When making an investment in anything—hunting gear, a new skiff, one of Ted Juracsik’s famed fly reels—it’s a great idea to commit to regular maintenance and upkeep. Clothes are no different. And, with the rainy months nearly behind us, now is the time to send that well-worn Barbour jacket out for a little TLC. The worst thing that can happen to a Barbour jacket is for it to dry out. Since it can’t be washed, the exterior cotton fabric is dependent upon wax to help keep its sturdiness and weather-fighting characteristics in tact. Bottom line: If it dries out, it rips, and if it rips, you’ve got a much bigger repair bill on your hands.
My Beaufort was getting very close to that danger zone. As you can see, the wax is wearing away from most of the seams and along the ‘moving’ parts (armpits and elbows). What you can’t experience is the smell. I wasn’t making any new friends wearing this in a crowd.
After some research, I contacted New England Reproofers, an outfit located in Nashua, New Hampshire, and asked them about their process. There is a mystique about sending anything back to the factory (and out of your sight) for repairs, but Art, the resident expert, assured me that my Beaufort would be in good hands. The cost for reproofing and odor removal is $75 – this includes return shipping, as well. Satisfied, I wrote my check and sent it, along with my Barbour, up North to the Granite State. This is what happens during its two-week (give or take) stay:
The jacket upon receipt at New England Reproofers
The odor-removal process. (This also strips away what was left of the old wax)
The Beaufort, dried out and ready for waxing.
Starting on the collar
Finishing the back and sleeves
Moving to the front – notice the color difference after a fresh coat of wax
Fully (re)waxed Beaufort
Two weeks later, the jacket, noticeably heavier with a new coat of wax, was back in Georgia at my front door. As the wax slowly wears away, the jacket gets lighter. That distinctive aged Barbour ‘smell’ is gone, too. It doesn’t smell like flowers, mind, but it doesn’t smell anything like a wet dog anymore. Much more crowd-friendly. And the color is a much richer green. To be honest, I think it looks better now than it did off the rack.
Special thanks to the folks at Garden & Gun for posting this on their blog.