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Glove is Heavy & Clammy ??? Why? What to do?

PostPosted: October 19th, 2015, 7:42 pm
by canadayt
Hi All,

I picked up a neat Warren Spahn "Snatcher" the other day on Ebay. It has the the Big Thumb and Over-sized Padded Pinky Finger (Sorry, there is probably more technical sounding nomenclature I could have used). It was darkly colored, looked grimy, but one could see hints of the original leather underneath (primarily in deeper creases and in-between the fingers. Since I am new to glove reconditioning, I thought it would be a good glove to practice on. Alas, when it arrived I suspected something wrong. The glove was very heavy, had almost a water logged feel to it. There was also an odor. I can't quite place it, but it seems petroleum based. The darkness of the leather is not old dirt and grime, but perhaps some kind of dye or other product that has saturated the glove and darkened it and made it so heavy. Lastly, the leather has been left very soft, almost clammy. There was a fair amount of white residue in crevices. I have read that might have been the result of saddle soap.

I decided to use Fast Orange since it is supposed to be pretty aggressive and known to dry the leather out some. However, at this point I have stopped, because the leather seems almost too "soft and wet" to safely work on. I don't want to take the risk of abrading the leather.

So, does anyone have a clue what might have been done to the glove? Is it most likely ignorance or is it possible someone treated it for deceptive purposes (to hide underlying flaws)? Has anyone had experience with similar characteristics? And, most importantly, any tips on how to proceed moving forward?

Could I put it in the oven to help dry it out? It sounds crazy, but I really have no idea. As it stands, I don't think it will "dry out" on its own for 25 years.

Lastly, I just noticed... when you put your finger inside one of the finger tunnels and push out hard with you fingertip the glove appears to regain its original color at the the very spot the pressure is being applied to. As soon as the pressure is released it goes back to the very dark color. What is causing this phenomenon? Perhaps this provides a clue to how the glove was treated.


Re: Glove is Heavy & Clammy ??? Why? What to do?

PostPosted: October 21st, 2015, 5:49 pm
by Number9
It sure sounds like it was waaaayyyy over-oiled. Someone probably threw the play book at it until something seemed to work. The oil could be just about anything, but with a deep saturation it won't end well. Drying it out will only make the leather brittle. Sadly, it's probably dead. Short or completely taking it apart and washing it out, I don't know of any ways to draw out enough oil to make it right. Even then, there's no guarantee that you can put "just enough" conditioner on it to make it tolerable. I'd leave it alone or just do minimal clean up on what you've done yourself.

Re: Glove is Heavy & Clammy ??? Why? What to do?

PostPosted: October 22nd, 2015, 11:23 am
by canadayt
Thanks for the good news :shock: But really, I do appreciate the response.

I was afraid the drying process would damage the leather. I will not roast my glove in the oven. My wife has suggested I lay it out in the sun for several days, turning it every few hours. That is what she does with her chili peppers (she is Thai) to naturally dry them. Perhaps this natural method may not be as harsh on the leather. Since the glove may be a write-off at this point, I don't really have anything to lose.

My only concern is that the drying process may "set" the darker coloring now affecting the glove, kind of like a red wine stain (which you want to keep wet until you clean it, otherwise it may set permanently).

I have attached a few pics that may help illustrate this discussion.

The first shows the glove as it currently stands. Please note original leather color can be detected in the deeper creases. The second is a close-up of this. The third picture demonstrated how pressure applied to a point from underneath in a finger tunnel can bring out the more natural original color.

Because of the phenomenon illustrated in the third picture I am guessing that the color is limited more to the surface and has not penetrated. Unfortunately, moisture seems to have infused the leather and possibly the padding underneath.

I welcome any additional advice or comments / corrections to my suppositions.

I will post pics after the "suntan treatment" if warranted.

Re: Glove is Heavy & Clammy ??? Why? What to do?

PostPosted: October 25th, 2015, 10:50 pm
by Number9
Yeah, your glove is deeply saturated. Since there is no water in the oils you actually want to keep it feeling wet. Once it dries out it will start to harden and eventually crack. That will probably take a few years though. Sorry to not have better news for you!

If the leather was tanned purposefully to do what you illustrate in the second picture it would be called a "waxy pull-up" - which is what you get with leather that has a balance of oil and wax that is hot stuffed at the tannery. When it's done on purpose you get a soft, semi-slick leather that ages really nicely, but is also pretty heavy. The wax/oil blend keeps it soft.