BCUK Member Question…’Finishing’ leather

hi…its as simple or as complex as you want to get really….

in my experience you need no more than dye and fiebings antique finish….coupla coats….you can then add a wax layer if you want….whether it be sno-seal, carnauba or bees wax youve processed yourself….i know some of the guys on here also slap a coat of mink oil in (personally i wouldnt…theres a load of dubious stuff on the internet about it….and i’ve heard similar about neatsfoot)…and no doubt there are thousands of leatherworkers out there who would disagree with me.

my attitude towards bushcraft leatherwork is this…..do exactly what you need to do to achieve the required end result….no more, no less….and do it conscientiously to the best of your ability)….and safety is always the priority. most people do not get their sheaths wet to any degree whatsoever…..and if they did i’d advise them to go with kydex.

and theres absolutely no point putting 15 layers of chemicals onto a bit of leather unless its needed or wanted/required for a specific look….whether cosmetically or structurally.

the sheath on my main user was dyed with brown then had one layer of finish on top…i made it years ago…its been camping many!!!!! times in all weathers and its had water, fat, grease, rain, mud, soup, fried egg, sweat, baked beans and probably bird mess and cow poop on it too and its absolutely fine…aged, strong, worn and robust.

i’ve a 100+ year old merryweather firemans belt here thats had a tough life and i’ve had it over 20 years myself and i’ve never applied a single thing to it yet trust me its indestructable.

theres too much ‘good advice’ out there as well as companies who want your money….bit of dye, bit of wax, job done.

and with experience comes skill and youll find youre capable of getting better results with less and less…..all just imo….(youll discover that the finish itself is not so important as to when and how you apply/polish it)

i have people asking me regularly…’how did you get those colours’…’how did you get that finish’….’how did you achieve that’….there are no secrets or homemade recipes…its simple…fiebings dyes, fiebings finish…thasit…no array of chemicals…no ‘resists’….no concoctions.



ps i read recently that leather degrades naturally in 25-40 years…..so…a bit of leather….outside….rotting….or in the ground, rotting…still takes 25+ years to go….its pretty tough is my point….thats what tanning is for…imo all these other products are pretty much unnecesary and simply relieve you of your hard earned.


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