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Old 09-27-08, 02:31 PM   #1
burbankbiker
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Proofide Recipe (cross-posted)

Cross-posted from SSFG:

Today I picked up a can of 16.00 Proofide from the LBS. I was struck by two things.

1.) This is an incredibly small container (40 grams). It works out to 40 cents per gram.

2.) The ingredients are very simple. There's no "rehydrolized phenlythalimine #18" or other strange chemicals.

So it made me think: Crap you could make this stuff in batches far cheaper than this.

The ingredients (listed on the can):

Tallow - which can be purchased under the name "Neatsfoot Oil" from any shoe store or in bigger quantities and cheaper at any equestrian center. Sheldon wrote an article about using neatsfoot oil to break in your new brooks saddle.

Cod Oil - which can be purchased from any vitamin or supplement store or even grocery store

Vegetable Oil - You probably have it in your pantry

Parafin Wax - Available from a craft store

Beeswax - Available online, if not elsewhere

Citronella Oil - Available at any hardware store (as a natural mosquito repellent)


There's a reason that proofide smells like a citronella candle... because half of the ingredients are a citronella candle!

So I can't help but think that if you mix a little neatsfoot oil, cod oil, and vegetable oil in with a citronella candle you'll have proofide for a fraction of a cent per gram instead of 40 cents per gram.

Has anyone tried this? I searched the forums but didn't see any one cooking their own brew yet.

Maybe we could get the proportions right through a little group experimentation.
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Old 09-27-08, 02:52 PM   #2
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I paid $12 for a tin of Proofide and a Brooks adjuster wrench when I bought my Brooks saddle from Wallbike. That tin of Proofide has serviced several saddles more than once each and is not remotely used up. Just collecting the ingredients you are listing would be worth far more in terms of my time than that tin costs let alone go to the bother or brewing up something like Proofide - which may or may not work as well.

Rather than assess the cost on a per gram basis I submit you assess it on a per year basis for maintaining your Brooks which will work out to a fraction of a dollar per year - hardly a King's ransom if you can afford a $100+ leather saddle in the first place.

If you want to save money I think there are much more sensible ways to do so. If you spent a bit of time online and found a pair touring tires at 30% off you'd save more money than your lifetime cost of Proofide for one Brooks saddle.
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Old 09-27-08, 03:00 PM   #3
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Rather than assess the cost on a per gram basis I submit you assess it on a per year basis for maintaining your Brooks which will work out to a fraction of a dollar per year - hardly a King's ransom if you can afford a $100+ leather saddle in the first place.
Interesting. This being my first tin I didn't realize how long it lasts. I guess the size is deceiving because it looks like something that'd be only a couple uses per tin.
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Old 09-27-08, 03:31 PM   #4
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You will use the greatest amount treating the underside of the saddle. Basically because it's "unsmooth" leather.

It's basically like shoe polish - a little goes a very long way. Rub it on, let it dry, buff it off. Underside just gets a coat of the stuff, then forget it, as it has more opportunity to "soak" into the surface of the untreated/unfinished side of the saddle. Especially considering how often it doesn't need to be retreated.........
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Old 09-27-08, 04:31 PM   #5
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Proofide.

Don't be misled by Brooks' current advice that you should Proofide the underside of their saddles. It's been well established in the past, that this practise is quite wrong.
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Old 09-28-08, 08:20 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post

Tallow - which can be purchased under the name "Neatsfoot Oil" from any shoe store or in bigger quantities and cheaper at any equestrian center.
They are not the same. Neatsfoot oil is derived from cattle bones while tallow is rendered from suet
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Old 09-28-08, 09:50 AM   #7
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Don't be misled by Brooks' current advice that you should Proofide the underside of their saddles. It's been well established in the past, that this practise is quite wrong.
Why is that? I've used Proofide initially on the underside of all my Brooks saddles as well as my friends' saddles with no ill effects. Since we all use fenders I haven't bothered with that again since, but Its something I might do once every few years.

How has it been well established to be a bad idea?

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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
Interesting. This being my first tin I didn't realize how long it lasts. I guess the size is deceiving because it looks like something that'd be only a couple uses per tin.
I had a peek inside my 40g tin of Proofide. After about 7-9 applications I'm down to about 40-50% of the tin full. The leather only absorbs so much each application and I end up wiping/buffing some away so there is no point putting more on as it would just be wasted. I apply it with my bare fingers and spend some time working it into the leather. Then I let it sit a while and buff the excess off with an old t-shirt.

Let's assume you really slather the stuff on twice a year and only get 10 applications from a 40g tin at $16 a tin. That works out to just over $3/year for maintaining your saddle. My cost at $6 for a 40g tin [assuming the Brooks spanner is worth $6 and I paid $12 for both] is running around $0.85/year to maintain a saddle.

Given how much Proofide costs and how long it lasts I think tires at $50 each, 9 speed bike chain $25 - $50 or inner tubes $2-$7 would be places you could save a whole lot more $$$ much more easily than trying to brew up some DIY Proofide.
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Old 09-28-08, 09:50 AM   #8
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Sure, you can try to mix your own formula and save some money. But unless you own dozens of Brooks saddles a tin can last for years. You really don't need that much.
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Old 09-28-08, 06:35 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
So I can't help but think that if you mix a little neatsfoot oil, cod oil, and vegetable oil in with a citronella candle you'll have proofide for a fraction of a cent per gram instead of 40 cents per gram.
Personally, there is no way cod oil is going to get anywhere near my seat. Even if it were somehow sanitized, I would hope there is actually very little of it in this concoction.
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Old 09-29-08, 01:05 AM   #10
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A simpler way to save money:

Rivendell Bikes (Grant Peterson) recommends a product called Obenhauf's.

It's apparently designed for use on horse saddles. I bought it; it seems to be very similar to Proofhide. At $12.95 for 8 oz (227 grams), buying direct from Obenhauf's, you're getting almost 6X the amount as you do in the 40-gram tin described above, for 25% less money.

Rivendell has it for $8.00 for 4 ozs; Cabela's sells it for $6.99.

I have a jar of Obenhauf's; seems a lot like Proofhide to me.

http://www.obenaufs.com/product_info...bf0958784ce7ce
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