Of all the exotic leathers you’re likely to run into, deerskin leather may have the most colorful history. The very name harkens back to the wild days of Frontier America, where this superior hide proved an indispensable tool for making everything from moccasins and buckskin to gloves and bookbinders. It was a very lucrative material as well – deerskin accounted for one of the single most important trading relationships between European colonials and Native American tribes. It’s not hard to understand why. Deerskin, as opposed to cowhide, is among the most comfortable material you’ll find on the market, with longevity few leather types can rival. Apart from being considerably durable, it is also a tremendously flexible material, almost molding itself to skin, and possessing a breathability that paradoxically makes it cool to wear in summer and warm again come winter. Yet its most outstanding feature – its soft and delicate texture – will remain even after repeatedly getting wet and drying again. Deerskin has much to boast about.
To make things even better, this particular hide is fairly easy to maintain as well. Most deerskin leather care requires very little conditioning, and you will actually want to be forewarned that excessive conditioning may darken its hue and give it a gooey surface. That would kind of ruin the point of the leather. Still, make sure you give it a semi-regular conditioning (about twice a year should work), or else it may begin to dry out. Cleaning, on the other hand, will need to happen routinely and every time a blemish appears. Here's a few tips.
Caring for Your Deer
Because deerskin is so soft and breathable, it can collect harmful oils and dirt from contact with our skin and other materials over time. To remove oils or grease stains, use baby powder, flour or cornstarch on the blemish, and leave it on for at least a couple of hours. These powders are particularly good at drawing the grease and oil out of the leather while they sit. Afterwards, use a soft brush to remove the powder. Be careful not to rub the powder into the leather too much, as this may have the unfortunate effect of rubbing the oil or grease further in.
For other stains and spot, like a soda spill, use a damp cloth, lightly rubbing it against the hide. If the stain persists, you may want to try a mild soap and water mixture. Mix the mild soap and water together in a bowl, and collect the suds on a soft cloth or applicator pad. Try not to let the cloth get too wet. Gently wipe it evenly over the surface of the leather and in thin layers. Afterwards, blot up (don't wipe) any excess moisture with a clean cloth, and leave the hide to dry in a cool place, indoors area away from sunlight and direct heat. This is also a good practice for routine cleanings apart from stains and spots. And make sure to regularly spot clean any dirt that appears on your deerskin with a damp cloth. Don't wait for layers of dust to build up, as this will make it more difficult to get out, meaning you have to put your leather through more stress. Be timely with your deerskin leather care.
As for those scratches and scuffs, it’s best to leave them be. Deerskin leather is meant to be wild. Because it once came from an actual, living deer, it’s going to have natural patterns on it that add to the look and feel of your leather. If you are insistent on removing them, emulsified lanolin is a good recipe to use for removing scuffs and marks. To use it, you’ll want to apply the lanolin to a soft cloth and apply it in an even coat and leave it to dry in a cool, indoors place, you know, away from sunlight and direct heat. The leather will darken temporarily, but will return to its natural color as the leather dries.
Finally, if your deerskin gets excessively wet (puddles or rainstorms), you'll want to dry it quickly. Absorb any excess moisture with a clean, dry cloth, and apply a leather conditioner while its pores are still open to restore any lubricants it may have lost. Test any leather conditioner you intend to use for deerskin leather care first (and it's best to test the leather before it gets wet!). Take a small amount of conditioner and apply it to a discreet area of your leather with a white cloth, and leave it to dry. Check for discoloration in the leather, rub off on your cloth, or any other negative side effects. If there are none, you should be good to go. It's best to use a conditioner specifically designed for exotic leathers, or Chamberlain's Leather Care Liniment No. 1, an all natural blend of those vital nutrients and lubricating oils your deerskin loves so much. Try it out!
Once you have your conditioner, the hard part of your deerskin leather care process is over. You'll want to apply very thin layers of this conditioner on your leather, and make sure that you spread it evenly. Use a soft, clean cloth or applicator pad for this, and afterwards, leave it to dry for about fifteen minutes in the familiar type of drying location. After fifteen minutes are over, buff the rest off with a clean cloth, and you're good to go!
Soft and Sweet
That about covers things! Deerskin leather is truly one of a kind, maintaining excellent longevity and durability and very little work to keep it that way. It’s stylish too, with its commonly association with Native American culture and the golden days of the American frontier. Its unique qualities have made it especially useful for a variety of apparel; you’ll be hard pressed to find better shoes, coats, shirts or pants superior to those deerskin made. For comfortable, flexible leather sheltering and stylish for all seasons, look no further than deerskin.
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