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  1. #1
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    Softening Leather Sporran

    Afternoon, Gents!
    What do you use to soften the leather on your sporrans? I've read where people use olive oil to soften leather, others some commercial products.
    What say you?
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    27th October 09
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    A mink oil paste, rubbed in by hand, followed by working the leather back and forth by hand, will soften most leather items. Liquid oils can work, but they will usually darken the leather in the process. Neatsfoot oil is a popular one for this. I'd stay away from olive oil, though, just because of the smell.

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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobus View Post
    A mink oil paste, rubbed in by hand, followed by working the leather back and forth by hand, will soften most leather items. Liquid oils can work, but they will usually darken the leather in the process. Neatsfoot oil is a popular one for this. I'd stay away from olive oil, though, just because of the smell.
    AGREE, Saddlesoap works great too, us to use on my baseball and hockey gloves.
    Allan Collin MacDonald III
    Grandfather - Clan Donald, MacDonald (Clanranald) /MacBride, Antigonish, NS, 1791
    Grandmother - Clan Chisholm of Strathglass, West River, Antigonish, 1803
    Scottish Roots: Knoidart, Inverness, Scotland, then to Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.

  5. #4
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    Repeated wear?

  6. #5
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    I've used both saddle soap and mink oil paste to good effect but I stay away from Neatsfoot oil because it is way too easy to use too much. Not only does it darken the leather but will transfer to the cloth under it if the sporran is not allowed to thoroughly dry, which can take days. I found out the hard way with a leather belt once.
    " Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." - Mae West -

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  8. #6
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    27th October 09
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    Quote Originally Posted by CollinMacD View Post
    AGREE, Saddlesoap works great too, us to use on my baseball and hockey gloves.
    The thing about saddlesoap is that it's meant for cleaning, not as a permanently applied product. It is soap, after all, with added softeners (including mink oil and other ingredients, depending on who made it). When it's used as soap and rinsed off, it does a nice job of cleaning and should be followed up by a leather care product. But when it's just applied and left on (or only wiped dry), the actual soap stays there and can build up as a residue over time.

    My wife worked for a saddlemaker for years, and as his apprentice she had the undesirable task of dismantling old saddles to clean them for repairs or rebuilding. It is one of the nastiest jobs in the shop, when cleaning years of horse sweat and grime from between the layers of leather and out of every nook and cranny. I won't claim her knowledge as the be-all end-all of leather care, but she has advised me time and time again to use saddle soap only as a cleaner. Incidentally, Murphy's Oil Soap is essentially the same stuff as saddle soap and can be used to good effect on leather.

    In the saddle shop, leather got cleaned with saddle soap, rinsed off and dried, and if it didn't need any additional repair it got a couple of applications of Blackrock Leather 'N' Rich. I used that stuff on boots, my own saddles, saddlebags, and all sorts of leather accessories (many related to items we can't discuss here). It was almost a miracle product for restoring colour, hiding scratches and scuffs, and softening the leather. It has to be worked in a bit by hand, buffed well, and left alone for a few hours. But it's great stuff if you can find it.

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  10. #7
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    I've used a couple of thing - Brooks' Proofide and (recommended by the sporran maker) unscented hand cream applied once a year seems to keep it supply and crack free.

  11. #8
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    I've never tried it on a sporrn

    but when I played football we had a weekly who shined his shoes the best contest before a game and I always won because I'd put a small amount of vasoline on them and rub it in thoroughly. Once it dried (and you had to make sure it was dry as when wet it gathers everything up) they shined liked the dickens and became the softest most comfortable shoes I owned. After three season, two in high school in a Flagstaff Arizona and one in college in Idaho (both places with large wet and snowy seasons) I retired them (and myself) and cut off the cleats and wore them for several more years.
    I guess I'll give it a try with an old sporran and let people know how it works.

  12. #9
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    I've been using Buffalo Butter on all my leather for years. Love it. You can Google it - some folks out of Oregon if I recall.
    Ol' Macdonald himself, a proud son of Skye and Cape Breton Island
    Lifetime Member STA. Two time winner of Utilikiltarian of the Month.
    "I'll have a kilt please, a nice hand sewn tartan, 16 ounce Strome. Oh, and a sporran on the side, with a strap please."

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  14. #10
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    27th January 11
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    Whatever you use be careful! I used a commercial product all over one sporran which worked too well as it caused the side folds to unfold. I only got it back to normality by soaking it in water and then flattening it while it dried.
    If you are going to do it, do it in a kilt!

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