Breaking in question on Eastman Rough Wear

Discussion in 'Care / Preservation' started by 1970Novass, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. 1970Novass

    1970Novass New Member

    Chicago IL USA
    I just received a new Eastman Rough Wear 1401 that I purchased on ebay. It's a 48L which I really needed.
    Beautiful jacket and got it for a great price.
    This is my first horsehide jacket and it is really stiff (they probably all are).
    After reading articles on "breaking in" an A-2 their are a few I've been looking at.
    1. Take a shower in your A-2 (during warm months) and wear the jacket as in dries? This way it will conform
    to your specific body.
    2. As it's new put it close to a radiator (not on it) or someplace where it's warm to loosen it up?
    3. Or just wear it "alot" and it will break in itself.
    Or is there any other time tested methods people use.
    Also is there a reason to use Pecard Leather conditioner on a new jacket?

    Any advice would be appreciated as I don't want to damage it
  2. Steve27752

    Steve27752 Well-Known Member

    Berkshire, U.K.
    I do not go in for showering jackets. Just wear it as much as possible, you should not need Pecards on a new jacket.
  3. Bombing IP

    Bombing IP Active Member

    I understand your quest for knowledge but conditioner on a new jacket are not necessary .Firstly there are conditioners from the tannery in the leather already .You need conditioners balms when the jacket looks dried out you will know when it needs the treatment . Next wear you jacket in the shower from new you feel the need to do this them my friend you have the wrong size or you mentally need to adjust you mind to the world of the 1940 jacket cut . Ever notice how a dress shirt fits you , that's the A-2!. love them or leave them any compromise now your in mall jacket territory .That said ! wear it wear it wear it, your every day movements will ensure that the transition to second skin will happen . Remember on the site the members will oh and arh over jackets with character grain honest wear which brings out surprises from the leather that are impossible to accelerate seriously . Do you think after every mission aircrews broke out the Pecards and had a conditioning parties . Wear enjoy my friend .

  4. Skyhawk

    Skyhawk Well-Known Member

    Portland, OR
    Yeah what he said... Wear it, wear it.... and repeat. Water does speed up the process but I just wear mine on light rainy days. Not in the shower or in downpours. I have found that the best way is to wear it driving or flying a lot. Helps gets those nice ripples on the arms developed. Best method IMO: Walk to the car in light rain. Drive to the airport. Fly a cross country flight. Never condition a new jacket. Only put conditioner on if there are signs of drying.
  5. foster

    foster Member

    I bought an Eastman jacket in 2013. At first it was quite stiff, but after routine wear for about 2 months, it was quite supple. No need to oil or grease it, or place it on a heater (that can cook some of the oils out of the hide and dry it out too much).

    Around the time you forget that you're trying to break it in, you may be surprised to see that the magic has already happened!
  6. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Cornwall, UK
    If you want to soften it up a bit, some kneading and scrunching by hand will help. Use it for a pillow, sleep in it. And as everyone says, wear the crap out of it every chance you get. I confess I rolled mine into a ball and kicked it round the patio (as recommended by the boys at Aero Leather) for a bit of patina, but that may be a tad extreme.
  7. dmar836

    dmar836 Well-Known Member

    Kansas, USA
    Sometimes, though, it's just an Eastman. Sorry to say what few want to verbalize but depending when it was made(from what I've seen/experienced) - many ELC A-2s prior to "Warhorse" can be made to "look" faily good but I have had two and around the neck and abdomen they just never broke it. Gary deserves credit for keeping the repro market in check but he or someone just sourced some crap leather much of the time IMO. I certainly didn't baby the ELCs I had - one I soloed in, then probably 100 more hrs in multiple planes, changed oil in(dirty 20W-50 running down the sleeve), worked on all manner of planes, motos, etc., not to mention hours of twisting and sitting on them balled up(once all the way over the pond) and both would look better for it but retained the same stiff feeling. I TRIED to abuse one for about three years to what I would approximate to be wartime use and if it looks like an original in 50 years I swear I'll eat it on camera.
    Wearing is the BEST way to break in a jacket and you should need nothing else but if you brush it off, buff it, and carefully protect it as an investment it will never look as good as it could.
    Have handled and tried on several GWs and briefly owned an older one of oil-pull cow. They didn't have that problem so instead of bashing ELC for a GW, I'd have to say the leather used by ELC just wasn't good for much of the time(just my opinion). Now I wear my own made of oil-pull cow(not correct but...) and it was comfortable from day one. I abuse that as much as I can as well!
    JMO. Flame on,

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