Re: [CR] In Praise of Saddle-Soaking

Example: Production Builders:Tonard

Date: Wed, 27 May 2009 22:43:27 -0400
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From: John Betmanis <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Subject: Re: [CR] In Praise of Saddle-Soaking

At 06:57 PM 27/05/2009 -0700, Jerome & Elizabeth Moos wrote:
>We had a brief discussion recently on the subject or soaking leather saddles overnight or even a couple of days in a bucket of water to rejuvenate them. The idea of soaking a saddle in a bucket of water had always horrified me, as I suspect it does many on this side of the Atlantic, although Tony Colegrave, perhaps the most prominant CR expert on leather saddles, and Mike Barry, who grew up in UK and also knows a thing or two about the subject, both testified to doing this rather routinely.

Yes. When I asked Mike last year what exactly the "TLC" was that he worked on his Invincibile saddle, this is what he said:

"The "Invincipile" saddle was in pretty rough shape when I got it. It had sagged quite badly and the front adjusting screw had been tightened to the limit. I slackened the screw right off and removed it so that the leather top had no tension. I then immersed the saddle in water for a few days. The leather was then quite pliable and I molded it back into shape with my hands. I then stuffed the underside with newspaper and put a toe strap around the middle to hold it all in shape. It was then allowed to completely dry for a couple of days. When dry I applied a liberal amount of Brooks Proofide to the top surface and kept doing so until the Proofide stopped being absorbed. At that point the adjusting screw was reinstalled and the surface was given a good polishing with shoe polish. It seems to me that neetsfoot oil softens the leather too much and it soon sags. I never put the dressing on the underside. The adjusting screw should only be tightened as a last resort. Overtightening pulls the curvature out of the sides of the saddle making it triangular shaped and consequently uncomfortable.

May 31, 2008 6:09 PM"

John Betmanis
Woodstock, Ontario