Part 2 - Clyde’s Leather Recoloring Balm


Part 1
On Thursday evening, I tried to buff the finish one last time. I wasn't able to get rid of the stroke marks, so I gave it one more light application of Clyde's Conditioning Cream. On Friday morning, I tossed my saddle in the truck, prepared to ride in it after work.

As I saddled up, I was quite pleased with how it looked. All of the tackiness had disappeared, and even after rubbing it vigorously with a paper towel, no black came off. I wasn't able to smooth out the stroke marks, but all of that is under my butt and thighs anyway, so I truly didn't care. Having it all black was what mattered most. 
So far, so good.
I rode for just under an hour. When I dismounted, I was very disappointed to see that something was wrong with the finish under my seat bones and thighs. I couldn't figure out if the dye had rubbed off - I was wearing black tights, or if the finish had been removed. Once I unsaddled, I was able to get a closer look at it. I had used the deglazer which is intended to strip the finish which allows the dye to penetrate the leather. It clearly worked.
I went back to Clyde's website and read the detailed instructions again. According to the directions, the Leather Conditioning Balm should have been the last step. I put my saddle away and added another layer of balm, but the finish looked exactly the same the next morning. Since I had a lesson, I rode in it anyway, but then I brought it back home.

I pulled out my supplies from the first time I dyed the saddle back in 2018. Back then, I had purchased the black leather dye, Deglazer, Tan-Kote, and Resolene, all made by Fiebings. The Tan-Kote is a finishing product that adds shine to the leather. The Resolene is a glossy final finish that is durable and water repellant. The last time I dyed the saddle, I used the Resolene, but I wouldn't use it again as it made the finish too glossy.

I started out by wiping a tiny bit of the Tan-Kote on the seat just to see what it did. It did indeed make the leather shiny, so I coated the entire seat, saddle skirt, and both fenders. I let it dry and was very encouraged by the shine. After watching a video from Fiebings, I decided to apply a second coat of the Tan-Kote.
After the first coat dried.
Later that afternoon, my saddle looked great. By the next morning, the Tan-Kote felt cured and dry, so I decided to ride. As it turns out, it wasn't quite dry enough.
The next morning after the second coat had dried.
On Sunday morning, after having sat for twelve hours on a warm day, the finish no longer felt tacky. As I warmed Izzy up, things felt pretty good. It wasn't until I started to do a rising trot that I knew the saddle hadn't yet dried. My butt came out of the saddle, but my breeches did not. Since  Izzy was already saddled and we were moving, I decided to just see what happened. I rode for 30 minutes and then got off to check how much damage had been done. The loss of shine wasn't too bad, but I want to try and fix it.
Slight loss of shine on the saddle's skirt and center of the seat.
In late June we're going on vacation which means if I apply anything to the saddle it will have nearly a week to dry and cure. I am going to continue riding over the month which will give me enough rides to see how much of the Tan-Kote and Recoloring Balm are worn away, if any. I am hoping that after today's ride things will look settled.

​I'll keep you posted.

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