Sheepskin preservation

Discussion in 'General Flight Jacket Discussion' started by Simon King, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Hi,

    I had a lovely sheepskin flying jacket from (Cirrus in Norfolk-who seem to no longer exist) many moons ago but it became holey and started tearing. Cirrus patched it up for me but new tears kept appearing and finally it was no longer wearable unless I wanted to look like a vagrant.

    I had worn it day in day out for years, in all weathers so thought I had probably had fair wear out of it, but I do wonder what I might have done to better preserve it.

    I suspect that it didn't help that I often wore a bag over one shoulder (or the other) with a camera in it, but it was more various places on the back rather than the shoulders where it tore/had holes/wore away, also on the sleeves (see pic) and I can't think why that would be.

    The skin had become weak and thin as you can see in the pic below, as if something (too much rain/snow?) had weakened it. At the time I do not believe there were any wool moths anywhere near me or my abode, I certainly had seen none at the time and in fact until more recently knew not what they looked like, so I doubt they were the culprits [unlike now as after we recently stayed at a hotel where we saw them, we later found they had infested our house and now I can't get rid of the blighters- they have eaten the wool lining of my Aero Highwayman- but that's another story]

    What I do wonder is whether my sweat was responsible. Sorry to be yucky but I used to walk fast (to keep warm) in lousy weather and in good (because I walk fast everywhere) and used to turn the sleeves inside out to help evaporate it after I got home. However I'm sure that wouldn't have caused deterioration around the sleeves and lower back so I don't really think that was the main culprit. I'm guessing years of doing this can't have helped the integrity of the skin, but is this a known problem with causing the deterioration of sheepskin?

    So my questions are:
    -is this sort of wear amount normal?
    -can I /should I wash sweat out of my flying jacket when I Get a new one?(probably fromAero)
    -what can I do to help maintain the quality of the skin?
    - how do I kill wool moths without poisoning myself and family and pets?
    -was the exposure to weather to blame?


    Here's a pic to show that condition of the skin (you can also see a couple of the patched areas-the back was worse).
    IMG_5741.jpg

    by contrast this much older (inherited)vintage sheepskin flying jacket is , apart from a tiny repair, still fine
    IMG_6380.jpg

    thanks

    Simon
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  2. Steve27752

    Steve27752 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,208
    Location:
    Berkshire, U.K.
    Hi Simon, welcome the the madhouse! I am certain that your questions will be answered.
     
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  3. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

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    24
    Cheers Steve!
    :)
     
  4. Smithy

    Smithy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    947
    Location:
    Norway
    Welcome aboard Simon!

    I'd imagine you'll probably have to get the house fumigated to fully get rid of the little buggers (that's the moths not the family), so might be worth packing the car and taking a trip for a few days whilst they do it.

    Sweat will stuff up natural products due to the high salt and oil content. I'm neither au fait nor have experience with washing jackets but there are members here who have and do and they'll no doubt give you some advice.

    I've never had a Cirrus but the old ones like yours seem to have a nappa or almost sueded finish to the outside shell which logic suggests wouldn't weather as well as the more historically accurate versions which have a different top coating.

    By the by Cirrus are still going but unfortunately around about 7 years ago made the decision to ditch their flying jacket and flying coat range and go for a more pseudo-bomber jacket fashion range which is truly hideous.

    Once again welcome and good luck with the new Aero.

    Tim
     
  5. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forum Simon. I would recommend using Pecards Leather Dressing to treat the skin side of the fleece. It is a particularly effective on WW2 jackets. New jackets should not need conditioning as the leather should be supple with all the natural oils still present. The finish of your Cirrus jacket looks almost like suede and is more prone to wear and abrasion than those jackets with a thicker polyacrylate finish to the skin.
     
  6. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    thanks for your reply

    polyacrylate? I had NO idea that this was applied
    :eek:
     
  7. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    thanks for your reply:)

    I doubt the wife will allow fumigation- curses!
    I tried contacting cirrus but have got no response, it matters not though as I certainly don't want what sounds like a bodge anyway
     
  8. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    Welcome aboard Simon. The Lepidopteral larvae (it’s the caterpillars that eat your wool, not the moths) don’t like the smell of cedar wood-you can buy cedar wood chips/balls etc. (I found some in Aldi, a box of balls and little slabs, plus some with a hook for hanging in your wardrobe) which will deter the little sods, although they need replacing periodically as the wood loses its oils and thus the scent. Never mind the Cirrus anyway, I’m sure most folk here will be more interested in the inherited Irvin. What’s the story with that?
     
  9. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    thanks Mikey, tried cedar wood, bl**dy expensive to buy the ready made bits if you want to get enough to make a difference and also as you say it is very fiddly to sand down all those fiddly bits of wood after a month , every month....so really need to get on to my woodworking brother to get a decent sized chunk! Good prompt!

    The story of the inherited jacket Im sorry to say is rather limited, an uncle left it, it didn't. fit , got stored, was refound, got mended and passed on to a younger (slimmer) relative.

    I know one of my uncles was a navigator and was shot down and managed to get back to Blighty but he's not one to talk about it ( and he lives on the other side of the globe -literally).
     
  10. B-Man2

    B-Man2 Active Member

    Messages:
    863
    Welcome Simon!
    As you can see there is a wealth of knowledge here on the forum . Stick around for a while and you will definitely be impressed.
    Cheers
     
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  11. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
    It's got the attachment points for heated gloves. Looks like a nice one.
     
  12. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    Yes this Irvin was originally an electrically wired one. The jacket carried the loom to heat the RAE gloves and the trousers the wiring to heat the flying boots.
     
  13. MikeyB-17

    MikeyB-17 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Cornwall, UK
  14. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    great thanks ( the preprepared bits you get from Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the likes are OTT price) However you still have to resend them every month - not easy o round things!
    I think I'll see if I can Geta shelve sized plank of it and hang that in the werfdrobe;)

    ah so thats what those points were for I did wonder!
     
  15. s4rmark

    s4rmark Member

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    Biggin hill
    Welcome to the forum , I’m sure you will find the answers you need here.
     
  16. Roughwear

    Roughwear Well-Known Member

    The spur on the sleeves was to attach the heated gloves.
     
  17. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    some jackets seemed to have something similar on the chest-what was that for?
     
  18. Garylafortuna

    Garylafortuna Active Member

    Messages:
    103
    Welcome to VLJ Simon. Getting rid of those wool eating beasties is certainly a challenge. Some years ago I bought a sweater from a thrift shop and my home became infected. The infestation wasn't discovered until half of my woolen clothes were destroyed. My brother in law is a Naturopathic Doctor and uses an ozone generator as part of his treatment regimen. He suggested that it should be effective at killing the wool moths and the larvae as well. What I did was to run the unit for three or four sets of five to six hours in all of the closets in the house. This treatment worked very well as my home has been moth free ever since. Ozone can be irritating to humans and pets, but at much higher levels than caused by this treatment. On then other hand it is deadly to pathogens and mold. Hope this will help you.
     
  19. Simon King

    Simon King New Member

    Messages:
    24
    Sorry to hear your loss of clothes, they have eaten my Harris Tweed too so I know how you feel! but hey what a great idea-thanks!!!

    do you recommend a particular type/model?
     
  20. Garylafortuna

    Garylafortuna Active Member

    Messages:
    103
    Hi Simon............. The price range on these units is all over the map. I would suggest doing a Google search. Tons of information there as to the diversity of uses and costs. Ozone is also very effective in destroying odors such as from pets, cigarette smoke, cooking, etc. The only thing it has not yet been proven to combat is attitude problems.
    The one my brother in law owns is a commercial grade machine so I expect somewhat pricey, but for the limited use you will give it, a less expensive one should suffice. Good luck with resolving your problem.
     

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