Revitalizing a Kakadu Traders oilskin coat.


Russell Coight
Apr 30, 2019
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45 deg N lat / 90 deg W long (or nearly so šŸ˜‰)
I've had a Kakadu Traders branded oilskin caped drover's jacket for twenty-some years. I'd like to be able to say that I bought on one of my trips to Australia but sadly I can't do that. It's been a great coat RE: wind and rain protection and with the prober layering, a solid three-season coat. Recently I started thinking that after twenty years, I just might need to touch up the oilskin here and there. I did some internet research for commercial products and even found some DIY recipes. I found the commercial products to be a bit over priced especially with current S&H inflation! The DIY route intrigued me cost-wise but some of the methods seemed to have mixed reviews RE: how they turned out. One thing that stood out while reading the reviews for both the commercial products and the DIY methods was that heat was required as part of the application process to get an even finish. Lots of suggestions were made from irons, blow dryers/heat guns, hanging out in the Sun on a warm day or leaving the coat in a warm vehicle. Machine washing was universally stated to be avoided but little was mentioned about machine drying. I thought that a few minutes (really, less than five) in the clothes dryer probably wouldn't hurt. So, in it went. Permanent press setting, medium heat, less than five minutes. When I pulled it out it was totally soft and had virtually no stiffness to it. I thought "oh crap, I melted the wax right out of it!" I quickly put it on a hanger and hung it out in the garage where, today, it's a bit cooler. After about a quarter hour I went back out to check on it. Amazingly, (to me at least) the fabric had returned to the level of stiffness that it had when I bought it! I was very pleased to be sure. I guess the gist of this story is that while you may think that your oilskin garment needs to be re-treated (in fact it may) the first thing that you should do is let it spend a few minutes in the clothes dryer. I believe that the heat and tumbling allows for some redistribution of the wax impregnation and if the coat hasn't been subjected to excessive climate extremes you just might be able to delay the need for reapplying wax and saving maybe $25-$30 !!! I hope this information is of some value to someone.