Where can I get a can of this stuff. My dad, who is older than the hills said Pharmacy, but no luck there. They didn't know what it was. I want to treat an 03 Springfield sling. Please Help. Andy
Not sure about neatsfoot oil being poison but there are lots of leather cleaners/dressings available for leather car seats and all leather upholstery. And they work much better than Mazola.
I swear by Jupiter Optimus Maximus .... in the army of the consul Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus and for 10 miles around it I will not steal anything worth more than a sestertius in any one day.
Look in the boot care section of any good sized sporting goods store. I got my last can at Ace hardware in the camping stuff section.
Look in the baseball section of your local sporting goods store. Neatsfoot oil is sold there for glove maintenance.
bootleggerspub, what do you want to accomplish with the sling? Is your sling original, in other words, an antique? Is it hard and cracked? I hope you are not trying to "soften it up", that is not going to happen. Remember that when the sling was new it was stiff yet flexible and really never got soft, even when being used regularly. If it has dried out and cracked then it is in a display only state and really should not be used to carry the rifle or even to shoot it as was done during it's younger days. So if that is what you want, there are plenty of reproduction slings for every day use, try finding one of those as a user grade sling and set the original aside for display on the rifle when it is in the gun cabinet. Anyway, you are looking for the best treatment for leather that there is, pure neatsfoot oil will rejuvenate old leather better than anything else but you need to apply it properly and for heaven's sake do not over do it - less is better.
First, take the sling off of the rifle and clean it using a good quality saddle soap. Use as little soap as possible to develop a lather but use plenty of water. Water will not damage the leather and will dry out just fine. When finished cleaning, leave the sling in a shaded, well ventilated place out of direct sunlight and, for heavens sake, do not dry it with a high heat source - no radiator, hair drier, furnace vent, etc. When it is almost but not quite dry, apply PURE neatsfoot oil (more on that later) with the fingers or a piece of lambs wool. And apply it to the flesh side. That is the rough side of the leather, not the hair (or smooth) side. As I said above, do not apply too much, over application will drown the leather and cut off it's air supply. Too much can also make the leather soft and it will stretch and break as well as ooz the wasted oil, not good. If used a lot (I don't recommend the use of antique leather but...) you can do the application again in a year or so. If used for display only, you should be good to go for a long time. Again, don't over do it, even proper applications of oil can damage the leather if it is done too often.
Some good links from Slim Tim but remember to avoid like the plague "Neatsfoot Oil COMPOUND". It is neatsfoot oil cut with mineral oil and maybe that is what Dean was talking about when he said (and I quote) "Neatsfoot oil is pure poison to leather...." Sorry Dean, that is just untrue. Pure neatsfoot oil is the best thing for leather when applied properly. So, no matter what you choose to use, READ THE CONTENTS. Neatsfoot oil compound and most other modern day leather goos contain BAD things for leather - mineral oil and petroleum products. Avoid "mink oil" and Pecards leather treatments as well as many others when dealing with collectible leather that you want to preserve. You can use them on work boots and other footwear that you plan on using up and throwing them away, they will do okay with those things, that includes new made reenactor leather equipment. Cheap saddles will be fine with them as well as leather garments that will be worn until they are worn out and are then pitched - in other words, expendable items.
A last thought. For leather items to be collected and saved as examples of the material culture of the past, keep them clean by removing dirt, plain water is best if it can't be wiped or dusted off. Keep it it a room where the humidity is between 50% and 60%, plus or minus 5%. Do not allow the temperature to get too cold or too hot - if you are comfortable so is your leather. Do not over stress the leather. If you want to hang an item that has a leather strap it will fail eventually. If a rifle sling is kept on a rifle, do not over tighten it between the swivels. Tight parade order was fine when it was new but not now that it is old. And, maybe the most important? Keep it out of direct sunlight, nothing is worse for preserving old leather than sunlight.
Sorry to ramble.....
One last thing, I forgot to mention that many vegetable oils contain salt - not good for leather. Sorry Dean, not trying to rag on you. I do know people that have had good luck with peanut and olive oil as long as they didn't overdo it when applying it but it is hard to find them without salt. And no leather is "vegetable oil" tanned, most so-called vegetable tanned leather is tanned with bark. Oil tanned leather uses neatsfoot oil or fish oil.
I will stick with what works for me.
But go ahead use all of the neatsfoot oil you can soak in it have it dripping all the place.
Be sure you have a rag with you to wipe off your hands for the next few years.
Maybe we have, not sure. But you do need to read my post a little more carefully; my exact quote is "for heaven's sake do not over do it - less is better". I think I said that twice. Neatsfoot oil and vegetable oil both have about the same consistency and I'm sure that if you find vegetable oil doesn't drown your leather that you could apply neatsfoot oil without soaking your shirt and hands. Sorry you took offense, by all means, use what in your opinion works for you. Thirty-five years of leather work on my part doesn't really mean too much when someone has a different opinion.
maintenance sheet on an M1907 sling. I just used mineral oil on my last one, but was just wondering if the Neatsfoot would be better.My slings are new production and were stored dry, as per the instruction sheet. I would not try to "recondition" Leather. I should have known someone would think that about me. To recap, this is a NEW Sling. Andy
Sorry, double post....
Last edited by TP; 11-23-2009 at 02:25 PM.
I found a saddlery/dog collar/dog leash/sheath making shop near me that sold neatsfoot oil. Also found some at a riding competition shop that supplies jumpers etc.
Looking for a M95 sniper, unusual, Czech, and 1913 or earlier M95s and early Czech 98/22s (Vz 98).
Just running along ... at a tortoise pace.
You can view pics of my collection here.
As you said earlier salt is the enemy of leather I was cleaning the leather.
A 6 year old boy don't do much dunking of a heavy team harness.
But back to the question of the best way to soften leather is not neatsfoot oil, there are far better ways.
I like to use Kiwi's mink Oil on holsters, belts, and accessories. It smells good and seems to get down in there well. $5.00 a can in shoe stores or Wal-Mart.
I used to make my own slings and occasionally for others when trapped and couldn't find a way out.
A better chemical for slings to keep flexible but not allow them to stretch is Lexol leather conditioner. In my opinion, it does a better job of this then oils.
If you use neatsfoot oil, make sure you get 100% neatsfoot oil and not "neatsfoot compound" which is mostly fish oil.
Note too that leather will tend to mildew if treated with neatsfoot oil, especially if stored in air tight bags.
Lexol leather treatment is good but it uses water as a carrier so it dries out too quickly, requiring re-treatment. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is labor intensive.
Neatsfoot oil compound, as I stated above, is cut not with fish oil but mineral oil. Fish oils are used in leather tanning so can't be considered bad for leather unless used too heavily.
I am not sure that neatsfoot oil treated leather will mildew any worse than leather not so treated. It needs to be kept in a ventilated space as does all leather, this will do as much to keep mildew in check as anything else. Avoid sealing leather in plastic bags.
Of course a 6 year old will not be dunking harness, it is suspended on a rack and dunked in the tank then almost immediately withdrawn and allowed to drain. That or it is saddle soaped then oiled by hand, a time consuming process that a 6 year old could handle but almost no one does anymore. Work harness is usually oiled once every year but, as you said, wiped with water to dilute sweat and loosen dirt after every use if possible. Of course, when it comes to harness, you know far more about the process than I do.
Never had a problem with Neats Foot Oil after 30 years of use. I usually found it at boot and leather repair shops in the past. Tried SlimTims link and found True Value has it as "pure neatsfoot oil" in a 32 oz. bottle for less than $15 delivered. Thats a pretty good deal.....
Question: What is wrong with dunking leather in Neatsfoot Oil? I'm not trying to be smart, I really want to know and I respect your opinion.
As I said there are better products than neatsfoot oil to use on leather.
Neatsfoot oil is used for thick harness leather to prevent drying & cracking from daily doses of salt, sweat & hot sun.
Not for a collector rifle with a new sling, that rarely see daylite.
Even in the early 50s our neighbors still used a matched team with a buck rake feeding a stationary baler.
I still remember the beauty & skill of the team with the ole rancher.
Some thing you youngsters for lack of a better word will never experience.
Last edited by DeanDallas; 11-24-2009 at 08:43 AM. Reason: spelling
Regarding Question: What is wrong with dunking leather in Neatsfoot Oil?
I was issued a pair of GI cap-toe combat boots in 1965. They would not break in. I gave the boots a thorough soaking in neatsfoot oil - GI issue. That softened the leather. In fact, the uppers would not stand up on their own but flopped over like cloth.
I never could get a spit shine after the neatsfoot treatment, but the boots were waterproof and very comfortable. I still have them.
Dean, what exactly would you recommend? We know you don't like neatsfoot oil and that is okay but you have not really recommended anything specific yet. Just because I don't agree with your seeming dislike of neatsfoot oil doesn't necessarily mean that I don't think that what you use is good. As long as it doesn't contain mineral oil, petroleum products or silicone, it should be fine. Let us know.
As far as working horse teams, you are right, a well regulated and experienced team of work horses is a thing of beauty and every year there are fewer and fewer of them. Here in the Shenandoah Valley we still have a fair number of working teams used by the old order Mennonite farmers and it is something to see.
Leon, I can't get the Obenaufs site to work, even after a Google search, they seem to be down or having problems. I like the little I can find, beeswax will certainly help leather and preserve it but what do they mix with the beeswax? They also have a number of items that use silicone and I am not sure that it should be around leather, especially collectible items.
Forty plus years of maintaining leather riding gear and leather seats and bags on motorcycles that see more harsh condition in a single year that a rifle sling well see in fifty years I have tried about every product out their. I water proof seams with bees wax and treat with Lexol leather products. Works for me, YMMV.
Well, peanut oil and olive oil it is then. They were always considered acceptable replacements by the military when neatsfoot oil was just not available. How's that for "outside the box"? :D
Regarding silicone, Obenauf's liquid and paste products contain no silicone. They do have a product called "Water Shield" which is a non aerosol water based emulsion. Their documentation is specific about the use of silicone as a waterproofing adjunct, but not as a preservative.
My curiosity has gotten the best of me; just where does Neat's foot oil come from?
Surely not the foot of a Neat?
03man - Don Voigt
Author of "The Japanese T99 Arisaka Rifle" 2010 edition
Co-author of "The Knee Mortars of Japan 1921-1945" 2011 edition
Near Charlotte, NC
Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)
Clyde has the source of the word perfectly.
BLACKROCK........when nothing but the best will do. I do not need to say anything else about it because when you use it, you will know.
BLACKROCK? It has carnuba wax and that's good, but so do most quality shoe polishes....