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Picture of Waterproof boots with beeswax
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In part using a propane torch, I added a layer of beeswax to make dually sure that my new workboots (already advertised as waterproof) would keep the water out.

Working in a butcher shop, your boots are always wet. This wreaks havoc on leather boots - they never get a chance to dry out and the leather rots. Plus you pick up all kinds of...foreign materials... that probably don't help anything.

I've added some pics of my old boots, there are big holes where the leather meets the sole. The sole itself and where the boot is covered by my pantleg look nearly new, but the toe and seam are shot.

For those of you who are going to say "if you buy expensive boots they'll last longer," well, my colleague got $250 made in America name-brand boots, and the seams blew out in 6 months (in the same places as mine), he returned them, had the same thing happen a second time. More butchers in my shop wear these Sears brand boots than anything else.

Two years ago when they were new I used liberal amounts of silicone sealer on the now old boots. The efficacy of that is debatable, so this time I thought I'd try beeswax and see if the life of the boot is extended. Plus, if I get stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean and end up gnawing on my boots, they'll taste faintly of honey.

 
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How are you boots and their waterproofing holding up?

VacuumGod9 months ago

Yes, this will waterproof your boots. For now.

However, you have just traded one short term kind of damage (wetness/rotting), for another (over-dryness and cracking). As you are well aware leather is durable, but really only up to a certain point. It is a skin and needs to be treated as such. Leather needs to be allowed to dry thoroughly, AND re-conditioned (not everyday, monthlyish) to maintain it's own natural moistness/oils. Failure to condition leather will accelerate the aging process, and create cracks/blowouts similar to those from rot.

Such an intense wax treatment on shoes COULD prevent you from properly applying conditioner. However, given how intense your work environment is, it will probably wear off after a month or so. I would recommend giving your boots a thorough cleaning/reconditioning around that time. Also, look in to products like: https://www.obenaufs.com/index.php?route=product/c...

which is a well regarded rugged water-proofer, that has less chance to permanently damage your leather.

The thing I think would actually help you the most would be having 2 pairs of boots. This would let the first pair COMPLETELY dry out while wearing the second pair. Switching like this each day would at least triple the life of your boots.

Primary source: http://www.reddit.com/r/goodyearwelt/comments/1ubp...

Dream Dragon9 months ago

You know that's one of the techniques for making leather armour right?

The heat will harden the leather and the beeswax soaks into the pores while it is melted and then hardens inside the fabric of the leather. For an even harder finish you could add Carnuba Wax, and a softer compound more like normal shoe polish can be made by adding olive oil.

As a butcher, you probably know how to make good quality tallow too, that would do the job but it needs to be free from nasties like salt and enzymes, because that's what kills the leather as you have found.