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CaptainB

Softening leather

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Can any o' you fine leatherworkers out there give me a hint or three on how ta soften up leather?

I ask, on account o' the fact that the baldric I've had fer a year now is still as stiff as a dead Spanaird. I wanna soften it a wee bit, so won't be sittin' all weird like.

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B -

I'd try 'neatsfoot oil' on the leather. Neatsfoot oil is generally available in most hardware stores. Pour some in a container and paint (I use cheapie acid brushes)or daub onto the leather with cloth. Let it soak in and wipe of excess. Flex baldric leather while watching TV, etc. to return flexibility. Note: It will darken the leather a bit once it's applied.

Jas. Hook :unsure:

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what I did, is whack the heck out of it, whipping a wooden post with it. The straps would curl around the post, and really loosen it up.

Softened it up really well, and also adds some authentic wear! And then I just worked it back and forth around the buckle points.

And rubbed dirt into it too.

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Looks like I know what I'm doin' this weekend while my lass is off visitin' family!

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I usually run it back and forth over a breaking beam to ease up on stiffness. By that I mean loop it over a board, or even off the side of the counter or workbench and go in a side to side motion..it will break loose the fibers some.

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If you do use neatsfoot oil, be sure and store the baldric where it gets good air afterwards. If you stow it in a trunk or closet where the air doesn't move it will form a white mold, and it will spread to other leather and cloth it comes into contact with. I have used it for as long as i can remeber on our saddles and tack. Itis good stuff but it needs to breathe. Lately I have taken to using olive oil at the suggestion of another fellow for my shoes and such. It has been working well and hasn't caused mold to form. Saddle soap with a toothbrush as pegleg said is a good idea too, especially if it is older stiff leather as you say. You may run the risk of it cracking and splitting if you try to work it dry.

Bo

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what I did, is whack the heck out of it, whipping a wooden post with it. The straps would curl around the post, and really loosen it up.

Softened it up really well, and also adds some authentic wear! And then I just worked it back and forth around the buckle points.

And rubbed dirt into it too.

Geez, sounds brutal. I'm glad I'm not one of GG's belts or baldrics. ;) ;)

Cap'n Bo -

Never had a problem with mold. I've had a white deposit form in nooks and crannies around stitching when using mink oil.

None the less I'll air it and keep a watch eye on it.

Jas. Hook ;)

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rubbing alcohol works as well.

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My husband and I are leathersmiths, and often get asked to "break in" new saddles, so the leather isn't so stiff. We use Fiebing's Saddle Soap (it has a conditioner built in, and can be obtained at most tack stores. Brown can with yellow lid.), and Chelsea Leather Food, which can be bought online at soccer supply stores. Chelsea's doesn't have the drawback of causing mold...but if mold does set in, a few days of sitting in direct sunlight will kill the mold, then it is just a matter of wiping it off. Just to be sure, if you ever wipe off anything that had mold on it, immediately wash the cloth in the wash machine, preferably with bleach.

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there is a german maker-its a conditioner for leather, comes in a orange plastis can, with german writing on it, cant remember the name, sold in most tack stores, it helps leather get really soft, and its made for yer thicker leathers like saddles.

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Baseball glove conditioner works wonders! It makes the leather soft and pliable.

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