Luna Slim

Neatsfoot Oil Vs Lexol

20 posts in this topic

First off, appologies for blunders getting set up with you folks - Seems like all the forums I belong to are set up differently.

I am starting off with (tooling?) leather in the 6-8 oz range making holsters and knife sheaths. Which is better for the raw (maybe sometimes dyed) leather, Lexol or neatsfoot oil?

Matbe more generically, what is each of these best for?

Thanks

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Howdy Luna

If your using veg tan leather , after the tooling or molding , some type of oil needs to be put onto the leather. Over the years neatsfoot oil has been used. I've used neatsfoot oil, olive oil, and have been told by others here they have used vegetable oil and even butter; the oil is a natural lubricant and preservative. Lexol, is a blend of ingredients that is typically used on chrome tan leathers ie upholstery type leathers. Lexol interacts with the leather and the chemical process, and does a very good job.

I currently use a product called Bee Natural Saddle oil on my veg-tan projects after I've finished my tooling.

Just a reminder, a little bit goes a long way.

Happy leather work

Tim

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Howdy Luna

If your using veg tan leather , after the tooling or molding , some type of oil needs to be put onto the leather. Over the years neatsfoot oil has been used. I've used neatsfoot oil, olive oil, and have been told by others here they have used vegetable oil and even butter; the oil is a natural lubricant and preservative. Lexol, is a blend of ingredients that is typically used on chrome tan leathers ie upholstery type leathers. Lexol interacts with the leather and the chemical process, and does a very good job.

I currently use a product called Bee Natural Saddle oil on my veg-tan projects after I've finished my tooling.

Just a reminder, a little bit goes a long way.

Happy leather work

Tim

Butter?? I've heard of the veggie oil thing and have to say I'm pretty skeptical, but butter?

Ross

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Ross

I'm skeptical too! My thoughts on the butter is it would bring in the cock roaches and they would /will devour everything in site. I just made mention of it only because I saw a thread on oils used and butter was one of them. Glad you caught that.

Happy tooling

Tim

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First off neatsfoot oil is made by the natural oils from the lower bones of cattle legs. A long time ago people noticed that cattle did not suffer any frostbite in thier legs in winter because of the oils that did not get thicker. By boiling those bones after slaughter a low vicosity oil was produced. This oil when applied on veg-tanned leather prolonged the life of the leather and sofened it. The one problem with neatsfoot oil is it will darken the leather.

Lexal is a combination of mostly two ingrediants, neatsfoot oil , and liquid lanolien. Lanoline is a natural product from sheep. This product is very good because it will not darken the leather as much as pure neatsfoot oil.

The one thing you do not want to put on leather is a petrolium product, this will eventualy break down the leathers fibers.

See if this helps.

Tim

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.

I currently use a product called Bee Natural Saddle oil on my veg-tan projects after I've finished my tooling.

Tim, how do you like the Bee Natural?

Bill

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I use both Lexol and Neatsfoot Oil. When I'm tooling I put Lexol in my spray bottle to case the leather, I sure makes the swivel knife cut easier and need less stropping. When I'm finished with tooling, and the leather is dry. I use neatsfoot before the application of dye to the leather. I let it sit overnight before applying the dye.

Dave

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Here is an interview with Summit who makes lexol.

http://forums.roadfly.com/forums/detailing/4716867-1.html

There is no oil or lanolin in lexol. it is artificial.

There is no cow in neatsfoot oil. It is just a term for a generic oil (kinda like tung oil for furniture which may or may not contain the oil from the tung nut).

Neatsfoot is mostly rendered pig fat. You can easily see this if you let it freeze. The lard settles to the bottom.

So I reckon margarin would work as well as butter?

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I was a big fan of Lexol until I started using Eco-Flo dyes. I found Lexol lifted the color quite dramatically. I switched to neatsfoot oil, and it seems to be very compatible with water-based dyes. Just something to keep in mind if you plan to dye your projects.

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Here is an interview with Summit who makes lexol.

http://forums.roadfl.../4716867-1.html

There is no oil or lanolin in lexol. it is artificial.

There is no cow in neatsfoot oil. It is just a term for a generic oil (kinda like tung oil for furniture which may or may not contain the oil from the tung nut).

Neatsfoot is mostly rendered pig fat. You can easily see this if you let it freeze. The lard settles to the bottom.

So I reckon margarin would work as well as butter?

Some sources dispute the source of neatsfoot oil. Pure versus compound and all that has been a oft overheard debate. I am thinking I will start using olive oil but no oleo for my leather goods.;)

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Thanks to Studio-N and TTcustom for posting those links. Very educational! I have been using olive oil because I feel it's lighter, penetrates faster and dipserses through the leather more completely. It seems like my leather doesn't darken quite as much as it did with Neatsfoot oil, but that could just be my imagination.

Bobby

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Bobby, it's nice to hear another member speak up in favor of olive oil. I experienced all of the same benefits of using it, but eventually shied away due to some folks claiming the leather could turn "rancid." For the record, I have several projects I did six or seven years ago with light coats of olive oil, and they all look (and smell) great.

How long have you been using olive oil? Any negative feedback from customers?

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If you can deal with the smell, raw cod liver oil is very good for veg tanned leather.

Mixed with tallow it's one of the traditional curriers fats. I rendered a few kilos of beef tallow a while ago which I've used on various things mixed with cod liver oil, based on a recipe from an old leather dressings book I got of abebooks a while ago.

The smell is an issue though, but it goes away once the oils have stopped oxidising. I don't understand the chemistry but from what I've read it's the oxidation of the oils in contact with the collagen fibres of the leather that is beneficial, so while 'deodorised' cod liver oil might be more pleasant it doesn't do the same job as the raw stuff.

It works best on things you can apply it to and then put aside someplace for a while to de-stink.

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Thanks all for all the input on what I'm sure is a well thrashed subject!!

Olive oil eh? Cold pressed? Extra virgin? Actually, I think I'll try OO on something.

The videos were very informative - Thanks!

I went ahead and used neatsfoot on a holster I just made (WWII 1911 style for web belt - no tooling), and yes, it turned dark. That's OK.

Thanks again!

BTW - this is a great forum! LOTS of activity - so much to learn!

- Tim

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Bill

I was introduced to Bee Natural oil about 6 years ago and find that it does not darken my leather much unless I over oil. Even after 6 months I find that it leaves the leather far lighter than neatsfoot oil

Happy tooling

Tim

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I haven't been down the Olive Oil road yet but I have found that Weavers U-82 Saddlers oil is very thin and disperses very evenly. It also penetrates very quickly without any residue left on the surface. It darkens for about a day and then comes back to natural color. I really like this stuff a lot. The only downfall to it is that is smells a little like diesel fuel but once you add a finish afterward, the smell is gone.

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If you can deal with the smell, raw cod liver oil is very good for veg tanned leather.

Mixed with tallow it's one of the traditional curriers fats. I rendered a few kilos of beef tallow a while ago which I've used on various things mixed with cod liver oil, based on a recipe from an old leather dressings book I got of abebooks a while ago.

The smell is an issue though, but it goes away once the oils have stopped oxidising. I don't understand the chemistry but from what I've read it's the oxidation of the oils in contact with the collagen fibres of the leather that is beneficial, so while 'deodorised' cod liver oil might be more pleasant it doesn't do the same job as the raw stuff.

It works best on things you can apply it to and then put aside someplace for a while to de-stink.

I have never done any tooling on leather but i do plait whips and bosals and i make my own plaiting soap which i use mutton fat from around the kidneys , pure soap flakes , water, abit of kero to stop the dogs, rats , mice or what ever from having a chew then plus i add alittle eucalyptus oil just so the boss dont kick up a stink , i use this to grease my strings before plaiting , then i use a little at atime while plaiting so the strings pull up nice and tight.

This does not darken the leather much at all, makes it nice and soft " smooth as a babies bum " i give a tub of this with my whips so neatsfoot oil is not used because it will darken my two tone whips back to one !

Cheers

Bevan

www.bwrwhips.com

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We always just used plain vegetable oil to oil a saddle after it was finished. Usually we'd heat it up a bit for better absorption. Let it sit overnight, then a light coating of Saddle-Lac.

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Interesting thread. Years ago when I was still a kid and before I started in business, I used Lexol because everyone said oil was bad for your leather. My tack never had that good soft broken in feel. It just always felt dry and a little hard. I bought a horse from a gal after I got out of high school and her tack felt like nothing I'd ever had my hands on. I asked her what her secret was. Neatsfoot oil. I started using it and soon had tack that felt like hers. That was over 30 years ago. I've used Sheps harness oil almost exclusively on my products since I started in business. Now, it depends on what type of leather goods we're talking about. Lighter weight leathers and personal leather goods, oil may not be the best choice. Lexol might be fine for those. As far as oil types, I had a client that brought a saddle in for repair and reconditioning. He'd been bragging on olive oil. His saddle was dried out to the point that it sucked up oil like a sponge, once I got the gummy grime off the surface of the leather that had been left there by the olive oil. IMO olive oil isn't worth a damn. I've also found that the better leathers darken less than cheaper leathers, and the color the better leathers turn after oiling is more attractive than the less expensive brands. Old leather, such as that of vintage saddles, also usually darkens more than something that is 5, 10 or even 20 years old. Since I do lots of vintage saddle restorations, where it's not necessarily desirable for the leather to darken considerably, about 6 months ago I thought I'd try some Lexol again. Actually, I bought some to try the casing solution mentioned on this forum. Well, I've used the Lexol on quite a few saddles since then, and honestly, my opinion of it hasn't changed. It just does not do the job. Much of the stuff I make and repair gets used hard. Tack that I made over 20 years ago, and went in the dip tank before it left the shop, is in way better shape than the stuff that never got oiled. I tell my clients that the most important time to get oil in their equipment is before it ever touches a horse, and that means neatsfoot oil (I use Sheps blend actually to keep the rodents off--it does work!), not Lexol. I base my theories and beliefs on my personal experiences, so if something else works for someone else, then more power to them.

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Hello , i new to this forum and i try to put Fiebinbg's antique finish on my work. However i encoutered dark spot in several areas.Should i put a light coat of Lexol / olive oil in it ? its difficult to find any resolene in my place. One more question, should it be thinned ?

many thanks

Abe

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