Join Date: Apr 2014
Leather is problematic due to its tendency to follow its original owner into oblivion.
The complex chemistry involved has confounded the museum world to the point that for the last ten or twenty years they have moved into the mindset where it's just best left alone and to rely on passive conservation. Minimal to no handling, sunlight, stable humidity, and minimized physical stress in display.
No preservatives or aggressive treatments.
Having an original scabbard that is damaged but stable is better than having one in an accelerated state of decline. Especially when this decline is due to aggressive measures.
Years ago I did the treatment route on a few pieces I owned. In one case the belt I was "preserving" literally came apart in my hands as I was working on it!
I was using a product called Lexol, created just for this purpose. But, it caused slight swelling and the old, fragile stitching broke. I was left with a pile of parts.