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Personal experience with Obenauf's LP, Huberd's Shoe Grease, or Sno Seal?

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  • Personal experience with Obenauf's LP, Huberd's Shoe Grease, or Sno Seal?

    In what will probably be the subject of its own upcoming post, I've got a pair of dark brown Sebago Brattles that I have completely stripped of their finish. All that's left is the raw leather with a hint of brown dye soaked into it. After reading this, I thought I would simply re-dye the leather and then polish them. But then I saw this and I've decided to darken the leather with some sort of waterproofing.

    Unfortunately, shoe care can be a mine field for those who tend to over-think things. I've narrowed my choices down to three products: Obenauf's LP, Huberd's Shoe Grease, and Sno Seal. My sense is that Obenauf's and Sno Seal are essentially the same thing (beeswax plus fillers), while Huberd's is a slightly different product because of its inclusion of pine tar. The internet is full of praise for all three products, but there are also vocal minorities who claim that each has rotted their shoes, dried the leather, dissolved the stitching, etc.

    Right now, I'd love to hear from anyone who has personal experience using any of these products. Below, I've described some of the specific characteristics that are most important to me and that I'd love to hear about specifically.

    1. Effect on leather color. Some people complain that waterproof treatments changed the color of their shoes, but for me this is a plus. All other things equal, I'd be more interested in a product that darkens the leather more.

    2. Effect on stitching color. Despite what I just said above, I'd prefer a product that does not dye lighter stitching. Although it's not an issue for my current shoes, it would prevent me from using it on other shoes with contrast stitching.

    3. Durability. How long can I expect the effects to last. If I need to constantly reapply the product to maintain the dark, oiled look of the leather, I'd rather try something else. If the shoe tends to look flaky or waxy after being treated, I'd like to know about that, too.

    4. Finish and smell. I've heard that Huberd's has a strong smoky smell. And I've heard some complaints that beeswax can leave shoes sticky. All are negatives if long-lasting or permanent.

    5. Waterproofing. This is actually not a major concern for me. I assume that all three products will leave my shoes far more waterproof than they are untreated. And since I'm not wearing my shoes in extreme conditions, I'm not terribly concerned about which product makes the shoes most waterproof. But I suppose it could be a tie breaker.

    So that's everything on my mind this morning, and I'd love to hear what you all think. And of course, if there's anything else you think I'm missing, please bring it up.

  • #2
    I have used Obenauf’s LP on my main pair of winter boots, just so they are protected from water/snow.

    I would say it darkened my boots slightly, although, my boots were a dark brown to begin with, so I didn’t notice a huge difference. Boots didn’t have contrast stitching, so I can’t comment on that. I have gotten my boots in the snow a few times, and they’ve handled it just fine. Water hasn’t really been an issue. You just need to make sure that the wax gets melted completely, otherwise, it will leave some residue behind, barely noticeable, but it’s there, but it’s fairly easy to rub into the leather. I haven’t really noticed anything bad about the smell.

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    • #3
      Thanks, Vanquish. How does the wax do over time? Do your boots stay looking sharp for a long time between applications?

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      • #4
        I'd say yes. I haven't re-waxed them yet and I've been wearing them consistently for the past 6 weeks or so.

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        • #5
          Vanquish, which Obernauf product do you use? The "heavy duty" or the regular oil?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Duvel View Post
            Vanquish, which Obernauf product do you use? The "heavy duty" or the regular oil?
            Using the heavy duty.

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            • #7
              Thanks. Just got some Red Wing 877s. I don't understand why the sales dude told me to use mink oil. Everything I've heard about mink oil is that it's bad for boot leather.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Duvel View Post
                Thanks. Just got some Red Wing 877s. I don't understand why the sales dude told me to use mink oil. Everything I've heard about mink oil is that it's bad for boot leather.
                RedWing itself recommends mink oil for oiled boots. It is fine for work boots but can have a negative affect on the finish of fine leathers and make them impossible to shine. If you're looking for a product to waterproof and protect, that won't change the color of your shoe, I recommend Nikwax - It is water based but works great. This is what I use on all my expensive boots.

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                • #9
                  I have a pair of Red Wings that I applied Obenauf's heavy duty to and they darkened the leather a tad and have been that way since (I actually prefer the darker color). I also used them on a pair of boots that had contrast stitching and they didn't discolor the stitching too bad (from white to beige). Both have been used extensively in this year's winter season and show no signs of damage from water, sand and salt so far.

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                  • #10
                    I got a deal over the holidays on some Chippewa boots with a suede/rough-out surface like the tan Timberlands. I applied Sno Seal and they developed a much darker and deeper color, more like a "tree bark" shade. They have a great patina and shine on them and I'm very happy with the results.

                    I might have over-applied the Sno Seal at first but I got these boots for tough outdoor winter activity. I applied the coating in early December and they are still waterproof after countless snow shoveling and sledding with the kids.
                    ------

                    - Josh

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                    • #11
                      I went ahead and applied Sno Seal last night. It darkened my shoes far more than I could have hoped for:

                      Before:


                      After one coat on one shoe:
                      https://www.dropbox.com/s/uyy4gk5qhmbluyy/Middle.JPG

                      After:
                      https://www.dropbox.com/s/mscvo91y2l1ryyt/After.JPG

                      Right now I'm quite happy with how they look. We'll see what happens when I wear them.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Duvel View Post
                        Thanks. Just got some Red Wing 877s. I don't understand why the sales dude told me to use mink oil. Everything I've heard about mink oil is that it's bad for boot leather.
                        My only RWs are my Heritage Beckman Chukkas. The leather and look is probably different, so this may not be the best advice for your new boots, Duvel, but here's a link to what I've done with mine:

                        http://threads.dappered.com/showthre...l=1#post139862

                        A very brief summary: RW's *Naturseal* Waterproofing & Conditioner

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yoyorobbo View Post
                          My only RWs are my Heritage Beckman Chukkas. The leather and look is probably different, so this may not be the best advice for your new boots, Duvel, but here's a link to what I've done with mine:

                          http://threads.dappered.com/showthre...l=1#post139862

                          A very brief summary: RW's *Naturseal* Waterproofing & Conditioner
                          Thanks, yoyo. So is it true that mink oil is bad to use? I can't seem to sort this out--a lot of different opinions on the Inter-web.

                          One thing I'm wondering is whether I want to use something, like Obernauf's, that will darken the boot. That sort of takes it away from its iconic look. Or does it?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Duvel View Post
                            Thanks, yoyo. So is it true that mink oil is bad to use? I can't seem to sort this out--a lot of different opinions on the Inter-web.

                            One thing I'm wondering is whether I want to use something, like Obernauf's, that will darken the boot. That sort of takes it away from its iconic look. Or does it?
                            No problem, man. RE the mink oil: Not totally sure either way. I have used mink oil on certain boots - Clarks Bushacre II in beeswax, being the most recent - and it worked very nicely. It *did* darken them a tad, though.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by facelessghost View Post
                              I went ahead and applied Sno Seal last night. It darkened my shoes far more than I could have hoped for:

                              Before:


                              After one coat on one shoe:
                              https://www.dropbox.com/s/uyy4gk5qhmbluyy/Middle.JPG

                              After:
                              https://www.dropbox.com/s/mscvo91y2l1ryyt/After.JPG

                              Right now I'm quite happy with how they look. We'll see what happens when I wear them.
                              That is quite a transformation. I don't quite understand how a neutral colored product like SnoSeal is able to give the shoes such a rich deep brown color, but they look great.

                              Comment

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