Friday, March 16, 2012

Buco Jacket redo

Spurred on by this week's 6th grade baseball glove unearthing and Kellie's reuniting with her dad's Schott Bros. leather, I decided to do a little work on my Dad's high school hoodlum jacket.

Pops gave me this relic about 20 years ago when I bought my shovelhead. It was already too small for my fat beer belly, so I never got enthused about it. It was cool, with studs and zippers, but was moldy and stiff as cardboard from 30 years of basement neglect.

I had done some internet research this past week about old leather while I was getting my old baseball glove limbered up to practice baseball with my 8 year old son. My plan was to first use saddlesoap to clean the decades of scum off of the jacket, then lay on some oil to soften it up.

The jacket is a 1955 era Buco model J-22. It is made out of horsehide and has a red and black plaid, wool liner. Buco, or also known as The Joseph Buegeleisen Company, was a Detroit manufacturer of riding gear and motorcycle accessories up until the 70's.

As you can see from the pictures, the jacket was nasty, I wasn't even sure this project would work. I went to the local True Value hardware store and picked up a tin of Feibing's Saddle Soap and a bottle of Feibing's Neatsfoot Oil. $7 each, so you don't need to search high and low for some exotic crap. The Saddlesoap is like Turtle Wax and the oil is supposedly rendered from the shinbones of cattle, but some say you can use 5W fork oil if you have some.

I put some soap on a T shirt and got busy. I worked the soap into the leather and it cleaned up all the mold and mildew, while also making the horseflesh abit more pliable. This took about 2 and a half hours. The soap left behind a waxy yellow residue in the deepest cracks and grains in the hide. I buffed off most of it and went to the next step.

I knew from the ball mitt that this part would be messy, so I laid the jacket out on the hood of an abandoned heroinmobile. I poured the Neatsfoot oil onto a terrycloth towel and worked it in to the hide. You could almost hear a big sucking sound as the thirsty skin absorbed the cow oil. The leather got a bit softer.

I am letting it soak overnight and will re apply the oil again tomorrow. Then I will buff out the yellow wax. Then the jacket will almost be ready to keep some lucky fender fluff warm and very stylish this Summer. Gotta find an old Italian guy to repair the zipper, and some red, glass jewels for the "R-A-Y" on the belt.

I will post some pics when I get the zipper repaired.

1 comment:

Dex said...

Nice work ray..

The Beer Taps of Knowlegde


Blog Archive