Photo by Salt Water New England

Monday, August 24, 2015

Waxing the Barbours

How often should one reproof their Barbour waxed items?  The conventional wisdom is every year.  Surprisingly, a new Barbour may sometimes need it after just a few months.

Many people prefer to send their jackets back to the Barbour repair facility in Milford, New Hampshire where they can get a professional job at a very reasonable price.

And others do it themselves, although that precludes the added benefit of their heated tables that also gets out any ground in dirt.  (However, as it is not uncommon to wait until the last minute, the Barbour facility always gets inundated this time of year.)

The process is fairly forgiving.

Without regular reproofing they obviously are not as waterproof, but also can take on an old military fatigue jacket look, especially in the Sage.  The Navy, however,  can still look good for dry weather wear.

Many prefer the bare-handed approach and take care not to get the wax too hot.  Use a new sponge; old sponges tend to crumble a bit and leave behind little pieces.  Place the can of wax in a pan of just boiled water and wait a few minutes for it to soften, which it does from the bottom up.

Go heavy on the seams and then wipe them again after letting them hang for a couple of days.  Take a hairdryer to the jacket after waxing to even out the wax, working in the wax with one hand while holding the dryer with the other, and paying special attention to the seams 

Any bits of wax that get on the corduroy collars are easily wiped off.
Wax over any tears or worn out spots.

Bedale in Sage - One of the Neediest

With the Bedales  tuck in the knit cuffs....

... and zip them up before starting.

The Giant Bellows Pockets of the Border Jacket

This is how it looks when one should have waited a little longer for the wax to melt.  Now it just has to be worked in more.  This is where the hair dryer can be most useful.

They will be a bit tacky (as in sticky) but not for long.

A (1984) Gamefair that had gone a handful of years without reproofing  - Before (on left) and After (on right)


  1. So when to reproof and repair, and when to replace? I just got the bill from Barbour services (now in NC) for my Border purchased in UK in 1996 and my Beaufort purchased in Germany on 2002. I've reproofed myself, but this is the second round of repairs for both after non-field duty, daily wear and tear. Shipping included, $350. Maybe it was time to retire them and buy new?

    1. So.......two months later.......after numerous phone calls......I am still waiting on Barbour and Orvis to return my two Barbour jackets.

    2. I am thinking about sending a Barbour New Hampshire( It's a rare one) to Maine to have re-proofed. Did you ever get your jackets back?

  2. I only have a Barbour hat but I also have some waxed cotton Filson garments. Two pair of pants and two jackets. One of the jackets is a "tin" cruiser that I received for Christmas. So, it's practically brand new. The other is a so-called cover cloth field jacket that I've worn for years. Only recently have I troubled myself to begin reproofing it, because it needed it.

    Naturally, I used Filson's own wax but there are similar products that will do. Haven't used any Barbour compound. But otherwise, the procedure outlined above is exactly what one does. I even used a hair dryer. Be careful not to get wax on the collar, though. I have quit using these jackets when I drive because the finish comes off where it rubs against the car seat. Also, you'll notice that when the finish needs renewing and it begins to leak in a get-wet rain, you can easily tell where it needs renewing the most. In my case. it was mainly the shoulders. It may look like you've used too much wax at first but it will soak in. I just used my fingers to apply the wax and now they're fairly waterproof, too.

    Garments like this are best in cool, damp weather, though, and aren't really sufficient for total protection in a downpour but the British probably invented umbrellas along with waxed cotton. My cover cloth field jacket, quite close to a Barbour in function (and price) is certainly warm enough for outdoor activity down to about zero, provided you wear suitable things underneath. I don't recall how long I've had it but it is showing a lot of wear on the cuffs. The tin jacket will need a couple of years to be properly broken in.