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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2002
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    The Cliffs of Insanity
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    Default Fastest way to soften leather

    I really don't like new tack... it's just so stiff. I prefer soft, well used, buttery soft (soggy even) leather.

    That being said, I have a brand-spanking-new bridle staring me down... It is a very nice quality, expen$ive bridle... So whatever I do to it I sure don't want to mess it up (I hear some oils may rot stitching, or over darken leather). It is a nice oakbark brown and I'd like to keep it within a shade or two true to color.

    What is the best approach to break this baby in? Cleaning 4x/day with glycerin, slathering it with Lederbalsam, olive oil, sautéing it in butter until tender???

    Looking forward to suggestions!


    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,896

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sakura View Post
    sautéing it in butter until tender???
    That's a new one...hadn't thought of that.

    Oiling does not rot stitching. Synthetic thread is used these days.

    I prefer my bridles quite dark, so I'm not sure how far you want to go. I slather on some pure Neatsfoot oil, throw the bridle in a plastic bag and let it cook overnight. I then maintain it with glycerin soap, with maybe an oiling once or twice a year.

    I've never used fancy-schmancy stuff on my tack and it's managed to survive all this time...it all still looks fabulous, too.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2006
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    5,679

    Default

    Pure neatsfoot and handling. Dip or wipe each piece with oil, and roll and twist and fold the leather in your hands. Doing so opens up the pores of the leather to help the oil penetrate. It turns stiff new leather into super-soft broken-in leather in less than a minute .



  4. #4
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,778

    Default

    Go to the manufacturer's website and check their recommendations. Do you want to darken it - or not? Used to be we used neatsfoot....nowadays tanning is different.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,423

    Default

    Lexol.
    That will make any leather soft, right down noodley soft, scarily noodley soft, but it will, once again dry, be the nicest leather forever.

    I have used Lexol on many bridles and some saddles, some new.
    One that it scared me how dark and too soft it got, but cleared up again and the leather is now, 40 years later, still in excellent shape, if darker by now.

    Still, as someone mentioned, now knowing what kind of leather you have there today, the manufacturer would be your best bet for directions on how to care for it.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2007
    Posts
    2,401

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by amastrike View Post
    Pure neatsfoot and handling. Dip or wipe each piece with oil, and roll and twist and fold the leather in your hands. Doing so opens up the pores of the leather to help the oil penetrate. It turns stiff new leather into super-soft broken-in leather in less than a minute .
    This is what I do - but, I use Lexol instead. Not quite as
    "oily" as neetsfoot oil.
    "I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2002
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    The Cliffs of Insanity
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    Default

    Hmmmm... I do like Lexol, and think I may even have a little somewhere around here... Can pick up some neatsfoot oil the next time I'm near the tack shop Thanks for all the suggestions


    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
    Location
    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!
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    3,866

    Default

    I just darkened and softened a bridle with some stuff that came in a plastic orange bottle... think it's German. Can't remember the name tho! Smells like beeswax... worked beautifully...
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,778

    Default

    Lexol is my usual go-to product too. Use it on my leather sofa chairs, too, and it absorbs perfectly, covers up the scratches and makes them look new again.

    Some new bridles come with a waxy protective coating which makes it hard for oil to penetrate.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2010
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Warm neatsfoot oil in the microwave until. it's almost uncomforatbly warm to the skin. It seems to penetrate the leather more quickly and deeper....it will darken the hide.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2006
    Location
    Southeast Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,696

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Lexol.
    That will make any leather soft, right down noodley soft, scarily noodley soft, but it will, once again dry, be the nicest leather forever.

    I have used Lexol on many bridles and some saddles, some new.
    One that it scared me how dark and too soft it got, but cleared up again and the leather is now, 40 years later, still in excellent shape, if darker by now.

    Still, as someone mentioned, now knowing what kind of leather you have there today, the manufacturer would be your best bet for directions on how to care for it.
    Agreed. Lexol is the best I've found. My bridle and lead shanks are lovely--after MORE than 45 years.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 2, 2008
    Location
    Hampton, VA
    Posts
    1,080

    Default

    Our barn does a 50-50 mixture of Neatsfoot Oil (NOT the compound) and Fiebings Hoof Oil. Darkens and softens up the leather beautifully.
    "Beware the hobby that eats."
    Benjamin Franklin



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