Preserving original leather artifacts

Cannonman1

Private
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
I just acquired an original Federal Carbine cartridge box and cap pouch. The leather is dry but not brittle. What is the best product to use to preserve/restor these items?? Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance
 

zburkett

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 21, 2015
Location
Orange County, Virginia
Good question. I hope we get a good answer. If I might add, what is the best way to take care of my McClellan with a lot of crude repairs but still my riding saddle.
 

BillH

Private
Joined
Sep 14, 2017
Location
SW Idaho
I have an "old" (20-40 years) shooting pouch that has been stored for many years. Probably in a box in the attic somewhere more humid than Idaho, but that's neither here nor there... it was dry in parts, somewhat hard, and inside there was the dreaded white mold. Because it is not a CW relic I tried giving it a good brushing in and out with Renaissance Wax. Some folks like it, some don't. My results on this pouch were pretty good. The leather is supple and usable again, so the pouch now has one of my flintlock doin's in it.

That said, I also have a CW cartridge box that is dry, etc... I'm hesitant to use this product on it though. Just not sure it is the right choice. I too am interested to hear other suggestions, or even kudos for Renaissance Wax.
 

ThatDixieGuy

Cadet
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Pecard leather dressing is what I've used for decades. It was suggested to me by a museum curator once. Great stuff - it'll work wonders for the cartridge box, old saddles, anything leather basically. It's available on Amazon of course - you can read the reviews there for tips & ideas. A little goes a long way.
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I was told to use olive oil on an old saddle and some leather stirrup leathers. It did a nice job, but it does darken the leather a bit.
 

Lampasas Bill

Corporal
Joined
Sep 24, 2018
Avoid Boiled Linseed Oil and Neatsfoot Oil. They may soften leather but they will eventually cause it to crack. Neither is recommended for conservation of artifacts.
 

drjekyll76

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 18, 2016
Location
South Jersey
that is something that might have to be brought up to a leather group on facebook or something. now i dont know if a leather conditioner would be something to use on it.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Pecard leather dressing is what I've used for decades. It was suggested to me by a museum curator once. Great stuff - it'll work wonders for the cartridge box, old saddles, anything leather basically. It's available on Amazon of course - you can read the reviews there for tips & ideas. A little goes a long way.
Do not put Percards on any ACW artifact, it is no longer recognized as a solution by any museum curator, it will cause many subsequent issues and hurt resale value. This was a recognized method for a very short period of time and found to be very harmful to old leather.
 

Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
I just acquired an original Federal Carbine cartridge box and cap pouch. The leather is dry but not brittle. What is the best product to use to preserve/restor these items?? Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance
Leave alone if possible, there are very involved processes used by the Smithsonian and the Imperial War Museum (London). IM me if you are interested, but these are only for those wanting to get into a science project.
 

ThatDixieGuy

Cadet
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Do not put Percards on any ACW artifact, it is no longer recognized as a solution by any museum curator, it will cause many subsequent issues and hurt resale value. This was a recognized method for a very short period of time and found to be very harmful to old leather.

That's good info. I am old and things change I know but my ACW cartridge box and leather saddles look great after 2 or 3 decades of Pecard. Is there another product that you'd recommend in its place for home use?
 
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