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Dirty, hard, and breaking/broken leather sling

4100 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  serb
I have a military style rifle sling Id like to save.The previous owner really let it go over the years when wet and a little moldy. Its surface is very hard. The leather fibers are breaking at the holes to bend at 90 degree angle.Any advice on how to deal with its restoration is appreciated. I was going to get some Pecards and immerse it totally in a melted solution. See if that worked.Thanks guys.


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Added two photos maybe that will help with advice.

Needs cleaned, but with what?

Then fed some moisturizer, but which?
I'd start with a liberal applicatioin of Black Rock leather treatment. I've brought back some sad looking holsters and saddles with that stuff, and use it for routine leather maintenance on everything, boots, shoes, belts, but seude. Great stuff, and a little goes a long ways. Give it a try first, may not need anything else.
Thanks snglstack,

I looked around a bit, and decided not to use my or your suggestion just yet.

Im put some neutral ph palmolive and water on it trying to knock off some dirt, and that wasnt strong enough.

Used some neutral leather balm from Finland on it and that was ok. Its color is actually RED, not the black in the picture.

Settled on some Lexol neutral ph cleaner to clean it, and will finish it with some Pecards Antique leather conditioner.

There seems go be very little consensus on the correct way to treat and preserve leather. I did find a couple good educational sites to teach about leather, acid/alkali, and what happens to it though.

All in an education.
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When the fibers are broken there is nothing that will restore it. Using Pecards in very light applications will help restore some life to the leather. The old adage of "If a little will do a little good, a lot should do a lot of good" doesn't apply here. Use light coats of Pecards and let it soak into the leather. When the leather surface appears dry, apply another light coat and so on. I have revived Model 1907 military slings this way where they look presentable on a rifle, but I wouldn't trust them to hold the rifle's weight.

The old leather will soak up water like a sponge, and this is not good for the leather. You can use the Pecards on a soft rag to remove most of the crud.
Whether you use Pecard's or Lexol - or even Ballistol - the old, dried, cracking leather's not going to come back as 'usable' - it will, however look better and become 'presentable'.

You can expect flexibility and all that - though old staining/creasing will always show, but expecting it to bear the weight of the piece will be asking a lot.

Since you have the original - you 'could' use it as a model and copy it.
Yes, ive had those same concerns over just how bad the sling is and whether it can still hold.

Id hate to drop the rifle and split the stock.

It would fail at the most inopportune time, no doubt, over concrete.
Not over concrete - over rocks - on a slope...
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are you partial to that type of sling? I will check my leather box. I might have a couple that I have aquired over the years. If I have any that are in decent condition I will let you know.

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Thank you for the offer Blade.

Im not partial to the type. I was trying to save it because its original to the gun, and i like restoration projects.

Ill try to save it and see if it holds after the Pecards. The rough backside is so dry its like dust.
ok I know I took one off an old Savage 99C a while back. I sold the gun but I know the sling is in my leather box somewhere.
If the backside's that dry - it's done as a usable sling.

Pecard's is good on 'live' leather - but on dried-out leather - not so much.

Think of it as the difference between applying a coat of latex paint over something that needs an oil-based paint to feed the wood fibers.
Thanks Dogface

Ill give the Pecards a shot anyway.

Not that much for a bit.

See how it feels after.

Unless something else turns up to put on it.
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