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Using Olive Oil On Leather


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#1 leathervan

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:42 PM

Ive heard that some people use olive oil on leather but where and what for?

#2 TwinOaks

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 10:03 PM

Olive oil (Extra Virgin) is used by some makers, me included, in place of neatsfoot oil. It's used to condition the leather after molding or tooling, because the process of casing and tooling the leather can dry it out. Apply with paper towels, daubers, fingers, whatever gives an even coat and only do a light coat. Let it soak in and evenly distribute through the leather before you consider another coat....several hours to a full day, depending on the hide. When applying ANY oil, stop about two coats sooner than you think you should. One of the attributes of it is that it doesn't significantly darken the leather....at least not as much as most neatsfoot oils.
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#3 leathervan

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:19 PM

Olive oil (Extra Virgin) is used by some makers, me included, in place of neatsfoot oil. It's used to condition the leather after molding or tooling, because the process of casing and tooling the leather can dry it out. Apply with paper towels, daubers, fingers, whatever gives an even coat and only do a light coat. Let it soak in and evenly distribute through the leather before you consider another coat....several hours to a full day, depending on the hide. When applying ANY oil, stop about two coats sooner than you think you should. One of the attributes of it is that it doesn't significantly darken the leather....at least not as much as most neatsfoot oils.


do you use the olive oil in place of a dye? Or I should ask if you can dye a piece of leather after using the olive oil?

#4 King's X

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 01:35 PM

The process of applying oil after working with your leather either carving, tools, molding, etc is for replacing the depleted oils that are removed during the working process. Dyeing your leather would follow any reconditioning of the leather. As Twin Oaks stated, I also use EVOO on more of my higher quality leather such as Hermann Oak or Wickett & Craig. On my Tandy Leathers, I will typically use Neatsfoot oil. Why, you ask? Because the tanning process results in the hide coming out blonde in finish. The neatsfoot oil will usually add a tint to the hide color whereas the EVOO will not. These are my results.

The typical working process would be as follows (this is not a complete list, but a simple process of understanding):

1. casing the leather (applying water and/or other combination) to prepare the leather so it can be worked
2. reconditioning the leather piece after it has been worked; this is done by apply some form of oil nutrients back like neats foot or olive oil.
3. Dyeing your leather in the color scheme chosen.
4. apply any resist (or not) depending on what you want to accomplish.
5. if you use item #4, follow up with a resistant enhancement product like paste or gel.
6. apply your final protective coat of finish.

I hope this helps.
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#5 leathervan

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 09:28 PM

The process of applying oil after working with your leather either carving, tools, molding, etc is for replacing the depleted oils that are removed during the working process. Dyeing your leather would follow any reconditioning of the leather. As Twin Oaks stated, I also use EVOO on more of my higher quality leather such as Hermann Oak or Wickett & Craig. On my Tandy Leathers, I will typically use Neatsfoot oil. Why, you ask? Because the tanning process results in the hide coming out blonde in finish. The neatsfoot oil will usually add a tint to the hide color whereas the EVOO will not. These are my results.

The typical working process would be as follows (this is not a complete list, but a simple process of understanding):

1. casing the leather (applying water and/or other combination) to prepare the leather so it can be worked
2. reconditioning the leather piece after it has been worked; this is done by apply some form of oil nutrients back like neats foot or olive oil.
3. Dyeing your leather in the color scheme chosen.
4. apply any resist (or not) depending on what you want to accomplish.
5. if you use item #4, follow up with a resistant enhancement product like paste or gel.
6. apply your final protective coat of finish.

I hope this helps.




what is resist in #4?

#6 TwinOaks

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 10:49 PM

Commonly something like Super- (or Satin-) sheen, tan-kote, bag kote, neatlac.......
It's a step in the finishing process that seals the leather in preparation for #5......the 'enhancement product' (which probably means antique gel or paste). You seal the leather, add the #5, then wipe off. #5 will stay in the tooled areas, cuts, etc., and dramatically increase the 3-d aspect of the piece. Then the piece gets re-sealed with the top coat.

And yes, you can skip the dyeing process and just use oil....and a lot of sun light. You can actually 'tan' leather, and it's a beautiful finish that can't be easily matched by dyes. It still needs to be sealed to protect the leather when it's done. Also, and important note: be sure to take any straps or strings off of it so it doesn't get any tan lines.
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#7 hidepounder

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 10:59 PM

I agree with everything Mike and King's X posted. I also prefer to use olive oil rather than neatsfoot oil. I feel it penetrates faster and more evenly than neatsfoot. I agree with King's X about color, too. I don't think EVOO colors the leather as dark either. Mikes tip about not putting on too much oil at once is a great tip! I have heard it said that olive oil will attrack rodents in a tack room. That is not my experience, but I'm not quite willing to dismiss the notion either. Maybe someone else has some experience with that.

Bobby

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#8 Ken Nelson

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 11:23 PM

I agree with everything Mike and King's X posted. I also prefer to use olive oil rather than neatsfoot oil. I feel it penetrates faster and more evenly than neatsfoot. I agree with King's X about color, too. I don't think EVOO colors the leather as dark either. Mikes tip about not putting on too much oil at once is a great tip! I have heard it said that olive oil will attrack rodents in a tack room. That is not my experience, but I'm not quite willing to dismiss the notion either. Maybe someone else has some experience with that.

Bobby

It has been my experience, where I worked for years, that tack rooms in general attract rodents. I have seen tack chewed on that has been treated with pure neatsfoot oil, neatsfoot oil compound, vegetable oil-big favorite of mice, harness oil-- the list goes on. I think the main attraction is the salt that tack gets from contact with a sweaty horse. Back to the subject at hand, I have had better luck with olive oil than any other oil I have ever tried, as far as keeping saddles and tack conditioned in hard use.

#9 TwinOaks

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 12:06 AM

I have heard it said that olive oil will attrack rodents in a tack room.


Ironically, one of the reasons I chose EVO over Neatsfoot, and also why I use Aussie conditioner, is the absence of animal based fats. It was explained to me that the animal based fats (glycerides?) are an ideal food source for mold. Down here on the coast, humidity is a huge factor, so anything I can do to eliminate mold/mildew is just another 'plus'. And yes, the method the leather is stored is probably as or more important than the oil used, but every little bit helps.
We don't really have much use for the 'tack room' anymore, anyway.
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#10 amuckart

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 01:01 AM

Has anyone tried cod liver oil? It's a bit smellier than olive oil while it's oxidising but chemically it's supposed to be the best thing for veg tan.
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#11 Jazznow

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 09:33 AM

I hope it's ok, when i add another question to this thread: Do you have any advice on storing the olive oil (fridge or not)? The stuff in my fridge becomes hard at the edges after a month or something. it's not rancid, there are just this deposits (that word may describe it best). Can i still use it on leather? Is there a way to stop the oil doing that?

Maybe you have some hints :)

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#12 King's X

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Posted 30 August 2011 - 02:59 PM

Jonathan.......this is a very good question and simple to answer for me. Both EVOO and Neatsfoot oils are stored just like you bought them. On a shelf. My oils (both) are stored on my tooling bench shelf. In fact, I have moved them to different bottles especially the EVOO since it comes (usually) in glass to a plastic Gatorade bottle. I would not advise to refrigerate.

As for the oil you use now that has been clumping on you.............toss it and start new............last thing you want is health issues for you or your customers. This is just something that I would do. I buy my EVOO at Wal-Mart for like $4-$6 for like a giant bottle that has lasted me a long, long time.

good luck.
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#13 amuckart

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 12:56 AM

The key to storing almost any natural oil, neatsfoot, cod liver, or olive, is to store it sealed and in the dark. UV does more bad things to it than warmth.
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#14 Jazznow

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Posted 31 August 2011 - 05:43 AM

thanks for your advice
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#15 ChuckBurrows

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Posted 01 September 2011 - 04:57 PM

FWIW - regarding the thickening of the EV olive oil when refrigerated - it does not mean it's bad at all - it's just the fat globules that when cooled thicken up like that - DO NOT throw the oil away just bring it to room temperature again and things will be fine (well shoud be anyway)..

I buy my EVOO at Wal-Mart for like $4-$6 for like a giant bottle that has lasted me a long, long time.

I was just at Wal-Mart and the least expensive "gallon" of EVOO (not all olive oil is extra virgin for those who have never bought it so be aware) runs about $20.00 bucks - a quart of EVOO will run around $6-7.00 dependent on brand...

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