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Leather woes

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:45 pm
by MFP 2020
I'm getting together my non-MFP costume for WW (ironically, at this point it's looking like a generic, inaccurate MFP uniform!) and I'm trying to keep my costs down; I wanted another pair of leather pants but I didn't want to pay $100 for a brand new pair of South Beach pants just so I could destroy them (I contacted them about getting some blems or seconds cheap, but either they didn't understand what I wanted or they couldn't/wouldn't help). I scored a pair of leather jeans on eBay for about $35 (First Leather) but they were much thicker than I prefer, and almost pristine, so I bought another pair. The latest ones are older and show more wear (Route 66), but they're even thicker than the first pair! Plus the legs flare out a little too much, and they'll require some shrinking.

Because of the anticipated desert temperatures (and because the quality is so good), I would love to have another pair of SBLs (ideally I'd distress my original pair and accurize a new pair) but...the money... Anyway, I'm going to be one sweaty bastich that weekend.

I know Max Replica has mentioned using alcohol when distressing leather, and I've seen it mentioned in other tutorials, but what exactly does the alcohol DO? Is it to soften the leather, but better than water because it evaporates more quickly?

In other news, neatsfoot oil is the most awesome leather conditioner in the world. :D I bought a lambskin jacket (Todd Coyle Indy jacket, if you must know) and when I got it, it felt like pleather (and it didn't have a leathery aroma). My local cobbler/leather guy said it was lambskin and recommended an immediate (and yearly) conditioning with neatsfoot oil. Post-treatment, the jacket is more supple and now smells like leather.

Thanks for listening. I feel more at home here than at the RPF. :)

Re: Leather woes

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 1:05 pm
by Max Replica
In my experience, alcohol mostly takes the shine off of leather jackets and pants. I haven't noticed too much softening, but then again, jackets and pants are pretty soft to begin with compared to something like shoes so maybe it's less noticeable.
Alcohol can be used to really soften shoes by soaking the shoe leather with a spray bottle full of alcohol and then really twisting, crumpling and basically working the leather over with your hands while it's wet. This is not recommended for fancy dress shoes or anything because the alcohol can really distort the leather in some cases. But for me, I want stuff to look all jacked up so I'm not worried. And for the record, I've never really noticed much distortion from alcohol.
The alcohol does break down leather though and all leather is different, so use at your own risk. For pants, I would try a spray bottle and spray down a big section at a time and work it with my hands to see if I could break it in a bit. I think that alcohol breaks down the fibers (?) of the leather more than water does. And it removes the shine better and doesn't seem to be as prone to shrink it.

Neatsfoot is a good product, but it darkens the leather so I only use it on black leather or on brown leather that I want to darken.

For my non-Max outfit I went with a pair of heavily used leather motocross pants. They look cool and retro and I dirtied them up even more (I wore them briefly at last year's WW). So yeah, I'll be sweating right along with you.