Recommended conditioner for natural veg tan leather

Hello,
I am brand new to leather working. What is a quality conditioner for natural veg tan leather? I don’t want to use anything that is intended to change the color of the leather such as a stain. I do understand that many conditioners will darken the leather. I would really like an all natural conditioner. My next question is, should conditioner be applied before the project is assembeled? Starting out, I plan to make hand bags and pouches. I would like the leather to develop its own natural patina. Is there a conditioner that also produces some level of water protection?
Thanks for everything,
Jim

Welcome to the forum. To meet your needs, there are a couple of options. Tandy has several choices of waterproofing paste as well as mink oils. There is also Smith’s Leather Balm. I use Feibing’s snow proof paste as both a conditioner and waterproofing. on leather that I don’t use a clear coat on to help protect the leather after died.

I always put it on after the piece is complete rather than trying to coat the pieces before assembly. Here is the link to the Tandy site…

Hello,

Thank you for the response.

Regarding applying conditioner before or after sewing and assembly, I am wondering if I apply first then I can insure that conditioner is applied to all surfaces. What would be the concern? Would it be that there is a danger of applying too much conditioner or would there be a problem with the use of adhesives on conditioned leather?

Just questions from a novice.

Jim

It can get in the way of the adhesives as well as get on your hands while working with it. Typically, the only parts that need conditioning/ protection are those that are exposed as a finished project. Except for the glue application, it won’t “hurt” anything; just less messy. Good luck and make sure to share your finished project when complete.

OK, it looks like the correct order of operations is to apply conditioner after sewing.

I will share my project but it will be a while. I am a wood worker and need to do some remodeling in the shop to make an area for leather work. I hope to combine my wood and leather work into some interesting projects.

Jim

Bick 4 leather conditioner doesn’t darken leather. I prefer conditioning before assembly and after tooling, dyeing, and painting. By the way, you may want to consider pull-up oil-tanned leather instead of veg-tanned for handbags and purses. Its hand (feel) is softer than most veg-tanned leather, so you won’t need to use conditioner. Plus, it will acquire an attractive worn look over time. I used it for a duffel bag, and it came out great.

Hey @jim , welcome to the community.

Some great suggestions here already. I used to easily recommend Lexol, until they recently changed the formulation and place of manufacture, so I would no longer recommend it. A quality conditioner to add to your options is also Leatherique Rejuvenator. It’s made for finer automotive leathers, and I’ve had some folks recommend it highly.

Woodworking is an excellent background, curious for what you come up with. The combination of natural materials (wood and leather) seems like a great mix.