I'm trying to soften up the stiff old leather in my 1910 touring, and I've tried just about everything but but so far, not much success. I've cleaned it gently with light water and Murphy's oil soap and then tried Groit's leather conditioner, Feibings Leather Care as well as Neatsfoot Oil (not compound). I've rubbed these various treatments into the stiff leather and let it sit in the shade on a hot summer day, then put it in the blazing sun for a while too. Although the leather seems less stiff than when I started, I still think it should be much softer. Am I being over optimistic with this? Has anyone else with stiff old leather had better success getting it soft? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
I've done some typewriter cases. I used simple hand moisturizer cream. Worked good enough. There is a limit with old leather on how soft you can get it again. leave the cream on for about an hour, and wipe off. Repeat until happy with results.
Of course, not sure how T leather is compared to Remington typewriter cases.
I used Doctor Jackson's Hyde Restorer on my original 1907 Autocar with good results. Light applications that I allowed to settle into the leather seems to work best. I used a hair dryer on the lowest setting a good distance from the leather to aid in absorption. Do not try to get the leather too soft as it will actually start to turn to mush and tear under stress. Just try to get it so it will not crack.
Thanks for the tips - I think you're right on, Val. I may have too high of expectations for softness when in reality, I just need non-brittle.
The leather in my '13 Touring was faded and so brittle, that I knew that even sitting on it would crack the leather. A friend suggested Leather Honey. It went on, and after 24 hours, I wiped another coat on over it. After the third wiping, I pulled the car out into the sun, because there was a distinct "oiliness" to the surface. After a couple of days (with the car back inside), the oiliness either evaporated, or was absorbed. I then used leather dye, over the whole surface to re-color the areas that were faded. That was three years ago. Today, people are amazed that the leather is 105 years old, and looks as good as it does. I must admit, however, that the front seat cushion was replaced with a cushion from Classtique. It seems that not even leather can sustain 100 years of Model T driver farts.
Now THAT'S FUNNY!
I totally agree.
Whether or not beans have figured too abundantly in the diet of Model T drivers through the past century, the fact remains that the seat takes most of the wear, and nearly all of the passenger load.
Leather requires a certain moisture content to remain supple. Many restorative preparations provide a water content and oils that will maintain it. When leather has thoroughly dried out and become brittle, often it can be "resuscitated" so long as it has not physically deteriorated owing to excessive UV exposure or become rotted from dampness or mildew before it dried "crispy".
Lexol Leather Conditioner
A saddle shop in the area recommended a product called Saddle Butter to use on my leather upholstery. The horse crowd uses it on leather reins, belts and straps.
Hi Bill. You may not remember, but you asked this same question in April of 2014, regarding the upholstery on your 1914. My suggestion remains the same now, as it was in 2014. Griots. Please see the link for the suggestions you were given back then. Good luck. Jim Patrick
you might try vegetable glycerine I have had good luck with it on old saddle bags that were hard as a rock they came out very good except the places that got cracked before the soakin. our 16 is not leather but I think it helps soften the seats I mix it with water and brush it on it drys out after a while I buy it for about 12 bucks a gallon on amazon
A word of caution regarding Murphys Oil Soap. I used it to clean the leather seats of my 1946 MGTC, which had not been done in a decade or more. MOS brightened things up beautifully, but also took out the dye in one small area. Test before you go full bore with it. Cheers, Bill
All great suggestions - thanks everyone! I'll let you know what results I have once I get around to the project again!
One more thread that might help.