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  1. #1
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    Raised edge on my Brooks sadde needs to go

    I bought 2 new Brooks leather saddles (B17 Standard) and one of them has a bit of a problem. The bottom edge of the saddle, in the middle where it slightly rubs against my inner thigh, has a raised edge on it. It's like a burr on the edge of a knife. To the point that it actually wore a hole in my old (thin) riding shorts today. Ugh! I don't think I noticed it really before today since my regular riding shorts are thicker lycra and I just didn't feel it, but it's obviously wearing hard at that spot on my shorts.

    My other saddle (same model) doesn't have this edge, the bottom edge of the saddle is smooth.

    This edge has to go, but I don't know how to do it properly and not screw up my saddle. Can I file it off, or sand it? Or just sort of carefully cut it off with a knife? I have a tin of proofide, so I can put some on the newly exposed surface after I cut that edge off.

    I'm leaving on a tour in a week so I don't have time to return it for a new one, and it's getting fairly broken in at this point so I don't want to start all over anyways!

  2. #2
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Some have ground the edge with a dremel tool and the sandpaper drum tool. I personally use a new stanley box knife cutter blade, very carefully, to chambfer the edge the way I want it.
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  3. #3
    AEO
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    quite sure you can just take a metal file to it.
    but I would go in only one direction with the file, which is away from the center.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    The two I have are already sliced away to a nice taper. Sounds like your saddle either missed that step or they don't do it anymore? Anyhow to get the smoothest finish you want to use a knife that offers excellent control such as a leather worker's skivving knife or some other sort of bevel edger tool. You can file or sand it but it'll leave a lot of raised and loose "hairs" that will add to the friction and leave it not much better than it is now. Instead what you're after is a clean cut that gets burnished down smooth with some leather wax and a burnisher for the most smooth and slippery edge practical.

    There's another option as well. Google for "brooks butchered and tied" for a bunch of links to the technique.
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  5. #5
    Eater of Food WillJL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
    The two I have are already sliced away to a nice taper. Sounds like your saddle either missed that step or they don't do it anymore?
    Only the "Special" Brooks models are chamfered at the edges. This sounds like a job for a razor knife. Don't waste time with a file, 'cause you'll likely just scuff up your saddle.
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  6. #6
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    I trimmed mine to an angle with a steady hand and a exacto knife with a new blade.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerstg View Post
    I trimmed mine to an angle with a steady hand and a exacto knife with a new blade.
    This is what I would use. The good old number 11 blade.

  8. #8
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    Excellent advice. This worked perfect! Exacto blade did the trick!

  9. #9
    djb
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    so glad to have seen this thread-my B17 has started to bother me with exactly this same "raised edge" line that runs along the saddle from front to back. It didnt bother me for the first month and a half, but it sure is now, and I have been trying to figure out what to do.

    have played with back to front saddle positions, have tried nosing up the front, but as I ride and feel the discomfort, and then feel down with my fingers, I see that it is this edge that is the culprit. I suspect that as it has broken in more, the sides have slightly splayed out , bringing the edge more into contact with me.

    I actually dont understand why they would put this crease here, it looks nice with the line visually making a nice shape of the saddle, but ultimately, it is like a stitch in the wrong place on underwear or pants that ends up being uncomfortable.

    am disappointed that it is there, seems to go against common sense .

    will think about this and see about using a razor. Sandpaper indeed would scuff it up (I did a wee test and it does scuff things)
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  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    As far as the lower edge goes in leather working it is a 'skiving tool' like a potato peeler it cuts to a controlled depth

    Tandy leather or other specialty leather tool companies are a source..

  11. #11
    djb
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    thankyou kindly for the info on that

  12. #12
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djb View Post
    I actually dont understand why they would put this crease here, it looks nice with the line visually making a nice shape of the saddle, but ultimately, it is like a stitch in the wrong place on underwear or pants that ends up being uncomfortable.

    am disappointed that it is there, seems to go against common sense .

    will think about this and see about using a razor. Sandpaper indeed would scuff it up (I did a wee test and it does scuff things)
    The crease you indicated wasn't the edge we were talking about. I wouldn't try to cut that form crease off (That crease is made when they form the leather for the saddle). And I would be really surprised if you could feel it. Are you wearing padded shorts? Or any shorts for that matter? It really isn't like a stitch that rubs against your skin..
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  13. #13
    Senior Member BCRider's Avatar
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    Djb, DO NOT CUT THAT SEAM OFF! ! ! ! You'll ruin the outer layer of the hide which will actually produce a weak spot there.

    Instead use a steam iron with some pressure to iron it down. Try dry heat and work up from warm to hot to avoid scorching the leather. If you're not having much luck only then add some steam to the leather. A couple of steam passes followed by using the dry heat and pressure from the tip to iron the ridge back down into the leather will do the trick and not produce a weak point in the hide's surface such as cutting it away would do.

    By the way, WillJL was right. Only one of my Brooks has the skivved edge. The other is like you guys were talking about. But so far it hasn't been an issue and it's actually rounded off slightly instead of being sharp.
    Last edited by BCRider; 08-31-10 at 10:24 AM.
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  14. #14
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Punch it with a leather punch, and tie it back with a cotton shoelace. Wax the shoelace if you desire - infinitely adjustable

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  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    djb,
    does that pressed in detail bother your Butt when you ride, or your eye?
    aesthetic sensibility.

    the tooling to press the leather into that shape was made a generation ago
    and so is part of buying that particular saddle
    it is tradition now,

    but it will become less noticeable, over time , a gouge in the top of my brooks Pro
    was an issue [expletives spoken]
    when the bike fell over 30 years ago, I can hardly see it now..

  16. #16
    djb
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    geez, already a month that I have put off replying to this.

    First of all, thankyou for the replies to my comments, and secondly, with a saddle like this, I wasnt going to try anything that would cut or slice it before really thinking it through.

    Mea culpe--in thinking about this and why this edge was bothering me, where it wasnt before, I finally realized what had occured. As the saddle became more and more broken in, I noticed that it was slightly lower than before when newer--I guess this is the one aspect of a Brooks that is diff than a reg seat, that as the leather gets broken in to your bones and keester, it does in fact "sag" a bit--Im not talking a lot, just a bit.

    In my attempt to adjust things, I rose the seat a bit, but also experimented with the angle , to a slight front up to see if it worked for me as others have said. In doing so, I have to loosen a "main" bolt in the seat stem, then loosen or tighten another bolt that micro adjusts the angle---the hitch is that you must loosen the main one first, and in doing so, I realized finally that I had moved the seat back on the rails somewhat, but didnt really realize it. When you adjust the angle, you tighten the main bolt back, but in doing so, the angle changes slightly so its a bit of doing it a few times--in doing this I did move the saddle fore and aft and wasnt sure where it was before.

    I am pretty certain that this caused me to be more forward in the saddle, ie not being in the main part of the saddle, and so the edge was a bit more under me than before. To add to this, I was doing a 6 day tour with my wife, and she is not very fast, so I was riding too easily for me, with therefore more weight on my bum, and not pushing back more like i usually do (which would move my keester more to the rear of the saddle)

    do you guys follow?

    If I have one regret with these saddles, is that they dont have the little painted on lines on the rails, as I have on my other seats, and which I find very useful for keeping track of when you move the seat to know whre you are as you make an adjustment.

    I since moved it back to a more forward position, and all is fine again.

    I may try to think of ways to paint on little white reference lines, cuz I dont want to have to go back and forth again if ever the saddle has to be take off.

    I remember when I first put this on my bike, I was too back and realized I was on the rivets, so now I have experienced a Brooks on the rivets AND too far forward---I am a bit slow, but at least I finally have figured this out and gotten the sweet spot for it, and with about 1200K on the seat now, I like it more than ever.

    ps, I did not over proofhide it, and have been very careful with plastic bags in the rain.

    thanks again for the comments, it didnt really make sense to me that for the first while the crease didnt bother me, to being a problem, but with family stuff going on etc etc, I just didnt pay enough attention to my seat adjustments (plus the "too easy" days in the saddle that didnt help)

    Even with the other seats I have used, small adjustments make all the diff, but this time I was pretty dumb by not being careful. And while a Brooks does "change" as it breaks in, I still really like it. I find it very hard if not impossible to convey the comfort of a Brooks to other people, but realize that they do require one to be more attuned and careful to its position and obviously, to how one treats it.

  17. #17
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    You need to call "Eric the Chamferer:"

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    It, that line, as circled in #9, was pressed into the leather while it was wet.
    so I presume
    if you wet that portion and
    run the back side of a Spoon over that line it may be reduced in visibility,
    (I would not want to cut or abrade thru the top grain of the leather.. )

    Eric M, the skivemaster, above is another story .. do try to keep them straight..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-03-10 at 02:51 PM.

  19. #19
    Asi
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    the proper way to do this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pf-jYiPDvQE

  20. #20
    djb
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    as you say fiets, skivemaster fellow is dealing with a whole other area of the saddle--NOT the part that was bothering me-but it was bugging me only due to improper fore-aft position of my saddle.

    so no John nor Asi, no need for anything so drastic, and dont see any spoons being in the future either fiets.

    I really do see this as a good example of how leather saddles are not for someone who will never properly be attentive to their bike seat, as it does require a bit more "attention" in general, but as I said too, it is worth it for me as the riding pleasure does outweigh the somewhat fiddlyness of them.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    the smooth surface will win out over time , the molded in line should not matter any more than the princesses pea under a stack of 20 mattresses.

    I was just suggesting a common household object to try to rub out the line , if it really is a issue , and re-wetting the leather again were deemed worth the effort.
    ... 'frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn ! '

  22. #22
    djb
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    fiets, I poorly worded #20, I appreciated your spoon suggestion, and the "NOT" was for the other fellows recommending the Brooks worker skiving thing. I didnt mean to be rude if you took it that way. Im just glad it is back to being comfortable as it was before.

    When I had misplaced the position, even after 30 mins it was bugging me on the one side, where I developed a saddle sore which was probably more sensitive and took awhile to go away. Earlier in the summer even being on the bike all day wasnt a problem, and I have done lots of month long trips and commuted everyday for 20 years, so that sensitive area I had was completely new to me. I've had soreness a little sometimes, but nothing like this so it did puzzle me.

    again, I appreciate the responses

    cheers

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