Taking care of your Hedgehog Leatherworks product is easy! Below, you'll find everything you need to know.
What is Leather?
On a microscopic level, leather is a complex matrix of collagen protein fibers that are interwoven with each other. Leather is flexible because those tiny individual fibers are all lubricated with various oils that are added during the tanning process. As long as those fibers stay lubricated, your leather stays strong and healthy. Have you ever seen a raw hide dog chew? That's what leather would look like in a completely dried out state, with no lubrication of the protein fibers.
How To Care For Leather
We heavily condition our products before shipping them. That means your leather is starting off in an ideal state and only needs occasional maintenance. We strongly recommend purchasing our Sheath Conditioner because it contains a blend of ingredients that are ideal for keeping your leather healthy and resistant to the elements. If you apply a different conditioner, you might be just fine or you might encounter major problems like staining and over-conditioning. What is over-conditioning? It's when you lubricate the protein fibers so much that the leather becomes limp like a wet noodle. For that reason, stick with our stuff to avoid any surprises.
To condition your leather (with our Sheath Conditioner):
- Gently rub the conditioner into leather with a cloth or paper towel until all surfaces are lightly coated
- Use a Q-tip to apply in areas that are more difficult to access
- Once the product is coated, wipe away the excess
- Your product will have a slightly waxy feel to it after using the conditioner
- Reapply as needed to keep your sheath healthy and ready for exposure to the elements
- Do this regiment before and after any major outing
- Remember that a little bit goes a long way. One jar of conditioner will last for many years
What Not To Do
The enemy of leather is anything that depletes the lubrication of those tiny collagen fibers. If leather gets too dry, there is no coming back. For that reason, you want to avoid submerging your leather in water, as well as over-exposure to sunlight. That does not mean you have to baby your product. Just don't go scuba diving with it and don't leave it on the dashboard of your car every single day. Getting caught in a rainstorm is no big deal. Just keep it conditioned and you're fine.
What If I Get The Leather Completely Soaking Wet?
It happens: canoes tip and things get wet. As long as you're not doing this all the time, your leather will be just fine. When you get home from the field, simply dry the product out at room temperature, with a fan if you like. Once it's dry, apply conditioner. Don't use heat to accelerate the drying because it will cause the leather to turn irreversibly rock hard.