I’ve had a few questions about leather care, and using our Leather Salve, so this week I documented the care of my wallet to show you the process.
A little over a year ago I made myself this billfold wallet. The idea was to test the design and then ultimately make more to offer in the shop. Testing is pretty well complete I think, so it’s due time to make some for the shop. The leather I used for the prototype was some vegetable tanned cowhide from my scrap bin and the piece was a little dry. I oiled the leather before making the wallet, as I do with all the leather goods I make, and I have oiled it once again within this past year. This week it was definitely ready for a salve treatment.
The image above shows the wallet just before I began. The color has darkened over the past year, and the wallet has broken in well.
Here I have begun to rub in the salve. I use a small piece of natural, jersey knit cotton. Any soft, natural cloth will do. A piece of cloth is included with each tin of salve.
I just move along in small circular motions, adding more salve to the cloth as needed. It’s a little bit meditative, and satisfying to see the grain come alive and look rejuvenated.
Once the surface is fully covered, it needs to rest so the salve can evenly absorb. In this case I waited an hour or so. Being on the drier side, this leather took it up fairly quickly. You will know it’s done when the surface no longer looks wet, and the color has evened out.
Finally, buff the surface, rubbing in a circular motion with a clean, dry cloth.
The wax in the formula, combined with the gentle friction of buffing, creates a beautiful and protective sheen that is also fairly water resistant.
And now, my wallet is set to go for another good while. I love the slightly darker tone it picks up from the oil, and it feels and looks great.
Our Leather Salve can be used to finish and protect new leather goods, or to restore and care for leather goods you have been using for some time. It can depend somewhat on the specific piece of leather and the climate where you live, but typically 1-3 treatments per year should be sufficient. For thirstier leather items, a pre treatment with neatsfoot oil can also be helpful. I treat every unfinished, natural leather piece with neatsfoot oil, before proceeding with any other treatments.
You can find our current selection of care goods here.
And most leather goods orders (this is defined in the item description) come with a mini tin of salve!
If you’d like to learn a little more about leather, including some of the differences between some of the types of tanning, see this post.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions.