JanetNorris

How To Condition A Rough-Out Saddle?

4 posts in this topic

Hello,

I recently picked up a Dave Silva rough-out saddle in need of cleaning, conditioning, stirrup leathers and new sheepskin. Under the dirt and bald spots it is a really well-made rig. I am fine with the relining work, assembly, etc. but do not have experience with rough-out saddles. I cleaned it with liquid castile soap, a nail brush and plenty of rinse water. But now I'm not sure how to apply oil or other conditioner without getting a blotchy result, a major dirt magnet, and a year of oily riding jeans. The fenders and seat jockeys are lined so I can't just oil from the backside. I was thinking of applying olive oil or maybe #1 saddle oil through an airbrush. Any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance,

Janet

Silicon Valley Leather Guild (Hi Bruce!)

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Janet, oiling a rough out is no problem. Just use the oil of your choice (my preference is pure neatsfoot) . I've never tried airbrushing oil, I simply use a piece of sheepskin. If I want to clean up the nap a little on a used rough out, I have a relatively soft bristled wire brush that does a good job with that. JW

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Hello Janet,

I use oil like JW too. The roughout is more porous and will absorb the oil a lot faster than the grain side. A little goes a long way. Where most people get into trouble is they apply the oil and it sucks right in. To them it is an obvious sign the leather is too dry and they add more. I use a sheepskin too, and mostly squueze it out and lightly run it over the leather. It will pull right in instead of spread like on the grain side if you have a lot on the patch. I usually use a light coating of a paste after a day or two. I have tried several, but keep going back to the RM Williams.

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JW, thank you for your input. It gives me the needed confidence to proceed with oil.

Bruce, thanks also to you for expanding on the process. I am wondering if the RM Williams leaves the nap of the roughout kinda smoothed down, or if it absorbs too? I was surprised that the nap fluffed up so much when I cleaned this saddle.

Regards, Janet

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