Saddle soap on the out? (Also, new member to the Fairfax saddle club!)

Elf On A Shelf

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28 February 2011
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People clean tack ....

My work bridle gets cleaned once a year if it's lucky! It's a Derby House leather one and it hasn't broken yet in 7 years of abuse! My work saddle is synthetic with buffalo hide girth straps which gave up this year after 14 years of abuse.

My show tack gets cleaned with warm water and a sponge then I can't remember what balm type thingy I use on it.
 

Skib

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6 March 2011
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Saddle soap and neatsfoot oil was ok on older hide from yesteryear which is very different to today's hide, it is not good for new, modern hides. I 'll send you the article OP explaining what I mean and why, Oz
As an RS rider and a sharer, I use whatever they use on the yard I am at and at my current yards it is saddle soap.
But the old ways beng superceded is not true. I bought a Shires leather headcollar just before lockdown and had to mail order a bottle of pure neatsfootoil to treat it, as per manufacturers (Shires') instructions. I think 6 coats before use?
 

cremedemonthe

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Talk about learning something every day! I am old and traditional and the information about newer leather was a revelation! Could I possibly also ask Oz for the article and recipe pleas? Than you.
Look so many people are asking me for the recipe and info, here risk of getting booted ,

http://www.unicornleather.co.uk/leather_conditioning_and_cleaning.html

I try to encourage people to make their own if I can.

The conditioner (including the home made one) has had some nice reviews too here:

https://www.trustpilot.com/review/unicornleather.co.uk

Take the info you need from the article, have a go at making it, it's good to know what is in the conditioner or any product you apply to your tack.

Oz
 

Griffin

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16 September 2012
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Anything one step isn't recommended, it's like trying to wash and moisturise your face with one product, one is supposed to lift off and one to sink in. Always a compromise. I don't know it's exact ingredients.

Saddle soap is a humectant, it attracts moisture, it doesn't feed leather but it arguably feeds mould. Moisture might be useful in a very dry climate but not in ours. Oz's info is great, I use his conditioner and now sell it too.
How do you know I don't try to wash my face and moisturise at the same time, I am busy person ;) Thank you for the fascinating insight though, it really is interesting to get a more expert view.
 

sbloom

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14 September 2011
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Suffolk
As an RS rider and a sharer, I use whatever they use on the yard I am at and at my current yards it is saddle soap.
But the old ways beng superceded is not true. I bought a Shires leather headcollar just before lockdown and had to mail order a bottle of pure neatsfootoil to treat it, as per manufacturers (Shires') instructions. I think 6 coats before use?
There are plenty of manufacturers who give duff, old fashioned advice, oil stretches the fibres in leather, and 6 coats will stretch it a lot. Especially on less expensive leather like Shires.

Bonded calf - you can tell if it's bonded as the flaps, and usually the skirts too, are wrapped and stitched with two layers, it may be done with regular hide which is slightly cheaper, not quite as soft but likely to be slightly harder wearing. Single thickness flaps are more hardwearing and no danger of the glue dissolving! This style of flap has been around much longer than 15 years.
 

pansymouse

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11 May 2012
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Amesbury, Wiltshire
I repair and restore tack and only use three products:

1. Milton sterilising fluid - very dilute in warm water to wipe off any surface mould and nasties
2. Wilf White's Saddle Soap - the product I use most - it cleans beautifully and helps in the restoration process
3. Conditioner I make myself from Oz's recipe

I can get leather from card stiff to supple without compromising its structural integrity with oil but it takes time and hard work. It can easily take a week of massaging in conditioner daily to get there.

For routine cleaning I just use Wilf White's.
 

cremedemonthe

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Was Caterham on the Hill, Surrey now Wales
There are plenty of manufacturers who give duff, old fashioned advice, oil stretches the fibres in leather, and 6 coats will stretch it a lot. Especially on less expensive leather like Shires.

Bonded calf - you can tell if it's bonded as the flaps, and usually the skirts too, are wrapped and stitched with two layers, it may be done with regular hide which is slightly cheaper, not quite as soft but likely to be slightly harder wearing. Single thickness flaps are more hardwearing and no danger of the glue dissolving! This style of flap has been around much longer than 15 years.
This is true, some companies are purely manufacturers, not people in the trade like saddlers, saddle fitters, harness makers who have the real hands on experience every day for years in some cases and who qualify with experience to suggest oil is bad.
Oz
 
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