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View Full Version : Neatsfoot Oil or Mink Oil?



Ahnkochee
11-01-2011, 11:26 PM
Which product do you prefer for treating and preserving leather goods including boots and sheaths? I prefer something more natural without silicone. I've used both over the years but don't recall seeing any real difference. Any pro & cons Neatsfoot Oil versus Mink Oil on leather? Thanks! ;)

Bucketosudz
11-01-2011, 11:32 PM
It's neither of your choices, but I have used Obenauf's on all of my leather for years and it has served me well.

https://www.obenaufs.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=20&product_id=30

TheGeoSquirrel
11-01-2011, 11:43 PM
I do leather work and have a friend who does it as a professional saddle maker and he swears by EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). That is all he uses and swears anything else is bad for the leather. I don't know but he swears by it.

Ahnkochee
11-01-2011, 11:53 PM
It's neither of your choices, but I have used Obenauf's on all of my leather for years and it has served me well.

https://www.obenaufs.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=20&product_id=30

I have used more modern products in the past but I'm trying to avoid man made chemicals, and looking for a more natural product something used maybe 150+ years ago. Thanks for the suggestion though. :)

Ahnkochee
11-01-2011, 11:56 PM
I do leather work and have a friend who does it as a professional saddle maker and he swears by EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). That is all he uses and swears anything else is bad for the leather. I don't know but he swears by it.

I'm affraid of EVOO as I've heard it goes rancid over time and even aids in the decay of leather. I'll have to do some more research to verify. I do love the stuff for cooking. ;)

OLD DOG
11-01-2011, 11:57 PM
If you use Neatsfoot on anything that contains stitching (boot, saddles, etc), be sure it is pure and not a compound. I can't say from experience, but I've been told many times that the Neatsfoot compounds will rot the stitching.

Ahnkochee
11-02-2011, 12:05 AM
Just from brief research I found the ingredient in Mink Oil (actually made from Mink fat) which gives it it's preserving, and softening quality is palmitoleic acid which mink oil has 17%. I also found out that the locally available Macadamia oil has 22% palmitoleic acid (omega 7) so I may experiment with this oil too.

Has anyone been successful using beeswax? I used to use Sno-Seal who's main ingredient is beeswax on my snow boots in Idaho. Can't get the stuff here. I do have plenty beeswax for woodturning but never tried in pure form in leather. What is the procedure to do this? Thanks again for your input! ;)

Ahnkochee
11-02-2011, 12:06 AM
If you use Neatsfoot on anything that contains stitching (boot, saddles, etc), be sure it is pure and not a compound. I can't say from experience, but I've been told many times that the Neatsfoot compounds will rot the stitching.

Will it rot nylon stitching too?

Trekon86
11-02-2011, 12:16 AM
I avoid using a lot of oils on my leather goods.
A little bit (just a dab on a small patch of sheepskin) is OK and gives bare leather a "golden warm" texture and feel and a lovely smell, but other than that, I prefer 100% beeswax applied either using cuir bouilli methods or using a hairdrier.

PMZ

GrowlingBear
11-02-2011, 12:25 AM
I use Obenauf's on soft leather or flexible leather and mainly beeswax or stain and atom wax finish for sheaths. The extended use of oils will eventually soften stiffer leather, so I generally don't use it too often on sheaths.

wrbthe3rd
11-02-2011, 12:37 AM
i am stuck on snowseal for all my leather goods.i used neatsfoot for years ,switched over and never went back.

TheGeoSquirrel
11-02-2011, 12:38 AM
I'm affraid of EVOO as I've heard it goes rancid over time and even aids in the decay of leather. I'll have to do some more research to verify. I do love the stuff for cooking. ;)

I have started useing EVOObased on his advise and not had one problem. I have not had any problems with it turning rancid. I think that there is some type of reaction once you treat leather with it that keeps it from turning rancid. I have used it on lots of projects and never had a problem. i'm sure it is possible but not had any neg problems or smell yet.

Survive
11-02-2011, 12:45 AM
Neatsfoot oils is what the soldiers used to condition their boots in WWI. It serves condition the leather to make them more water resistant. Basically, it prolonging the life of leather.

I am not familiar with compound versions of this oil as I have only ever used the pure stuff.

To second the motion not to use silicones is wise. B using silicones you create a waterproof layer over the leather that prevents any future conditioning of the leather unless you remove the layer of silicone first. The leather actually dries out underneath the silicon. Ask me how I know this... I ruined almost ruined a great pair of boots and will never use silicon based products on my leather again.

I brought back to life a leather pair of shoes that was hard and cracked. Neatsfoot oil worked wonders. After repairing the hole around the seam and re-dying the shoes, they looked like new. I gave them back to the person who threw them out. It was a fun practice piece for me

d37fan
11-02-2011, 04:07 AM
I use the mink oil / pine pitch mixture that Redwing shoe sells, on my boots. Works great and as far as I know, no other chemicals are in it. Keeps my boots soft and water proof. The only down side is, they are dust magnets after being treated, but a soft brush takes care of that.

Capt. Redbush
11-02-2011, 05:51 AM
I've been using either Mink Oil or Bear Grease (not to be used on light colored leather you want to remain light colored). Both have worked fine for me. I usually apply to both sides, ideally before it all gets stitched together. After putting on a healthy coat, I'll put them on top of the oven while baking something to warm up the leather, open the pores and drive the oil in.

Had not thought about EVOO. I use it for my wooden kitchen utensils. Might have to try that out for leather. Maybe treat several scraps with different oils/preparations and leave one untreated as a control, then leave them out over the winter.

:41:

Croatoan
11-02-2011, 09:07 AM
I've been using Montana Pitch Blend for about two decades now. I first tried the stuff on some Schnee's boots I bought, they sent a sample and I ordered a tub of it not long after. I'm still wearing those boots now.

It's a mix of pine pitch, mink oil, and beeswax.

They make an oil conditioning and a dressing. Typically I'll oil first, then apply the dressing after that and when I need to reapply I just use the dressing.

http://www.mtpitchblend.com/ournaturalproducts.html

theboomboom
11-02-2011, 10:10 AM
I've been using neatsfoot oil on my sheaths. In my experience so far, all it takes is a light coating every six months or so, and they have stayed nice and supple.

wsdstan
11-02-2011, 11:11 AM
I like Obenauf's and Snow Seal for quality leather. Neatsfoot oil doesn't waterproof my boots very well at all but it does soften the leather a bit. Good for stiff work gloves.

forge1
11-02-2011, 11:20 AM
My mentor in backpacking told our group not to use ois on boots because of the softening and stretching that ocurred. Wax based products are the preferenc for waterproofing leather that needs to be tufff and stiffff. Beeswax turpentine and linseed oil was the tried and true for the colonists. Tough choice!........Ross

rthrasher2
11-02-2011, 12:23 PM
At one of the Amish places my old boss used to get leather they had this stuff called Snow-Proof its made by Fiebings. In the shop we used and sold that and a cream called Bick4 for everything, and have a hard time keeping it in stock. The Snow proof is a bees wax based formula, and the Bick4... I cant find my bottle and I cant find the ingrediants in the website.
http://shop.fiebing.com/products/category/SNOW+PROOF/3267.0.1.1.75170.72758.0.0.0
http://www.bickmore.com/bickmore/Leather%20Care/Bick4.html

Sawdust and Splinters
11-02-2011, 12:53 PM
I just use beeswax on my sheaths. I melt the wax in a tin, then dip a rag into the warm melted wax and rub it into the leather. This softens up slightly stiff leather a bit, but penetrates and waterproofs well for me.

3fires
11-02-2011, 04:32 PM
I've been using deer tallow, works great for just about everything and doesn't go rancid as far as I can tell. Nothing rots, rusts, or stinks with it, so I'm happy with that.

wulfesinger67
11-02-2011, 10:46 PM
i us wax from a NEW toilet ring .i melt it in a double boiler and i add just a drizzle of mineral oil to thin it when cold. then rubbit on till boots wont take no more wipe of and let set for a hour then buff. i do like sno-pruf too but i was broke when i came across a smashed one on sale for a buck. and the rest is history. might try that pine ar too sound alot like my tincloth water proofing mix.

Mykos
11-02-2011, 11:08 PM
I use mink oil on my boots and sheaths and have always been pleased with the results.

BDDwoods
11-03-2011, 12:59 AM
I use Snow Seal for wet weather gear but for boots, I use Red Wing Boot Oil. If the boots are Red Wing (mine are) the the local dealer oils them for free.

longhunter
11-03-2011, 01:27 AM
If you use Neatsfoot on anything that contains stitching (boot, saddles, etc), be sure it is pure and not a compound. I can't say from experience, but I've been told many times that the Neatsfoot compounds will rot the stitching.
Ican attest to that, while in the US Army trainging in florida they had 55 gallon drums cut in half full of Neatsfoot oil. On the leather it worked OK but over a very short time the stitching did disintegrate (sp?) and then you had the flapping soles....just my opinion.

Ahnkochee
11-03-2011, 01:56 AM
Thanks for all the great responses. I think I'm leaning more towards the mink-oil than the neatsfoot from what I'm reading but also I'm leaning more towards beeswax too. I may try a mix of beeswax and Macadamia nut oil since the Macnut has the same properties of mink oil, and readily available here.

briarbrow
11-03-2011, 06:05 AM
I'm affraid of EVOO as I've heard it goes rancid over time and even aids in the decay of leather. I'll have to do some more research to verify. I do love the stuff for cooking. ;)

I believe that eventually any natural oil will aid in the decay of leather, but in the short term of our use some help preserve it. Similarly museum conservationist use silicone wax based products to preserve some wooden objects that were traditionally treated with boiled linseed oil or tallow because those naturals slowly aid in the objects demise.-or so I've heard.

For the longest time I was against the use of neatsfoot. Then I discovered what I had was a compound. It smells rancid. The real stuff has an odor to it but is not offensive.

In some old literature, advice of cordwainers and my grandfather have all recommended neatsfoot. Use light coating, rather than trying to saturate

ElpasoTom
11-08-2014, 11:06 PM
Been awhile in this thread. Just tight I would add that a liberal dose of Snow Seal and a heat gun completely solved my creaking Crossbreed holster problem. Just don't get too much heat directly on the kydex.

Exy
11-08-2014, 11:10 PM
My uses for 100% neatfoot are only with brand new dried out leather.

Giving it a coat before and after staining. Then sealing the leather up with sno-seal.

If I have some older used leather that is a bit dry.. I hit it with a little mink oil to re-lubricate it and then I hit it with sno-seal.. but you could get away with sno-seal alone.

Personally, I swear by sno-seal.

That is my arsenal of defense - pure neatfoot, mink oil, and snoseal.

Agile Woodsman
11-08-2014, 11:41 PM
It's important to make the distinction in purpose between oils and waxes on leather.

Oils, in general, are used to lubricate the fibers in leather. Leather is a biological animal product so it has fibers like any other skin or muscle. The oil penetrating between these fibers is what keeps it soft and prevents dry rot and similar issues.

Waxes are more for weather proofing and keeping outside gunk from penetrating these fibers which would promote premature wear.

So what to use, when, is situational. A knife sheath that is wet formed and friction fit, for example, you'd not want to over oil because it'll get too soft and lose that tight fit. However a light oiling once a year or so, along with a wax finish for weather and environment protection would work well.

So figure out what the project is used for, and what would most benefit it, based on what it is and how it's going to be used. :)

Seacapt.
11-15-2014, 08:05 PM
Standard old dressing "Bag Balm" rubbed in and set by the wood stove or radiator over night to soak in and seal, waterproof and no rot issues.

RDog
11-15-2014, 08:39 PM
maybe coconut oil?