Softening New Leather? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 01-04-2010, 01:51 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Always thought Effax Leather Combi smelled like rubbing alcohol.....

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched....they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller
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post #22 of 27 Old 01-04-2010, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Nutty Saddler View Post
Leather is made from cow hide - it uses a process called tanning , which uses the tannic acid from plants ( tree bark is best ) . This process removes most if not all the natural fats and oils from the hide.

What we have to do is replace the fats and oils that have been removed. The natural oil content is very, very small - natural cow skin contains mostly fat - so that is what we should aim to use - fat - .
The very best substance you can get for making your leather soft is - curriers grease - it is a combination of tallow ( rendered beef fat ) , oil ( cod liver is best ) and beeswax . The proportions are about 75% tallow , 20% oil and 5% wax. These should be heated up and mixed together , they form a greasy substance that can be worked into the leather.
Sedgewicks , stubben , jeffries , all make a product that are very good and are close to this formula ( though they all keep their exact formula's secret ) .

Oil is bad for leather because it is a liquid and , leather can ( and does ) absorb lots of it - this breaks down and weakens the fibres . What appears to be leather softening is really leather weakening.

It is like putting a piece of paper into a bucket of water - it will go from being stiff to being really soft - right before it turns to mush and falls apart.

To my mind there are only two pieces of saddlery that have or use oil.
One is a three fold girth that has an oil impregnated cloth inside it ( the leather absorbs the oil from the cloth slowly and therefore keeps the oil content low. The other is a crupper - these if made properly contain whole linseed - again the oil from the linseeds is released and absorbed slowly - again the oil is absorbed slowly.

I do not - and have never used neat oil on any of my tack. I was trained by a registered master saddler in 1992, who was in turn trained by a master saddler . Both he and Sedgewicks ( leather manufacturers ) do not advise the use of oil .
and i can one hundred percent endorse nuttysaddlers preperation because i am using it
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post #23 of 27 Old 01-04-2010, 08:40 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: ontario, canada
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Originally Posted by GoldRush View Post
Harness oil is oil made for leather...we were disagreeing about using olive oil as a leather softener. Harness oil is great to use as a wipe on or to soak. Olive oil has tannins, so may actually dry the leather out, or weaken the fibers, since it basically continues the tanning process. It also goes rancid easily, so THAT would be nasty for horse and rider! LOL

My mistake. I thought we were argueing about all oil not being good for leather. I buy 5 gallons of Harness oil from the local oil supply house for about $55. It is made for leather and the amish use it all the time in soaking bathes. I just have it in a garbage can and soak all my leather in it. I wouldn't use olive oil either.
Sorry for my misunderstanding which oil we were talking about
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post #24 of 27 Old 01-04-2010, 08:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Mariposa, CA USA
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No worries! I do it all the time... :) LOL
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post #25 of 27 Old 01-05-2010, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In the saddle.
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I've always been told never to oil strap leather goods. They can stretch and deform.
I bought a very expensive, hand tooled bridle made of very high quality leather. It was soaked in oil overnight (not by me!) and for YEARS leaked oil on me and my horse. I have the ruined gloves to prove it!
It has now finally started to act like leather instead of a soaked sponge after more than 6 years.
I have a double bridle from the same maker, in the same leather and all that has been used on it is Passier lederbalsam and Fiebings Saddle soap. Because it is high quality leather, it was easy to soften. It has not stretched (like the other bridle) and one can actually grip the reins!!
I highly suggest using a high quality leather conditioner. Leather CPR also works very well for poorer quality leather.
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post #26 of 27 Old 01-05-2010, 02:30 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: SouthEastern PA
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I've herd Glycerine soap works to get that oilyness out of tack.
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post #27 of 27 Old 01-05-2010, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Ontario
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I use Leather Therapy products on all my leather ,it does an amazing job of sofening the leather and also conditioning it to look like new for a show!
Meaghan1011 is offline  

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