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Ideale 92 - Leather care?

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Ideale 92 - Leather care?

Old 10-11-20, 07:43 PM
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Ideale 92 - Leather care?

Anybody else with an older Ideale 90 or 92 saddle? Would you have the original instructions for leather care? My 92 is from about 1983 or so. Iíve used Proofide on it a time or two, but what did Ideale recommend? In those days I could not see beyond next week, so if I had them they are long gone. This 92 has the Daniel Rebour treatment and is now a fantastic saddle, but is looking a bit dry. I have several choices on hand, but if possible Iíd like to know what was recommended.
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Old 10-12-20, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Anybody else with an older Ideale 90 or 92 saddle? Would you have the original instructions for leather care? My 92 is from about 1983 or so. I’ve used Proofide on it a time or two, but what did Ideale recommend? In those days I could not see beyond next week, so if I had them they are long gone. This 92 has the Daniel Rebour treatment and is now a fantastic saddle, but is looking a bit dry. I have several choices on hand, but if possible I’d like to know what was recommended.
This is very timely as I was downstairs today where the 58 Paramount stays and as I looked at the Ideale on it, I thought the same.

I use a dressing from Langlitz Leathers, world famous here in PDX. I know many would be wary as it has a couple ingredients that are usually avoided but works very well for me and has been used for over 50 years in a place where it rains quite a bit.

That being said, several very old saddles that were pretty dry have done very well with this treatment, some going on 5 years or more.

This dressing turns liquid with application and can be applied more sparingly without working too hard and compromising possibly fragile leather, it seems to be just fine but no very long term data but again, short term results all go in the right direction so far.

None have declined at all so.......

No idea what Ideale wanted done and they are back in business so you could reach out.
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Old 10-12-20, 07:10 AM
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I have a mod. 90 and a couple mod. 92s, all with the Rebour treatment; Proofide or SnoSeal work fine in my experience.
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Old 10-12-20, 08:23 AM
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Thanks, John! I think I used Proofide in the past on this saddle. No problems, sometimes the effect was not very noticeable, but some like Obenauf's LP better. Somehow I have the sense Proofide is intended for finished leather surfaces, not rougher saddle bottoms. My first inclination is to stay with Proofide on the top.

I've used SnoSeal in the past on heavy leather field/forest boots, my Herman Survivors. Enough people here and elsewhere are cautious about silicone, that I would avoid it for my vintage saddles. On older boots I have even used liquid silicone, which has not even made a good waterproofer. So in my mind SnoSeal is out. And my can of it, perhaps 30 years old, has a sharp chemical smell. If I have to smell it while riding or handling the bike, I would not be happy. I don't recall if it was better when new, I was in my late 20's when I bought it. And there are other leather dressings focused on waterproofing which do not use silicone or any other synthetic compounds, Obenauf's LP and Fiebing's SnoProof as examples.

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Old 10-12-20, 12:22 PM
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Road Fan-

Ideale sells a specific leather treatment by the 20 ml tin here: https://www.sellesideale.fr/en/graisse

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Old 10-12-20, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I've used SnoSeal in the past on heavy leather field/forest boots, my Herman Survivors. Enough people here and elsewhere are cautious about silicone, that I would avoid it for my vintage saddles. On older boots I have even used liquid silicone, which has not even made a good waterproofer. So in my mind SnoSeal is out.
Unless they've changed their formula, SnoSeal is just beeswax in a volatile carrier. The carrier allows the wax to penetrate deeper into the leather and will evaporate away, leaving only the wax.
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Old 10-12-20, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Unless they've changed their formula, SnoSeal is just beeswax in a volatile carrier. The carrier allows the wax to penetrate deeper into the leather and will evaporate away, leaving only the wax.
Ok, I again checked the label, and it does not say siliocne is included -- sorry!!

But still, is wax alone best, or should it include some oil? I always thought the latter. My target is not waterproofing but preservation and restoring lost oils. That points me (still!) back to Proofide and Obenauf's. For upper waterproofing I have a spare Brooks showercap, and for the bottom have fenders on my 650b.

I looked on the Ideale site, and they indeed have a leather treatment on offer.
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Old 10-13-20, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
is wax alone best, or should it include some oil? I always thought the latter. My target is not waterproofing but preservation and restoring lost oils.
I'm not a leather expert, but I've always thought oil is used to soften leather, while wax is used to protect it. I'm leery of overly softening a saddle and thereby shortening its useful life.
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Old 10-13-20, 11:37 AM
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Perhaps I am in danger of overoiling, but the 92 did have a dry feeling which it no longer has. I just put it back on it's bike, the 1952 Rudge Aero Special, a 27x 1 ľ club-type road bike. My dry Brooks Pro Select has been oiled with Obenauf LP on the bottom and Proofide on the top, and is now showing a little suppleness. Not as much as my wife's B17 Select, but I think it's to the point where I can feel the benefits of the great Brooks Pro shape and can ride more to see if it breaks in better to me. So that one is a win, so far.

Another Pro Select I have is already rather supple and is also in condition to be ridden.

So I guess I'm winning, especially if I put away all the saddle oils for another 6 months!
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Old 10-13-20, 01:26 PM
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I use Dr. Martens leather treatment that I got at the western store where I bought my boots. $10 a tin and it works really well without over oiling. Great for boots too! I have one Ideal 87 and a few Brooks and they are all treated with it.
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Old 01-03-24, 03:22 PM
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I have come to this thread about 3 1/2 years too late but perhaps someone will chime in. I was going through a couple of old boxes from a move 23 years ago and found my "lost" Ideal saddle that I got second hand in the mid 1970s. It is rock hard! But the leather appears to be in good shape otherwise. Now what? I have used Neatfoot oil in the distant past without issues. Now it is ROCK HARD, not just hard. Any ideas? And thanks
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Old 01-03-24, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sbrudno
I have come to this thread about 3 1/2 years too late but perhaps someone will chime in. I was going through a couple of old boxes from a move 23 years ago and found my "lost" Ideal saddle that I got second hand in the mid 1970s. It is rock hard! But the leather appears to be in good shape otherwise. Now what? I have used Neatfoot oil in the distant past without issues. Now it is ROCK HARD, not just hard. Any ideas? And thanks
You may be able to salvage it but I wouldn't hold my breath.

At this point I don't think the what is as important as the how.

I would start sparingly, top, bottom, inside and out.

Be patient and wait for it to absorb, sink in, repeat and maybe eventually soften but may blow out anyway unless you can restore some elasticity as well.

Paging @rhm

It may be just for display at this point.

Last edited by merziac; 01-03-24 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 01-03-24, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
You may be able to salvage it but I wouldn't hold my breath.

At this point I don't think the what is as important as the how.

I would start sparingly, top, bottom, inside and out.

Be patient and wait for it to absorb, sink in, repeat and maybe eventually soften but may blow out anyway unless you can restore some elasticity as well.

Paging @rhm

It may be just for display at this point.
I certainly agree with Merziac's message of caution and sparing application of saddle treatments. Brook recommended very sparing use of Proofide, and I'm finding that to work extremely well on my wife's B17 Select. I also now have a Ideale 90 in pretty darn good shape, and at the moment I'm using very thin applications of rather fresh Proofide, following Brooks's instructions - assuming French cows and English cows were rather similar back in the day. Some older tins, labelled as containing perhaps a bid of tallow, are stale and are hard to applying thin layers. So my latest thinking is not to use old bike saddle products. There's no freshness dating, but the consistency and aromas are significantly changed after the passage of time.

If you search back to older threads about Proofide use, mostly complaining about cost and the need to order it from the UK, you'll find that people have damaged saddles, even current ones, if they overuse essentially innocent products such as Proofide. So I think Merziac is again showing us the historical wisdom of saddles.

Any different for the surface of a vintage saddle? In my opinion no, no difference. My justification is that I have seen some subtle but decent resuts from following the old line. And besides, except for other creams and goops, what we have that is modern is still the old Brooks instructions.

So I say, stay with what we have, going forward gently and respectfully. My wife's now 20 year old B17 Select is turning supple, smooth, and compliant, using Brooks' methods designed well over 20 years ago. She still guards it with a dinner fork if I move toward her bike with the seatpost tools in my hands!
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Old 01-03-24, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sbrudno
I have come to this thread about 3 1/2 years too late but perhaps someone will chime in. I was going through a couple of old boxes from a move 23 years ago and found my "lost" Ideal saddle that I got second hand in the mid 1970s. It is rock hard! But the leather appears to be in good shape otherwise. Now what? I have used Neatfoot oil in the distant past without issues. Now it is ROCK HARD, not just hard. Any ideas? And thanks
If you can show pics, please show some of your long-lost ideale!
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Old 01-03-24, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by sbrudno
I have come to this thread about 3 1/2 years too late but perhaps someone will chime in. I was going through a couple of old boxes from a move 23 years ago and found my "lost" Ideal saddle that I got second hand in the mid 1970s. It is rock hard! But the leather appears to be in good shape otherwise. Now what? I have used Neatfoot oil in the distant past without issues. Now it is ROCK HARD, not just hard. Any ideas? And thanks
Originally Posted by Road Fan
If you can show pics, please show some of your long-lost ideale!
Yes indeed, pics, or it didn't happen.
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Old 01-04-24, 08:23 AM
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Steel Charlie , 08-30-20 06:25 PM
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Ideal 90's are my fave leather. Here's how I fix them up from rock hard to something I use every day.
NO SaddleSoap!
NO Neatsfoot Oil!
Get an aluminum cooking tray/pan big enough to hold the saddle. toss the saddle in the pan and cover it with alcohol (gallon cans at homedepot), put some foil over the pan to seal and let it soak for 3-4 days. If the alky gets really yuk looking replace it and soak another day. I had a titanium frame 90 soak for a week (it's now on the Team3V)
Remove from alky and this is as soft as it is ever gonna be so now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy
Hang it in the sun for a couple days to dry.
Get a big zip-lock and put the saddle in it and set in in the sun. You may be surprised at the amount of water that will coat the inside of the bag. Wipe it out a couple times to get the water to a low level in the leather.
I use MinkOil. any decent modern leather dressing will work. NO Neatsfoot Oil ! Heat the saddle up with a hairdryer and brush on the dressing - heavy You want to soak it. Top and bottom. Use the hairdryer to run the dressing into the leather. Use twice as much as you think you should - remember----the leather is CLEAN inside from the alky. You cannot put on too much. Hang it in the sun for a day so the dressing can really penetrate. If it looks dry - it will - repeat the dressing. etc till it looks wet after a day in the sun
wipe off whatever dressing may be on surface top and bottom. Won't be much
Edit Quote

This is from
Vintage Ideale Saddle Help

AND the titanium frame 90 is still on the Team3V. I've now had the saddle for
​over 35years and it is still just fine.

Last edited by Steel Charlie; 01-04-24 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 01-04-24, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
Steel Charlie , 08-30-20 06:25 PM
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Ideal 90's are my fave leather. Here's how I fix them up from rock hard to something I use every day.
NO SaddleSoap!
NO Neatsfoot Oil!
Get an aluminum cooking tray/pan big enough to hold the saddle. toss the saddle in the pan and cover it with alcohol (gallon cans at homedepot), put some foil over the pan to seal and let it soak for 3-4 days. If the alky gets really yuk looking replace it and soak another day. I had a titanium frame 90 soak for a week (it's now on the Team3V)
Remove from alky and this is as soft as it is ever gonna be so now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy
Hang it in the sun for a couple days to dry.
Get a big zip-lock and put the saddle in it and set in in the sun. You may be surprised at the amount of water that will coat the inside of the bag. Wipe it out a couple times to get the water to a low level in the leather.
I use MinkOil. any decent modern leather dressing will work. NO Neatsfoot Oil ! Heat the saddle up with a hairdryer and brush on the dressing - heavy You want to soak it. Top and bottom. Use the hairdryer to run the dressing into the leather. Use twice as much as you think you should - remember----the leather is CLEAN inside from the alky. You cannot put on too much. Hang it in the sun for a day so the dressing can really penetrate. If it looks dry - it will - repeat the dressing. etc till it looks wet after a day in the sun
wipe off whatever dressing may be on surface top and bottom. Won't be much
Edit Quote

This is from
Vintage Ideale Saddle Help

AND the titanium frame 90 is still on the Team3V. I've now had the saddle for
​over 35years and it is still just fine.
That seems like a great deal of work and we really do not have much sun these days but I will save next week to give it a whirl.
Photos:



By the look of it, the saddle is in really good shape. Keep your fingers crossed!
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Old 01-04-24, 03:46 PM
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Not much actual work. Mostly just waiting for things to happen. I didn't even break a sweat doing that with the sun out.
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Old 01-05-24, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by sbrudno
I have come to this thread about 3 1/2 years too late but perhaps someone will chime in. I was going through a couple of old boxes from a move 23 years ago and found my "lost" Ideal saddle that I got second hand in the mid 1970s. It is rock hard! But the leather appears to be in good shape otherwise. Now what? I have used Neatfoot oil in the distant past without issues. Now it is ROCK HARD, not just hard. Any ideas? And thanks
I once revived a rock-hard Wrights saddle by soaking it overnight in Lexol, which is a creamy emulsion that you can buy at some leather shops:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/26650288330...Bk9SR5zT592aYw.

It's water-based. It worked very well on my particular saddle, but not sure if that would be true in all cases.

EDIT: I would add that I once destroyed a nice Ideale saddle by tightening the adjusting nut when developed a sag on a long ride on a rainy day, so I am a little bit skeptical of the advice in #17, above. But maybe I'm like the cat who sat on a hot stove--she'll never sit on a hot stove again, but she also won't sit on a cold stoye. With all of these saddle folk remedies, you pays your money and you takes your choice.
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Old 01-06-24, 08:36 AM
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If you read the entire original post you'll see that loosening the tension nut is one of the last things to do.

And of course "tight" is a relative term perhaps not the same for you as for me
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Old 01-06-24, 08:44 AM
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How to rescue a dry leather saddle:

1) Purchase Sno-Seal at the hardware store, or here.

2) Apply a thick layer of Sno-Seal to the saddle, mainly on the bottom surface (the underside) but also on the top. This layer needs to be 2-3mm THICK.

3) Set your home oven to 170 deg. F.

4) Coat a cookie tray with aluminum foil, or get a turkey broiler pan.

5) Place the saddle upside-down onto the tray or pan.

6) Place the pan/tray into the oven.

7) Allow the wax to soak into the saddle for twenty to thirty minutes.

8) Remove saddle from oven.

9) Inspect. The saddle should have improved pliability, and the wax paste should no longer be evident (having soaked into the leather).

10) Repeat steps 1-9 as necessary.
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Old 01-07-24, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
If you read the entire original post you'll see that loosening the tension nut is one of the last things to do.

And of course "tight" is a relative term perhaps not the same for you as for me
Well, now I'm really confused. The earlier directions said to tighten the tensioning nut, not loosen it. In my admittedly limited experience, stretching a saddle with too much tension is fatal. "Tight" is indeed a relative term, but "...now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy" doesn't sound to me like a judicious increase in tension.

Not trying to be argumentative, just seeking clarity and suggesting that some caution might possibly be in order.
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Old 01-07-24, 10:30 AM
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Like I said, relative. Tight on a steel bolt and tight on riveted leather are way different things for me. Like the 5nm that my torque wrench says is 5nm is hella tight compared to how much I usually tighten things. If tightening the tension nut is problematic for you just don't do it.
Same goes for loosening the nut after treating. if you are not comfortable doing that just don't do it.
I try to approach activities in a reasonable and rational manner.
I seriously doubt that I have any special skills.

Last edited by Steel Charlie; 01-07-24 at 10:47 AM.
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