I have just dragged a Lee Howell water pump from the back of my Dads garage, this pump was restored about 10 years ago and rallied twice. During restoration it had new leather cup washers fitted, but because it has not been used for so long these have gone hard. Can anyone recommend to me a suitable oil to soak them in and hopefully soften them up? Many Thanks Paul.
"Neatsfoot oil is a yellow oil rendered and purified from the feet and shin bones (not the hooves) of cattle. It is used as a conditioning, softening and preservative for leather, and remains liquid down to a low temperature.
Neatsfoot oil is produced much less than it once was. Currently, the shins and feet of cattle are usually rendered along with the rest of the body. Also, many products sold as neatsfoot oil are actually diluted with petroleum oil, which is bad for leather.
The best quality neatsfoot oil comes from the legs of calves. The fat in animals' legs generally has a lower melting point than the body fat which means that it is more fluid and easier to use at lower temperatures making it more effective for treating leather.
'Neat' in the oil's name comes from an old term for animals of the genus Bos, especially cattle."
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Thanks to all who responded, went to the local horse spares shop and asked for advice and the reply was Mars oil. They are now soaking in a dish of that, so see what happens over the next week or two. Paul.
Don't leave them in too long, Paul. Super saturation may cause the collagen fibres to separate.
After soaking & gentle manipulation, press them in layers of newspaper to remove excess oil.
I've been a Friend of Mars Oil for forty years. It has kept my feet dry on many a dewy mountainside and its distinctive pong awakens memories of the Island during TT week & soggy leathers, wet through despite the best that natural products could do! Rain at eighty plus does penetrate so ....