To not oil...I am confused!

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To not oil...I am confused!

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  • How much neatsfoot oil do you put on a dry saddle
  • When oiling my saddle should i oil the billets?

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    05-18-2010, 09:01 PM
Green Broke
To not oil...I am confused!

So I am now the proud owner of an beautiful older dressage saddle. When I bought it was pretty sad looking (and has been sitting at the tack store for months, feel stupid for discounting it before), I cleaned it with lexol soap and conditioner and it started to look much better, but the leather still felt dry. Took it to get it checked out by a saddle repair person and she told me to use neatsfoot oil on it get the life back into the leather.

I have now done two coats of neatsfoot and the leather is really soaking it up with the nice side effect of darkening the leather to a beautiful havanna.

Then I got on here to check how many coats of neatsfoot oil to put on my saddle to get it back to good shape, and a lot of threads on here say not to use any oils on a saddle ever! The saddle repair lady said not to use it on the billets, so I haven't touched those, but why exactly is oil bad for leather?

My saddle really seems to have "enjoyed" being oiled, and a lot of the creaking it was doing is gone, and the leather feels even better than before. Should I stop with the it okay for one more coat...what should I do? This saddle is about 20-30 years old if that makes any difference.
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    05-18-2010, 09:10 PM
Green Broke
A lot of people on here do say don't use oil. I however am a bit controversial. I have used Olive oil on my saddles since the late 70's without a single issue, in fact my saddle still are in excellent condition and a lot of people are amazed when they find out they are the age that they are. Yes, I do take them to a reputable saddle shop every year or so to have the once over, restuffed (hunt seat, etc).

But, not to discount anybody here, it just may be my luck or the fact that I use very little oil and only about once every few months, not every time I clean. I do know if you OVER oil a saddle, it just makes it a big mess and the leather rarely recovers so make sure you aren't dumping a ton of that neatsfoot oil on it. Light layers and let it dry in between.
    05-18-2010, 09:16 PM
Green Broke
I was always taught the oil wrecks something (i can't remember?!) inside the saddle, so after a while the inside starts to deterriorate. Maybe that was just for the type of saddle I have?
Whenever my saddles feeling dry I use stubben tack conditioner, its a cream, and I find it makes it a lot softer them oil. :)
    05-18-2010, 11:54 PM
Oil is only good in moderation, do not over do it! Neatsfoot is also known to rot the stitching. I would be getting a leater conditioner insted, one that is made up of fats. This is what will bring it back to life and make the leather supple.
    05-19-2010, 12:29 AM
Green Broke
A few coats of oil on a very old, dry saddle is just fine. I would stop there though. Now that it's got some life to it, but a nice big tin of Passier Lederbalsam. It's not cheap, but a little goes a long way. It has lanolin and beeswax in it. It will seal in the oil you've put in and protect the leather from sweat, dirt, and water. Adam's Horse Supply has the best price on Passier Lederbalsam.

I clean the saddle, let it dry, then put on a coat of lederbalsam. I let that soak in for a couple of hours. I touch up any spots that feel a bit dry after the first coat. I let that sit overnight. The next day, I use a very soft cloth and "buff" the saddle. You'll get a nice "glow" if the finish is still good on your leather.

You can use Lederbalsam on the billets once or twice a year, though I'd wait at least 2 days before riding, to be sure they're dry. I use Belvoir spray Conditioner (step 2) on my billets and stirrup leathers normally. I think Adams carries it too. I use Lexol's cleaner.

This is what I have done with my saddles for years, and I own 3 older Stubbens, a 1920's McClellan saddle, two 1950s western saddles, a 1960s western saddle, etc. All of my old saddles have done really well with the lederbalsam. They really "shine" once you get the leather really clean and conditioned well.
    05-19-2010, 12:31 AM
Green Broke
Also, neatsfoot COMPOUND is known to rot linen or cotton stitching, but only after years of consistent use.
    05-20-2010, 09:52 AM
Green Broke
Will any of those products help continue to darken the leather?
    05-20-2010, 07:27 PM
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
Also, neatsfoot COMPOUND is known to rot linen or cotton stitching, but only after years of consistent use.
Thank you!

I personally don't like oil, it is too easy to over oil and get the center of the leather all oily and blerg. Same with why we never leave our leather wet, it gets in the center of the leather and deteriorates it.

I am severely in love with Leather CPR. It can slightly darken leather, but if you really want it darker, you're going to have to look into dyeing it.

Passier Lederbalsam has its uses, but it doesn't ever really do a deep conditioning. I use it about once a week to once a month on strap goods. For everything else I find that Fiebing's saddle soap used every day or second day keeps it well conditioned enough.

Anyways - you will want to be using Leather CPR on this saddle - I wish I had before and after pics of the saddle I used it on. The difference is amazing.

Good luck!
    05-20-2010, 09:44 PM
Green Broke
I might try the leather cpr, that's pretty easy to get my hands on, its sold at all the box stores around here. Is that safe to use on the billets?
    05-20-2010, 11:56 PM
Originally Posted by QHDragon    
I might try the leather cpr, that's pretty easy to get my hands on, its sold at all the box stores around here. Is that safe to use on the billets?
I try to really not ever use anything beyond saddle soap on billets. I can't imagine it would hurt if you used some Leather CPR lightly on them though.

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