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Darkening Tips?

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  • Darkening Tips?

    My saddle went to get reflocked a couple of days ago, and I requested to have it cleaned and oiled while it was there, too. I went and picked it up yesterday and it's is just gorgeous . . . and a couple of shades darker.


    I'm not mad or anything, as I understand that's what happens when you oil sometimes. I just want the rest of my tack to match, but my bridle won't cooperate!

    I've worked warm Neatsfoot's oil into it with my hands two separate times, and still no change.

    Do anybody have any darkening tips?

  • #2
    Can you ask the saddle shop what oil they used to clean it? Maybe a different oil will darken differently.

    Comment


    • #3
      Peanut oil from the grocery store works great!

      Comment


      • #4
        Plain old olive oil or neatsfoot oil. Put it on liberally and set the tack out in the warm sun; it "tans" it for lack of a better word, although leather doesn't tan in actuality. I have unintentionally darkened a few things this way! If this fails I would certainly contact the saddle shop, because I hate it when my nice tack doesn't match!

        Comment


        • #5
          Some bridles won't darken no matter what you do to them. It's been my experience that the ones with a sort of plastic-y appearance, orange color, black painted edged to hide the fact that they aren't tanned all the way through or maybe just "painted" rather than tanned properly. Those ones will not darken, period.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gumshoe View Post
            Some bridles won't darken no matter what you do to them. It's been my experience that the ones with a sort of plastic-y appearance, orange color, black painted edged to hide the fact that they aren't tanned all the way through or maybe just "painted" rather than tanned properly. Those ones will not darken, period.
            Well, if the leather has the tallow residue remaining on it from the tanning process, oil will not sink into the leather and darken it.

            You can try soaping the tallow off if that's what's stopping the leather from darkening, but I've found that I prefer not to do this as it does tend to give the leather a rather dull appearance after oiling.

            And it's a good sign if the leather has edge dye on it - as long as the edges are smooth. If they are rough and dyed, that's a different story and usually means a poorer quality leather.

            But then again, I'm of the vintage where London Tan coloured tack was the norm and you had to soap and then oil it to get it to a state where it looked reasonable!
            "Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of so many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in another, can hardly have much truth left." - Jane Austen: "Persuasion"

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            • #7
              Not necessarily. I have a set of the crappiest reins you could ever find. They are quite smooth on the painted edge. Smooth on the wrong side, too. But they are total garbage. I think I paid $40 brand new. They won't take oil at all.

              Originally posted by Kimstar View Post
              Well, if the leather has the tallow residue remaining on it from the tanning process, oil will not sink into the leather and darken it.

              You can try soaping the tallow off if that's what's stopping the leather from darkening, but I've found that I prefer not to do this as it does tend to give the leather a rather dull appearance after oiling.

              And it's a good sign if the leather has edge dye on it - as long as the edges are smooth. If they are rough and dyed, that's a different story and usually means a poorer quality leather.

              But then again, I'm of the vintage where London Tan coloured tack was the norm and you had to soap and then oil it to get it to a state where it looked reasonable!

              Comment


              • #8
                I've found mink oil will darken pretty much anything I've put it on. I just work it in with my hands, let it sit for a half hour or so, then wipe it off with a soft cloth.

                Comment


                • #9
                  hydrophane darkening oil?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Mineral oil works great! My saddle has gotten really light over the past year from being rained on at horse shows a few times, and after using mineral oil a few weeks ago, my saddle is noticeably darker. I've heard that the Antares oil is really just mineral oil.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Blue Ribbon Oil - it's a bit hard to find, but it's out there. I got it from 4showhorsetack.com (primarily a saddle seat tack store). Go ahead and buy a gallon!

                      Disclaimer: as others have said, some leather just won't darken. But I'm guessing since you have a saddle nice enough to be reflocked (said because most cheaper saddle are foam, not wool), then I'm guessing your bridle is good enough quality to darken as well (there are exceptions to this, of course, like some of the Beval New Canaans).
                      If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                      Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

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                      • #12
                        That's an interesting idea. My New Canaan (which Beval no longer makes, so most of them have some age on them now!) took Hydrophane's darkening oil beautifully, and after several light coats is now dark enough to go on my black horse.

                        I have a New Cav that needs help, though, as despite the Hydrophane it's still a little too orange for my taste.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Anne View Post
                          That's an interesting idea. My New Canaan (which Beval no longer makes, so most of them have some age on them now!) took Hydrophane's darkening oil beautifully, and after several light coats is now dark enough to go on my black horse.
                          I have one that is dark and beautiful, one that won't darken but is still a nice color, and a martingale and breastplate that are both a weird, tobacco color. Even Blue Ribbon oil hasn't helped... but I hold onto them in the hopes that someday, something will help.

                          But I've found Blue Ribbon oil to work on just about everything else!!!
                          If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                          Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

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