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Spin-off: Leather has "evolved" beyond oil?

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  • Spin-off: Leather has "evolved" beyond oil?

    Or, don't tell an old lady like me where I can stick my neatsfoot oil. I know exactly what to do with oil and naked, virgin skin.

    Seriously. Apparently many tack companies and some leather gurus with no obvious axe to grind (like PROTACKGUY) say that modern tanning methods make neatsfoot the wrong stuff to use on new tack.

    Can anyone give me an unbiased but authoritative ruling on this? Or at least put in your own cranky but heartfelt two cents.

    I know not to over-oil, but I think that gen-u-ine oil provides something unique and necessary to new tack: It puts back some of the natural oil that was taken out of the skin when it was tanned. You can care for the surface all day, but that won't help the inside-- the very structural heart-- of the piece of leather. I don't understand the peeps who don't oil the underside (the fascia side) of their saddle flaps or strap goods.

    I do understand that high quality "pre-oiled" like that which comes on Black Country saddles in the form of their "vintage leather" might need a much lighter first meal of oil that would your standard leather. I think Hadfields bridles are in the same category. The pre-oiled leather in Pessoa saddles are a remedial solution to the perma-thirsty leather they used awhile back. IMO, however, this leather (or its tanning process) are not of the same quality as the BC and Hadfields' stuff.

    What are your thoughts on oil and pre-oiled leather? I have never bought this kind of tack.... not wanting to skip the oil massage step needed to bond with my tack. What kind of person would I be if I just hopped on my saddle sans ceremony or foreplay of any sort?
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat

  • #2
    Cute.

    Quite a few people still look at me funny, but my saddle gets OILED at least 4 times a year...seems to need it, eats it right up. (Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my oil of choice). I let it sit for 10-15 and then wipe off extra. I always oil the underside of my tack-maybe I am too old school?

    Never seem to get the same result with the new dressings.
    "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mvp View Post
      Or, don't tell an old lady like me where I can stick my neatsfoot oil. I know exactly what to do with oil and naked, virgin skin.

      Seriously. Apparently many tack companies and some leather gurus with no obvious axe to grind (like PROTACKGUY) say that modern tanning methods make neatsfoot the wrong stuff to use on new tack.

      Can anyone give me an unbiased but authoritative ruling on this? Or at least put in your own cranky but heartfelt two cents.

      I know not to over-oil, but I think that gen-u-ine oil provides something unique and necessary to new tack: It puts back some of the natural oil that was taken out of the skin when it was tanned. You can care for the surface all day, but that won't help the inside-- the very structural heart-- of the piece of leather. I don't understand the peeps who don't oil the underside (the fascia side) of their saddle flaps or strap goods.

      I do understand that high quality "pre-oiled" like that which comes on Black Country saddles in the form of their "vintage leather" might need a much lighter first meal of oil that would your standard leather. I think Hadfields bridles are in the same category. The pre-oiled leather in Pessoa saddles are a remedial solution to the perma-thirsty leather they used awhile back. IMO, however, this leather (or its tanning process) are not of the same quality as the BC and Hadfields' stuff.

      What are your thoughts on oil and pre-oiled leather? I have never bought this kind of tack.... not wanting to skip the oil massage step needed to bond with my tack. What kind of person would I be if I just hopped on my saddle sans ceremony or foreplay of any sort?
      HUMM a very unsatisfied person??? LOL!
      For what its worth I like to clean and oil new tack , like you there is a "bonding" process. But really it might just work for me because everyone runs and hides when the tack cleaning supplies come and and I get a good two hours of peace and quiet.!
      Kim
      If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

      Comment


      • #4
        Another cranky old lady chipping in to point out that a lot of the saddlemakers recommending you not use oil just happen to have their own brand of high-priced "secret sauce" they'd loff to sell ya...

        Yes; I still oil mine. Now, that said, I'm SO oldskool I still have German-made saddles. The French leather MIGHT be different; but since I'm never going to spend $3k for a saddle so fragile you can't wear jeans when riding in it, I'll never know!
        "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief

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        • #5
          I actually just bought a new saddle and the first thing I did was go out and get neatsfoot oil for it. I oiled every bit of that saddle, espically the billets because they are a pain when new. I have heard that olive oil can rot your stitching but I've never seen it happen. I don't belive any of that crap used to break in saddles except for real oil. For regular conditioning I might try their products.
          But its no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then

          -alice in wonderland

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          • #6
            I read an article over the winter about how different tanning processes required different maintenance, and the writer suggested that perhaps it was time for us to reconsider the traditional Castile soap, glycerine, and neatsfoot based on the type of leather we own.
            "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

            Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
            Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

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            • #7
              I bought a BlacK Country saddle this spring. They actually told me not to use neatsfoot oil. They didn't reccomend a particular product, just told me NOT to use neatsfoot. I've been using Lederbalsam on it and so far, so good.
              Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
              https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227

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              • #8
                I don't know... my new Stueben saddle was getting pale rub marks under the stirrup leathers. No amount of Stueben leather products would remedy it. So, I put Neatsfoot on the underside. Now it's Be-U-Tee-ful. If it eats through it in five years, I'll come back here and post my repentance.
                ::Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you::

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  You guys are great-- the horsing version of the four friends in _Sex and the City_ who aren't afraid to speak in frank terms about oil and leather.

                  I think I can add an update: The "oil will rot the stitching" was true when most tack was stitched with linen thread. Now that most of is it nylon, I believe we can oil with impunity, or at least as long as the leather is getting its groove on.

                  And for the BC and french-calf owners: If you have BC's vintage leather, I can see why the company would try to dissuade you from using neatsfoot. They assume you have no restraint and are trying to protect you (and themselves when you call, really pissed off) from over oiling. I'd offer at least one coat of oil to even a pre-oiled saddle.

                  I would not oil french calf, and I even hesitate and use conservative, good judgement with oiling any calf. When I bought an Aussie-made Bates Caprilli long ago, the instructions said to oil everything but the seat and knee rolls. I followed their advice for years and it looked pretty good, even if these parts stayed a little light for my taste. But when I decided to give the seat a drink around it's 8th birthday, the oil made previously invisible spider cracks show up in some predictable places on the seat. I was horrified. They disappeared again when they oil soaked in.

                  So I'm also confused about how to moisturize the inside of calf-skin. I'd never buy a saddle that couldn't tolerate jeans and add insult to injury by costing an arm and a leg. But I see many of these used pups with spider cracks. What causes them and how to we prevent them?
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Must be a marketing ploy.

                    All I own is a sponge, a bar of glycerine soap (which only makes an appearance on RARE occasions, like when I skip wiping down my bridle for a few rides), and a quart of neatsfoot.

                    My bridle gets wiped down with PLAIN water after (mostly) every ride, and oiled when it feels dry (twice a month?). My (smooth leather) half chaps and paddock boots get wiped down with PLAIN water after every ride, and oiled or polished as needed. My saddle a cheap HDR) gets OIL about once every 6-8 weeks.

                    That is all. Tack is gorgeous. (especially my $50 bridle that I am particularly proud of which I've had and abused for 3 years and still looks good enough to go in the ring )
                    In loving memory of my precious Gwendolyn; you will always be with me, in my heart. I love you.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've been caring for tack for 30 of my 38 years on this planet. I oil everything. I don't use Neatsfoot, but do you Hydrophane -even on my 'finer' pieces, including my beloved Hadfield bridle (older one that is still in gorgeous shape & needs to last forever) and calfskin saddle. I've always oiled every saddle I've ever had at least once a year, and my tack is in outstanding condition and has always held up very well.

                      I also wipe it down daily w/ either just water or water and a little glyc. soap - Belvoir is my favorite.

                      I know everyone has an opinion, but this process works for me and hasn't let me down so far.

                      My trainer - who is much older than me also oils his $3K+ calf skin saddles when they are new and then as needed, and his tack is gorgeous and lasts forever!

                      Just my two cents.... Happy cleaning everyone!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I oil all of my tack when it's new and then once every two or so months whenever it's feeling a bit dry. After every ride I wipe it down with a rag with just a very little little bit of Belvoir tack cleaner on it. I sometimes follow that up with some of the Belvoir conditioner if it feels a bit dry but I have no time to do a thorough oil and clean job.

                        I have a french saddle with calf leather and so far this has worked great for me! I wouldn't say that this is old fashioned or going out of style, I'm only 17.. Hahah

                        I would kind of assume that saddle makers are saying not to use oil because you SHOULD be using their lovely and expensive saddle conditioner.
                        Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
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                        • #13
                          Pure neatsfoot oil will not rot stitching, linen or otherwise. Nor will linen thread breakdown in sunlight after a while. Nylon thread however, will.

                          Originally posted by Renn/aissance View Post
                          I read an article over the winter about how different tanning processes required different maintenance, and the writer suggested that perhaps it was time for us to reconsider the traditional Castile soap, glycerine, and neatsfoot based on the type of leather we own.
                          And who is it that said this?

                          SCFarm (another old fart)
                          The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

                          www.southern-cross-farm.com

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would hate to own a saddle that I had too be mindful of what I was wearing while riding.
                            I have a Forestier...Any thoughts on what it is "made" of, besides leather?

                            My first saddle was some soft leather-and I hated it...showed every scratch ding and dent.


                            Here is a question? How can Olive Oil rot stiching any more than another oil? Will someone get techincal about this?
                            "The Friesian syndrome... a mix between Black Beauty disease and DQ Butterfly farting ailment." Alibi_18

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I oil my saddle when seems to need it (2-3 times per year?) and use hydrophane. Likewise bridles, tho those don't seem to need it as often. Latest new saddle (Antares Hampton Classic) came with a little bottle of oil and instructions on how to use it which were basically in line with what I've done before. New bridles and other strap goods get briefly (15 minutes?) dipped in the hydrophane and then hung in the sun for a bit. People routinely comment on how nice my saddle looks. Maybe it's the old-fashioned care or maybe it's just that I actually clean it regularly. Have noticed that the fancier leather dressings (Passier) don't keep the leather as dark.
                              The Evil Chem Prof

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Sigh - I just happen to have forked out $24.00 for the "secret sauce" recipe Stubben makes for my beeeeutiful new Stubben 1001 bridle - somewhat against my better judgement, but I have this mark on my forehead that says "sucker"!! And it is very thick and greasy. Don't like it much. However, two coats later I feel bonded to my new bridle, my horse is so handsome and my hands are very ladylike and soft.

                                Actually, it has white stitching - will I just have to adjust to it as it gets greyer and greyer with use and cleaning?
                                Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Vindicated View Post
                                  Here is a question? How can Olive Oil rot stiching any more than another oil? Will someone get techincal about this?
                                  I don't know about olive oil, as it is a vegetable oil. I do know that neatsfoot oil (pure) is 100% animal fat made from the lower extremities (which allows it to remain in a liquid state at room temps.) Neatfoot oil compound adds mineral oils or petroleum based oils into the mix, which is what breaks down the linen stitching. As I said above, sunlight breaks down nylon stitching.

                                  Most vegetable oils get sticky. But I don't know about olive oil.

                                  SCFarm
                                  The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.

                                  www.southern-cross-farm.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Just bought a new saddle ... a BdH. First thing I did after riding in it was clean with Lexol cleaner, then oil every single inch (except the padded flaps) of it with warm olive oil. I have before and after pics!





                                    I painted on the oil with a paint brush, then let it sit ... the leather absorbed every bit of the oil and it left the leather soft and supple, not oily at all. Although, I do have to say that upon sweating, both the panels and the seat did bleed a little bit. It wasn't bad though, and I've done probably ... 4 thorough coats of the oil in the last month. Doesn't seem to need any more right now ... plan to use the Effax lederbalsam after cleaning now.
                                    http://tailsoftheottb.blogspot.com

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MVP
                                      I would not oil french calf, and I even hesitate and use conservative, good judgement with oiling any calf.
                                      Why is that? My old calf Antares came with a bottle of the Antares oil (of course ) and the directions, from the rep, to oil the crap out of it. So I did, applying the oil with a paint brush and working it in with my hands.

                                      Regarding my comment on the article that suggested we reconsider the traditional methods of cleaning based on the type of leather we own--I am trying to find that article. It believe it was in Equus or the Chronicle.
                                      "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                                      Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                                      Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I use Hydrophane oil and a variety of cleaners, depending on my mood: Tattersal, glycerine, Turf Soap or Castile. Those have remained in my tack cleaning line up. I bought some Stubben products that quickly made their way to the bottom of the tack truck never to be seen again.

                                        Old/broken-in tack (I have a bridle, 2 martingales, a girth and a saddle over 20 years old plus the countless new stuff purchased in the last 7 years) gets cleaned about once a month, and oiled only when necessary (1-2 times a year).

                                        Brand new tack gets cleaned and then oiled. Strap goods are rolled/massaged during oiling. Process is repeated every other week or so until tack is officially broken-in and then it moves to the other category.

                                        The only problem I've had with my old tack would be the seat of the 20+ year old saddle that split. I don't think that has anything to do with oil, but rather riding in jeans for years and being a bit of a cheaper saddle (Moritz Elite: PdN knockoff).
                                        Last edited by RugBug; Aug. 7, 2009, 01:09 PM.
                                        Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                                        Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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