Cracked leather boots.

Discussion in 'Clothing' started by Beal, Aug 18, 2019.

  1. Beal

    Beal Scout

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    I have a dilemma. A couple months ago i ponied up the $$$ for a nice pair of boots that were made in USA. I work in a damp environment, running a pair of stone cutting saws. Water is constantly sprayed on the blades to cool, lubricate, and to keep the dust down. Im not wading through puddles, but its pretty wet.

    I had gotten some fiebings neatsfoot oil as Ive seen recommended on here, but it seems after a week my boots have started to crack and we all know cracks will only grow. It made me wonder if the neatsfoot oil was causing some of this, as I had used it on my previous pair of boots and over a couple months they went from looking decent, to hideously cracked. Ruined. I was cutting alot of limestone and wondered if perhaps that had something to do with it.

    Now Ive read something saying neatsfoot oil WILL damage leather over time, making it brittle! I can almost forgive it if it over time, but this was within a week. :17:

    Could it have been something in the way the leather was finished?

    Truely hate to think a pair of chinesian boots lasted longer than a pair of USA made boots. It aint right!

    I realize my work environment will take a toll on any pair of boots, American or otherwise. I cant afford to buy new boots every couple months. What products are out there that will give leather some protection against moisture, but wont damage it?

    256.34 different products that claim to help, and now I find some do more damage than good!
    Whats a man to do??

    Thanks fellas.

    IMG_7092.JPG
    Note, its worse now than when I was wearing them, once they started leaking I didnt really care anymore and was looking for replacements.

    Still at any rate, its frustrating to think Ive unknowingly set the demise of a nice pair of boots. :34:
     
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  2. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    I think that's mostly from working it wet, and nothing really to do with neatsfoot oil. I've had boots long ago do that and there was no oil of any kind on them.
     
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  3. loveandall

    loveandall Supporter Supporter

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    Have you ever heard of sno-seal? it works awesome for keeping leather protected and in top-notch shape.

    I had another idea hit me after reading your post is why don't you just wear some sort of rubber type boot (like Muck brand boots) which are naturally impervious to water, instead of even risking the possibility of damaging expensive boots?
     
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  4. Royal Wulff

    Royal Wulff Scout

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    I was just about to suggest Sno-Seal. Might be worth a shot.
     
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  5. DavidJAFO

    DavidJAFO Keeper of the Clubhouse swear jar Supporter

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    hello,
    DITTO :dblthumb: ..& after each wear at the end of the day, I would suggest that you stuff each boot with loosely crumpled newspaper to draw any moisture from inside the boots.
    Regards
    David
     
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  6. designtom

    designtom Men Of Action #43 Supporter

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    1) I dont know.

    2) I think I'd have enough duplicate boots so they have a chance to dry out before being used again.

    3) Personally I alternate between Montana pitch blend (pine pitch & bees wax, and snow seal)
     
  7. Noddy

    Noddy Scout

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    I think neatfoot oil is just for softening (though I am happy to be told I'm wrong). I only used it once and that was to soften a stubborn pair of boots. I think I over did it anyway.

    Silicone wax or dubbin work. Dubbin is especially easy to apply and get into the welt etc.

    Mucks and Grubbs, as loveandall mentions, are comfortable. Sometimes it feels like you might pull your leg out of its socket when trying to get them off :lol:
     
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  8. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I don't know anything about neatsfoot oil but yes, like others said, sno-seal sounds like the right product for your environment.

    Sno-seal is meant for smooth leather, not suede. I have used it on suede, though - it ruins the suede but protects the boot...
     
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  9. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Scout

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    Sno-seal is a fantastic waterproofer/preservative for leather boots. I work in a similar environment ,and regular application has kept a pair of Redwings going for almost 2 years. A note about application; you're not done untill you're done. Keep putting on coat after coat untill the leather won't take anymore.

    Neatsfoot oil is great for taking stiff or old, dry leather and softening and renewing it, but too much will soften the leather to the point of mush by breaking down the fibers too much.
     
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  10. Bryan King

    Bryan King Supporter Supporter

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    I would try sno- seal , I like it . Most neatsfoot oil is a compound now is not the real thing. But I agree about being wet all the time, not good.
     
  11. hillst1

    hillst1 Supporter Supporter

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    I use Obenauf's Heavy Duty LP on all my leather.

    obenaufs.com/heavy-duty-lp-p/leather-preservative-paste.htm
     
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  12. Raymond Eisele

    Raymond Eisele Scout

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    I use ballistol for lots of stuff, cleaning guns, metat and wood. Does fine job on leather also. Only thing, it doesn't smell that great.
     
  13. White Falcon

    White Falcon Scout

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    I use Vaseline on mine.
     
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  14. Noddy

    Noddy Scout

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    Well, I do to. But what about your boots?

    bdm'pssh!
     
  15. Stophel

    Stophel Scout

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    I would put some neatsfoot oil on the leather (don't flood and soak it), and then wax the far out of it with sno seal or beeswax melted in.
     
  16. Beal

    Beal Scout

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    Thats exactly whats happening to my boots now. You can wipe your finger across where is cracked, and it looks perfectly fine.

    Now, the question... how best to get this junk out of my boots.


    Ive used snow seal on the chinesian boots, any they lasted around 4 years till they started coming apart the leather was only slightly cracked.

    Thanks for all the replies fellas.
     
  17. clueless on the delaware

    clueless on the delaware Scout

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    Sorry, buddy . There's no getting it out, and the damage has been done. Just set them aside in a sunny spot for a few days and let 'em dry a bit, then apply the Sno-Seal or some other wax based waterproofer/preservative.
     
  18. Jetjr

    Jetjr Scout

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    I use mink oil on my boots at least 3 or 4 times a year. I will say that my boots aren't waterproof. They are just plain leather no liner. Mine have had cracks like that for a long while. The boots are almost 10 years old and have had new soles 3 times. I mostly wear them in the warmer months
     
  19. JC1

    JC1 Guide

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    I don't think its the water as much as the dust from your cutting. It acts like sandpaper and keeps digging in and cutting at the pressure points
     
  20. fuzz stick

    fuzz stick Tracker

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    If the leather is already cracked, you can't undo the damage....however there may still be a lot of life left in them.

    About "neats foot oil", Some will recommend it for almost anything leather but for some types of leather, oil isn't good at all....and yes, in such cases it can make the leather crack. For some leather, depending on the way it was originally treated by the maker, Silicone is much better....in some cases, wax.

    For what it's worth...most holster makers seriously council against using oil.... same with knife sheaths and leather handles.....it can soften and ruin it...they recommend saddle soap and/or waxed based shoe polish only...no oil. Same with many boots.

    Oil is the proper thing for some leather...but know in advance.

    By the way, it's a common practice to dry out wet leather by putting it near a stove, fire, etc.

    Don't do it. It will ruin leather quicker than anything.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
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  21. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    Since we're kinda broadening the topic a bit, let me share how my old man taught me to break in a new pair of leather shoes or boots. This is primarily meant for smooth leather, like military/dress shoes, old-school combat boots, cowboy boots, etc. Proper, full real leather with a finished, smooth surface.

    Step 1 - saddle soap. Use some water in a cloth to work up a good lather, work it into the footwear thoroughly, wipe off excess, let dry for hours or overnight, buff. This is a cleaner / conditioner and the step serves the purpose to remove any leftover chemicals from the tanning / dyeing / stiffening process.

    Step 2 - mink oil. Rub in a generous amount all over and let sit 24 hours. Then buff vigorously to remove excess. This crucial step adds pliability to the leather, allowing them to more easily "break in" when you wear them - the leather will adjust to your foot shape more easily with less cracks or other damage, your feet are less likely to get hot spot and blisters during the breaking in period. This also adds a level of waterproofness.

    Step 3 - shoe polish. The regular wax stuff, like Kiwi brand. Use the neutral version if you're concerned about leather color. Minimal effort is to rub a layer on, let dry, then buff. But if you know how to spit shine, go for it - takes a cotton cloth or cotton ball, wet in water (unless you really want to use spit), add polish, apply in tight circles until you get a mirror finish, 30+ minutes per shoe, give or take. Igniting the polish first doesn't really do anything.

    That's it. Maintain the polish by repeating step 3 as necessary. He did say to repeat step 1 and 2 each year but I don't know if that's really necessary; I did it sometimes but more often then not they just got the initial treatment.

    But otherwise, I found this system works to break in nad preserve new leather shoes/boots a heck of a lot better than anything else. Though these days too many of them are partial synthetic composites / lined and this probably won't work well and it doesn't really matter because they're gonna fall apart in a year anyway.

    Still, regarding the topic of the OP, unless you buy boots specifically designed and treated for that type of environment, I stick with my earlier sno-seal statement. It's some hard core stuff.
     
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  22. gargoyle

    gargoyle Scout

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    Rubber over boots (galoshes).
    I wore them thru many winters. Inner leather boot would be dry at the end of the day. Low top or high top work well, I found the low top to be easier on/off.
    Any wet saw company should offer these. If not Tractor Supply or farm store will have them.
    Boot dryer at end of day! You gotta get them dry.
    Still treat leather boots with Sno-Seal.
     
  23. Beal

    Beal Scout

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    I realize there is no getting the cracks out. I wondered if maybe soaking in hot water might draw some of the oil back out?

    Ordered 2 more pair last night at any rate. Ill get some sno seal on them.

    I have a pair of muck boots... but they get too hot and they wear a nice bald ring around my legs. And that just aint right. :18:


    Thanks again fellas.
     
  24. BradGad

    BradGad Supporter Supporter

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    > “About "neats foot oil", Some will recommend it for almost anything leather but for some types of leather, oil isn't good at all....and yes, in such cases it can make the leather crack. For some leather, depending on the way it was originally treated by the maker, Silicone is much better....in some cases, wax.”

    Very true. Oil treatments (neatsfoot oil, mink oil) are not recommended for chrome tanned leathers, only oil tanned leathers. Silicone- and wax-based treatments can be used on any leather.

    Neat season starts in a couple months here in Georgia. I hope to bag at least a couple dozen this year. They’re plentiful down here but their feet tend to be smaller and less oil-rich than those of the Northern ones.
     
  25. kronin323

    kronin323 the barbarian Supporter

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    I hope you didn't pay too much for that "neat" hunting license.
     

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