Do you have an old baseball glove sitting around in your attic somewhere, just waiting to be restored? Or maybe you received a hand-me-down from your old man that you want to use for your next game? Well, whatever the case might be, I am here to lend you a helping hand.
Old baseball gloves can often turn stiff if left to their own devices. The leather dries up from lack of moisture and can lead to cracks. And in some cases, if it is stored in a humid location, the leather soaks up the excess moisture and becomes heavier.
Needless to say, this makes the job of restoring an old baseball glove pretty difficult. It takes a lot of time, for one thing, and if you don’t know what you are doing, you can mess things up pretty easily. But this can also be a good learning experience for you, so I will never be the one to dissuade you.
On the contrary, I will try to make things easier for you by giving you a handy guideline on how to oil an old baseball glove so that you can restore it fully and use it in your next big match.
Best Oil for Old Baseball Glove
Applying the right oil to an old baseball glove can help restore it to its former glory. Not only that, but it will also allow the glove to last longer and improve its quality. And if it gets stiff over the years, oil application will also accelerate the break-in process. It also helps lubricate the material and prevent it from cracking.
However, all of these good things can only come if you are using the “right” oil. You don’t want to go with any petroleum-based oil if you want to apply it on your baseball glove, for instance. They can do more harm than good, especially if you are trying to restore an old glove.
If I had to go with a specific oil type, I would always go with lanolin oil. This is the same ingredient used in most baseball glove oil conditioners and works great with glove leather. You can also use olive oil or any other leather conditioner. As weird as it sounds, shaving cream also works wonders for your baseball glove.
If you are applying oil on the glove, make sure you do not apply it directly on the surface. Instead, take a bit of oil on a clean cloth and gently rub it into the surface of the glove. Make sure you are being thorough, and the oil seeps into the fabric. I found a gentle circular motion works best in this case.
It’s also important to let the glove dry for a day after you apply one or two layers of oil. Make sure you keep your glove away from any direct heat sources and let it air dry fully. After the glove dries for 24 hours, you should remove the excess using a clean cloth or pieces of cotton.
How To Restore An Old Baseball Glove
Restoring an old baseball glove is not as simple as applying a bit of oil and letting it dry. It takes a lot of time and patience. But if you’re like me, you would consider the entire experience worth the hassle.
Here are the steps to restoring an old baseball glove.
Step – 1
The first step to restoring an old baseball glove is to remove the laces and clean them thoroughly. Since the laces are made of leather, saddle soap works great on them.
To restore a baseball glove, first, you need to unlace it. In two ways, you can unlace a baseball glove.
- Unlace it by hand carefully
- Cutting them with scissors and buying new laces.
After cleaning the old laces, you should set them aside and let them dry while you work on the rest of the gloves.
Step – 2
If the glove is pretty old and hasn’t been in use for a while, there’s a good chance that it has a thick layer of dirt and grime on the surface. Even when you store your glove fully, it’s natural for it to attract dirt and dust over the years. So the first step here is to clean the baseball glove properly.
For this job, I like to use saddle soap. For baseball gloves, Saddle soap is a fantastic product to use. It can help clean the glove without putting it in any real danger. Use a small circular motion to rub the soap thoroughly into the leather. Make sure you rub between the fingers.
You should start to notice lather forming in the glove. Remove the lather using a second rag. Take your time with this step, and make sure you remove all the built-up dirt and grime off the glove from years of neglect.
Step – 3
After cleaning your glove, you should let it dry for a day or two. You don’t want to put it in the oven or use a hairdryer for this step. Instead, put it down in a well-ventilated room and let it air dry. If you want to speed up the process, you can put a table fan in front of it with air blowing directly into the glove.
Since saddle soap also conditions the leather, now is a good time to start breaking it in. You should fold, squeeze, or bend the glove to loosen it up. After a while, the leather will feel much softer than before.
Step – 4
Once the glove is completely dry, it’s time to apply the oil. You can use any leather oil you want but again, avoid using petroleum-based products. Make sure to work the oil well into the leather and wipe off any residual excess after letting it dry for a day or two.
If you think it necessary, recondition the baseball glove with a fresh coat of oil once the first coat dries fully. Since old gloves are finicky, they might require conditioning a couple of times before it softens up properly.
Step – 5
If you are happy with how your glove is coming out, now it’s time to relace it. You can take it to a shop to replace it properly, but you can also do it yourself. Make sure the laces are tightened properly to fit your hands. You should also adjust the wrist laces so that the fit is right.
That’s all there’s to it. Now you can go out and try out your restored glove by playing a game of catch.
How to Soften an Old Baseball Glove
Baseball gloves can turn stiff if you don’t take care of them. Now, if you find an old baseball glove tucked somewhere in your home, you will notice this immediately. The leather will feel dry, and the glove will be extremely stiff.
The best way to soften an old baseball glove is to apply oil to it. Leather oil can help break down the material and make it softer and more pliable. Of course, oil alone cannot make it soft, but it sets a solid foundation for the rest of the process.
Once your oil and dry the glove, you can use a rubber mallet to soften it up further. Playing catch with the glove also works well for this step, but I found the rubber mallet method to work faster. So if you want quick results, prepare to beat into the surface of the glove with the mallet.
In any case, you shouldn’t expect the leather to soften up within a day. Typically, it takes about three to four days of regular playing to make the glove soft and comfortable for your hands. But once you are past that, the glove feels much better in your hands.
Restoring an old baseball glove can be a fun experience and extremely rewarding if you enjoy that sort of thing. Whether you will use it in your games or not is beside the point. So if you find the idea of breathing fresh life into an old glove, then this article should help you out.
Knowing the right oil to use for this task is almost half the battle here. I have seen people ruin their perfectly good gloves simply by using oils that are not suitable for leather. And now that you know the right way, things will go much smoother for you.
I hope my article on how to oil an old baseball glove could help you restore your old baseball glove and get more use out of it. Cheers!