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Thread: Neatsfoot oil, mink oil, or ? ... for work boots

  1. #1
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    Neatsfoot oil, mink oil, or ? ... for work boots


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    Got a new pair of full-grain leather work boots. I did a little bit of reading and ordered some Fiebing's pure neatsfoot oil. Never used the stuff before but it sounded pretty good. Then I did a little more reading and now I'm not so sure I want to use it. Some sites act like it's the greatest stuff since sliced bread, and other sites say don't use it on your boots - it'll make 'em too soft, rot the stitching, and saturate the leather so it won't breathe, etc.

    In the past I've always cleaned my boots with saddle soap and then applied mink oil. Seemed to work fine.

    Sooooo ..... Yea or Nay to the neatsfoot oil??? Keep using mink oil instead???

  2. #2
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    SnoSeal
    Looking for Irish/Congress Jacks, especially a Remington.

  3. #3
    Sno-Seal. A mixture of oils (don't ask me what kind, I forgot) and beeswax. I only use it on my BeanBoots, because they're so old I got them before GoreTex was on the market. All my other work boots are lined with GoreTex and I just use regular shoe polish on them.

  4. #4
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    I use Obenaufs Heavy Duty Leather Protector for all my leather (boots, sheaths, ect). It's a mixture of beeswax and other chemicals, invented by a wilderness firefighter. This stuff resists bacteria and mildew, and is a barrier against manure acid, salt, caustic chemicals, and petroleum, as well as being very water resistant. It smells really, like honey, darkens leather up nicely and can be polished. What is really cool is that if exposed to heat or stress the oils are released faster. If your boots warm up, the oil will be released to protect the leather.

  5. #5
    Obenaufs all the way

  6. #6
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    I've used both Sno Seal and Obenauf's, but I haven't used anything but Obenauf's for the last five years or so. Yeah, I like it that much.

  7. #7
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    I use sno seal and sorry I cant tell you if the product you have is detrimental for shoes or not.
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  8. #8
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    So far I've been a dedicated SnoSeal user. I never heard of Obenauf's but after seeing this thread, I'm going to give it a try . Thanks for the tipoff guys

  9. #9
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    It's pretty expensive, but worth it. Works great on sheaths, holsters, etc., also.

  10. #10
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    The best stuff............Montana Pitch Blend

    Combination of Pine Pitch, Mink Oil, and Bees Wax

  11. #11
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    OBENAUF'S-LP. Not bad on Ritz crackers too...
    No, no. If you shoot Mongo, you'll just make him mad.

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    God bless John Moses Browning.

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  12. #12
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    Yeah. Just the smell is good enough for me.

    Seriously, stay away from the stuff containing oils (they can turn rancid and inevitably make the leather softer) and pitch (it breaks down the fibers of the leather).

  13. #13
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    I have used Sno-Seal for decades on all my leather -- belts, boots, sheaths, shoes -- with perfect satisfaction. Seals, protects, doesn't soften.

  14. #14
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    Obenauf"s. Best i have found. You can use it on sore cracked hands or feet. At least I have and it seems to really help.

  15. #15
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    I started a thread asking the same type of question, so far the only reason I've seen not to soak you boots in oil is that it will rot out over time. My boots never last more than a year anyway so using copious amounts of oil actually increases their useful life even if it is detrimental to the leather in the long run. If you already get your boots to last more than a year or two then I might consider something other that drenching them in oil.

    The best universal boot advice that I've read is to get a boot dryer and/or or get two pairs and alternate. Letting the leather rest seems to be very important and drying them at room temperature is critical if they get wet.

  16. #16
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    Yeah, well, if your boots only last a year, I guess it doesn't much matter what you do with them. Me, I've got boots here that are probably older than you are. It kinda makes a difference at that point.

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the replies so far, guys. I forgot to mention in my OP that my boots, after wearing them for a couple weeks, were still pretty stiff. I wanted to soften them up a bit, but not too much. I used the neatsfoot oil and it did soften them to my satisfaction. But, I'm not confident that it offers much long term protection.

    I've used SnoSeal in the past with very satisfactory results, but Obenauf's HDLP looks like something I ought to give a try.

  18. #18
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    Samael - Can you go into a little more detail as to why you like Obenauf's better than SnoSeal?

  19. #19
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    I really can't. I know, sounds funny, but I just like the way it feels, I like the way it smells, I like the way it leaves my hands feeling afterwads, but really, nothing objective. I can't prove it's any better for the boots than Sno Seal.

  20. #20
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    I work in a factory and pay too much money for steel toed boots which last me years. I've found that neatsfoot oil really does make them last longer. I don't know if it is best for things which you want to keep for lifetimes, but I suspect it is.

    You got pure neatsfoot instead of neatsfoot COMPOUND, so that's good. The mineral oil in the compound will break down stitching and the leather long term. Someone on another forum put it in an interesting way. He said that you use animal oils on leather (animal product), and vegetable oils (linseed, etc.) on vegetable products (wood). His logic was that mineral oil was, indirectly, a vegetable oil.

    I use neatsfoot followed by a mixture of neatsfoot and lanolin, sometimes just the mixture. The lanolin seals the neatsfoot in and the leather won't bleed oil.

    You should not drench the leather and in some cases (like knife sheaths) use just a tiny amount of oil. One way to minimize the amount applied is to dampen the leather first and then apply the oil (which then won't wick in as fast) and let dry.

    Pine pitch sounds interesting. Is that to waterproof? I like mixing brews up.

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