Monday, December 27, 2021


One thing to know up front when you purchase a natural vegetable tanned leather Randall or Campus is that it beckons to be worn. And worn hard.

Vegetable tanned leather can be very tricky to work with. It’s an absolute dirt and smear magnet, so the process of keeping it clean can add so much more time to a project.

It’s the challenge, though, that makes me love working with this type of leather.
24 December 2021 — Freshly conditioned

• Resist all temptation to introduce any products to the leather until you’ve reached maximum sun tanning levels. Since the leather is treated (protected) at the tannery, conditioner in this type of application serves only to add a deeper color tone — the hide will be fine even after prolonged exposure to the rays when tanning. 

• Put it out under the sun whenever you’re not wearing it.

• The leather WILL attract water and leave (harmless) spots. Resist wiping down certain areas. If you get food spots like me, use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the entire jacket, to include seams, creases and folds. Let air dry. The leather will darken following each wipe down session.

• Ready to condition? My personal favorite it Pecard Antique Leather Conditioner (you “might can” — my English teacher used to say that — use other products, but since I can’t guarantee the same killer level of outcome). No need for a rag. I get the best results using just my hand (see mg Instagram post here for the video).

3 November 2021 — The new “Randall” jacket with its older cousin, the man around Campus.

Less than a few hours old it’s clear stacked sleeves are calling to be the star of the show. 

His big bro, the Ranch Jacket

I was forced to give it two wipe downs — early on for pasta splatter — same thing that happened to my natty Campus back in the day — and then juice from an orange just a couple weeks later.  This worked in my favor, though, as it taught me how this particular leather reacts to certain conditions. 

22 November 2021 — Sun and one wipe down 

19 December 2021 — The jacket has seen 75 hours of sun and two wipe downs at this point.

24 December 2021 — Just completed the full conditioning, making sure all the folds, creases and seams get equal attention. 

27 December 2021 — 2.5 days post
conditioning. After applying the conditioner by hand, I let the leather soak up what it needs. I’ll buff away any excess product with a horse hair brush. 

Age: 1 month and twenty-four days

Tanning: 2 weeks (approximately 75 hours) under the SoCal sun

Microfiber Wipes: 2

Conditioning: 1

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