Bill Kelso leather

catthedog

Member
Hi all, just looking for some advice on an issue

I have a Bill Kelso jacket in Maltese goat, not that old, few years maybe,

I got a tear In it while moving my arm in an odd way, very annoying but thought it my fault. Spoke to BKMFG but they are super snowed under and repair would take months so I thought I’d use a guy in my area that comes highly recommended for leather restoration (A lot of high end boot makers recommend him so I sure he’s legit)

He looked over the rip and said it’d need a patch which I was happy to do since I thought it my fault.

Here’s what threw me, he had a look at the leather and asked me a lot about it, how old was the jacket etc.
He told me he thinks the leather is “perished” not due to lack of care, I’m pretty careful about storage and cleaning etc, but that it was poor leather to start with.

honestly I’m a bit shocked and not sure what to think, really thought it was bad luck that caused the rip but not bad leather

anyone got advice on goat leather care? What am I doing wrong?!?
 

catthedog

Member
Pics?

Is it on a friction point like the elbow?

ignore the green felt, I wedged that in behind for contrast when I took the photo. As you can see the leather isn’t in a bad way, at least to my eye!
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ausreenactor

Well-Known Member
I am wondering if anti perspirants might have weakened it. This is generally a well worked part of the jacket.. Generally a pliable area? Unless there was a weak spot... after a few years of wear I am not sure if you can put it on to the manufacturer... I busted a shoulder on a ELC B-3 a few years back.....playing football with son for a quick kick after a local game. Knew I should have taken it off.... but didn't.

Were the sleeves tight?
 

catthedog

Member
I am wondering if anti perspirants might have weakened it. This is generally a well worked part of the jacket.. Generally a pliable area? Unless there was a weak spot... after a few years of wear I am not sure if you can put it on to the manufacturer... I busted a shoulder on a ELC B-3 a few years back.....playing football with son for a quick kick after a local game. Knew I should have taken it off.... but didn't.

Were the sleeves tight?
Yes I find it hard to think it was BKMFG, they are hardly the kind of company to supply poor leather, it’s a snug jacket yes as it’s the aeronaut, just don’t want it to end up shredded or unworn out of fear of it ripping more!
 

Brettafett

Well-Known Member
I would send it back to BK for repair. I know they are snowed under, I know its an expense, but they may even be able to replace the entire panel. Retaining the jackets integrity.
Would be good for them see the issue also.
I guess it depends on what outcome you are hoping for.

I doubt its a quality issue, of course how can I be sure... That being said, the leather these jacket manufacturers use, is carefully sourced, often worked in a way akin to originals, and at expense, its not your run-of-the-mill stuff.
So, I also would take the boot maker's comments with a pinch of salt.
 

MikeyB-17

Well-Known Member
I find it hard to believe goatskin would split like that, even after a few years. It’s one of the toughest leathers out there, and shouldn’t really need anything in the way of care. I guess it’s possible that there was a weak spot there, it does happen. I’d be surprised if BK are going to be terribly keen on taking much responsibility though, as you say, after this amount of time, they’re likely to say it’s your own doing. If you can get it patched to a decent standard, that’s probably your best bet-it’s a fairly unobtrusive area. If it goes again, that will pretty much put the tin lid on it.
 

FreddyF9

Well-Known Member
I find it hard to believe goatskin would split like that, even after a few years. It’s one of the toughest leathers out there, and shouldn’t really need anything in the way of care. I guess it’s possible that there was a weak spot there, it does happen. I’d be surprised if BK are going to be terribly keen on taking much responsibility though, as you say, after this amount of time, they’re likely to say it’s your own doing. If you can get it patched to a decent standard, that’s probably your best bet-it’s a fairly unobtrusive area. If it goes again, that will pretty much put the tin lid on it.
I completely agree, goatskin is sturdy and doesn’t tear like that after just some years of use. In my opinion the armpit’s design is at fault and caused too much stress in that area. I used to own a 70’s goatskin G-1 that not even after 40 years of use had any rips like that (not in the leather at least).
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
open the jacket up from the inside at the point of the tear. just cut the stitching very carefully with an exacto knife. be sure to open the liner enough to be able to see, and work the area. cut a thin piece [goat is ok] of hide that will over lap the tear by apex 1/4"-1/2" as needed all around the tear. sand down the shiny side of the patch material so that when it is glued in, there will not be a visual edge seen on the repaired area when done. size it up with a dry run to be sure of placement. in your case, you may have to glue over the arm pit seam. set the to be glued area on as flat a surface as you can, and draw the torn sides together . apply Aimees leather glue to the rough side of the patch [don't be stingy] and apply pressure to the patch. press all over the patch evenly and keep the pressure on for about 15 minutes. restitch the liner by hand following the stitch holes and pattern [it may taks a try or two as it is kinda counter intuitive. when done, if there are any signs of the tear, you can color the tear with leather dye, oil paint, furniture scratch repair wax, shoe polish, etc. best of luck if you decide to go this route. I have, and it works.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Good advise from all . My thoughts on this are , maybe if you have a skilled leather craftsman or jacket maker install goatskin gussets in both sleeve joints similar those on a G-1 jacket . It will eliminate the weak area which is now prone to tearing and be less noticeable than patching the area. The later issued A2 jackets from the 90s have similar gussets .
See below

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catthedog

Member
That is a great idea. I honestly do think it’s the cut of the jacket and me not knowing my own strength that did it, as you’ve all pointed out, goat is much to strong for that. I’ll take the leather fixers words with a pinch of salt and see what his repair is like. I would have loved for BK to do it but 6 months wait time or maybe more, I’ll take a gamble and on my head be it if this repair work is lacking!
 

catthedog

Member
That is a great idea. I honestly do think it’s the cut of the jacket and me not knowing my own strength that did it, as you’ve all pointed out, goat is much to strong for that. I’ll take the leather fixers words with a pinch of salt and see what his repair is like. I would have loved for BK to do it but 6 months wait time or maybe more, I’ll take a gamble and on my head be it if this repair work is lacking!
By the cut I mean, these Cossack jackets are super fitting and have no action pleats etc
 

catthedog

Member
Just an update, had the repair back, quite happy with what he did, it’s lucky to be in discreet place, you wouldn’t know and now there’s a little more movement to that bit so fingers crossed, no further tears. Side note, he agreed it was goat but didn’t think it was chrome tan which could explain the drying out of the leather.
 

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