Sloan Leather Saddle Restoration

If you have ever owned an expensive, well-made saddle, you know that proper care and maintenance is essential to keeping it looking and performing its best. And, Preservation Solutions' leather care products will make that job easy. But did you know we also have products for museum-quality conservation and restoration? Check out the fantastic saddle restoration below, using several of our products.

This particular saddle was in very poor condition, but the after photos are simply stunning. The difference is truly amazing. If you have a saddle or any other leather item that is in need of some TLC, be sure to check out our website. We have a wide variety of products to choose from, and our experienced staff is always available to answer any questions you may have.

Restoration pictures and captions below were provided by Ann Boes of Sloan Saddlery and Leather Shop, Farmington, Missouri.

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The metal lacing on the front of this saddle was completely disintegrated. The leather under the metal and the holes were flaking away. The lower piece on the horn cap was rock hard and dried into this position. It could not be flexed at all without danger of breaking the fibers. We were not sure it would be able to be saved. The customer was quoted a price for full replacement if the Preservation Solutions products had not been able to restore enough flexibility to reform the leather.

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The seat on this saddle was extremely dry and flaking away. Any amount of flexing resulted in additional leather flaking and cracking. There was also a large tear on the right side. Since this saddle was not going to be used after restoration, the customer was given the option of restoring the seat rather than full replacement.

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The underside of the back jockey is in bad shape. Leather Detergent Concentrate was used on the entire saddle to clean it. A diluted solution was brushed on, then scrubbed with soft brushes and rinsed thoroughly, This was done after using a glycerin bar cleaner which did not do the job.

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A view of the cantle and back rigging under the seat. Much of the stitching on the cantle binding is rotted. The lacing is disintegrating and the leather is worn away.

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This picture shows the cantle binding party removed. The small pieces of metal lacing that were still there have also been removed. The seat leather under the binding is in fairly good shape, although it’s extremely dry.

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Because the leather was completely worn through in places the cantle binding had to be replaced. The background shows the Preservation Solutions products used in the restoration of this saddle.

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The seat after the first application of Restoration Leather Conditioner.  Added note: This product is formulated specifically for older leather that is showing signs of deterioration.  It will not harm the stitching and will not swell the leather making it ideal for use on tooled or embossed leather.

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The flexibility of the leather has been restored using Leather Rejuvenator and the buckstitching is being replaced.  Added note: Leather Rejuvenator is formulated for use on hard, stiff leather where in some cases, the oils have hardened most likely due to extreme heat.

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This picture shows the application of Klucel G to stabilize the leather in and around the holes made for the metal lacing. The leather had reacted to the metal and was flaking away. Two applications of Klucel G were required on this area. It should be noted that thin coats of the Klucel G should be used, or it will darken the leather. Replacing the leather in this area would have been very costly so it was decided to stabilize with Klucel G and accept the change in color rather than replace the leather.

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The fork and horn wrapped after an application of Leather Rejuvenator.

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There is nothing worse than cleaning and conditioning a saddle only to find that you have permanently darkened the leather and the beauty of the carving/tooling no longer shows through. We use Preservation Solution products because they work great and help to restore the original beauty of our saddles and tack. The cleaned and reconditioned leather looks and feels amazing.

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Neither the horn cover nor the front binding had to be replaced, saving the customer a lot of money!

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I was really impressed with the flexibility and condition of this seat when it was finished. It was difficult to see from the before pictures, but I thought it was beyond ever being able to be ridden again without falling apart. The Preservation Solutions products restored moisture and flexibility to the point where this seat certainly could be ridden again for awhile.

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A back view.

We love to see the amazing results that can be achieved with our products. If you have a leather restoration project of your own, be sure to check out our website. Our selection of products is sure to include what you need, and our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have.

Leather Care Products

For your leather care and restoration projects, browse and shop our Leather Care Products here.