Cleaning and Polishing your Leather

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Cleaning and Polishing your Leather

Post by pud » Thu Nov 16, 2006 9:07 am

Source: Cuthbertson, 1776, Article 29.

"It is not sufficient, that the outside flaps of the pouches and the scabbards should always be well blackened; it must also be insisted on, that they shine, equal to japan or varnish, which can easily be done, by placing a piece of soft brown paper on them, and with a hot iron held at a small distance, drawing the grease from one to the other; that being effectually removed, ivoryblacking and beeswax must be thinly spread over them, and rubbed on with a smooth stick or bottle, until they are brought to the highest polish."

In modern day terms our armies call what Cuthbertson referred to as a "Spit-Shine". It really is a simple process. Find yourself a piece of soft cotton flannel material and add water or your own saliva to a particular area of it. Be sure to wrap the cloth around your forefinger and lightly rub it into the actual polish. At this point take the polish you've gathered on the damp cloth and use small circular motions to apply it to the area of leather in concern. Repeat this process an endless number of times until several layers of polish have been applied to the leather. The result is a multitude of layers that are extremely thin and they will eventually fill in all the imperfections of the leather and right in front of your eyes the result will be a glossy and beautiful shine.

For those of you that may have a set of white accoutrements made of Buff Leather or White Buff leather the cleaning and shining of them is going to be a little different. Believe it or not it is best to use a very fine grade of sandpaper to clean the leather first. Once the cleaning is complete if whitening is then necessary I strongly recommend you use some sort of commercially available white shoe polish, liquid is best. Apply the liquid polish and once it has dried, buff the leather as hard as possible with a clean bristle brush. This will serve two purposes; to secure the polish on the leather but also to prevent it from rubbing off onto your uniform.

Have fun!

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