What is the best thing to soften very hard and cracking or is there anything ?--thanks
Saturate the leather with neatsfoot oil, repeat as needed.
There's some interesting reading on this site:
If you read the rejuvenation discussion on there, note that it discusses working liquid around the stitched areas, as that allows it to get into the leather itself. That's the big issue with trying to get the moisture back into the leather, usually upholstery leather has a sealed surface, so no product can get to the back of the leather to add moisture.
If you can take covers off with damaging them (very difficult on most older cars), working on the back of the leather helps a lot.
Harry what I think works best is vegetable glycerin I have used it on old saddle bags and other hard leather also on the seats on our 16 that are not leather but it helped soften it up you can buy it in gallon jugs on amazon I mix it with water and brush it on heavy it soaks it up it takes a lot time and coats to soften but it does work do it before you bend the leather once it cracks it is to late
I like regular paste wax
You can not rejuvenate dried and hardened leather, you can only make it soft and pliable. The leather will be weak and tear easily and get anything that comes in contact with it greasy. If it is an artifact, there is nothing that can be done other than to protect it from further damage and wax is the best way.
The Indians up in Northern Minnesota told me bear fat was an old native traditional treatment for softening/preserving leather. I tried some on a weathered interior on a '13 T I owned a decade ago. It worked unbelievably great. I still have a jar of it, saving for the next time I get a car that needs leather softening. I don't think you can find it at the local hardware store though......
You've just given me even more incentive to harvest a bear with my bow this fall.
I tried everything on my '13 roadster. Ford probably used the cheapest quality leather in the first place. After 103 years the leather is just plain shot! Nothing can fix it.
Been in the horse drawn carriage business for 54 years, most all seats were made of leather. DO NOT use needsfoot oil, it's one chromazone off of being motor oil. Use BURNDT LINSEED OIL, warm it then use a long bristle brush, in the sun and soak the hell outta it. Leave it sit in the sun the longer the better. After about a week, hand rub the heck outta it with something like a polishing pad. It works !!!
Is BURNDT a product name, or do you mean boiled? Please explain.
Larry, have you tried bear fat? California is the golden bear state! Ha ha! Really, if Eric H. gets a bear hunting this fall, I will con him out of some fat and send it to you. It really worked for me. At this point it sounds like anything would be worth a try on your '13.
As Dan said, Neatsfoot oil is the best, if you have leather that is dry all the way through, you have to get something that penetrates all the way through to the other side, you havn't saved the leather from cracking, and tearing on the in side.
I have used gallons, and gallons of that oil on horse tac, buggy, and car seats.
The stuff is a light oil, but after that then put what ever, on the top.
That is the only that will save Horse Harness for heavy pulls again.
The only thing I have against linseed oil is it will gum in spots, only thing I use on Guns.
Michael, after closer proof reading my message, it's my mistake, it's BOILED and really sorry for the mistake. NO GOOD, wax fills pores, needsfoot makes your horse into a zebra for weeks after. Does work good on gun stocks, then rub the hell outta the wood, beautiful when done. Warm the linseed oil before applying.
John, thanks, I'll try that on the seats in my 1910 touring. Never liked neatsfoot oil
Kim- let me know how it works- I have original leather I another brass era car that needs attention and my upholstery guy recommended the neatsfoot oil. neatsfoot oil does wonders on old baseball and softball gloves, but I never heard of using linseed oil, so please keep us posted.
Griots is the best leather rejuvenator I have ever found. Once you use it, you will never use any other leather rejuvenator product. Here is a thread from 2010. Jim Patrick
I second Jim P. as far as Griot's leather conditioner is concerned....I use it on all my modern cars. Any product from Griot's Garage is the best I have found for the purposes I need it.
BOILED LINSEED OIL for old, dry leather and LEXOL for modern day plyable newer leather. The trick is warm the oils NOT HOT, then apply generously. The longer it soaks in the sun dah better, then hand buff the hell outta it with sheepskin buffing pad. IT WORKS.........
Along the same lines of treating leather is the question of eliminating what appears to be slight mildew stains on leather. I have some on the backs of the seats on my hack. I have tried leather conditioners and even tried using vinegar. Didn't do it all. Anyone else run into this?
Neatsfoot oil is great for retanned leather cone clutches. It provides a smooth engagement but I would be nervous using it on seat leather because it never seems to get fully absorbed. Unless I was wearing leather pants I would not want to sit on it!
I was reading along, looked at the other thread from '10 and jumped over to Griot's site and 30 seconds later I could smell leather (lasted about a minute).
Just got a whiff again for a several seconds.
Two powerful things:
Wanted to say that.
Answering R.S. remarks/concerns, SADDLE SOAP works wonders for mildew/stains. Put some "elbow grease" into it, like anything in life, you have to work for it. SADDLE SOAP will also help with the conditioning.