Today a customer asked me how best to care for his leather books. My answer to this question is usually advising them to get some book dressing from Talas. The book dressing I use I make myself. (a combination of neatsfoot oil and lanolin). But this customer was not a dealer or collector. He just wanted to keep a few non descript leather books in good condition and he didn’t want to order anything special. “There must be something around the house that I can use?” was his question.
A number of years ago I encounted a book dealer who swore by “CVS hand cream”, “Unscented” he insisted. A bit unorthodox I thought but I tried it. I’m not in love with the idea for a number of reasons. But still the idea had some merit. It takes a bit of extra rubbing to work the white cream, and as a commercial cream it had some merit that I wouldn’t normally think of on books. But in the absence of anything better it did seem to hydrate the leather.
I think I’ll continue to recomend book dressing but in a pinch I’ll never forget the CVS handcream-unscented.
Charles Videto, Applefirerestoration.com