leather softening in oil?? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 14 Old 08-09-2009, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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leather softening in oil??

my friend told me that if you let your tack (breastplate/bridle) sit in oil (canola) for a day it softens it very nicely. Has anyone else done this? With good results? My tack is a stiff disaster! Any other ideas are great too! Thanks!!
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-09-2009, 10:14 PM
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I'm not to sure about the canola oil. I have used real neets foot oil which you can get at just about any sporting goods store (they use it on baseball gloves). Most leather goods will be stiff until it gets broken in. The best way to soften it up is to use it


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post #3 of 14 Old 08-10-2009, 08:46 AM
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Is your tack new or used? The reason for the stiffness will dictate how you can make and keep it supple.

I'm not arguing with you, I'm just explaining why I'm right.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-10-2009, 10:19 AM
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If the tack is new and cheap/stiff, then there's not a lot you can do about it. You can try soaking it in pure Neatsfoot oil for a couple of hours (warm the oil), but I would NOT soak it overnight. Work the leather in either direction (rolling/bending) as it softens to help work the oil in deeper.

If it's used tack and good quality, then I would NOT use oil. Instead, use something like Passier Lederbalsam. Warm it and work it in using your hands. Roll/bend the leather as it softens, applying more of the goo as you need it. Let it sit over night, then work it again with more if needed. Let it set one more night, then wipe off any excess.

Oil can harm leather in the long run. If it's cheap and stiff, then it really doesn't matter. However, if the leather is quality just dry, then you want to try and be as "nice" to it as possible, so it will last. I have a pair of 35 yr old draw reins that are still in great shape and a 15 yr old bridle that has not needed any repairs! (and it's been used HARD for all of those 15 years) If you take care of your leather equipment (and it was good quality to start with), it will last a lifetime.

Before either of the above, make sure you clean it thoroughly!
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-10-2009, 12:07 PM
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I had always thought that oil was the best thing to soften leather and had been oiling and oiling and oiling stiff tack for years. Then I read a tip online that worked great. Rub saddle soap (fiebrings works well) in little circles on the leather while blowing a hairdryer in the area. You can also keep blowing the hot air on it and playing with the leather, bending it back and forth after you have soaped it up. I just wiped off the excess soap with a damp clothe when I was done. It sounds like a rather silly thing to do, but I swear it works!
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-10-2009, 02:26 PM
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Welcome to the forum Logan.

Heat is a good way to apply conditioner to leather and I use it to get mink oil on my boots to keep them water resistant. Can't see why it wouldn't work with saddle soap too - think I'll give it a try also.

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post #7 of 14 Old 08-10-2009, 05:00 PM
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Passier Lederbasalm is my absolute favorite conditioner, but I find that while it conditions nicely it doesn't give it a deep down conditioning that (IMO) only oil can, esp if the leather is old or dried out. I've never heard of using Canola but I know a lot of people who are fans of Olive Oil or PURE neatsfoot. Hydrophane is also good. I usually oil periodically and then use Lederbasalm every time I clean my tack inbetween.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-12-2009, 03:12 PM
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I agree with upnover. I love Passier, it smells really good too. I typically use Hydrophane as well for a deep down oil to really soften the leather. I use that on my tack once or twice a yea, depending on how dry it gets here, and then clean my tack and condition is with Passier before a show.
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post #9 of 14 Old 08-13-2009, 10:11 PM Thread Starter
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I bought my tack new adn really cheap- horrible idea it is a piece of cr*p. Won't be doing that again! But thanks for all the ideas!
Also- am I correct there is nothing you can do about already cracked leather?
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-14-2009, 02:28 AM
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Simple answer - Don't ever oil your leather-work - use a grease based conditioner.

If your leather has started to crack then there is nothing to be done as this cannot be fixed, also this is a sign of poor leather quality if the leather is new - and will be weak and prone to breakages so if I were you I would throw it away.
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