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Thammuz's avatar

What's a good product for waterproofing leather?

Asked by Thammuz (8589 points ) April 27th, 2012

I’m making some leather bracers. I bought the leather, the ink, cut the pieces and put them together, then I remembered something.

Back when I used to use this kind of stuff more, I noticed leather tends to wear out pretty rapidly when worn on the skin, mainly because the sweat would sink into the pores and basically rot it.

Now, i’m not going to wear these bracers as often as I used to do back then (When I was actively trying to be a stereotypical metalhead) or as long, but I’m going to sweat in them, because they’re black, and thick, and thus tend to get hot.

I’ve looked into waterproofing on the net and found that the prevalent answer seems to be Sno-Seal, which is a beeswax waterproofing cream. Problem is they don’t sell it here in Italy and thus I would have to find a replacement that is:

a) Suitable for the rough, untreated side of the bracers (the inner side).

b) Not damaging to the skin, even to sensitive ones (My skin is very sensitive, I tend to get rashes for every little thing).

c) Of a generic enough description that I can actually tell “I’d like this kind of product” to a shopkeeper and they will give me the Italian counterpart.

I’ve tried googleing “beeswax leather waterproofer” (in Italian of course) but most products bear the warning that they should not be used on suede and untreated leather, which either means that they wouldn’t work or that waterproofing it that way would be considered a damage, even thought it would get the job done (I.E. it would ruin the texture of a pair of suede shoes, but it would make them waterproof, which is irrelevant to me, because I don’t care how the inside looks, but only about points a) and b) ).

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12 Answers

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Hide Care might be an option. If all else fails, why not just wear a shirt with sleeves under the braces?

Linda_Owl's avatar

I used to use Neatsfoot Oil to treat leather tack when I used to raise horses (you can get it at any feed store).

Thammuz's avatar

Both of these options are meant to resotre the leather once it’s worn out, i was more inclined towards preventing the damage, if at all possible.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I use mink oil on my leathers.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Thammuz Not true. While I have no experience with Neatsfoot Oil, my experience in using Hide Food is that is a product that it helps clean and maintain leather surfaces.

Bent's avatar

Nikwax They have a range of products including something for waterproofing leather.

anartist's avatar

Treat leather with Lexol or saddle soap. Keeps it supple and helps retain natural oils in leather. Neatsfoot recommended above helps replenish missing oils. [big use on baseball gloves as well as horse tackle]. Lexol cleaner in orange bottle [different from Lexol preserver in brown bottle] will get rid of surface dirt before treating.

jaytkay's avatar

Another vote for Nikwax.

Coloma's avatar

Don’t forget good old fashioned saddle soap. Many a saddle and bridle I’ve restored to supple condition.

Thammuz's avatar

@Bent @jaytkay

Good, their site is actually explanatory enough that i can pick up what exactly i’m supposed to ask at the stores.

Maybe I’ll get lucky and actually find that product, otherwise, i know what to ask.

Thammuz's avatar

Found a block of beeswax at a shoemaker’s and got instructions on how to use it.

The result is not too shabby, and it doesn’t make it stiff as i expected it would. It’s a pain to put on, though.

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