RE: [CR]Ideale leather saddle question

(Example: Production Builders:Pogliaghi)

From: "Tony Colegrave" <>
Subject: RE: [CR]Ideale leather saddle question
Date: Tue, 07 Aug 2007 18:26:13 +0000

     ' of the deepest, darkest areas...'? Yes, probably, and one that's been done to death many times before, both here and elsewhere, but, as I've received honourable mention in this current episode (thanks, Harv, the check's in the mail), perhaps I should offer my 'two penny worth' - that's four cents worth now, y'all know?
     I recall a similar question arising only a couple of months ago, and a response from Mitch Harris which made a great deal of sense to me. As someone who's probably had more experience than anyone else on this list, over a number of years, of reviving (and, sometimes, failing to revive) old, neglected leather saddles, I'd like to confirm that my first priority would be to 're-hydrate' the leather by leaving it to soak (overnight is no doubt sufficient, but longer won't do any harm) in a bucket of water (doesn't need to be a bucket, of course), and then cleaning thoroughly with warmish water and saddle-soap. It's probably better if the leather is removed from the frame, but not crucial usually.
     If the saddle is badly out of shape, it may need the sort of 'cosmetic surgery' that Mitch describes (my method may be slightly more sophisticated, but I don't suppose it's any better), but in most cases a little bit of manipulation is all that is required. This should be done whilst the leather is wet, of course, after which it should be allowed to dry out 'naturally' (i.e. no excessive heat, good air circulation, etc.). Followed by a couple of light dressings with 'Proofide' (top side only, please) - this may not do much good, but, when used correctly, certainly won't do any harm.
     It's been suggested to me that something called 'Lexoil' is better for this purpose, rather than saddle-soap, and I've been promised that an attempt will be made to smuggle a sample across the Atlantic for me to try; the legend promoting this stuff doesn't sound promising, however, claiming that it's 'made with finest tanning oils...emulsified into microscopic droplets..(which) to the leather fibers'. In my considerable experience oils, except in minute quantity, will ruin any good (suspension-type) leather saddle and do little or nothing to improve a bad one - and that applies to both new and used. My spirits drop considerably when I see 'advice' given, promoting the use of mink oil, maws oil, engine oil, basesall glove oil (who he?), neatsfoot oil, etc. - just about everything except snake oil, it seems - especially when 'total immersion' or heat is suggested as part of the 'treatment'.
     Quality of leather used will vary considerably, of course, even within the same make/model/age, but, in general, 'dried out and cracked' saddles will respond well to 're-hydration' - those least likely to respond are the ones with a 'brick-red' appearance and surface which can be easily rubbed away. This usually means that the leather has 'lost it's nature', and no amount of effort will make any difference.
     Tony Colegrave, Northiam, E.Sussex, U.K.
>From: "Bob Newell" <>
>To: <>
>Subject: [CR]Ideale leather saddle question
>Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2007 10:27:11 -0400
>I'm new to this site, so thought I'd ask a question and maybe gain some
>knowledge. I have an old Motobecane with an Ideale Model 80 leather
>saddle. It had kind of dried out some over time and has tiny cracks on
>the surface. I have been rubbing it with baseball glove oil and
>neatsfoot oil to try to "bring it back" a bit. Anyone got any other
>good ideas for how to preserve this nice old saddle?
>Bob Newell
>Greensboro, GA