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Jackboot......

Discussion in 'Uniforms, Personal Gear (Kit) and Accessories' started by Martin Bull, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    OK, this should be in the 'My latest Militaria' thread, but I'm really quite pleased with this item and anyhow, we haven't got a 'Jackboot' thread.

    The Jackboot is so synonymous with the German soldier, along with the 'coal scuttle' helmet and MP40, a veritable symbol of Fascism and aggressive conquest. This one ( No pair ! That's why it was cheap.... ) arrived via a German dealer. It was very dry and dusty, the leather was absolutely 'dead' and badly scuffed. I've spent the whole week laboriously applying saddle soap, hide food and then several layers of high-quality wax. Then some vigorous buffing.

    I'm pleased with the result.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I chose this one because of the condition of the sole. The 'Buna' heel is still there, plenty of hobnails and those little beechwood 'diamonds' in the bridge...

    [​IMG]

    One can only imagine the awful, rock-crushing sound of these boots when marching.

    Anyhow, a nice piece of kit for my collection.
     
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  2. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    Now you need to find a one-legged mannequin :)
     
  3. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    ...I was waiting for the jokes to start....! :D
     
  4. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    who could resist a little goose-hop humour :)

    (but seriously - nice dice-beaker)
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Or what it felt like to wear these in the Russian winter.... Ouch!
     
  6. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    Hi Martin, you might have a significant piece there. Maybe it belonged to a soldier who lost his other leg??

    Anyway, nice acquisition.
     
  7. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    i found a photo of the other one :)
     

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  8. C.Evans

    C.Evans Expert

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
     
  9. Spartanroller

    Spartanroller Ace

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    also maybe posted in the wrong place, but this might be of vague interest to military footwear fetishists;

    BBC - Boot company closes their doors

    The Northampton company that made the famous Escape Boot during the Second World War has ceased trading.



    Wonder what they might have tucked away in their pattern room?
     
  10. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    This week I've acquired something to keep my lonely Jackboot company......

    [​IMG]

    A nice - and very reasonably-priced - pair of Officers private purchase boots. All the classic details are present ( including the inner strengthening strip, diamond-shaped beech wedges, etc ) and they are dated 1941. The leather is of very fine quality. They were apparently recently found in Germany and arrived 'as found', very dry, dusty and creased. Again, several applications of wax boot polish, left to soak in and then buffed hard has brought them up to a very nice display appearance.

    Here is one contrasted with my regulation 'Landser boot', showing very clearly the difference in leather quality and the reduction in height introdiced in 1939 to save leather.

    [​IMG]

    These are nice items to have - I may keep my eye open for another pair in 2015...........
     
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  11. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have a friend who often wears a pair for day to day use.
    Though he suspects they make him racist...
     
  12. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    You need a couple of potato mashers to stuff in the top.
     
  13. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    That can be arranged......

    [​IMG]


    :sunglasses-peek:
     
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  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I've done that for nearly 25 years!

    First it was several pairs of old Grepo boots...then UK was flooded with them cheap after the Fall of the Berlin Wall - then a few years ago I picked up a pair of absolutely brand new, in my size, Bundeswehr Wachtbatallion officers' boots!...at a car boot sale...

    Saldy, right now they're all waiting resoling....getting that done properly is more expensive than buying them was in the first place!

    They were/are great well soaked with baby oil :) not only does it soften the iron-like leather of the Grepo boots lol...its swells the thread and makes all the seams waterproof.

    BRILLIANT motorcycling boots.
     
  15. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have another mate who's a leather worker. He shudders at baby oilers ;).
    He warns that mineral oils like baby oil will kill the leather's ability to breathe, trap moisture inside the material so it can rot, and eventually break down most modern tanning processes.
    Impressive in the short term, but disastrous in the long in his opinion. He's leather obsessed, so I take his word for it and stick to proper conditioners, or a mix of olive oil and lard.
     
  16. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I tried proper conditioners, traditional and modern synthetic, for years :( Nothing like staring out of the window first thing in the morning, seeing the black cloud...knowing you're going to be spending 8-9 hours in it...to make you learn fast about leather conditioners, goretex waterproofers, sillicone treatments...LMAO

    All the leather conditioners I tried made the leather of the Grepo boots even harder :( The cracking became endemic. After a long time I sat down and reckoned that the cheap, East German tanning process...whatever on earth it it was...was going to be nothing like pre-war German tanning, or any tanning process we're familiar with here LOL I.E. the traditional, quality options! The baby oil let me rescue the last two pairs before they got really badly cracked.

    Using the same treatment on the Wachtbatallion boots had just one major side-effect - it made them SO soft they got very "clingy" over a pair of socks and hard to get on LOL But it does actually eventually evaporate out...it is, after all, only parafin!...so the lard and olive oil might work after they're resoled, although I was considering trying neatsfoot oil again, on those at least.
     
  17. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    I'm not so certain it's paraffin-related, Phylo, maybe closer to Castrol, but I'm no chemist.
    Certainly not having a go, but this leather bloke and two shoemakers of my acquaintance all cringe at baby oil (to be honest, they cringe at quite a few commercial treatments too. Lots of them seem bad for stitching as well as the leather itself).
    All have recommended a mix of olive oil and lard at some point, with maybe a hairdryer to gently soak it into particularly crunchy stuff.
    I don't doubt baby oil works for specific waterproofing, but I suppose so would varnishing 'em. Just thought a note of caution was worthwhile in case anyone laid into an expensive bit of militaria.

    I wonder if they just leaked a fair bit anyway... matey's good pair are early war and damned fine quality, but he had a later pair that appeared to be made of some sort of cardboard.
     
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    LOL just checked, it's on the shelf beside me! Mostly liquid parafin, with palm oil, and a scent.

    I did actually expect the stitching to suffer ;) It wasn't a problem with the first two pairs of Grepo boots - their stitching at least had long since been waterproofed with...ahem...superglue! :) But the next two pairs were "virgin", so to speak - and the stitching held up suprisingly well. My old dad did a bit of occasional emergency bookbinding, and when he was still alive he looked at a couple of the pairs under a magnifying glass and said the East German thread looked very close to being linen bookbinders' twine...not unlike the now-almost unobtainable "Barbour thread" that used to be made here in N.I. by Barbour Mills...and yes, one enterprising branch of that family was indeed responsible for "Barbour Jackets" in their early days LOL decades before they became a fashion must-have around the world! (...and made of anything but linen...!) At the time I needed to put the Wachtbatallion boots into immediate use, and didn't have the leisure of experimentation time...so used the baby oil. And suprisingly - no effect on the sititching on them either.

    Obviously I'm never going to find out exactly what's in the stitching thread in a pair of Grepo boots LOL But if it was indeed linen, or linen-rich, that might explain it; linen...or rather flax...is actually a very oily plant in itself - hence the modern thing for "flax oil" or flax seed as a health food lol When the flax plants are mature they're cut and put in a "flax dam" to "wret"/"rhet" (the spelling seems to vary around the world) not quite but almost rot - in that the stems break down but not fully....because of the oil content in the fibrous material...and that fibre can be stripped out, broken down further and spun into linen thread of all grades.

    Linen is also remarkably tough as a material and a thread...because it can be "beetled" - the thread and finished cloth is pounded together...compacted...in a "beetling mill" between hardwood cogs - which as well as toughening it, gives it a "finished" surface sheen that's hard and durable. Beetling is the difference between soft linen clothing...which doesn't get it...and the tough linen "canvas" in traditional sailcloth - which does! Or the modern equivalent process, anyway.

    A good pair of leather longboots of ANY make should be inh erently water "resistant" I.E. sealed. After all, the first Wellington Boots were leather...! ;)


    The quality DEFINITELY dropped off mid-war; good leathers/ hides were being diverted primarily to clothing and kit use...if the Germans had adopted woven linen webbing, they'd have kept better quality jackboots :) The tanning processes themselves became more and more primitive as "strategic" resources became thinner on the ground...and they were tanning ALL sorts of crap lol Sheepskin, goatskin...
     
  19. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish WW2|ORG Editor

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    All the leather peeps I know do indeed just use good linen thread, but people seem to forget that waxing it is also essential if durability's to be guaranteed.
    I know some linen fetishists... weirdos they are, one has even been seen recently fulling wool on telly, the fabric obsessed oddball.
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Bookbinding twines of all grades are usually supplied beetled and waxed; I've only got a small amount left, I've hoarded it for years LOL It's great for leather jacket repairs. For leather work, not only does it make the thread more durable and weatherproof...it also is "self lubricating" (so to speak!) so it's great for really tight holes through a material...like leather!...that when treated in any way will swell even tighter.

    Once again - there are just so many variables in THAT! Tallow/animal fats vs. parafin waxes vs. modern fully synthetics...!
     

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