A recipe for Dubbin

Dubbin : leather food for boots etc, and DRUMS !!! :)

One of the disadvantages of living out in the sticks is that when and idea or urge pops into your head and you need to purchase something to complete it, you need to be patient.

I have learnt well since coming to Orkney, the art of patience, whether that be waiting upon a delivery from the mainland from an Internet order, or waiting for a trip to town.
It's not that it is far to town, only about 17 miles I think, it's getting there. Although we do have a car, I am reluctant for us to pop in at the weekend just for a few bits. Often I will go in during the week, but as I don't drive I need to rely on our buses which are not exactly frequent, and a quick trip to town can be a full day wasted.
So whats this got to do with dubbin? Well a little while ago some of us started a little drumming evening, and although I have got a small hand drum, it sounds crap. A friend suggested using dubbin on it, which is used on leather, fab.

Well the problem is, I didn't go to town last week, I am not going this week, which means waiting till next week. toooo loooong!

I had a bit of a browse on tinternet to find out if you could make it. turns out it is made from tallow, beeswax and fish or mink oil. Found a website where they make their own and got the recipe, tweaked it a bit and Bob's your uncle, got it made, Go Mel !!
so here is the recipe:

30g lard
15g beeswax
5g fish oil (eg cod liver oil capsules, squeezed into mix)

gently melt together lard and beeswax
add fish oil, I used 10 large cod liver oil capsules as I was guessing.
melt this into the mix too. pour into a jar and done :)


  1. That would be great - if I had lard! Can find beeswax and possibly a bit of fish oil.

    Could you use it on the back of a sheepskin rug I bought from a charity shop? The front is lovely, long and silky whereas the back is dry and I would love to get it more supple, although don't want it greasy as I put it on the back of the sofa or seat, for a change.

  2. Hello Mel, I thought I'd meet some of my blog followers today and I enjoyed my visit here. I did smile at the dubbin recipe, if I put that on my boots, my horrible dogs would lick it off LOL
    Your quilt is gorgeous, very neat and beautifully done.
    See you again soon
    Blessings, Kath

  3. Try 1 part beeswax 1/2 part mineral turpentine and 1/2 part boiled linseed oil. Melt the wax then add linseed oil slowly while stirring. Then repeat for turps. Let it cool and use the same as dubbin.

    1. Mineral Turpentine on leather? I've had people push towards true Pure Gum Turpentine for woodwork I've never heard either recommended for leather use. In a recent discussion with an old timer it was suggested that one should use vegetable oils on timber, mineral oils on metals, and animal oils (includes fats) on leather.

    2. Generalized Dubbin Formula

      6 parts fat
      3 parts wax
      1 part solvent

      Or, specifically:
      6 parts lard or tallow
      3 parts beeswax
      1 part fish oil

    3. Fprgpt:
      1 % by weight preservative

      1 % cedarwood oil or eucalyptus oil

  4. This is this great, thank you. When the mixture is dry, does it small Fishy? Could you substitute the fish oil with linseed oil? Or add Eucalyptus oil to overcome the smell?

  5. Mel, your dubbin recipe is cited on wikipedia!

  6. If you want to make your leather boots soften, then I suggest you to apply mink oil on the boots. Mink oil will soften your leather boots because mink oil is a thick waxy substance and it gets soaked inside the leather pores. However, if you want to buy the best mink oil for boots you can visit our site.

    1. Ai ai ai . . . poor mink! Already having their hair implanted as fake eyelashes. There are less murderous alternatives.

    2. A little cheese with your whine?

  7. In the bush old timers used mutton fat and mineral turpentine (as a repellent for rats and mice, who'd otherwise eat the leather). For years now I've used bees wax and pure gum turpentine, melted gently (it's flammable so don't get it hot, and you'll denature the beeswax! Gently does it) together and set in a jar. More turpentine makes it more workable so don't add too much wax to start. I use is on timber and leather and it smells beautiful. You could add some drops of essential oil to suit: lemon, lavender etc. Your dogs and rodents won't eat this and it's vegan! Go well and sorry I'll never be coming to visit. I live off grid about 20kms from town in rural NSW and it's heavenly indeed. xx

  8. Can you use Neatsfoot oil for leather instead of Fish/Mink oil ?

    1. Neatsfoot oil works well in softening hardened leather, I might try adding pine tar for extra waterproofing

  9. we used to add pine tar to dubbin to repel things that eat leather and it added waterproofing as well



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