Bolex 8 mm cameras were very popular during the 1950s through the 1970's. That make the typical case about 45+ years old. Leather is a very durable material, but only if case maintenance is performed on a regular basis. Most cameras cases have been stored for very long lengths of time and not in good condition.
The first damage usually occurs at the attach points for the two strap ends. Flexing the most, one or both ends will break. By this time, no treatment will return the leather strap portion back to normal use. It's too dried out. The case itself is usually in better condition, even without regular maintenance as the exposed (inside) part of the case does not dry out as quick.
To clean and recondition a Bolex cases, gently clean any dirt or grime on the case with leather cleaner. We at BolexRepiar.com use LEXOL brand cleaner. LEXOL is pH balanced for leather and helps the leather to remain flexible. Follow the instructions on the cleaner. Then treat the leather with LEXOL Leather conditioner.
The condition will soften the leather and prevent cracking. Lexol products are available at most larger hardware stores. Any leather cleaner and/or conditioner can be use, such as "saddle soap", etc. Lexol is about $7.00 per 7 oz bottle for either the cleaner or conditioner. Lexol is the accepted standard for cleaning and preserving leather.
Use a small, stiff bristle brush to loosen any caked on dirt inside the case and either vacuum or blow out with compressed air. Sometime the inside "lid" of the case (hold filters) will come unglued.
You can use any common "white glue", such as "Elmer's" or rubber cement ( we use "Pliobond" brand) to re-attached the inside top lid. If you use rubber cement, coat both inside of the case and the back side of the lid with glue. Allow to dry tacky. Press both pieces together. With a minute or so and then pry the two apart. Then assemble one last time and put pressure on the lid to hold in place until the glue sets. New leather straps can be attached to the existing leather band which is usually still on the case. Be sure to use rivets or other mechanical fastener to attach the strap to the case. I have seen glued straps. Not a good idea.
bolex leather cases.doc