Dennis Young wrote:
A scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates (I was in their sights for awhile) told me that to shape a good pocket in a new glove, one should soak the whole thing in water, put a ball in the pocket and tie it up with string, then throw it under your bed for a week. It comes out kind of hardened after it dries, but oiling it remedies this. If I were applying this method to old hardened leather, I would rub a tiny bit of oil into it first to slightly loosen up the leather, then do the water tie up treatment. Forcing dried out leather into shape might damage it. After tying it up, I'd be inclined to shoot some heat on it from a hair dryer. If it dries out too quick, dunk it again.
============= Water is powerful stuff when used on old saddles. I had a B-17 that was so far gone that I didn't mind risking severely torturing it. Sooo, I tightened the tension nut in the nose, oiled the top, and soaked till soft. Then I wrapped it with a nylon strap about 1" wide to bring the flaps together and reshape the critical mid-parts, and soaked for a few weeks, then air-dried. It has held the shape well, although it is really soft now. Of course, the fairly coarse strap weave is embossed on the leather, too... :-)
your mileage may vary.