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Saving Leather Saddle?

Old 01-27-05, 12:47 PM
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Saving Leather Saddle?

Does anyone have suggested methods for saving a dried out cracking leather saddle?....I am currently proofhiding it but wondered about needsfoot oil or something like that.
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Old 01-27-05, 02:18 PM
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I've used Snow-Proof paste with wonderful results. It's like Sno-Seal, but oilier. It's made by the Snow-Proof mfg co. in, if memory serves me correct, Minnasota. I've purchased it at shoe repair shops.

EDIT Here's a link so you can see what the package looks like. It seems that you can purchase it at tack supply stores as well.

https://www.fiebing.com/newsletter.asp?id=13

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Old 01-27-05, 02:26 PM
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If you can't find it in your town you can order it here:

https://www.medi-vet.com/SearchResult...KeyWords~10890
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Old 01-27-05, 07:30 PM
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For a very old and very dry leather bike seat had some good success first using many applications of Smithsonian Glycerin treatment described at:
https://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/anth605/File7.htm

Then finished with leather saddle treatment product: Aussie Leather Conditioner.
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Old 01-27-05, 08:17 PM
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Take a sheet of aluninum foil big enough to wrap the seat in. Lay the seat on the foil top side down. Shape the foil to create a kind-of container for the seat. Pour neatsfoot oil on to the seat so that it is well covered. Let it soak like this for a while - a hour to several hours depending on how dry the seat is. When you remove the seat wipe it well and let it alone for awhile. You can pour the oil from the foil back into the neatsfoot bottle. Be careful what you wear the first couple of times you ride it but it works great and is inexpensive. I've brought several seats back to life this way.

Noah
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Old 01-27-05, 09:17 PM
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I got a Brooks B72 that was on a bike that had been hanging from the rafters in a garage for 33 years. It hadn't suffered from exposure to the sun and elements, but it was plenty dried out. Once I cleaned the dust off, I smeared a good heavy coat of my wife's Eucerin skin cream on both top and bottom. Eucerin's really waxy; when you use it on your skin, you'll swear it'll never soak in. After about 30 minutes, the leather had absorbed every bit of it. Since then, I give it the occasional dose of mink oil, and it seems to be happy. There's some cracking of the finished surface, but nothing you wouldn't expect of a saddle that old.
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Old 01-28-05, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Noah Scape
Take a sheet of aluninum foil big enough to wrap the seat in. Lay the seat on the foil top side down. Shape the foil to create a kind-of container for the seat. Pour neatsfoot oil on to the seat so that it is well covered. Let it soak like this for a while - a hour to several hours depending on how dry the seat is. When you remove the seat wipe it well and let it alone for awhile. You can pour the oil from the foil back into the neatsfoot bottle. Be careful what you wear the first couple of times you ride it but it works great and is inexpensive. I've brought several seats back to life this way.

Noah
I have a lot of experence with leather, coming from a long line of leather tailiers. I would advise against neatsfoot oil. It's great to soften new leather, but your leather is cracked. Once leather is cracked it is cracked. There is no way to repair it. If you soften in between the cracks with neatsfoot the cracks will have a much greater chance of ripping further. Brooks saddles are made from a "hard" leather. You want to condition them, not soften them.
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Old 01-28-05, 04:43 AM
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After turning a Brooks into evil cardboard through systematic abuse, I rescued it with ordinary dubbin. Generously covered it on both sides and put a plastic bag over it overnight, repeated the next night (the leather had "drunk" all the dubbin), and then buffed off the ast of the slime and finished with another overnight of Proofide. That did the job.
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Old 01-28-05, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
I have a lot of experence with leather, coming from a long line of leather tailiers. I would advise against neatsfoot oil. It's great to soften new leather, but your leather is cracked. Once leather is cracked it is cracked. There is no way to repair it. If you soften in between the cracks with neatsfoot the cracks will have a much greater chance of ripping further. Brooks saddles are made from a "hard" leather. You want to condition them, not soften them.

I guess I will defer to your ancestral experience with leather. I will say I have never tried this on saddles with anything but superficial cracks. But, having said that I’ve brought many saddles back from the abyss with this technique… brooks, leeper, ideale, fujita. The only saddle I’ve had tear was a brooks bsn5 that was new with no cracks but was very dry… the nose tore right off it. Also, I haven’t given this much thought, but what is the difference between conditioning and softening?

Last edited by Noah Scape; 07-23-07 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 01-28-05, 08:37 AM
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I had success applying successive small doses of a leather conditioner (I used something called the Tannery) to the saddle. I approached the process as though I was applying wax to a pair of shoes - dropping a few drops onto the saddle and gently rubbing it in with a soft cloth. I put more emphasis on the undersides of the saddle as the untreated side is better able to absorb. I have been able to bring back two very dry (not to the point of cracking though) Brooks saddles (a B-72 and a B-15) and a Wrights saddle using this technique.
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Old 01-28-05, 08:56 AM
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My preference is a beeswax compound.

Now that you mention it, beeswax is one of the ingredients in Eucerin.

Why not just recover the seat? I have some sofa leather and I am about to do the seat on my commuter when I finally get time.

Now there's something I hadn't considered. I've recovered a cheap Chinese saddle with suede before (made it look cool, but not a bit more comfortable), and putting a layer of new automotive interior-type leather on a Brooks would be even simpler. Cut a piece to cover, spray some 3M vinyl top adhesive on the saddle, and start applying the fresh leather.
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Old 01-28-05, 09:51 AM
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Beeswax is also the main ingredient in Proofide.

Marty
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Old 01-28-05, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Noah Scape
what is the difference between conditioning and softening?
In simple terms softening makes the leather more pliable, hence, softer. Conditioning tries to bring the leather back to it's original state ("rehydrate", if you will), which is impossible, but we try the best we can.

Think of a baseball mit. The leather is not dry or cracked when it is purchased, but we give it a light coat of neatsfoot oil, pop a ball in it, and rubber band it to soften and shape it. After a day or two we have a nice little pocket where the ball sat in the neatsfoot oiled glove.
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Old 07-22-07, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rider99
For a very old and very dry leather bike seat had some good success first using many applications of Smithsonian Glycerin treatment described at:
https://nautarch.tamu.edu/class/anth605/File7.htm

Then finished with leather saddle treatment product: Aussie Leather Conditioner.

rider99,

Thank's for that awesome link !!!

I found an old "BELT" Fujita Tokyo leather saddle today and searched here to see how I could rejuvinate it,it's a little dry from storage and I dont want to trash it by sitting on it.

If you read between the lines a little on that link you provided,seems glycerin/alcohol,and or "PEG" polyethylene glycol treatment you end up with stiff hard leather (thats what you want for a saddle,right?).

I'm off to the drug store to see if I can buy glycerin or PEG !

Last edited by junk250; 07-22-07 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 07-23-07, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by lotek
Beeswax is also the main ingredient in Proofide.

Marty
...............Also in Obernauf's LP, my favorite, good stuff
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Old 07-23-07, 03:52 PM
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Saving leather saddle.

Originally Posted by lotek
Beeswax is also the main ingredient in Proofide.

Marty
Not so!
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Old 07-23-07, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by tony colegrave
Not so!
Listen to Mr. Colegrave, he's the bonifide expert.
And though he may never spill the beans as to Proofide's secret formula, my guess (based on the smell that old Proofide, uh, develops) is that the main ingredient is animal fat: tallow from cattle and/or lanolin from sheep. Just a guess.
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Old 07-23-07, 05:47 PM
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Old 07-23-07, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by andygates
After turning a Brooks into evil cardboard through systematic abuse, I rescued it with ordinary dubbin. Generously covered it on both sides and put a plastic bag over it overnight, repeated the next night (the leather had "drunk" all the dubbin), and then buffed off the ast of the slime and finished with another overnight of Proofide. That did the job.
Translation: I believe what our British cousins call "dubbin" is known here in the US as "mink oil."
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Old 07-23-07, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Ziemas
I've used Snow-Proof paste with wonderful results. It's like Sno-Seal, but oilier. It's made by the Snow-Proof mfg co. in, if memory serves me correct, Minnasota. I've purchased it at shoe repair shops.

EDIT Here's a link so you can see what the package looks like. It seems that you can purchase it at tack supply stores as well.

https://www.fiebing.com/newsletter.asp?id=13
Good stuff - good for leather.

HOWEVER, contrary to what you might think is common sense, dried out leather needs to be re-hydrated before oiling. Wrap the saddle in a damp towel for half a day. Then, let it dry for about an hour without the towel until it is moist like a fresh piece of Wonderbread. Then, oil and heat the oil in by putting in the sunshine OR using a hair dryer.

Sadly, if the saddle is really old and dried out, your use might be limited, so if you want it for show, don't ride it. If the leather is past restoration, it can look good and still tear.
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Old 07-23-07, 08:52 PM
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Okay does anyone have any comments on these?

1. Johnston and Murphy spray leather balm (can be bought at the J and M dress shoe stores)
2. Lexol (in those little plastic jugs)

I've used them both over the course of a few years- the Johnston and Murphy more so. Am I doing any harm? Or are they okay for use with my Brooks 66?
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Old 07-25-07, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by SirMike1983
Okay does anyone have any comments on these?

1. Johnston and Murphy spray leather balm (can be bought at the J and M dress shoe stores)
2. Lexol (in those little plastic jugs)

I've used them both over the course of a few years- the Johnston and Murphy more so. Am I doing any harm? Or are they okay for use with my Brooks 66?
A lot of that spray stuff has silicon in it. It won't hurt the leather, but it doesn't do much for it either.

Stay away from products with solvents in it.

I prefer neatsfoot oil and beeswax products like the original Sno-Sseal. After Sno-Seal changed their formulation, I started making my own. I heard that "Beargrease" is still available on-line and that is the still the neatsfoot oil and beeswax formula. $6.50 will last a lifetime https://workingperson.com/review/974/...rproofing.html

Last edited by mike; 07-25-07 at 07:54 AM.
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Old 07-25-07, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1
Listen to Mr. Colegrave, he's the bonifide expert.
And though he may never spill the beans as to Proofide's secret formula, my guess (based on the smell that old Proofide, uh, develops) is that the main ingredient is animal fat: tallow from cattle and/or lanolin from sheep. Just a guess.
You don't have to guess what's in Proofide it says right on top of the tin

Ingredients: Tallow, Cod Oil, Vegetable Oil, Paraffin Wax, Bees Wax, Citronella Oil
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Old 07-25-07, 09:33 AM
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I've been trying to get proofhide for years, but have never seen it in any of the local shops.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:05 AM
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Hah, shows you how old my tins of Proofide are, there's NO ingredients listed on them...kind of makes you wonder where the Cod Oil is coming from, I've heard the cod fishery is practically extinct. Funny too that they use "paraffin wax", as that's strictly a US terminology, AFAIK...in the UK paraffin is kerosene.
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