Leather Care and Chemical Propellants

Chemical Propellants and Proper Leather Care

Obeanuf’s has always disagreed with the use of chemical propellants used in aerosol cans to propel leather care products onto surfaces.   That is why our Leather Oil comes with a dobber and our Watershield has a trigger spray or a thumb sprayer that will not harm the leather.   As with hair spray, any leather or cloth conditioner/waterproofer that is sprayed under pressure is flammable and presents a fire hazard.

The Chemical Residue Created from Propellants Stays on Your Leather

The chemical residue that is in the leather care product is then sprayed onto the surface thereby creating the possibility of ignition around campfires or any fire or heat source.   The military does not allow these types of products due to this problem.  Always read the back of the product to check the warnings. If it says it is highly flammable, then this is certainly a red flag especially with children or pets in the household.  Be sure you are aware of this when using products under pressure and keep them away from heat and other potentially flammable sources.

Caring For Leather Boots with Gortex

Image of a Nubuck Boot with Gortex and Rubber RandsCaring for leather boots with GoreTex liners.

We have had a lot of questions regarding the use of our conditioners and preservatives with regard to them being safe on inner liners. For 20 years our products have been used on all types of boots with a variety of liners and we have never had a bad experience. Since the leather provides a natural barrier to the liners, conditioners that are applied to the surface have little effect on the inside liners. And if they do get wet, it doesn’t hurt the liner fabric or its usage.

Proper leather care:

This requires products that are inert non-caustic and can be safely used on many man-made materials both on the outside of boots as well as the liners on the inside. Since our products use beeswax as a natural waterproof-er it allows both the leather as well as the synthetic materials to breathe without harming them or their intended uses.

Liners, membranes and interior surfaces provide a variety of comfort in today’s boots and shoes. Unlike the old days when boots were made of leather with cloth interiors, and we didn’t have to worry about the boot dressings that we used, today customers need to be very careful when applying many of the conditioners on the market since they contain paraffin, mink oil, solvents, chemical propellants etc. that can have lasting, detrimental effects on the liners and the leather. Obenauf’s stays current with the materials used in boots today and have found our products to work in harmony with all of them on the market.

Caring for Leather Boots with Rubber Rands Part 2

More on Rubber Rands and Leather Boot Care

This is a followup to our last post on caring for leather boots with glued, rubber rands.   After several questions regarding what boot manufacturers are telling their customers about leather care and rubber,  un-stitched rands we thought we should clarify.  As stated in a previous article these boots are being manufactured overseas and are having the rands vacuum formed onto leather boots and not glued and stitched on as is the process with US and European boot manufacturers.   This vacuum forming process is creating some quality construction issues with regard to proper leather care of the leather uppers of the boots.

Vacuum Formed Rands Can’t Bind to Properly Treated Leather

Boot companies are stating that Obenauf’s and other conditioners are disolving the glue, which is completely untrue. What is happening is the oil is leaching into the underlying leather to condition it and keep it from cracking.  As the leather is oiled it becomes less able to provide a binding surface for the glue, which then causes the rand to start  separating from the leather since it is no longer binding well.  This is not the fault of the conditioner, but a flaw in the manufacturing process.

Over time, this same glue-only rand will separate after repeated water penetrations from extended use in rain or wet areas. If boots are subjected to chemicals at different plants or construction sites it will only increase the speed of separation. We would recommend that you should put a bead of glue around the top of the rand and then apply Obenauf’s up to the glue bead to condition and protect the leather for longer lasting protection and dryness.

Caring for Leather Boots with Rubber Rands

Closeup of a Nubuck leather boot with a rubber rand.Rubber Rands on Leather Boots – Glue and Separation Concerns

We have had many customers email us about boots that have a high rubber rand and question how Obenauf’s will affect the glue. Several boot companies are making their boots in Asia with a process where the rubber rands are vacuumed onto the leather uppers through a glue-on process that is quick and cheap to do.

This has created some big problems for customers who want to condition and protect their boots but are told not to use any conditioners.

American boot makers have always stitched and glued this rand on, which provides quality boot construction and years of good service. Since these boots’ rands are stitched directly to the leather, there has never been a problem with leather conditioners like Obenauf’s. We are not advocates of the glue-only rand, however we can say that if you have a pair of these boots you can wipe our oil on and only get within a quarter inch of the rand. You can also apply a seam of glue at the top of the rand to keep it from seperating and then the oil will not penetrate between the rand and the leather. If you leave the boot untreated you will eventually ruin the leather since it will dry out and crack.