Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baking Boots -- the art of Sno Seal application

My beloved hiking boots (Men's Vasque Sundowner Classics
for the curious in the crowd) were looking a little scuffed and dried up. On my last mushrooming trip my feet were *virtually* dry at the end, but they weren't bone dry. So I decided it was time to re-waterproof my boots.

The only kind of waterproofing I could find was Sno-Seal Original Beeswax. I'd heard about Sno Seal for years, but always blew it off because I heard Nikwax was a lot easier: rub it on, done.

But the appeal of beeswax and the old timey aspect got to me. It smelled (yes I smelled before I bought, don't YOU) of beeswax and kerosene -- which, again, set off my old-timey alarms, so I picked some up.

I set my oven on "warm" (approx. 120) and cleaned my boots while it got to temperature. I baked the boots for about 15 minutes, and then brought them out and gave them the first application of Sno Seal. It did melt right into the leather, as advertised.

I rubbed and buffed and carefully overloaded the seam areas, and when the boot looked all done, I stuck it back in the oven for about 15 more minutes. When I pulled it out, the toes and the backs were dry all over again. Like before I'd started. Much of the rest of the boot looked "finished" but these scuffed areas drank up a lot of sealer.

So I changed tactics, I slathered the stuff thickly on the dry areas -- enough that it left a film on the leather. I still buffed up the other areas lightly, and then baked the boots again. Sure enough the dry areas drank up most of the sealer yet again -- but much more of the boot now looked finished. I repeated the last step one more time and now I'm done.

I'm sure now that had I put a thick, goopy layer of the stuff on the first time, it would have melted in and I would have been done in less time than my 3-4 repetitions took.

I'm surprised how much sealer the boots sucked up.

I'm excited now to head out to The Palouse and chase birds with Estu in my spiffy dry boots.

Enjoy taking care of your equipment and reaping the benefits of said care,


[Note: See the comments below -- I will report back to see if I have over-proofed my boots or not]


Trappin' Pat said...

Sno Seal is the best but you can overdo it (which you may have done). Too much Sno Seal will make you boots waterproof and unbreathable. 1 mabye 2 applications is sufficient and only bake enough on the 2nd to get it to absorb.

Bpaul said...

Here's to hoping I did it right.

Chuck Butcher said...

I use bee oil, it doesn't last as long, but is better for breathing.