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natural belt care and stains

mikecch

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^ 10 years hey? Interesting
I still find that the grain hasn't darkened that much over 10 years (I would expect the leather to be a dark brown if it has indeed seen 10 years of daily wear)...a couple of my natural belts sitting next to me right now are darker than this one (without the grain abrasion of course), and have only had around 4 months effective wear. This is what I mean by the tonal changes not in keeping with the wear on the grain. Although I have to say the design is very interesting, especially how they chose to fold the grain back on itself so the corium is showing at the front buckle fold. I would have thought it a stronger/more durable design (especially considering it's military origin) if the grain is showing and the strap is folded to the backside? Unless of course the soldiers were instructed to dub the corium portion with wax or something. Can anyone shed some light?
 

kgmessier

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This thread couldn't have come at a better time. I just received my Kenton Sorenson natural leather belt from Context last night. I was going to start a thread asking the best way to get the leather to darken and acquire that patina.
 

alexanduh

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hey mike i dont suppose average people can get a hold of those joe hill belts on your forum?
 

Schpacko

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I emailed Terry Dear (maker of the Quercus Belt) and asked him about his opinion on the care of natural leather. That's what he wrote:

When I make the belts, I treat the leather with a leather balm, which should keep it in good condition for some months, but an occasional addition of Connolly's or Grison hide food would do no harm. I would not recommend repeated applications of oils; this can cause the internal structure of the leather to degenerate and become weak.

The leather balm that I use is Fiebing's Leather Balm with atom wax. The balm soaks into the leather and leaves a surface coating of carnauba wax, which can be buffed to a protective shine.
...and...

You're right about the number of contradictory answers! It's the sort of question where, if you asked ten different leatherworkers, you would probably get fifteen different answers!

The real answer is probably related to the nature of the leather and its intended use. Neatsfoot and other oil has its place when dealing with saddlery items, but should not be overdone. As I said, too much oil will degenerate the fibre structure in the leather and lead to weakness. Oil can also leave a 'sticky' residue, which will attract dirt, and - in the case of belts - may migrate onto clothing, seats and anything that is in close contact, especially in warm climates. Hide foods and leather balm are less likely to have this effect when used in moderation.

One of the best products I have found for regenerating tired leather is Fiebing's 4-Way Leather Care. It's a liquid formula which contains a certain amount of oils and waxes, and penetrates deeply into the leather. When it dries out, it leaves no residue, and is particularly good for treating smooth (non-sueded) leather . . . from leather jackets to car seats!

All of the above is only my opinion - one of many, based on my own experience! - but I have no objection to it being posted on the forum, and I would certainly not consider it to be The Last Word on the subject!
 

entrero

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There are many things craftsmen may disagree on, but we should always listen on points which they agree.

Such as the use of Neatsfoot oil, usually only used during production (making leather more pliable). After that other type of oils are more suitable. Mineral oil, silicon products must be avoided.
 

mikecch

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Terry is quite right in terms of the oils causing internal 'degeneration' - a fatty oxidation effect if you will. Used in the right amount animal fats will make the leather age quicker and, IMO, better, but overdone can be a problem. A point which Terry also mentioned is the fact that the role of the craftsmen when applying leather conditioners is to make the item user friendly, durable, yet preserve the original (or intended) colour and grain texture. You'd really need to find a product and figure out a maintenance schedule you're comfortable with (and which suits your lifestyle/wear n' tear on the leather/thickness & tannage of the leather, etc) through trial & error. Some folks never oil their natural belts - I do it every month or so of effective wear (very lightly using my own formula), and I've never run into problems after more than a handful of natural belts.
 

reezy

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Naked and Famous belt
Pretty nice....

Originally Posted by Jay-D
Bahzad at N&F just sent me a pic of his personal natural belt. Worn approximately 1 year, no oil or treatment, just a lot of wear. Nice patina on this one.
 

iroh

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Originally Posted by kgmessier
This thread couldn't have come at a better time. I just received my Kenton Sorenson natural leather belt from Context last night. I was going to start a thread asking the best way to get the leather to darken and acquire that patina.
such an overpriced belt am i right? you can have spent half the cash here for a belt just as good, but you went with a brand name and decided to pay a marked up price, now context and KS are blowing away the hard-earned cash you could have saved on hookers and booze.
 

Rosenberg

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^ Is Kenton Sorenson really a "brand name"?
 

Schpacko

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Wow. Thats crazy. 190 Bucks for a plain, 10oz veg tan belt that isn't even stitched...

am i missing something?
 

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