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Reviving Older Tan Butet Leather

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    Reviving Older Tan Butet Leather

    I have an older and much loved classically colored Butet whose leather has seen some better days. I know that the "correct" answer to this question is that it reasonably should be reseated and have the knee rolls replaced, but I would like to avoid that as I would like to maintain the traditional lighter tan colored leather, and I have never seen a reseated Butet with the traditional light tan color. (if anyone knows how to make that happen though, that advice would also be welcome and appreciated)

    The issues I'm dealing with are superficial cracks and discoloration, as well as the finish having worn off in places. I've attached photos of some of the bad spots, taken after the saddle has been thoroughly cleaned and prior to applying any oil or conditioner.

    I'm pretty crafty so I'm wiling to get creative and experiment a bit with DIY here. Google provided various suggestions like sandpaper, leather dye, leather paint, and crack filler. I did buy a leather crack filling kit but I couldn't mix a color match that was even remotely close so have sort of written that off as a bust. Sandpaper seems far too aggressive in general, but I especially don't really want to go in with sandpaper unless I have a method of really restoring the finish afterwards.

    Has anyone had any luck correcting or diminishing these issues? Is there anything i should do besides just ​​a good oil and condition?

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    Oldenburgs do it better

    rip mystic puddin' 1984-2006
    rip banacek 1992-2007

    I can’t help there, but Butet does make a saddle oil. Olson’s Tack in WA or Oregon carries it - only place I’ve found it. I’ve used it... you would want to spot test it, I think. It darkens but not like Neatsfoot oil does. It’s clear and not heavy/greasy. Hope this helps.
    Edited to add I’ve used it on an older saddle. It darkened it a bit- in a really rich looking way.


      Those knee rolls are actually in better shape than my old Butet!

      I personally wouldn’t get too creative with “fixes” on these cosmetic/surface issues. Most stuff is either going to darken the leather (intentionally or otherwise) or end up on your breeches.


        My daughter uses this product on her 2000 Baby Butet. She calls it that because it is a 16 seat with a 0 flap. She loves her saddle for ponies and skinny Thoroughbreds. Effax does not darken the leather . It does have some spider cracking, but it is superficial. The saddle is in the 2nd picture. You can sort of tell the seat and flaps are not dark.


          Leather Therapy Restorer and Conditioner does not darken leather and its an excellent product for dry, worn out leather. I would rather replace the seat and knee rolls with new leather though.


            I have revived an old saddle to it's former glory before - replacing the seat and knee rolls are an option. However, I would try to bring it back to life first, if it doesn't work then replace them. Only costs you a little bit of time!

            In my experience - the key is adding thin layers of moisture back into the leather. It's going to darken SOME because right now the leather is dehydrated and really isn't as light as it appears to you right now. Does that make sense?

            I've had the best luck with plain olive oil, warmed up slightly (this will help open the "pores" in the leather). Apply a thin layer (with a soft cloth or brush) and let dry completely, it may take a while to soak in or it might soak right up. Depends on the leather.

            Apply a second thin coat and then place the whole saddle in a plastic bag for 24 hours.

            Remove from bag and apply your 3rd thin coat. Leave to dry in a cool, dark place.

            At this point, common sense leads - your saddle may need a 4th thin coat. If it's looking pretty good, use a high quality tack cleaner and then condition it like normal.

            Hope this helps!