As you probably know there could never be too many gasmasks for me! Indeed it seems a pity in many ways that the columns in the ACS sheets do not contain an extra one headed ‘Masks’. I have made quite a few pen friends now through the ACS, which is very nice although often it seems that the people with like interests such as wearing masks live at opposite ends of the country.

Could I suggest an idea for a future feature? Over many years of experience and experiment, I have happened on my own preferred treatments for leather care but expert comment from someone in the tanning business would be interesting.

I used to use Neatsfoot oil, as that is often recommended, but I think there are better things. Neatsfoot oil eventually makes the leather sticky, and it loses its sheen.

Saddle soap is good at getting creases and furrows out, but as a preservative I don’t find it long lasting, so I end up with a mixed diet. Hydrophane oil occasionally (say 2-3 times a year) to get right into the fibres. Saddle soap to prevent overmuch creasing, and for garments worn every day hydrolan lanolin based wax which, when dry, will shine up quite nicely. I keep my leathers hanging in a warm airy room (when not hanging on me) as cupboards if not actually leading to mildew do not sustain the same suppleness and texture.

Quite probably different leathers may be best treated in different ways, e.g. as between horsehide on the one hand and sheep nappa on the other. It may be a case of more differences in the tanning processes than the origin of the leather itself.

Dry cleaning even by specialist firms I have found chancy. The leather never has the same feel afterwards however much loving care is lavished upon it. However, contrary to popular belief, I find that at least my mole jeans wash (in lukewarm Dreft or similar) extremely well, with no ill effects at all especially if some saddle soap is rubbed in while the leather is still wet.

But I am no expert – just an amateur trying to care for his leathers. It would be nice to have some expert opinion.

– D.B. (Surrey)

Thank you for your two suggestions, both of which we intend to follow up. Ed.