Photo by Salt Water New England

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Waxing the Barbours

Photos by Salt Water New England
This is the time of year that many wax their Barbours.

Without regular reproofing Barbours obviously are not as waterproof, but also can take on an old military fatigue jacket look, especially in the Sage.  And each waxing can add to their patina.  Some claim that Barbours' colors age differently based on their environments, meaning they would truly become more unique with age.

Before (on left) and After (on right)
How often should one reproof a well-used Barbour waxed item?  The conventional wisdom is every year.  Surprisingly, a new Barbour may sometimes need it after just a few months.  And older, well maintained Barbours can go longer without.

Disclaimer:  This technique may or may not overlap with any official (i.e. correct) way, but it is fast.

You will need a can of wax for every two or three Barbours, and a surface big enough for the coats.


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.  Bring the pan with the can of wax onto the table.




Use a new sponge; old sponges tend to crumble a bit and leave behind little pieces.

Cover the entire waxed cotton portion of the coat.  Go heavy on the seams.











Take a hairdryer to the jacket to even out the wax, working in the wax with one hand while holding the dryer with the other, while again paying special attention to the seams









When done, let the coat hang.  It will be sticky for a few weeks.  Some hurry the drying process by using a hair dryer again, and rubbing off any excess wax with a cloth.

16 comments:

  1. Tis the season! Thanks so very much!

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  2. I have not been applying it that heavy - and usually heat it to the point the wax becomes clear. I will try the sponge method and let the wax be a little heavier during application - thanks !

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    1. Clearly yours is the superior method.

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    2. Only drawback (functionally) is that I don't get that glossy, heavy appearance which I believe is crucial to the weatherproof quality.

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  3. Ordered a new can of wax today...tis the season indeed! ARH

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  4. Doing this in the summer months makes it much easier. Laying the jacket flat in the sun makes it hot enough to melt the wax, making application far easier and eliminates the need of hairdryers. The effect is probably pretty close to the heated tables used by the professionals.

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  5. I bring mine into Orvis each year or two to be done.

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  6. I only apply new wax every few years. I use the method Muffy listed except I use a cloth rag instead of a sponge. Might try the sponge next time. I can't imagine taking mine in two be done. Just wouldn't feel right having somebody else do it. GLH

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    1. me too - same method substituting rags for the sponge, since the early 90s, and i probably reproof every other year.

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  7. Don't have a Barbour but I do have two waxed Filson jackets and the process is the same. They have their own wax and there are other brands available that are close enough. On my so-called Cover Cloth field jacket, the finish (which they call an oil finish) wore off mainly on back, from wearing it while driving. I've refinished parts of it where I expect it to get wet first, mainly the shoulders. My only suggestion is to try not to get any wax on the collar if it isn't a wax finish already.

    My tin cloth jacket isn't even broken in yet.

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  8. I find it so difficult to apply little enough to not soak into the lining somewhere . Even heating the can in boiling water , so that the wax is nearly too hot to deal with , doesn't make it a lot better . Years ago , John Partridge made jackets like Barbour and produced a re-waxer in a spray can . Now that was good in that you could spray from 12-14 inches away for a light covering .

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  9. Seasonal markers. Waxing your Barbour in the fall, and burning your socks in the spring.

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  10. thanks for the great step by step tutorial. on a very hot day this past may i waxed my barbour trooper jacket after setting it out in the hot sun for about an hour that allowed the jacket to warm up really nicely and it seemed to help it absorb and spread the wax very evenly. i put together a little time-lapse video which showed most of the process except that the camera overheated from being out in the sun for so long so the video ended before the waxing did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPWykr7Pt2M

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  11. Cheated and went mine to Barbour and let them reproof...But it was 100F in Texas yesterday. Still a while before I'll need mine.

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  12. Thanks for 2 things. First the reminder. Then for sharing your approach. I've always waited for the wax to go clear but have never stuck it in the hot sun as urbankayaker suggested. I also applied it heavier than before, as you suggested. The old Barbour looks magnificent and its clearly a more thorough job than I've ever accomplished before. I love this site.

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  13. You can use a mix of linseed oil,bees wax and turps. Works like a charm,just don't sit on any nice upholstery for a couple of weeks. Takes a bit longer to dry thoroughly.

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