For permeating a saddle with Brooks Proofhide, it speeds thing up if the saddle is somehow warmed. I've put many a Proof'd saddle in a pre-heated 140F oven, wrapped in foil to reflect radiant assault, for 15 minutes. The Proofhide soaks right in! I wouldn't use any heat on a wet saddle, but dry ones can take well over 140 without any ill effect or shrinking.
Olive oil and other mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will oxidize within weeks, leading to a rancid odor that can be pretty strong. These oils aren't good for bikes, as they essentially turn to plastic eventually. Tallows used in leather treatments are fully saturated, purified fats that resist oxidation and are selected for this quality, I believe.
Even an oiled or Proof'd saddle will readily soak up water, unless it is really saturated. I've put a small wet sponge atop a new (and well -oiled) saddle five minutes before a ride and the leather takes up the water visibly. I keep water away from the rivet areas since these can stretch, and sometimes apply the water briefly (and sparingly) to the top only to improve grip before I begin sweating. Absorbing sweat is just part of a saddle's job description, not that the leather really gets saturated just from sweat migrating from one side to the other. I use a hammer "lightly" on a new, oiled saddle, but never near the metal nose support that extends fully 2" back from the tip. That would make the edge appear atop the cover and could cause discomfort or maybe even lead to injury for rivet riders.
David Snyder Auburn, CA USA (Returning from a 65 mile hilly hammerfest atop a Wrights W3N)
> John T.Pergolizzi wrote:
> I believe that what your looking for are truly mutually exclusive
> properties. In other words, you will not get all of those in one package.
> However, I have used the products found at: http://www.leatherique.com
> with great success. These are the products recommended by The Ferrari
> of America for dry leather auto interiors: the same applications as we
> for dry saddles.
> It is not cheap, does have a smell (but is not at all offensive) like
> top quality Connolly leather, will certainly "bleed" through to a degree,
> doesn't shine great all by itself (nneds a top coat , but it's the best
> stuff you can get for old dry leather.
> Any oil will keep sweat from being absorbed into the leather. I use
> rejuvenator oil on my cycling shoes as I do not wear socks and the shoes
> become "hard" after awhile.
> The oil, any oil, will not "weaken" the leather. The leather is
> shot; all dried out and rotted. You just can't save that badly damaged a
> saddle. But a hard saddle can be softened. The oil will allow the fibers
> to stretch while a gentle persuader (ball peen hammer) is used to adjust
> attitude of the leather. Gently , take your time. A new Brooks takes an
> hour of banging to soften up. I use olive oil on new saddles (soaked for
> days in a cookie tin), but have also used corn and peanut oil w/ the same
> success. When the leather is shot, the hammer will go right through them
> GREAT care is NOT taken!
> I believe that a hard saddle is best for a soft ass and a soft saddle is
> best for a hard ass. So I guess I've just classified myself.
> good luck and have fun,