Mink Oil

Please share your knowledge on how to keep your vintage gloves in great shape and looking sharp.

Mink Oil

Postby opticsp » March 14th, 2008, 11:58 pm

Recently, Kenny Jenkins recommended Mink Oil to keep my glove conditioned. I have read that Mink Oil will clog the pores of the leather, so I am a little confused why Kenny would recommend it. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on Mink Oil?
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Postby wjr953 » March 15th, 2008, 1:21 pm

There are many, many different schools of thought on glove conditioner treatments. I personally defer to Nokona's point of view on using Vaseline Petroleum Jelly. Many others have recommended lots of other options, including animal oils. It is my personal belief that animal oils do block the pores of quality leather and should be avoided. I also believe that glove oil isn't the best thing to use for conditioning gloves. It makes the leather very dark and it also makes the glove very heavy. I've heard others talk about Hot Glove treatment, plunging gloves in boiling water or putting them in the oven. Shaving cream, lanolin, saddle soap, beating the hell out of the glove with a baseball bat or hammer, the list goes on and on. I have experimented with quite a few things myself and I now basically use only three things: Lexol (orange bottle) to clean and condition gloves, plain old Vaseline Petroleum Jelly to lubricate and soften glove leather, and Lexol (brown bottle) to finish. In reality, the single best way to soften a glove is by playing catch with it again and again and again over a long period of time. After each use, be sure to wipe the glove down with a lightly dampened sponge, especially the inner palm areas where sweat accumulates. Sweat kills glove leather, ask anyone that has come across an old Wilson A2000 where the outside of the glove looks terrific but the inner palm is rotted out from sweat. Human saliva also kills glove leather, e.g. when players spit into their gloves. There are enzymes in saliva that break down food, and those same enzymes break down glove leather after a time. To all other members of this board that read this post and have their own methods for glove conditioning, I am NOT, repeat NOT saying my method is right and your method is wrong. I respect each and everyone of you and I would never take a stance that what someone else does in conditioning gloves is wrong. All I am saying is that this is what I know works for me. I hope that this information is helpful to you.

Very best regards, br
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Some Thinking on Mink ...

Postby Cowboy7130 » March 15th, 2008, 4:32 pm

I used mink oil for years on my baseball gloves, my softball gloves, and my son's baseball gloves. I never really noticed that the pores of the leather were clogged. I noticed some darkening on a few lighter colored gloves, but nothing major.

Sometime last year I read in this forum about the supposed negative side effect of mink oil clogging the pores of the leather. Since then, I have been using Vaseline with very good results. It seems lighter than the mink oil, and easier to wipe away the excess, with no staining. I use it only when my glove is looking dry and dull. And I got to thinking: One of the advertised applications of mink oil is to waterproof leather. Wouldn't waterproofing imply a sealing of the leather's pores?

My recommendation: Play lots of catch with your new glove. Lots of catch. Plus, you get the added benefit of strengthening your arm. Fast Orange for cleaning, Vaseline for conditioning, then more catch. And then, play some more catch.
Yes, I still have my first glove.
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Thanks

Postby opticsp » March 15th, 2008, 8:25 pm

Thank you wjr and Cowboy. It seems that mink oil would do something to the leather to keep it from breathing if it waterproofs leather. The glove I need to condition is Rawlings HOH 54hc. It is well broken in but is looking dull and a little dry on the inner fingers. I thought of using the oil but think I will try Lexol cleaner and conditioner. Bretman is very high on the lanolin that is in Lexol so I will try it and let you know what I think.

Still, if you read the information on Mermac mink oil web page, they describe how mink oil is used on leather in the tanning process to keep animal oils in the leather. Also, I was thinking it would be good to use a "natural" product. This oil has wax which is what I was afraid would clog pores.

Could Rawlings genius Kenny Jenkins be wrong? I have an email in to him and will post his reply about this subject if and when he answers.
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Re: Mink Oil

Postby glovemedic » March 15th, 2008, 11:00 pm

opticsp wrote:Recently, Kenny Jenkins recommended Mink Oil to keep my glove conditioned. I have read that Mink Oil will clog the pores of the leather, so I am a little confused why Kenny would recommend it. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on Mink Oil?


I thought I posted earlier on this topic. I am firmly in the Lexol camp after having tired a number of the other conditioners. Just my opinion and experience, and certainly not the only way to get the job done. But it has worked well for me.
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Postby Mike_2007 » March 16th, 2008, 12:27 am

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Postby wjr953 » March 16th, 2008, 12:40 am

Opticsp,
I have to say that I've had very good luck with Lexol and Vaseline. I clean the glove with Lexol (orange bottle) first, then I use VPJ before the glove is almost, but not completely dry. I use my hands to put the VPJ on and it does get very messy. I do every square inch of the leather surface of the glove, even inside the finger ports. After that, I let the glove sit for a day or two. The glove will let you know how much VPJ it needs after the 1st treatment. If the glove is still very dry in spots and still stiff, I will give it another whole treatment. Some of the really dry and stiffer gloves that I've worked on have required three or four applications. By really working the VPJ into the glove with your hands, you can see and feel the leather come back to life and also feel the glove softening as you work it. When the glove has taken all the VPJ that it needs, then I wash off the excess using a sponge with hot water and Lexol (orange). After that, I begin the re-lacing process. I also use VPJ on the new laces so they'll slide through the holes in the glove easier. I've found out the hard way that trying to re-lace a very dry glove can sometimes cause lacing holes to rip and split. After re-lacing, I give the glove another very light coat of VPJ. I usually let the glove sit for a day or two and then wash the glove with Lexol once more, and clean out any residual VPJ from the nooks and crannies. Once the glove is completely clean and dry, I use the Lexol (brown bottle), and a clean sponge, applying that maybe once or twice, until I'm satisfied with the final result. Again, for the other members of this board, this is the process that I use because that's what seems to work for me. I'm not saying the process that I use is either right or wrong so I would respectfully request that others please not take exception. These are simply suggestions based on personal experience and my intent here is strictly to help others.

br
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Kenny's response

Postby opticsp » March 17th, 2008, 12:46 am

Well, all Kenny responed was that he hopes Mink oil does not clog pores because he has been using it a long time. He also recommends Rawlings oil.

Mike, the interview you sent was very informative. I know these guys are trying to sell Lexol but they give great information, especially the bit that says there is NO Lanolin in Lexol!

wjr, thank you for your detailed description. It sounds like you have put in some time and care into your gloves. You should read the interview linked by Mike to get some info on petroleum based products and leather conditioning.
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Postby Mike_2007 » March 17th, 2008, 2:06 pm

I have "researched" glove conditioning for a while now... One point to keep in mind is that some gloves are being condioned for actual use and others are being conditioned for restoration/collecting. The products to use may differ based on these two applications. For example, using Lanolin or petroleum jelly is great on display gloves - you don't have to worry about greasyness and migration.

My son plays competitive baseball year round and uses 2-3 different gloves for games/practices. As a parent you end up helping take care of the equipment. After a few games/practices I take a clean white cotton wash cloth and put a small amount on Lexol NF on it and gently rub out the dirt from the glove. I keep doing this using clean sections of the cloth and using more Lexol NF. Then I hang up the glove on a rack to air dry. A few days later you can rub or buff out the glove and it will look great and not be greasy at all.

A third category would be breaking in new gloves. For breaking in a new glove made of good quality stiff leather ( like steerhide) it helps if you use something "stronger" to help soften the leather. I use to use Glove Loogie but you can't get it anymore...
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Postby docglov » March 18th, 2008, 8:28 am

Well I have to say that I have probably conditioned more gloves than all of you together. And I still can't make up my mind.. I have used all of Lexol's products and they do keep me supplied rather well. The cleaner is Number ! to me. The conditioner (brown bottle) is nice but evaporates rather quickly. And the non staining neatsfoot works ok but it does darken a little, I use it to break in A-Rods gloves. I don't think anything really aids breaking in but hard work. I preach to the kids I work with at tournaments that you should wipe the glove down with a damp cloth or sponge when its dirty and only add oil or what ever you use once or twice a year depending on how dirty you get your glove. But I was told that we stopped useing Vasolene inside our gloves because its a breeding ground for Bactiria. Now I don't know if my Grandmother told me that or some old Rawlings Pro. But I know we took it out of our gloves in the 60's. As for restoring old gloves don't depend on any if my info as I never been involved in any of that.

good luck Bob
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Postby glovemedic » March 18th, 2008, 10:54 am

docglov wrote:Well I have to say that I have probably conditioned more gloves than all of you together. And I still can't make up my mind..


Nothing like experience to put everything in perspective. I have also noticed that the brown Lexol does seem to evaporate a little, and often use a couple applications (especially on a dry glove) to get it conditioned. Nevertheless, I like it because it does not make the gloves heavy and greasy.

There is no substitute for hard work and playing tons of catch to break in a glove. I am usually at least 1 year behind on breaking in a new gamer. Of course I like breaking in new gloves, and at 50+ it is more fun to get a new glove to play with than a new girl friend. Recently, I commented to a HS kid looking for a new glove. He was torn between a ProPref 12.75 Trap and the comparable GG model. His season was starting in a couple of weeks and he wanted a new glove really bad. I recommended buying the GG for this season and getting it broken during practice right now. I also recommended that he buy the ProPref and begin breaking it in for summer ball once his HS season began. Now he has 2 gloves, 1 to play with now (and his backup for the future), and his gamer for next season. Probably have started him on the path to perdition and he will end up with a closet full of gloves.

I am sure his parents are appreciative of spending the extra bucks on 2 gloves instead of 1 . But what the heck, if you're the parent of a youth player you are used to laying out the bucks for baseball gear and misc expenses. How many folks drop $300 bucks/season for the new bat with this year's graphics, and then try to go cheap on a glove?
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Amen, brother!

Postby Cowboy7130 » March 19th, 2008, 12:34 pm

Amen and Amen! My goofy kid was perfectly happy with a $7 flea-market glove while playing in the outfield, but he HAD to have the newest model bat! :lol:
Yes, I still have my first glove.
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Mink oils

Postby rawcreations » June 11th, 2008, 9:08 am

It has been my experience to use mink oil made by Fiebings Corp. for many years now. I agree with the Nokona exec's about vasoline, but as with many, the tried and proven seems to work well, the lexol products are great..the best?? I have relied on Fiebings products found only in fine leather specialist stores or on the net..no, I do not work for them. dark leathers get darker..they look over oiled, but they are not, just darker from treatment, Nokona and some very precious horween hides, just seeem to look darker after treatment, horween before 1997 produced hides in a cordorvan color for HOH, not many were used, those HOH gloves can be counted before you get to the end of your second hand, why...cost to produce, put mink oil on one those BFOT gloves and it looks like it was dumped in 30w reclaim..but it was not, it was its nature to get darker with treatment. Ichiro, Seattle Mariners still to this day, puts a light glaze of mink oil on his glove every single day...but what does he know!! gold glove and all, besides he learned that trick fron the Express..Mr. Ryan and his Nokona gloves, Ichiro also uses his glove every single day.
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