The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 6 of 6
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2003
    Posts
    3,785

    Default dry rot in leather questions

    dry rot in leather questions for you

    What exactly is it?

    What causes dry rot? Neglect, storage conditions?

    I know some about it but I recently bought a wonderful used saddle but it does have some.

    Tx so much.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,299

    Default

    I have always considered that letting leather get too dry to be the cause of "dry rot". All the lubricant, liquid, fat, has left the leather made skin tissue, May be some heat in warm storage temps involved, so the thin tissues start coming apart by destroying the cells. By this time there is no going back, you can't save the leather with any kind conditioning now.

    Leather that is dry rotted, conditioned, may APPEAR to be good, which is where a "flex test" is helpful if you wonder about the safety. I bend and twist the leather gently, then harder to see if it starts to separate. Any separation means the leather is unsave to use. Won't hold stitches to be repaired for safe use.

    We do driving and see a lot of old harness. Much has been dipped in Neatsfoot or other oils, to get ready for selling. Leather IS FLEXIBLE, so this is where the twist test comes in. Do it gently, you don't want to have to buy that ripped harness if it fails your test.

    We have some old straps we keep for demonstrating this dry rot problem to new comers. With the twist test, very little pressure, that THICK strap just rips apart! You can see the separation of the fibers to make it a good demonstration on bad leather choices. Don't buy BARGINS without looking deeper! In Driving, harness failure is serious. Any PART of the harness failing can cause a big wreck and injuries, so people need to know how to evaluate leather for quality.

    Sorry about your saddle issues. Maybe the pieces can be replaced. Dry rot is probably wider spread in the leather than it appears, you just can't trust any of it if there is some dry rot found. Dry rot can still be in flexible peices of soft leather.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 15, 2003
    Location
    Way up north in Lobsta Country
    Posts
    1,691

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post
    I have always considered that letting leather get too dry to be the cause of "dry rot". All the lubricant, liquid, fat, has left the leather made skin tissue, May be some heat in warm storage temps involved, so the thin tissues start coming apart by destroying the cells. By this time there is no going back, you can't save the leather with any kind conditioning now.

    Leather that is dry rotted, conditioned, may APPEAR to be good, which is where a "flex test" is helpful if you wonder about the safety. I bend and twist the leather gently, then harder to see if it starts to separate. Any separation means the leather is unsave to use. Won't hold stitches to be repaired for safe use.

    We do driving and see a lot of old harness. Much has been dipped in Neatsfoot or other oils, to get ready for selling. Leather IS FLEXIBLE, so this is where the twist test comes in. Do it gently, you don't want to have to buy that ripped harness if it fails your test.

    We have some old straps we keep for demonstrating this dry rot problem to new comers. With the twist test, very little pressure, that THICK strap just rips apart! You can see the separation of the fibers to make it a good demonstration on bad leather choices. Don't buy BARGINS without looking deeper! In Driving, harness failure is serious. Any PART of the harness failing can cause a big wreck and injuries, so people need to know how to evaluate leather for quality.

    Sorry about your saddle issues. Maybe the pieces can be replaced. Dry rot is probably wider spread in the leather than it appears, you just can't trust any of it if there is some dry rot found. Dry rot can still be in flexible peices of soft leather.

    THIS!!

    And fer cryin out loud don't over oil your dry leather. it is skin. Wants the same consideration you give your skin..do you oil your hands?
    the NOT!! Spoiled!! Arabian Protectavest poster pony lives on in my heart http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...pscc2a5330.jpg



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2003
    Posts
    3,785

    Default

    Thanks GH & Mac.

    It's a model of saddle that is well thought of (but not the mega dollar ones), not made anymore, fits me and the horse super. I found it at a good price, too. (Harry Dabbs Amateur Owner) It will be ok to use, I believe, as the affected parts were the lower flap and under flap (what do we call that again - the flap part next to your saddle pad). It's not crazy rotted but it has some issues.

    Why does it harden & constrict when it dry rots?

    This saddle has got me wanting to understand dry rot better.

    Oiled it up, left it for awhile, did some light bending to soften the hard parts and it's "ok". Ah, it makes me mad that they let this lovely saddle go like this.

    Thanks guys.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,299

    Default

    Leather hardens up and constricts because there is no fluid left in the skin cells to hold cell walls apart, keep walls flexible.

    Leather should be treated like your skin, no harsh cleaners, no petoleum oils or conditioners should be applied. As mentioned, you would not put this stuff on your hands and expect the skin of hands to do well. Salts from sweat should be wiped off with a damp rag to not dry out the leather faster, shorten it's working life. Salty water on your hands will make them crack and bleed if you don't rinse it and put on hand lotions.

    Leather stored in unheated or uninsulated tack rooms will get the fluid in skin cells frozen in cold, sweating out in heat. This makes the skin cells over expand with frozen fluids, dry faster in heat with no conditioner to hold walls apart and flexible. We all wear skin protection in cold and hot weather, so our skin stays lubricated, not dried and rough.

    I was always told to treat good leather tack, boots, like your own skin, it will last well for many years when cared for.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2003
    Posts
    3,785

    Default

    Thanks again, GH. You're a doll.

    OK, that totally makes sense. Now, I get it.

    Really, really, really appreciated.

    Much thanks, again.

    sonoma



Similar Threads

  1. Albion Ultima leather vs. regular calf leather
    By GreekDressageQueen in forum Dressage
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Oct. 10, 2012, 03:06 PM
  2. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Jan. 11, 2012, 09:54 AM
  3. Replies: 6
    Last Post: Oct. 22, 2010, 07:57 AM
  4. Replies: 1
    Last Post: Aug. 19, 2010, 06:30 PM
  5. Two Gary Mundy leather questions!
    By SarahandSam in forum Off Course
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: Jul. 23, 2009, 08:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •