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Re: [BKARTS] Leather conditioning

Wendy wrote:
>Conservation studies indicate that leather dressing
>can be harmful in the long run and is mostly cosmetic.

Many people have said that using leather dressing is harmful, but will
someone please explain why, if it is done properly? I read some notions
about this in the Abbey Newsletter decades ago, but don't recall any
convincing methodology behind them. I must have missed some more recent AIC
paper on the subject that everyone else knows about.

I have seen lots of undressed leather that has turned to dust.  Several
people have said that it has short term cosmetic benefits and that's all.
I like cosmetic benefits. And I haven't seen any evidence of long term
deleterious effects.  There are some bindings that I have been oiling
("refurbishing" used to be the pc term) every 3 to 5 years for over 35
years, that today look and feel exactly like they did then.  Is there some
mysterious hidden problem I don't know about?

I am more scared of dried out leather than lubricated leather, for
problems.  Especially in the hinge.

My favorite dressing these days is Marney's Conservation Leather Dressing,
which has lanolin, neatsfoot oil and some beeswax, but is not as waxy as
the old British Museum formula. I like it for sealing the leather with the
wax, particularly in environments with hydrogen sulfide, sulphur dioxide,
and other chemicals in the air that can combine with water vapor to produce

The important factor in oiling, for me, is the moisture content of the
leather. I try to avoid oiling in the winter unless I am in a humidified
environment, like my studio, and the books have stabilized to a reasonable
moisture level. Sealing moisture out of the leather can cause problems.

For white leather I was taught to oil it with milk.  Anyone else out there
doing that?


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