Caring for the bag
Waxed cotton is a weather resistant material – a barrier between rain, dirt and the valuable goods inside. Easy to maintain and refresh. By caring and adding wax over some years the bags will change apperance over time – telling the story of the wearer. In fact, the water and weather resistance is getting better and better with age.
Start with cleaning the bag with a dry brush. Use a soft brush. There is no need to use force as it is only the loose dirt that one can get rid of. The brush will not remove stains or marks on the surface. It is important that the new wax gets a good contact with the wax already within the cotton. If the bag is severely durty, rinse the surface with water and let it dry for a day before adding new wax. The bag might turn into a whiter shade during the brushing stage. It is small scratches from the brush and small loose cotton fibres that are raised from the surface. This lines and white shades will go away when the new wax is melted into the cotton.
2: the wax
Farmer’s racer is using a hard wax. A mixture of paraffin and beeswax, 10 to 1 ratio. It is easy to make one self, and most outdoor shops have several brands in stock.
Place the wax and paraffin in a metal container. Place the container in a pot of boiling water. In this way the wax and paraffin will not get overheated. Pour the wax into a mould and let cool for a few hours.
Take the wax brick in one hand and keep one hand inside the bag for support. Apply the wax on all sides of the bag. The result may look a bit uneven – it is natural because the wax is reacting in different ways depending on the friction, speed of the hand, seams and other things. Some areas will look white, some glossy or satin. The rough surface of the cotton will peal of wax from the brick. Pay extra attention to seams and areas around leather details and buttons. Use the sharp edges on the wax brick to reach these areas.
4: heat the wax
This new wax need to bond with the old wax inside the cotton. Use a hair dryer to melt the new wax. Do not use heat guns, open flames or irons as these will over heat the leather details and leather interior. Keep one hand inside the bag to make sure that nothing gets to warm. If your hand can take the heat – the bag is happy. Keep the air flow to one spot and watch the wax. The first thing happening is that the white, snow like, wax will disappear. A slightly gloss surface might appear instead. This is actually enough. The wax has melted and bonded with the cotton underneath. If you don’t want your bag to be gloss and shiny – just keep heating the same spot. Eventually (a few seconds later) both wax layers will melt and fuse together. The new wax will sink into the cotton, leaving a satin surface visible. When all sides has been heated – close the bag and let it cool before taking care of the leather. It is important to wax first and do the leather care afterwards. The new wax is protecting the cotton, and the heat form the hair dryer can do funny things with leather care.
5: leather care
When it comes to leather care there are two different goals to achieve. One, nursing the leather with vital waxes and fats. Two, softening stiff leather. The skin on our hands is kept soft and elastic by our own production of wax and fat in the skin. Since the leather in the farmer’s racer bags is, by natural causes, no longer producing wax and fat, we need to add this to the leather. Making your own leather care is as easy as making the wax for the bag. If you want to buy your leather care, look for wax and oil or fat in the ingredients. Avoid silicone.
Farmer’s racer leather care:
100 gram beeswax
90 gram extra virgin olive oil
90 gram eco coconut fat
Apply the leather care with a cotton cloth. This is a quite dense wax that will stay on the surface. To make it sink into the leather one must rub the surface. The heat caused by the friction will soften the wax, and it will be absorbed. If the leather is getting stiff or cardboard like after a few years of use; the leather can be softened by using pure virgin olive oil. Apply thin layers, several times during a few days time. Don’t forget to add a top coat of farmer’s racer leather care.
Done. Ready for yet another year.