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I really messed up the "silver" on my saddle

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  • I really messed up the "silver" on my saddle

    So, I have a decent looking, but nothing fancy, show saddle (Circle Y) that I purchased used back in 2003. After one show season, it got packed away in its carrier with the expectation that it would be ridden in again in the near future...

    That didn't happen and last year, I pulled it out for a cleaning and noticed that the "silver" was gunked up. I tried without much success to rub it clean with a damp rag. I picked up a silver cleaner at Congress and was initially THRILLED with the result but, it ended up being a bad, bad idea. It took the gunk off, alright, but since I now realize this was "silver," it seems to have taken the finish off, too.

    When I showed with it, I used the stuff in a blue spray bottle (that comes out pink?) with no ill effects, but maybe I was just lucky. I didn't, and still don't honestly, understand the differences in the plated vs real stuff.

    Now, I have a saddle with about 75% gunk covered "silver" and 25% stripped "silver." lol Ugh. Looking for suggestions on the best place to find replacement pieces as well as tips on picking the correct sizes and installing them. Or, any magical tricks to fix my existing shiny stuff.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Annandale; Apr. 20, 2013, 12:52 AM.

  • #2
    So is the plating coming right off the metal? Showing the base metal in the pieces? We need to know "how bad" the pieces are that you tried to shine up before offering advice.

    I cleaned up a nice saddle a couple years ago, COVERED in gunky silver. Leather was also real dry, so I just took ALL the pieces off and cleaned them up individually. It was good quality silver, so even with hard polishing, they didn't lose the silver shiney layer. With silver off, I could really get the leather back into good shape, soft and real nice again. Was a good quality saddle, just not conditioned for a LONG time before I got it. Felt soft, smooth, silky leather when I got done working on it. Too bad it didn't fit any of my horses well, had to sell it on. It WAS beautiful.

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    • #3
      IIRC some of the low to mid-line Circle Y show saddles shipped with montana silversmiths silver. That has a coating on it that you can NOT use cleaners on. Once the coating is messed up, it's toast. You have to replace it.

      If the trim was custom made for that saddle, I don't know how to replace it other then maybe calling Circle Y and going from there. If googling 'saddle accent trim' brings up pieces that look identical to your pieces, well there you go. Usually there is either chicago screw attachment (easy) or nailed on (still sort of easy, but you might have a saddler do it to be safe).

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      • #4
        If this saddle was mine I would tke it who ever fixes your tack and ask them to take the silver pieces off. Then look up who in your area re-plates silver (usually antique restoration) . If the price to re-plate is close to the price to buy new, go for it. Finding new pieces the same size and shape as the damaged ones will be a PITA.
        NOTE: Plated silver is a very thin layer of silver that is fused to a base metal with electricity ( electroplating) It is then electroplated with a laquer to prevent tarnishing. It sounds like whatever you cleaned with desolved the laquer.
        There is no way to fix that, except re-plating.

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        • #5
          Some of the catalogs sell the conchos and corners to either replace old silver or add to a plain saddle. They are not expensive.
          Ride like you mean it.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by goodhors View Post
            So is the plating coming right off the metal? Showing the base metal in the pieces? We need to know "how bad" the pieces are that you tried to shine up before offering advice.
            Hmmm I guess maybe that's part of my problem? I BELIEVE what I'm seeing is base metal. I assume it has to be. It's a yellowish color. Not consistent all the way across the pieces I cleaned, but in waves, probably in line with the pressure I used while wiping/polishing.

            How do you tell?

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by gaitedincali View Post
              IIRC some of the low to mid-line Circle Y show saddles shipped with montana silversmiths silver. That has a coating on it that you can NOT use cleaners on. Once the coating is messed up, it's toast. You have to replace it.
              Originally posted by csaper58 View Post
              NOTE: Plated silver is a very thin layer of silver that is fused to a base metal with electricity ( electroplating) It is then electroplated with a laquer to prevent tarnishing. It sounds like whatever you cleaned with desolved the laquer.
              There is no way to fix that, except re-plating.
              Yep. This is what I assumed. What a dummy. In the future, how do I clean this type of silver? It didn't seem like elbow grease was doing the trick.

              Comment


              • #8
                Try contacting www.montanasilversmiths.com/trim I believe they may be able to help you. When I helped clean a parade saddle we used mild soap and water, and then dried the silver then buffed with a jewelry polishing cloth.

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