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  • Leather Care

    Well cared for your leather will last for generations
    “This was my grandfathers”... We hear it often. If you care for your leather, it will last for generations.
    And it is not very difficult, it just takes a little bit of discipline to get the job done.

    Keep your leather alive
    It’s all about the moisture of the leather. Leather is a natural material containing natural oils, and in a way it’s still alive. To make it last, it’s our job to keep it alive. So we must keep it clean, not overfeed it and not let it die of thirst.
    Leather will experience a variety of impacts from every day use or seasonal use. Mainly moisture or draught. We have to help our leather keep its balance. If it dries out it will crack and stiffen and if it’s wet for too long it will go mouldy and rot.

    When your leather gets wet
    It’s unavoidable for leather goods used outdoors to get wet. Well conditioned leather will not suffer from that, but still needs attention, when you return home.
    When leather gets wet, the moisture forms a bond with the oils present in the leather. Once the water dries out, it usually draws the oils out, leaving the leather brittle and dry. Water can also remove some of the dyes present in the leather, leaving spots on the surface.
    It’s very important, that you let the leather dry naturally when it gets wet. You should never dry leather using a heater or fireplace. Doing so will morph, damage or even crack the leather. Leave it to hang in a dry place at normal indoor temperature. Do dot leave it outdoor if the humidity is high or it’s cold. The leather will not dry. On the contrary you risk, that mould or mildew will occur.
    In our closed gun slips, a ventilation hole is placed next to the hanger at the tip of the gun slip to allow access moisture to evaporate.
    When the leather is completely dry, it’s thirsty. And you will have to get it back in it’s operational condition. See Conditioning later in this text.
    We do not recommend waterproofing your leather, as products that are waterproof seal the leather’s pores and cause the leather to dry out. A waterproofer will also prevent you from conditioning in the future.

    If your leather dries out
    This will probably not happen to your new leather goods, as you take good care of it. But if you get your hands on an older piece, that you want to revitalise because it’s all dried out and perhaps cracked, there is hope.
    In repairs of very dry leather, we initially use Neatsfoot Oil to resaturate the leather with oils. This may take several applications as the leather is VERY thirsty.
    It will darken lighter leathers, but there is a possibillity

    Cleaning dirty or worn leather
    Start with a damp cloth and remove all loose surface dirt on e.g. Gun Slips at the bottom.
    Then apply a leather cleaner with a lint-free cloth. Gently massage the cleaner over the leather to remove dirt, concentrating on heavily soiled or stained areas. (Always test any product you apply to your leather in a discreet area first.)
    Once you have completely removed the dirt, allow the leather to dry completely.
    Never use harsh soap or strong chemicals for cleaning or removing stains. This can lead to discoloration, drying, cracking and the buildup of grease. Never use water to remove grease stains, since you will be only spreading them to a larger surface.

    Conditioning adds moisture and nourishment to the leather and its inner fibres. Leather tends to dry out, crack or peel over time. With new leather, conditioning helps to keep the surface soft and flexible to prevent e.g. drying out. The conditioning method applied will depend on the type of leather we used to build your leather goods.
    To condition your leather, apply a bit of conditioner to a lint-free cloth, then gently apply to your leather in a thin, even coat. Never squirt or apply leather conditioner directly to the leather. If you do that, more product will absorb at the first application site, leaving an uneven appearance at first. (Test any leather conditioner in a discreet area, as suggested with cleaning.)
    Allow the conditioner to dry for at least two hours, or overnight if you have the time. Then gently buff off any excess. For older or excessively dry leather, you may need to apply an additional coat.

    Storing your leather goods
    Follow these few steps for cleanliness, shapeliness and extra conditioning when you have to store leather long term - e.g. between shooting seasons.
    The following steps are for storing your leather goods long term, and would not be ideal for something you are using frequently. (Be aware: This is not the same for suedes, deerskins, etc.)

    - Wipe with with a damp microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt
    - Generously apply a leather condition of your choice like 4-Way Care or Aussie Leather Conditioner and let it soak in for 30+ minutes ideally in a warm spot, out of direct sunlight
    - Stuff your pieces like hats, bags and shoes with acid free, no ink paper to help retain the shape
    - Avoid storing in plastic bags or containers, which can retain moisture and cause mold; instead choose breathable dust bags or paper
    - Store in a temperature controlled area that is cool and dry on flat surfaces with enough room to breath or hanging to hold their correct shape
    - Keep your projects separated during storage- even if they are all leather!

    Leather cleaners and Saddle Soap
    Leather cleaning products come with different “agression” towards your leather. Depending on the grade of dirtyness or contamination, you should always choose the mildest alternative. Saddle soap is a very popular product evolved to clean saddles and harnesses. This is heavy leather and you should be aware, that when the leather dries after beeing cleaned with Saddle Soap, it dries more and need more grease or conditioner. Some saddle Soaps contain some degree of conditioner though, so read the label.

    Neatsfoot Oil
    Neatsfoor Oil is a natural, yellow oil, rendered and purified from the shin bones and feet (but not the hooves) of cattle. “Neat” in the oil’s name comes from an Old English word for cattle. Neatsfoot oil is used as a conditioning, softening and preservative agent. Very usefull to revitalise very dry leather.

    We use leather creme for conditioning prefabricated / pre coloured surfaces and leather grease for non treated full grain leathers. Actually we often apply leather grease in excess amounts to our full case bags in full grain leather and then heat its to be adsorbed deeper into the leather.

    We use bees wax one some of our leather goods, but ONLY as an edge coat on straps or open sides of full grain leather. When ordering at Kümler Handcrafted, you get the choise between waxed og painted edges. Waxed edges appear more silky where painted edges are more glossy.
    We do not recommend wax on surfaces.
    Wax and wax-based products build upon the surface of the leather, eventually clogging the leather’s pores and preventing it from breathing. The leather is then susceptible to rot or extreme dryness beneath the wax. Wax is also difficult to remove from the surface of the leather once applied. We recommend avoiding wax and wax-based products for this reason.
    When used on e.g. shoes, it’s not the same problem, as it wears off rather quickly.