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Question about Neatsfoot oil and darkening tack

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  • Question about Neatsfoot oil and darkening tack

    Well, my first question is...does neatsfoot oil expire? I have some that I've had for awhile that I want to use but I'm not sure if I can. Second, I want to darken my saddle, even if it's just a little. How do you apply this stuff? I know with some other tack cleaners/oils you use damp sponges and not with others, so how does this work?

    Thank you!!!

  • #2
    To my knowledge, 100% neatsfoot does not expire if it has been kept in a reasonable climate controlled environment (not over 120 degrees F or under freezing temps or in direct sunlight for any extended time period). Maybe if its twenty to thirty years old, but I don't think it gets rancid, maybe just a little thick which wouldn't really harm anything.

    Put it on leather with a dry cloth (piece of T-shirt) or a piece of wool or a small sponge.

    It is, uhm, rather messy, but it will soak right in. You don't want to saturate leather with it because too much will make leather limp. But you can put a whole lot on in three of four good applications, separated by a day or two between each application to make sure the previous application has really soaked in.

    Depends on the original color of the leather how much you can darken it within the first year. If you have a light leather color and you put so much oil on it that it becomes a dark brown, that probably would be way too much.

    But, you can put on maybe three to five liberal applications over maybe three monthes and begin to get a nice rich light medium brown.


    • #3
      I put it on with a soft clean rag. Don't know about it going out of date, but it's not that expensive. If appearance matters, I'd just buy new. I have had unpredictable results with new, NON-DARKENING neatsfoot. Turned a good quality well broken in, nice, mellow, dark havana bridle absolutely BLACK. Didn't see that coming at all. I've always been a staunch neatsfoot user, but I would proceed with caution if the cosmetic aspect matters.
      Blog: The Continuing Adventures of an (ahem) Mature Re-Rider without a Trust Fund...but, finally, A Farm of Her Own!!


      • Original Poster

        thank you, that was a big help. I am aplying it to a small part of my stirrup leathers that you can't really see just to see what happens. I can definately see that it's a teeny bit darker.

        Thank you!


        • #5
          in florida pure neatsfoot draws roaches. they love the stuff and will eat your tack along with the oil . also pure neatsfoot will rot your stitching. i use neatsfoot compound if i have to, but prefer hydrophane or tanner's.


          • #6
            Everything I've read says that the compound rots stitching, while pure neatsfoot is fine. My instructor has been using regular neatsfoot for decades now and her tack is fine. I won't touch the compound, but love pure neatsfoot.
            Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
            Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
            VW sucks.


            • #7
              Do you put the neatsfoot on both sides of the leather? And do you do the entire saddle, or are there parts of the saddle you shouldn't put neatsfoot on? Thanks- sorry to hijack this thread!
              Moving at the Speed of Haflinger


              • #8
                I oil everywhere. Put a little more on the flesh side of the leather, it'll absorb the oil better.

                Oh, and when you oil, don't be afraid. It might look streaky and horrible, but don't panic. Just cover it lightly with a coat of oil and leave it alone overnight. It'll soak in and even out.
                Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                VW sucks.


                • #9
                  I heard that if you let the saddle sit in the sun , it will open the pores and absorb the oil better!?


                  • #10
                    Be careful, pure neatsfoot will eat the stitching in your leather. I used the hydrophane darkening oil on a new newmarket (readrange) bridle and it darkened it really well. I would stay away from neatsfoot if possible.


                    • #11
                      I always heard that in order to open the pores to encourage the oil to soak in it was good to put your tack in a warm spot prior to oiling but not in direct sunlight.


                      • #12
                        You can also warm the oil before using it. I stick it in the microwave for a few seconds.
                        Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                        Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                        VW sucks.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by cleartheoxer View Post
                          Well, my first question is...does neatsfoot oil expire? I have some that I've had for awhile that I want to use but I'm not sure if I can. Second, I want to darken my saddle, even if it's just a little. How do you apply this stuff? I know with some other tack cleaners/oils you use damp sponges and not with others, so how does this work?

                          Thank you!!!
                          If you are just looking to darken your tack I would recommend hydrophane over neatsfoot oil. Neatsfoot seems to leave more of a residue on my tack that I'm not crazy about.


                          • #14
                            I also prefer hydrophane.


                            • #15
                              Hijacking again here sorry.

                              I've never used hydrophane but hear lots of people recommend it. I found a website and looks like there are lots of different types of hydrophane. Which one do you use on saddles and bridles? And which do you use on boots? THANKS

                              Moving at the Speed of Haflinger


                              • #16
                                I use this one to darken leather.

                                When you say boots do you mean tall boots? I don't use any kind of oil on my tall boots. Just a damp sponge to wipe them off, some polish and a buffer brush is all you need. I can't imagine putting oil on your boots would be very good for them.

                                I've never used Hydrophane's soaps/conditioners so can't tell you how well they work. I generally just use leather therapy.


                                • #17

                                  I use the Hydrophane Darkening Oil for any new tack. It makes it really soft, but be sure you want your leather darkened, bc it really works. I have not used any other hydrophane products. I use Tattersall soap for regular tack cleaning.


                                  • #18
                                    Thank you! okay- I must have gotten confused. I thought before I had read to use hydrophane for boots, but I was thinking maybe it was the hydrophane waterproofer because I didn't think it would be the same stuff that is used on the saddles and bridles. now I can't find where I thought I read that, so maybeI was wrong, or maybe it was my trainer who said it.

                                    Moving at the Speed of Haflinger


                                    • #19
                                      Don't use neatsfoot oil on any leather that has stitching, as it rots or deteriorated the stitching. Use a non oil product.
                                      "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse" Lord Palmerston


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by amastrike View Post
                                        Everything I've read says that the compound rots stitching, while pure neatsfoot is fine. My instructor has been using regular neatsfoot for decades now and her tack is fine. I won't touch the compound, but love pure neatsfoot.
                                        sounds like you are out voted on this one........... and neatsfoot tends to leave not so nice stains on the crotch of your breeches.........