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Horse Drawn Equipment Old iron designed for the purpose of hitching up to a horse or a team. This old iron machinery may be used or demonstrated while hooked to an old iron tractor too.

Horse Drawn Equipment

Oil for old leather harness?


I recently acquired 4 sets of harness that has been hanging in an old house for a long time. I want...

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  #1  
Old 12-24-2009, 09:19 AM
Wayne Riedlinger Wayne Riedlinger is offline
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Default Oil for old leather harness?

I recently acquired 4 sets of harness that has been hanging in an old house for a long time. I want to oil it but being that neatsfoot is very expensive what would be an alternative.
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Old 12-24-2009, 09:53 AM
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TheToolman TheToolman is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

I bought some neatsfoot oil at K Mart . I was not expensive.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:09 PM
Bruce B. Bruce B. is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

For preserving vintage leather I believe that neatsfoot oil is your best bet. Any other kind of oil might not preserve/soften that old leather sufficiently -- and you don't want to ruin it after it has survived all these years.

I bought a quart jug of neatsfoot oil at the feed store last year; I'm pretty sure it was less than $10. (Just goes to show you that it pays to buy in bulk! Might even be cheaper if you can find it in a gallon jug.)

Check with local businesses that deal with boots, saddles and/or harness; if they don't have neatsfoot oil, they're bound to know who does.

I usually put the leather goods into a heavy-duty trash bag (the "contractor clean-up" type of bag) and slosh the neatsfoot oil liberally around. I don't bother to close up the bag; I just let the leather sit in the bag and soak up whatever oil didn't go onto its surface in the first place.

To oil up four sets of harness you'll probably need two or three quarts of neatsfoot oil.
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Old 12-24-2009, 01:41 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

CAUTION-what is now sold as neatsfoot oil is NOT real! It can destroy leather goods in the 'long' term!! Much neatsfoot oil is made from lard, and petroleum compounds, real neatsfoot oil is made from the fats renderd from cow's legs, NOT body lard.

Mink oil is an excellent alternative.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:06 PM
Wayne Riedlinger Wayne Riedlinger is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

I did some checking at a couple local shops that sell horse tack. 1 gallon jugs of neatsfoot are readily available. A few years ago I got a threshing machine that had some original leather belts. They were stiff as a board, after 2 coats of neatsfoot they limbered right up and i used them on the machine.
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Old 12-24-2009, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

I just wanted to add , I found in the shoe shine section.
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Old 12-24-2009, 05:15 PM
Wayne Riedlinger Wayne Riedlinger is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

I guess it goes without saying - you never know where you are going to find somthing.
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Old 08-15-2011, 07:34 PM
Cavry Cavry is offline
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Default Re: Oil for old leather harness?

Also make sure that it IS neatsfoot OIL, not neatsfoot compound .
Compound has a way of making leather hard and brittle after some time. And while we're at it, lexol is good for leather but rots natural fiber stitching, cotton, linen. And be sure that the harness you buy at farm auctions hasn't been dredged through burnt motor oil to temporarily soften it. Disaster! I've smelled it more than once and walked from otherwise nice looking rigs,
I repaired and restored antique harness for 35 years for a living.
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