Nutty Saddler - Leather Question (Saddle)

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Nutty Saddler - Leather Question (Saddle)

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    07-05-2009, 03:20 PM
Green Broke
Question Nutty Saddler - Leather Question (Saddle)

So, question for you. I recently purchased an older Stubben Parzival VSD saddle, the one that has the softer leather sewn over the flaps and seat. It looked good in the photos, but on personal inspection, it has some serious rough surface cracks on one side. The other side/flap only has minor surface cracks. Is there anything I can do to resurface or refinish the leather that wouldn't ruin it?

The rest of the saddle is in good condition. Someone copletely replaced the flocking and underside of the saddle, including new sweat flaps (nicely done too). The billets could stand to be replaced, but they're safe. The underside of the top flaps and the seat is in good condition (some slight discoloration on the seat, water? But nothing bad); the stirrup leather keepers are even still on good. The padding in the knee flaps is soft (not crunchy). It's just the top of the flaps and the little jockies over the stirrup bars.

So, any hope? Or should I send it to someone and have the top leather re-done?

I'll post some pictures tomorrow. I just cleaned and conditioned it. The cracks softened up nicely, but they're still rough to the touch.
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    07-05-2009, 04:15 PM
It depends on the cracks - are they just the surface or the fibres within have started to seperate.

All I can suggest is to try something - If you're thinking about sending the saddle to a saddler anyway then you don't have much to lose if it doesn't work.

You will need:

Bees wax ( soft wax if you can )
Cow horn ( the more worn the better )
Leather conditioner
Heat source ( small blowlamp is good )
Metal tablespoon ( with a wood handle if you can get one )
Cloth - fairly stiff ( I use the same sort as you would find in a resturant rest room that you use to dry your hands with - the towling on a roll in a machine )

Without saying -clean saddle , use glycerine soap, and apply conditioner, really rub the conditioner in with you hands, this should soffen things up a little.
Warm the beeswax ( don't melt it ) and rub it over the cracks ( use the same small motions you would as if you were colouring in a picture with crayons ) some of the wax will come off into the cracks.
Heat the spoon ( be very careful not to get it hot, it should feel hot to the touch but you should still be able to hold it ) , rub it over the beeswax , this should spread it thin and smooth things over.
Use the horn - again rub it over the waxed areas this will smooth things further.
Lastly put some conditioner on the cloth and polish things over - best to do the whole area at this point .

Don't rub anything fast, use slow movements so you can keep an eye on what 's going on , especially with the spoon and horn.

If you want to do a really good job a little more prep is required, melt the wax and add in a small amount (about 10 % conditioner 90% beeswax) of the conditioner ( hopefully a grease ) . When cooled this will make a better substance to start with - but pure beeswax is OK.

You should not need any dyes or colourants.

Be very careful not to heat things up too much - but you will need to heat them up - warm rather than hot

As with everything try not to rush things - you may need to repeat the process 2 or 3 times.

Let me know how you get on.
    07-05-2009, 04:22 PM
Green Broke
Ooh, sounds promising! I know where to get everything but the cow horn... I might have to order that one on eBay or something. It's like what you had in your bridle making series?

Also, the conditioner I have is from Passier and contains beeswax. Will this mess things up any? I know you recommend using a tallow-based conditioner. I'll go back to your leather thread and see if I can get one of the ones you recommend if you think the Passier Lederbalsm won't work for this.
    07-05-2009, 07:38 PM
The passier conditioner is good - many of them contain beeswax as it retains some of the grease and releases it over a period of time - it won't be a problem at all.
Yes the horn in the pic on my making a bridle is what I use - not too big ( 6-8" ) and polished smooth. Maby you could start a tread asking anyone who lives on a ranch if they have any.
Just be careful not to heat things up to much - if it's to hot it will darken the leather, but you have to warm ( almost melt it ) the wax to smooth it over. If you have an old knackered saddle lying about best to practice.

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