What makes Armstrong's All Natural "artisanal"?
Our waxes are artisanal in the sense that they are made in the old world tradition with simple, natural ingredients, one batch at a time, hand poured and made-to-order. We put as much craft as we do science into our products because we care about the process, not just the finished product. We are passionate about bringing back not only U.S. manufacturing, but the old way of doing things, before the explosion of globalized commerce which led to the cheapening and corner cutting of craft and manufacturing.
Does Armstrong's All Natural use silicone or petroleum derivatives?
While most shoe polishes, leather conditioners, and cutting board conditioners on the market today contain synthetic or petroleum based ingredients such as silicone, naptha, stoddard solvent, mineral spirits, or mineral oil, the only solvents Armstrong's All Natural uses are 100% American grown, family farmed purely distilled pine tree gum (sap) turpentine and cold-pressed orange oil derived from the rinds of Florida oranges. There are no petroleum byproducts used in our products.
What makes Armstrong's products "all natural"? What does that even mean?
Our products are made of only a few simple and straightforward ingredients. We never use artificial or synthetic ingredients and we never use ingredients derived from petroleum. We use U.S. grown pine tree sap that is distilled into turpentine, ethically gathered beeswax, organic carnauba wax and common earth mineral pigments for our leather waxes. We use cold-pressed grapeseed oil instead of mineral oil in our Butcher Block Wax.
I've heard turpentine can be toxic. What's the deal with that?
The tapping of pine trees to make turpentine has been around for over a century in the United States and people used to take it internally for all sorts of ailments. Since turpentine has become largely a byproduct through destructive chemical extraction of the paper pulping industry, it no longer is considered as safe as it once was. That version of so-called “turpentine” also doesn’t smell nearly as good as the real stuff! We never source destructively extracted turpentine and always use turpentine distilled the old fashioned way. Even though our turpentine is pure and free of additives, it still is a solvent that should be handled with care.
Why use turpentine anyway?
Pure turpentine is used in some of our products because, as a solvent, it does an excellent job cleaning and degreasing leather (especially in boots!) and carrying and distributing the other ingredients into the pores of the leather and then evaporating, leaving only a perfectly distributed thin layer of wax across the surface of the leather. The stuff we use, processed without chemicals, smells pretty splendid as well.
Do the boot and leather waxes really waterproof even though they contain no silicone?
Silicone is a synthetically derived chemical that blocks the pores of leather, leaving it feeling and looking greasy and possibly doing more harm than good to the leather. We do not use silicone in our products! When applied regularly, the waxes in our products create a protective layer on top of the leather, causing water to bead up and roll away. We recommend applying an extra coat if you plan to go out puddle jumping.
What's the difference between the Leather Wax and the Boot Wax?
The main difference is that the leather wax is made of orange oil while the boot wax is made of turpentine. While using leather wax on your shoes or boot wax on your bag is perfectly fine, the products have been specifically formulated to work best as indicated. Like leather, the consistency and hardness between the two products varies. However, some people like the turpentine smell of the boot wax and will use it on everything. Others find the citrus scent of the leather wax preferable, and will shine everything, including their boots, with the leather wax, and have good results.
What's the difference between Leather Wax and Leather Conditioner?
Our leather wax (and boot wax) is intended to be used to clean, polish, and protect leather, while the leather conditioner is to be used to nourish leather, to bring dry and cracked leather back to life by returning lost nutrients and suppleness to leather. Once you begin regularly using our products, you will start to know when to apply which, but a good rule of thumb is to go with an application of leather conditioner after every second or third application of leather wax or boot wax.
Should I heat up the Boot Wax or Leather Wax before applying?
While not entirely necessary, some people do like to warm up the wax before and/or after applying it, as it helps the flow of the wax into the leather. Occasionally the leather will develop a thin white coating after applying product. This is just the wax reacting. Simply running a hair dryer over the leather will melt the wax, allowing it to soak into the leather.
I've had some of your product around for awhile and it's starting to look weird. What's up with that?
We could have put some synthetic chemicals into our products to keep them looking artificially perfect for years, but we've decided to keep everything 100% all natural. This means that the products will start to change, as they age. Generally, we've found that this does not affect product performance and we've heard of people still using our product years after purchasing.