Leather Preservation Question

In a trade for my labor on a firearms repair, among the dozen or so items I acquired were a couple of Rock Island Arsenal M1874 McKeever 45-70 cartridge boxes and a WW-I era M1904 US Cavalry saddle bag stamped "LONG" "1917" "J.C.". The saddle bag leather is pliable except for all 6 flap straps that are stiff and buckled closed. I have not attempted to unbuckle any of the straps in fear that I may crack or break the strap. Also, one of the cartridge boxes has extremely stiff leather and I'm afraid of opening that one for fear of damaging it. Is there a leather care product that you'd recommend that I should use? Any help is much appreciated.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
In a trade for my labor on a firearms repair, among the dozen or so items I acquired were a couple of Rock Island Arsenal M1874 McKeever 45-70 cartridge boxes and a WW-I era M1904 US Cavalry saddle bag stamped "LONG" "1917" "J.C.". The saddle bag leather is pliable except for all 6 flap straps that are stiff and buckled closed. I have not attempted to unbuckle any of the straps in fear that I may crack or break the strap. Also, one of the cartridge boxes has extremely stiff leather and I'm afraid of opening that one for fear of damaging it. Is there a leather care product that you'd recommend that I should use? Any help is much appreciated.
You will have all kinds of recommendations, less is more, lightly clean and if possible leave alone. What has happened in recent years, are the realizations, that many of the trusted leather treatments, were actually destructive to the long term health of old leather. Percard leather Dressing was all the rage and now found detrimental to older leather.

The Smithsonian and the Imperial War Museum (London) each have recommendations for preserving leather, that does not damage and may be found online.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
You will have all kinds of recommendations, less is more, lightly clean and if possible leave alone. What has happened in recent years, are the realizations, that many of the trusted leather treatments, were actually destructive to the long term health of old leather. Percard leather Dressing was all the rage and now found detrimental to older leather.

The Smithsonian and the Imperial War Museum (London) each have recommendations for preserving leather, that does not damage and may be found online.
Sounds like I shouldn’t have used Lexol on the leather powder flask we found.
Thanks for the alert and will review the locations for more information as to making sure we don’t do any further damage and can undo any damage done.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Sounds like I shouldn’t have used Lexol on the leather powder flask we found.
Thanks for the alert and will review the locations for more information as to making sure we don’t do any further damage and can undo any damage done.
Most leather dressings are for modern leather, not antique, where they have begun to dry out and in need of proper replenishment.
 
You will have all kinds of recommendations, less is more, lightly clean and if possible leave alone. What has happened in recent years, are the realizations, that many of the trusted leather treatments, were actually destructive to the long term health of old leather. Percard leather Dressing was all the rage and now found detrimental to older leather.

The Smithsonian and the Imperial War Museum (London) each have recommendations for preserving leather, that does not damage and may be found online.
Thank you for the information.
 

Georgia

Sergeant
Most leather dressings are for modern leather, not antique, where they have begun to dry out and in need of proper replenishment.
This was conditioner. My husband uses it on his horse tack and riding boots.
The piece was hard when I started and I kept slathering it on and letting it soak in. It’s now pliable. I need to get a darning needle and sew up a place where the stitching has rotted away. It’s missing a couple pieces- a cap and the pouring spout- sorry, don’t know the proper names.
But, it was in the attic if an old building we were working on cleaning and now it’s on the mantle with the improperly placed rifle over the fireplace. :wink:
 
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