Fine Leather Prepping and Care

March 27, 2024 15 view(s)

Your fine leather item purchased from Big Dee’s has been carefully inspected by our experienced staff for abnormal imperfections beyond anything found in a product of natural origin. We stand behind the leather products we sell as long as they are properly cared for. Your warranty may be dependent upon using specific products on your item. If you find that your purchase does not fit properly, or for some reason does not meet your needs, please return it in new condition. We cannot accept returns on items that have been stripped, oiled, stained or used. Please try the item on first before prepping or use.

To ensure the longest life and most efficient “break-in” of your new leather product, we recommend the following procedures* for the original prepping of new leather, as well as maintenance cleaning and conditioning.

* Always follow any specific manufacturer’s instructions included. Failure to do so may void the product warranties.


Preparation of “English” Leather Strapgoods and Saddles for First Use

1. Gently remove any excess wax or protective materials from the leather with Castile Soap or other pH balanced cleaner, warm clean water and a clean tack sponge. * We do not recommend the use of ammonia (or any other harsh chemicals) these can excessively dry the leather, may weaken stitching fibers and eventually will cause cracking. Many tanning processes no longer require this step.

2. The leather is now ready for oil. We use and recommend Amerigo Soft Oil, Walsh “Blue Ribbon” Oil or similar products. Oil only the unsealed or raw surfaces, not the outside surface of the flaps, seat, or panels. For those outside surfaces use a leather conditioner. Recommended brands include Amerigo Grease or Effax leather balsam, Leather Therapy Conditioner, or similar products that will condition the leather without leaving a residue that is likely to stain clothing. It is better to apply a few of coats of oil, allowing each to be thoroughly absorbed, rather than dunking the item in oil, which may leave it oversaturated.

3. After applying sufficient oil, finish the prepping process by going over the entire item with a glycerine saddle soap or a glycerine/conditioner combination such as Mad Cow or Belvoir Saddle Soap. Use only a minimal amount of water on the clean sponge to avoid sudsing. This will leave a thin protective coating on the leather and a soft luster to the color. Note, for longest useful life of your purchase, clean tack after each use.

4. Note that some specialty leathers on saddles require special care instructions, including not adding additional oil, but instead using only cream base cleaners such as Effax leather cream soap and Leather balsam. Our sales associates can recommend products that will be appropriate for your purchase. For the longest life of your purchase, clean tack after each use. 

5. Some saddles are made with leathers that prefer leather conditioners to saddle oil. Manufacturers may recommend using only cream soaps and/or leather conditioners over oil. Avoid products with non-neutral pH as they may damage the finish. 

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