Thursday, November 15, 2007

How to Wax your Barbour Beaufort Jacket

OK, a lot of hits and questions on how to wax a Barbour.
If you’re only now getting around to it, you will need to invest a little bit more time and effort into the process.

Ideally the jacket should have already been cleaned and re-waxed during a hot summer day. The hot sun and weather keeps the wax melted and hence easier to work with. In the fall or winter, the wax keeps congealing and makes the entire effort more taxing.

The supplies you will need are: a bowl of ice water, a sponge, a tin of Barbour Wax (pictured in this post), a pot of hot water to boil the Wax tin in, an old cotton t-shirt, and a hairdryer.

You will also need a good work area with a table (that won’t be affected by wax) and a place to hang the jacket. (I use a screened in back porch with a tiled breakfast table.)

The process is the same for a sylkoil jacket.

Step one, clean the jacket. Put the jacket on a work table, and using a bowl of ice water and a sponge, wipe down the outside of the jacket. The ice water keeps the wax on the jacket hardened and helps the sponge separate the dirt out. (Don’t use soap of any kind. Don’t put the jacket in the washing machine. I'm told that would remove the wax coating permanently.)

Step two, open the tin of wax and boil it in a pot of water over a stove, until the wax is melted.

Step three, using an old cotton t-shirt, work the melted wax onto the jacket, paying particular care to the seams, pockets and edges. (This is the part that’s harder in winter because the wax keeps solidifying on you). Ideally you should keep the wax tin in the hot water while working in order to keep the wax melted.

Keep the wax away from the corduroy collar, inside of the jacket, and inside of the pockets.

Keep your actions small and controlled so as to not make a mess. Clean as you go.

Step four, once you have re-waxed all the surface, hang the jacket up and use the blow dryer to re-melt the wax on the jacket and give it an even finish. This also gives the jacket a nice shiny fresh look.

Hang the jacket and allow it dry overnight undisturbed.

Please be aware the jacket will bleed excess wax for a short while after being re-waxed. So be courteous to others in this regard. For example if a stewardess asks if she can hang up your jacket, decline, and store it in the overhead bin over your own stuff. That way you don’t get wax on somebody’s sport coat or suit jacket.

Darwin Alert- On a humorous note, I once read a post from some person claiming to have thrown their waxed Barbour in the dryer and making a tremendous mess. Don’t go there. Use a hair dryer.

Purchasing Barbour Wax Dressing- In the U.S., the easiest way to get a tin of Barbour Wax is to log onto , and type in “Barbour” in the search field. That will bring up a page of Barbour products which should include the wax. The official Orvis description is: “Barbour Thornproof Dressing (SI8981)” The current price is $12.00. Instructions for re-waxing the jacket are written on the can.

Ongoing Cleaning- During the winter you may want to clean your jacket. Just repeat the cleaning step with the sponge and the bowl of ice water. Afterwards, use a blow dryer to dry it and to even out the wax again. You’ll get the nice shiny gloss finish once more.

Finally a warning note, it's too late to send your jacket back to Barbour for re-waxing. If you send your Barbour back this late in the year, you probably won’t see your jacket back until summer 2008. Those guys are slow.

John P.

(For related content read September 3rd 2006 post, "The Barbour Beaufort Jacket, men's stuff part one.")

Click here for a reader's question on smell.


Anonymous said...

Thanks J.P. Looked everywhere for this type of specific info but it was all so fussy. Mary

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this; I just reproofed my jacket and it looks like new. Your instructions were spot on and the hair dryer at the end was the icing on the cake.

John E. Pacheco said...

I'm glad this posting has been of help to fellow Barbour wearers.
This post is by far the most popular page on my blog.

Unknown said...

Hey J.P., great blog. I will attempt this on my Beaufort this weekend.

About the Barbour wax, do you know if it can be applied to a pair of canvas Converse Chucks? I would be interested to see the outcome and whether this would weatherproof them. What are your thoughts?


John E. Pacheco said...

Thank you for your kind complement on the blog. While I have never thought about attempting to wax waterproof a pair of Converse All-Star, I have thought about attempting the experiment with a canvass Israeli Paratrooper Bag I have. The bag served as my map case during the first Gulf War and has seen better days. In the end I decided against it because I’m fond of the bag and my gut feel is that it wouldn’t work. I didn’t want to turn it into a waxy mess. (Even a Barbour jacket which is already pretreated can bleed excess wax significantly after treatment.)

Apropos- Barbour claims that if you wash the jacket and remove the wax coating, then you lose the wax coating permanently. The jacket cannot be re-waxed. Any wax applied after that would simply bleed off, which is what I suspect would happen with any untreated clothing item.

But if you do experiment, by all means please let me know the results.

Unknown said...

Will do J.P. I will most likely attempt this next weekend. I will let you know. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it works. In the meantime, peruse my new blog and let me know what you think.


Unknown said...

Thanks for these precious details!
I have rewaxed the table, the kitchen and partly the dog.... but my jacket looks new !!
Thomas from Paris

John E. Pacheco said...

Thomas from Paris- glad to hear the jacket turned out OK. You're actually in good shape. Dogs are very forgiving. (But you're on your own on the kitchen clean up.)

Unknown said...

Thank you John, we live in the UK so need sound waterproofing! Ho Ho! Your tips worked well.


KC said...

Wish I'd looked at this before trying it last night! My shoulders are sore, and it was messy, but it looks OK. Will try it your way for my husband's jacket (not rewaxed in many many yrs...)

John E. Pacheco said...

KC, I hope the post helps and that your second attempt goes smoother. Rule #1 in life- Everything will take longer to complete than your original estimate.

bbhecht said...

Great and thanks- worked like a charm and I was super careful after reading about how messy this operation can be- no mess- I was careful not to overuse the wax- a little goes a long way.
Where did you get the picture of the flying pig?- I've only seen flying pigs in Cincinnati and one should ALWAYS use an umbrella when walking around.

John E. Pacheco said...

bbhecht, I agree that umbrellas are probably a good idea if flying pigs are a possibility. The flying pig on my blog mast is a painting I liked at an art show.

Anonymous said...

Procedure described is spot on. I melted the Barbour wax to clear liquid by placing the can in a hot water bath and used an old sock. I used an ironing board with a towel on it and worked in the liquid. It was an easy process.

Using a good hot blow dryer after letting the jacket hang for an hour or two absolutely makes a huge difference. It evens out the wax and creates a uniform new-like sheen on the coat. I used about 1/4 of the can on my Barbour, and then went ahead and waxed my wife's 20 year old Burberry. It now also looks brand new.

Good advice! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

HI John,
I use my Barbour jacket for cycling here in St Albans in merry ye old England.
Thanks for the tip on waxing it

best wishes Stewart Barker

scott said...

I can't find the wax at Orvis. Do you know of any other stateside sellers?

John E. Pacheco said...

I always mail order mine from Orvis. The most recent URL for the product is-


John P.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips. Just finished two jackets one was 22 years old, the other 4 years old. I wiped the wax on using a foam brush, let it set, then used old socks over one hand to rub in the wax and had the hairdryer in the other to remelt it. My jackets look great and the wax is perfectly uniform! Glad I put down some rosin paper where I worked to keep the mess contained.

Anonymous said...

Just the information I was after. thank you.

Max said...

I've just bought a brand new barbour wax jacket, wandering do I need to wax it before I wear it ? (it was bought brand new from barbour themselves)

John E. Pacheco said...

No, you don't need to wax a new jacket before wearing it. The wax finish on it at purchase should be good for a year or two.
(Barbour recommends waxing once a year, but admits it varies with each person depending on their wear.)
John P.

Tanay said...

Hi JP, I am new to Barbour club and came across your fantastic post while looking up wax for my jacket, do you mind if i share your post on my blog?

I blog here

John E. Pacheco said...


Not a problem. Please feel free to do so.

John P.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, i'd like to know if this process works for every Wax jacket, mine is Burberry's and it stinks, can i still use the barbour wax?

thanks a lot.

John E. Pacheco said...

Anon- I would assume the process would be similar for most waxed jackets, however I’m not sure if there are any significant differences in the brand waxes. I would however attempt to address the smell issue BEFORE re-waxing with some cleaning. Here’s another post I hope you’ll find helpful in regards to the smell-

Yukon Dave said...

After my favorite Barbour brown jacket (aka Buddy) which they stop making found its way into the hands of an illiterate dry cleaner, I had no other choice but to rewax the jacket. Something people have stated it is impossible. Don’t listen to other people without thinking about it yourself first. They are wrong. You can save your Barbour jacket.

The secret to rewaxing a washed or dry cleaned Barbour Wax Jacket is the bottom seam of the jacket. If you remove the rear bottom seam, you have access to the inside of the entire jacket. This way I was able to place a large black trash bag inside to protect the jacket liner while I applied the wax to the other side. I also used thin flexible sheets of hard plastic 12 x 12 inches as well to make sure I did not get minimize contact with the plastic bag and makes application easier as well due to its stiff form.

So far so good. This step is slow. You have to do this over an entire week since you have to go from section to section. I started with the rear section from side seam to side seam, then hit it with hair dryer and let it sit over night to dry. Step and repeat until done. Remember that you will want to let the jacket sit and dry for a week afterwards to dry out the solvent, then go back and do a final coat on the outside of the jacket to even out things.

Now remember that this wax has some sort of solvent in it and that solvent helps it soak into the cotton and keep the wax soft. Once that stuff is gone the wax hardens, stays put and does not move from the outer shell to the liner. If you do not let this jacket dry for a week or so afterwards you will end up soaking wax into the liner and have to start over washing your jacket.

It is sad that the people at Barbour don’t just charge $200 to repair or refresh the jacket. With the people and equipment around to sow the seam back on, they should pull all the seams, separate the liner from the shell, then wash, repair and rewax shell then sow it back together. Hell, I bet people would pay more to save their buddy.

John E. Pacheco said...

Yukon, interesting comment. If anyone else has done this, or has done related restoration, I'd love to hear from you.

Yukon Dave said...

In the drying process I found that removing the black trash bags from the jacket after I coated and dried overnightI (bags have a coating of wax on them) and replacing them with large white bath towels speeds up drying process. White bath towels since I have no idea if the dye would bleed.

Stuffed with towels hit it with a hair dryer and watch the factory finish come to life. Keep a little wax handy as you might find a spot that needs a little more wax.

Stuffed with large bath towels, I then let the entire coated jacket sit in the sun and dry. This step really evens out the wax on the coat and helps remove the last of the chemicals that soften the wax. I flipped it ever few hours, then let it dry overnight indoors. Washing towels in hot water removes any wax.

I saved my jacket and the coating is as good as brand new.

I contacted the factory and they recommend that you use a little fabric protector like scotch guard on the inside liner to prevent any residual wax from getting on the liner. Spray it on the surface of the liner between liner and outside cotton shell. Try not to spray it on the shell as that will prevent wax from soaking into outer shell.

SadieChesterman-Bailey said...

Ive just been given my uncles old barbour (22 years old! Its a medium size, I was wondering whether you could tell me how many of the 200ml tins you think I will need for re-waxing?
Id hate to get half way through and run out! I hope this isnt a silly question!
Great post by the way.

Sadie (from sunny England!)

John E. Pacheco said...


One 200ml tin should be enough for your jacket. Good luck in "sunny England," and thanks for your kind complement on the blog.

John P.

Anonymous said...

I'm just waxed my bedale and im sure ive used far too much wax. Used about 2/3 of a tin i would estimate. Coat is very greasy even after a week. How can i remOve the excess wax. There was far less on when i bought it!!

John E. Pacheco said...

To Anon w/ too much wax on bedale:
Use a hair dryer to re-melt the wax already on the jacket, and then using old t-shirts, wipe the excess wax off.
Note: Even if you use the right amount of wax, it's not unusual for the jacket to "bleed" wax for the the first week or so.

Amy said...

i know this post is old, but John, I need some help! I bought the Liberty Barbour coat from Liberty of London in March, and I can't even tell that the wax exists anymore (I haven't thrown it in the wash or anything, and the only place I've used soap on is the cuffs which is the cotton liner). Any suggestions/experience with the Liberty x Barbour coat?

Anonymous said...

Thanks john that worked, it looks much better now. Going to do it again tonight but i'm not worried ive ruined my jacket anymore. Thanks for your help

John E. Pacheco said...

Amy, I don’t quite understand. Are you saying there’s no wax on your jacket to serve as a base for re-waxing? I don’t have any direct experience with your Liberty X (I’m Y chromosome); but I’ve noticed that the amount of initial wax on new Barbour jackets (in stores) can vary from light to heavy. If you’re in doubt, or don’t feel comfortable doing the re-waxing yourself, I would ship it to Barbour and let them re-wax it for you.

John E. Pacheco said...

Anon, Glad you're comfortable with the process and that you're not worried about ruining your jacket anymore. Regards, JP.

Joseph said...

fantastic step by step account. Well done, John. Barbour should put this up on their website.

John E. Pacheco said...

Thank you Joseph.

Anonymous said...

Re the wax treatment being light / variable from the factory. My 6oz sylkoil Bristol leaked in 10 mins torrential rain after a month. so I re-waxed it as the coating seemed light. also, the waterproof / breathable trapper jacket I had years back was genuinally waterproof.

Just reproofed, will find out about effectivness of hairdryer.

thought about tumble dryer, but also considered it a fire risk. no douby the wax is flamable

John C. said...

When Barbour does this they lay the jacket out on a metal heated table and apply the melted proofing solution sparingly with a sponge. I have observed the process several times as mine was redone. Once a year Barbour brings one of these tables to our local store and sets up shop rewaxing jackets for free while you shop for more. (A remarkably efective lure in my case) I have simulated this using a hot asphalt driveway in the summer several times with good results. Be sure to not overwax, it does not take much. I put too much on an old Belstaff jacket years ago and it made the jacket much stiffer.Anyway keeping the jacket hot while applyng the wax seems to me to make the job much easier.

Anonymous said...

Barbours website. Send it back to barbour they are amazin
Nato barbour international m13:
Re-proof, holes repaired x2 small patches and new pocket...perfect

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your very helpful blog, John.

For Christmas I received from my wife a Classic Beaufort "Sylkoil" jacket. It is a wonderful replacement for my tattered and torn ca. 1996 waxed Beaufort, which in a few years my son will inherit. (It is still very cool-looking... maybe extra cool-looking given its advanced state of decay.)

But about the new Sylkoil Beaufort: I've searched and searched on-line but cannot find the Sylkoil equivalent of Barbour's thornproof wax dressing.

Do I have to sent it in for professional maintenance or is there some product I can buy that will allow me to do it myself? By the way, I don't mind the thornproof wax look and reproofed my old Beaufort in much the way you describe. I'd gladly use the thornproof wax dressing on my sylkoil Beaufort and wouldn't mind the shiny wax look--but would this work given the sylkoil treatment?



John E. Pacheco said...

I've used the same can of wax (thornproof dressing) for both of my jackets, my Sylkoil Classic Beaufort and the Beaufort Original Jacket in Egyptian cotton, with equal success using the same process.
If possible, I’d wait until summer to pull maintenance on your jacket. In winter it’s more difficult as the wax keeps congealing. A hot summer day works best as it’s easier to keep the wax in liquid form while you rub it on the jacket.
Thanks for your kind words and good luck.
-John P.

Addled said...

Yukon thanks for the post. Im guilty of washing a Barbour and did almost what your post suggests (using a barrier) but used water instead.
Sure, Barbour say you cant wash and re-wax as the wax soaks through to the liner. However, i washed (cold washing machine setting, minimal soap) my Cowan Commando jacket and re-waxed whilst it was still wet. The water acted as a barrier to the wax,thus stopping it soaking through to the liner.
Mine was a 10 year old jacket so i was willing to take a risk... it paid off.

Darren (England) said...

If you have a lightweight Barbour jacket you can now buy Barbour lightweight wax which comes just like a large bar of soap,but with this you don't have to melt it you simply rub it over the jacket and the warmth from your hands helps to thin it out, again use a blow dryer to get that just bought look, I've recently rewaxed my lightweight bedale and it's looking like new again.If you have any questions or need any further information please contact me, I've also been able to get my hands on the Barbour repair kits which includes 2 pieces of thornproof Wax material,2 pieces of green and yellow check lining material and 2 pieces of blue and red check lining these are very helpful to repair rips,tears and holes either on the outside of the jacket and the inside lining, the kit also has a small tin of wax, 1 X Green 1 X Blue bobbins of high strength cotton along with a needle and a thimble also has 3 small booklets on how to make the repairs yourself and the upkeep of the item. If you're interested in Barbour this repair kit is a great addition to your collection