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Old July 12, 2010, 09:50 PM   #1
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reconditioning old leather holster

I bought a (much ) used holster for a " Browning High power " on e-bay couple yrs ago . I don't remember the exact cost , but the shipping was more than the holster ( note handle - it's LH. no one else bid ) . I didn't - don't have a BHP , but figured I might someday - I'd risk $6-8 . I got it and put it away and forgot about it . .....'til recently .

I'm going to a 1 day pistol school in August , and need a good holster ( had a thread on Semi-auto area while back ) . Someone posted that a 1911 could use same holster , so I dug it out and it fits- not great but it fits .

The holster is pretty old , the leather is pretty dry and rather stiff . I've read about new holsters being tight , and the suggestion is to put the gun in a heavy plastic bag then put it in the holster for couple days....Will that work as well (or at all) for this old dried out one ? More to the point , should I -can I treat the leather to " refresh " it? I like this holster design , and it feels decent wearing it . But it " grabs" the gun when drawing it , It's slow coming out even by my ( measure with a sundial ) standards .

So I guess my question in a nutshell is -does anyone have any advice for reconditioning an old holster ? Or should this just be for range use ( carry only , don't need the gun in a big hurry ....)

Thanks ....
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Old July 12, 2010, 10:03 PM   #2
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For cardboard-hard, stiff leather, I've had good luck with "Leatherique" products ("Rejuvenator Oil" for restoration and "Prestine (sic) Clean" for regular maintenance).

Depending on how bad the leather is, it might take several applications over a period of weeks, but if anything will fix it, Leatherique will.
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Old July 12, 2010, 10:48 PM   #3
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Use Neatsfoot oil. I have a holster that my grandpa had when he was a kid and when he was moving I dug it out of a box and he told me I could have it. A couple of oilings and it was like new. Now if its a rough leather this wont work but for smooth leather its great. Just a FYI it also darkens leather ALOT! But I use it for my holsters, boots, saddles, anything leather.
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Old July 13, 2010, 07:58 AM   #4
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I've restored several old collectable holsters lately...

Dr. Jacksons Hide rejuvenator ( from Tandy Leather ) was recomended to me by several holster makers & it seems to work better than most anything else I've tried...

with old leather, patience is your best tool... what ever quality leather conditioner you use, you are best off wiping the holster down damp with a lighter coat, & then letting it soak in for a day & reapplying several times, than soaking down the leather really wet... I also like to apply to both inner & outer surfaces, again, just damp, not soaking wet...

don't try to force the stiff leather... once cracked, that can never be repaired... you can rehydrate the leather around the cracking, but can't repair the broken fibers... often times the straps end up cracked because they bend easier... & I've had to replace several of these... one of whichI was able to remove & reapply an embossed Heiser brass snap...

here is one I worked on... the strap was hopelessly cracked, the lacing was dry rotted out & needed replacing, & the bottom of the holster was damaged... the strap was replaced, with the embossed snap reapplied the holster relaced, & the leather conditioned the damage to the bottom of the holster is still there, but won't get any worse, & is really barely noticable with the tooling... I turned this holster from a junker in a box of 8 holsters for $20.00 to a holster I can use for my 38 caliber top breaks...

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Old July 13, 2010, 08:26 PM   #5
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I hadn't thought of neats foot oil - I think someone gave me a bottle. I'm really not too concerned what this looks like ; I just want it a little more pliable .

I googled "Leatherique" products. I don't want to pay $16 plus shipping if I can avoid it .....but thanks for the heads up ; it's my back up plan

Thanks again y'all...
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Old July 13, 2010, 08:33 PM   #6
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True - I should have mentioned that the Leatherique is a little pricey for a simple holster restoration. I buy both the Prestine (sic) Clean and the Rejuvenator Oil by the quart because I use it on so many things - car seats, motorcycle leathers, laptop bags, shoes, belts, leather jackets, etcetera.
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Old July 14, 2010, 11:20 AM   #7
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Don't use neatsfoot oil,,,

That stuff is great for initial conditioning and periodic oiling of good leather,,,
But for very old hard dried out leather,,,,
Neatsfoot oil is is a bad thing.

It can/will/might turn your leather to mush

Use Dr. Jackson's Hide Rejuvenator from Tandy Leather,,,
It's honestly the best stuff going,,,
Here is a link

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Old July 17, 2010, 03:22 PM   #8
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I would advise against using any type of oil on the holster. Oils are good for items that you want to be soft and pliable, like chaps and jackets and the like, but holsters can end up too soft to be of any good. I would suggest a good cleaning with a quality saddle soap, allowing it to dry naturally, and finishing with a coat of Kiwi Paste wax. This wil condition the leather without collaspsing the material.
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Old July 19, 2010, 09:02 AM   #9
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I think straightshooter is correct, but for old leather that is really hard to use, I give my stuff a coat of Hubbards Shoe Oil to get it so I can move and bend the leather, then follow with a really good coat of wax.

I do not like creaky leather, but, too much oiling and working can turn your leather into a mush that acts more like a pocket than a holster. Too much of anything can spoil a good thing.

You would be surprised at how much leather stuff you find at garage sales and flea markets that can be brought back to use with a little work.
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