Re: [CR] Reshaping a Brooks

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PY-10)

From: "Tony Colegrave" <tony_colegrave@hotmail.com>
To: <mark@bikesmithdesign.com>, <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 21:01:19 +0000
In-Reply-To: <E1MxQbk-00050Z-Lt@elasmtp-masked.atl.sa.earthlink.net>
References: <BAY129-F38AAD3A366C7402290F48AFEE60@phx.gbl>
Subject: Re: [CR] Reshaping a Brooks


Mark, Yes, I'd re-shape a saddle 'just by hand', if it wasn't badly out of shape - if 'more is required', I'd stuff it with screwed-up pieces of newspaper, rather than bits of rag, but I'd guess that the material isn't crucial. I don't think that I've ever needed to wrap a saddle to keep the flaps down - if you pack the stuffing really, really tight (which is essential, IMO, if the process is to have any effect) the flaps should be drawn inwards, if anything. Tension bolt should be slackened, if possible, before process; for practical reasons, stuffing can really only be done with the leather still attached to the frame. I'm afraid that I can't offer you any hope that this process will be successful with a 'Pre-Aged' model; IMO, these things are beyond awful and should be avoided like the plague - a real triumph of marketing over practicality. An occasional, light dressing of 'Proofide' is probably a good idea, but I don't advise it's use on the underside; light use is just a waste of money, and heavy use ('slathering it on', as some recommend) is likely to do harm - suspension-type leather saddles need to 'breathe', and effectively sealing the underside will prevent this. Since my posting of 8/7/07 I've still not received the promised sample, but other sources have persuaded me that Lexoil is unsuitable for this purpose. Tony Colegrave., Northiam, E. Sussex, U.K.

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 14:17:08 -0500 To: tony_colegrave@hotmail.com; classicrendezvous@bikelist.org From: mark@bikesmithdesign.com Subject: Reshaping a Brooks

Tony,

A few days ago Jerry Moos had written the following about a Brooks saddle;

It had lost shape and I thought it was simply worn out, until I tried soaking it in a bucket of water as recommended by Tony some months ago. It was miraculously resurrected and did several hundred km on my Romic Tourer.

A couple of friends have saddles that have lost their shape and I have a newish one that just doesn't fit me right.

So I dug back into my old emails to find what you had written on the subject and found the following.

At 8/7/2007 06:26 PM +0000, Tony Colegrave wrote:

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.

Do I understand correctly that you just shape it by hand and let it dry slowly? What if more is required? I've read of stuffing the underside with rags to get the shape you want and wrapping with cloth strips to keep the flaps down.

Any reason not to do this to a nearly new Pre-Aged Flyer? I bought one to try the textured top and for the color. But viewed from the side, the center is humped up and the area supporting the sit-bones is sloped downward & forward much more than on my nicely broken in B17. Moving the laces back a few holes helps some. But right now it's on my shopper as 5 miles is about my limit on it.

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)

I've been applying Proofide top and bottom on new saddles. Should I cease this, or is the above advice only given for restoring a dried/cracked saddle? Given the cost here, $15 for 25 grams, I wouldn't mind using less. (Perhaps the high cost is for our benefit, making it too costly to apply too much.)

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;

A 50/50 Lexoil/water mix is what I use to stretch out shoes for my uber-wide feet. Last thing I'd use on a Brooks.

Mark Stonich;

BikeSmith Design & Fabrication

5349 Elliot Ave S. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417 USA

Ph. (612) 824-2372

http://bikesmithdesign.com

http://mnhpva.org