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Ways to make a new saddle grippy and soft?

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  • Ways to make a new saddle grippy and soft?

    I just bought a new saddle and am working on breaking it in. It's a Barnsby Pro Seat and has the normal leather (as opposed to calf leather).

    I've been oiling it every few days, and it's soaking up the oil like crazy.

    Is there anything else I can do to speed up the break-in process or to enhance the "grippyness" of the saddle?

    I did a search and didn't find anything, but I'd love to hear what other people use.

  • #2
    Don't use oil use Oakwoods or Ultra Leather Conditioner or Passier Lederbalsam. All of them are pastes that will soften the leather and leave the surface slightly tacky.

    Comment


    • #3
      I rarely, if ever, use oil on my tack. Think about it....leather is skin, right? Do you oil your skin? I use a balsam type conditioner, my favorite being the Oakwood. And ride in it. A lot.

      Comment


      • #4
        I oil new tack. Saddles, bridles, girths. I specifically use Hydrophane Leather dressing. Oakwood contains emu oil, lanolin and beeswax, Lederbalsam contains lanolin and beeswax and avacado oil. I do not want lanolin or beeswax on my tack.

        I only oil new tack, several thin coats, with a saddle it takes a few days of doing thin coats. After that I use it and clean it with a damp wash cloth after every use and put a thin coat of glycerin soap on the leather. I take a cheap sponge, dampen it, wring it out really well, rub the sponge on the glycerin bar ( I prefer Belvoir) until there is a tacky spot on the sponge, then apply it to the leather. Glycerine soap is not supposed to foam and be used like a soap you would use to give a bath, it should be used as the final step in tack cleaning. That will also make it a little tacky.

        Comment


        • #5
          Neatsfoot oil is rendered from cattle feet and legs, and neatsfoot oil compound is neatsfoot oil blended with mineral oil, a petroleum by-product. I think I would rather put lanolin from sheep's wool, beeswax from bee's glands, and a vegetable oil on my saddle

          Comment


          • #6
            I oil (Leather Therapy) many light coats over a week or so, esp. the underside and then use either the Passier Lederbalsam or the Horse Fitform (the orange container) Bienenwachs (beeswax). Apply in a warm room and leave it, or use a hairdryer on warm to get the pores or the leather to open up and and the wax/balsam to melt. I *love* the beeswax stuff, as it is grippy, I don't have to worry about spotting from the rain, and dirt just wipes off with a damp cloth. I *really* wax up my strapgoods, especially for hunting--makes cleaning a breeze, looks fabulous (polishes up with a soft cloth), and keeps my tack looking new.

            The Belvoir glycerin (bar or spray) is also a nice finish.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by flypony74 View Post
              Think about it....leather is skin, right? .
              While very true that statement always gives me the creeps .

              It's okay to oil most new saddles just do not use Neatsfoot and do not overdo it. Put a coat on, leave the saddle out in the sun so that it warms and the pores open then once it soaks up repeat once more. After that swap to Passier Lederbalsm and it should be nice, soft and grippy in no time.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by amastrike
                Neatsfoot is fine. The neatsfoot compound is what to avoid. Really, neatsfoot makes the most sense to me--it's oil made from cows. Leather is made from cows. They're perfect for each other!
                You're right, I meant the compound. Left out a word in my post .

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have also always used pure neatsfoot oil for new leather, but once, all I had at a show was Lexol and using that liberally did a great job on my new and super slick Stubben Rex I just bought.
                  Saved the day, as the saddle was way too slick to show in, as I found out when I was slipping all over the first time I used it.

                  I did use too much Lexol and the leather turned noodley, which scared me, but in a few days it was perfect and I am still using it, the leather in excellent shape, all these almost 40 years later.

                  Don't know if I would reccommend that for a break-in program, but I know it worked for me that one time.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Renae View Post
                    Neatsfoot oil is rendered from cattle feet and legs, and neatsfoot oil compound is neatsfoot oil blended with mineral oil, a petroleum by-product. I think I would rather put lanolin from sheep's wool, beeswax from bee's glands, and a vegetable oil on my saddle
                    Where does it say I use Neatsfoot oil or even suggest she do that? I use Hydrophane, it is vegetable based. Where did anyone even mention Neatsfoot besides you?

                    I don't want stuff on my saddle like lanolin and beeswax it builds up and makes a mess of the leather.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks!

                      Ok, so it sounds like I'm on the right track. I'm mostly oiling the bottom of the saddle, and it is helping.

                      I will look at the other things mentioned to see which one might add the most grippiness.

                      Thanks for all the suggestions! It's scary working on something as expensive as a saddle and it helps to know what others have done.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I HATE how Neatsfoot feels and how it acts on leather. May be made from cows, but leaves leather feeling nasty. Just because it is traditional, lots of folks use it, doesn't mean it is a good product. Any harness or leather I have seen Neatsfooted, feels creepy. Dry top surfaces but oily, not smooth and soft like it should. Can be hard on stitching too, it can deteriorate over time. Much modern use of nylon or synthetic threads in products, instead of the old waxed linen threads.

                        I have used Lexol conditioner for many years, and it does a nice job. Does take several coats to soak in well, then buffed off with a rag. I have some very elderly tack that looks excellent, used often, in great shape. I use the same, several coats, on new leather, both sides, to get it comfortable to use. Lexol can make older things a little limp for a short time, but I never worried about them staying dead feeling. It dries out, leaving leather flexible, soft the way I like it.

                        I have been using Harness Honey recently. Seems to be as good as the Lexol, but only needs one coat. Does take a little drying time too, then buff off. A bit sticky on the hands, since I rub everything in by hand, no rags. I just bought a gallon more, lots of harness and some saddles to clean up now that winter is here.

                        Both Lexol and Harness Honey do GREAT on the hands for moisturizing! Husband refuses to condition leather, they take off his calluses, so his hands get sore while working! Neither has any effect on threads that I have seen over the years.

                        I sure would never leave Neatsfoot on my hands when done using it, nasty feeling like I poured 3-in-One oil on them. Maybe Neatsfoot, pure or compound is made from cows parts, sure feels like a petroleum product to me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flypony74 View Post
                          Think about it....leather is skin, right? Do you oil your skin?
                          Why yes I do! This stuff is the best!!!

                          http://www.strawberrynet.com/product...affiliate=4465

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by amastrike
                            *shrugs* I use Neatsfoot. I didn't mention it, because I figure Neatsfoot is a given when talking about oil and tack.
                            I don't care for it myself and there are many other oils besides Neatsfoot that can be used in place of it, including olive oil.

                            Regardless of what product I use to clean my tack I like to finish by polishing it with a good glycerine, which seems to add to the grippiness of the saddle.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you live in the south, I'd avoid anything neatsfoot based. No one I know has had positive experiences with it. It molds quickly in the summer... unless you are lucky enugh to have AC in the tack room. I once lent my new bridle to someone up north, she neatsfooted it ( really think she soaked it), and I had to really WASH it to prevent molding after only two eves int he tack room!!! It's OK now, but I cringe when I think what I did to it to get the oil down to a reasonable level. It no longer molds, and it nicely soft (not limp, as it was when it returned).
                              L

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I rubbed a bit of saddle soap on my Barnsby when it was newish and slick. (I bought it on consignment, and think it had been treated with something)

                                Just moistened the bar and rubbed it on with my fingers. Had to do it every ride for a while, but it worked fine.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Thanks again for all the info! I'm liking the amount of oil the saddle has now, but it still feels stiff. Obviously riding in it will help that, but I might try some Lexol as well, as people seem to be saying that that makes it soft.
                                  I'm afraid to use saddle-tight or things like that on it yet, but I'd really like a little more grippy-ness soon.
                                  Have I mentioned that I *hate* breaking in saddles... hmm, that might be a great business for someone. Send them your new saddle, they break it in and send it back... as a business model it has some obvious flaws, but I can dream, right?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by WombatCA View Post
                                    Have I mentioned that I *hate* breaking in saddles... hmm, that might be a great business for someone. Send them your new saddle, they break it in and send it back... as a business model it has some obvious flaws, but I can dream, right?
                                    This is why I buy used! The only problem is that you still have to get it broken in to *your* butt. I oil my tack--lots of thin coats of Blue Ribbon oil (loff it!) painted on with a paintbrush, let dry, repeat. After that I go with the glycerin soap method others have mentioned; that adds the grippiness.

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