, I have been fortunate in being able to clean my shoes outside, meaning I can use Saphir products. I still wonder whether or not Saphir products - as opposed to any other - are really making a difference to our shoes.
     


  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Thank you for the kind words.

    Truth to tell the skin is the body's largest organ.

    One of the things that interested me was when I and my wife were on the first vacation we had taken in over twenty years. We went to Curacao in the Dutch Antilles. By that time both of us were past fifty and my skin at least was showing it. I could pinch the skin on the back of my hand and it would stay pinched. The astonishing thing was that after even as little as a half hour snorkeling around the little bay we were at, we suddenly looked about twenty years younger--the skin had absorbed enough moisture that it had plumped right up. Stayed that way too...for a day or so after we left.

    I like Saphir...esp. Renovateur but I doubt that it is all that much better than Meltonian. But that's just an opinion---they're not going to reveal their recipe to me.
     


  8. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    Well, its a strange world. I lectured in Curacao for a few weeks, some years ago. I can remember driving from one end to the other and wandering around Willemstad, with its huge bridge.

    Yes, the skin is the largest organ and it takes a good bit (when alive!) to get through it.

    I did wonder if there was much to recommend one shoe product over another. Given my allergy to turpentine, in the Winter, I use Woly products which are both cheap and free of turpentine. I'm not sure that I can see a particular difference to my having used Saphir products, in the Summer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013


  9. clee1982

    clee1982 Senior member

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    If it buys you a piece of mind, and cost you only 20 GBP more a year I would say it's probably worth it regardless the actuality/facts
     


  10. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

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    This machine is waiting for you!:)

    http://www.satra.co.uk/portal/footwear.php

    [​IMG]



    Natural oils/waxes are usually more expensive than synthetic oils/waxes, mineral oil, and paraffin wax, so Saphir MDO emphasizes containing mink oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter. Though lexol conditioner is composed of cheap synthetic oil, it has a lot of credibility. This interview might be helpful for you.


    Below are fatliquoring agents and iodine values. I don't know well which is superior/inferior as leather conditioning oils, but high iodine value oils are generally prone to oxidize and stink.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/19251902/Pocket-Book-for-the-Leather-Technologists
    [​IMG]

    http://books.google.com/books?id=SGOmAAAAIAAJ&lpg=PP1&pg=PA15#v=onepage&q&f=false
    [​IMG]
     


  11. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

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    Howard Leather Conditioner, which I have never used, contains orange oil and coconut oil! Mineral oil and coconut oil hardly oxidize.

    http://www.howardproducts.com/prod-leather-conditioning.php

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2013


  12. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Mineral oil also isn't very penetrating. My girlfriend is in the cosmetrics industry and she said some of the most expensive moisturizers on the market the active ingredient is mineral oil, which is too large of a molecule to do anything for human skin. Size of these molecules play an important role, too.
     


  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Bottom line is that you don't want to get any petroleum based oils such as mineral oil anywhere near your shoes...dress shoes, in particular. It will suffocate the leather and rot any non synthetic threads.
     


  14. Munky

    Munky Senior member

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    VegTan, I already have two of those machines so I'm not sure I need another one!
     


  15. VegTan

    VegTan Senior member

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    Cowhide absorbs Johnson's baby lotion well. I guess cowhide has greater porosity than dead skin cells.

    The news below became a social issue. I heard molecular weight is linked to safety, but I don't have medical knowledge.
    http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2011/11/16/national/soap-linked-to-471-cases-of-wheat-allergy/
    http://ai.jsaweb.jp/fulltext/061040529/061040529_index.html




    Pecards says food grade petroleum doesn't damage leather and stitching. I have used Red Wing Leather Conditioner made by Pecards and found it no problem. I guess corrosive petroleum based oils were removed from the market.

     


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