Need some help!

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Need some help!

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    07-30-2009, 03:55 AM
Need some help!

I was just given a beautiful western show bridle that has been kept hanging on a clothing hanger in a closet for the last 35 years!! Fortunately it has been kept indoors so there is no mold, but the silver is tarnished and the leather is very dry and stiff. How can I best go about restoring this bridle? I don't even know where to start!
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    07-30-2009, 08:58 AM
I had some reins like that. I soaked them in oil for days -- I would put them in, leave them for the day, at night wipe off the excess, replace or refill the oil, then do it again the next day. Somebody told me to wash them first, but they were so dry I think they would have broken. I just kept that up until I wasn't scared to work with them. Then I let them hang in the air for a while and started oiling them properly. After about a week of this care, they were just fine. I use them all the time now.

I would look after the leather first and then worry about the silver. Silver can be polished later.
    07-30-2009, 10:02 AM
I agree with northernmama but would add that I would not attempt to dismantle the bridle until the leather is supple enough to safely to that.
    07-30-2009, 11:18 AM
So I shouldn't worry about harming the silver, just go ahead and soak it all, right? What type of oil would you suggest?
    07-30-2009, 01:40 PM
My absolute favorite for restoration and even yearly cleaning is Hydophane. I don't think there is anything else that comes close. Don't worry about the silver for now. You may do more harm then good to the leather by trying to flex it while it is so dry.
    07-30-2009, 02:06 PM
Thanks so much!! I will find some Hydrophane and get to work! There is also a bit attached so I guess I will soak that too. Wish me luck!! I'll post back after I find the Hydrophane and soak a few days. I'll also take some before and after pictures (of course that will mean that I have to figure out how to post them...).

Thanks again!!!
    07-30-2009, 10:30 PM
The reins I had were crappy, so I wasn't worried about ruining them, but I used Murphys oil soap actually. It was easily had and inexpensive. After I had the reins in shape, I used saddle soap and washed them properly. I have a cream I use regularly called Horseman's One Step, but I would never had been able to put it on the reins when I first got them.
    07-30-2009, 11:28 PM
Hyrdophane is a miracle worker :]
    07-31-2009, 12:46 AM
Green Broke
Hydrophane leather dressing is good, but my favorite is Passier Lederbalsam. It's more natural to leather, restoring it without weakening the leather fibers.

Clean the bridle with glycerine soap or Lexol cleaner, then warm some of the lederbalsam up in your microwave (so it's warm, not hot). Then rub it in with your hands. Work it in the leather for a while, then let it set over night. If it soaks all the way in, warm up more and do another treatment. Then you should be able to gently flex, bend, and roll the leather while you put another treatment on the leather. Flexing it will help the conditioner penetrate the leather. Remove the bit and any silver plates/buckles that have a screw back and can be removed, so you can get the conditioner on the leather more thoroughly. Let the bridle set for a few days, laid out on a towel. If there's any conditioner left on the leather, wipe it down with a clean towel. Use a soft old toothbrush to get any out of tooling or other crevices.

Clean the silver like you would your good silverware. Do NOT use TarnX. I like using baking soda. Make it into a thin paste. Use a soft cloth and rub small, gentle circles over the silver. Rinse and repeat until the tarnish is buffed off the silver. Buff with a soft dry cloth to bring out more shine.

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