Memphis Belle Jacket Conditioning/Cleaning

Irandall

New Member
Hi, I’m not too sure if anyone is able to help but I’m looking for advice on conditioning a B3 flying jacket. The jacket has been unworn and sat in storage for around 30 ish years, and has some flaking and is a tiny bit cracked in places. The wool is in perfect condition and doesn’t need cleaning.

It was produced for the 1990 film Memphis Belle and has the large nose art painted on the back of the jacket (the same as seen in the film). How would I condition and what is safe to use on the painted area, or is it best to leave the painted area alone completely? I would be very appreciative of any advice!

Isaac
 

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Irandall

New Member
Some of the commercialy produced Memphis Belle jackets were not painted but silk screen printed. Full size photos would help.

Welcome to the forum BTW, a brief hello in the bio thread is always appreciated.
Thank you for this advice, I have introduced myself properly now (I am new to this). I have also attached some images of the jacket in my original post.
 

Paul Glover

Active Member
Hello Isaac, welcome to the forum.
From what I can see on your photos the jacket looks to have been well preservred and looks to need nothing more than a treatment of maybe Pecards leather dressing or Renapur , I have used both products over many years on origional and reproduction leathers and sheepskins, always with positive results.
 

Silver Surfer

Well-Known Member
if the jacket has been over coated or the top dye was made with poly acrylic, pecards or for that matter, most any leather condition will not penetrate the acrylic very well to get into the hide where it may or may not be needed.
 

Irandall

New Member
Hello Isaac, welcome to the forum.
From what I can see on your photos the jacket looks to have been well preservred and looks to need nothing more than a treatment of maybe Pecards leather dressing or Renapur , I have used both products over many years on origional and reproduction leathers and sheepskins, always with positive results.
Ok thank you for this advice!
 

Irandall

New Member
if the jacket has been over coated or the top dye was made with poly acrylic, pecards or for that matter, most any leather condition will not penetrate the acrylic very well to get into the hide where it may or may not be needed.
I’ll take this info it account thank you! Good to bear in mind.
 

Micawber

Well-Known Member
You could write a book based on the the discussions surrounding leather treatments on here alone. Original B-3's had an acrylic coating which sealed the leather but in the long run usually caused it to rot.
If your jacket is soft there are those who will advise to leave well alone and others will say try a little leather treatment using their favourite product. If you decide you want to try the latter this is what I would do bearing in mind I haven't had hands on your jacket - but the choice is yours and at your risk....

I would just give it a gentle wipe over with a soft slightly damp cloth - avoiding the artwork to the rear. Let this dry naturally overnight in a modestly heated room - but NOT directly near a radiator or other source of heat. You could then try a very, very small amount of leather balm just worked in with your fingers - very, very sparingly - again avoiding the design to the rear. Let this stand overnight and check for areas that have not soaked in and remove with a soft dry cloth then buff the rest carefully again with a soft dry cloth.

As for treatments try using the search facility ....but be prepared for a lot of reading!

Some swear by Pecards but others not as they don't like the fact that it is, like Vaseline, a petroleum based product. I have used it without issue.
Others prefer products based only on natural ingredients, My own personal preference is for oakwood Leather conditioner which we also use on our horse harness and tack to excellent effect Oakwood leather dressing info We also have a load load of other leather cleaners, conditioners, balsams etc on the shelves out in our tack / harness and workshop.
The main thing to remember is whatever you decide to use is to use it very sparingly as there is nothing worse than having a jacket that is sticky to the touch from product over use. Remember to remove an excess that hangs around on the surface.

Leather threatment is one of those questions that come up very regularly on here and usually results in all sorts of contradictory advice and recommendations for this or that product. In the end the choice - and risk - is yours but do try to avoid covering the artwork in the product of your choice.

As an aside the original artwork on the original 91st BG HB-17F Memphis Belle was painted by Corporal Tony Starcer who also painted the majority of the 91st aircraft throughout the war - including some very famous ones too. You might like to check out my 91st BG thread in the photo gallery.
 

Irandall

New Member
You could write a book based on the the discussions surrounding leather treatments on here alone. Original B-3's had an acrylic coating which sealed the leather but in the long run usually caused it to rot.
If your jacket is soft there are those who will advise to leave well alone and others will say try a little leather treatment using their favourite product. If you decide you want to try the latter this is what I would do bearing in mind I haven't had hands on your jacket - but the choice is yours and at your risk....

I would just give it a gentle wipe over with a soft slightly damp cloth - avoiding the artwork to the rear. Let this dry naturally overnight in a modestly heated room - but NOT directly near a radiator or other source of heat. You could then try a very, very small amount of leather balm just worked in with your fingers - very, very sparingly - again avoiding the design to the rear. Let this stand overnight and check for areas that have not soaked in and remove with a soft dry cloth then buff the rest carefully again with a soft dry cloth.

As for treatments try using the search facility ....but be prepared for a lot of reading!

Some swear by Pecards but others not as they don't like the fact that it is, like Vaseline, a petroleum based product. I have used it without issue.
Others prefer products based only on natural ingredients, My own personal preference is for oakwood Leather conditioner which we also use on our horse harness and tack to excellent effect Oakwood leather dressing info We also have a load load of other leather cleaners, conditioners, balsams etc on the shelves out in our tack / harness and workshop.
The main thing to remember is whatever you decide to use is to use it very sparingly as there is nothing worse than having a jacket that is sticky to the touch from product over use. Remember to remove an excess that hangs around on the surface.

Leather threatment is one of those questions that come up very regularly on here and usually results in all sorts of contradictory advice and recommendations for this or that product. In the end the choice - and risk - is yours but do try to avoid covering the artwork in the product of your choice.

As an aside the original artwork on the original 91st BG HB-17F Memphis Belle was painted by Corporal Tony Starcer who also painted the majority of the 91st aircraft throughout the war - including some very famous ones too. You might like to check out my 91st BG thread in the photo gallery.
Thank you for this information. I gathered from other posts that it was a much discussed subject. I have contacted Wested Leather (as with others help learned they made the jacket) to see if they can give me any more information on it. I will take your advice into account if I do decide to clean/condition the jacket.

Also, I will definitely check out that thread. I am very interested in learning more. Once again thank you.
 
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