So That’s What Havana Looks Like

I went ahead and tried out a few fun products in an effort to fix those pesky water stains on my saddle.

As a recap, lets start with exhibit A, my weathered Pessoa saddle:

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It just hurts looking at it. The rain (and keeping it in the trunk of my car… I know I’m a bad person) has definitely done a number on the once beautiful leather. After doing a lot of research, it seems that other than ripping the leather off and starting new, my best option was to darken my saddle to hide the water stains.

I started by buying Belvoir Step 1 Cleaner. It was super easy to use, if you can figure out how to point the nozzle at the saddle and not your face (woops). Just spray, let it sit for a minute, and wipe. Piece of cake. I was amazed at how much dirt it got off!

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After stripping my saddle, I started slathering on some Hydrophane Leather Darkening Oil with an old face cloth.

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After round one, I noticed this was going to take a bit longer to stain than I expected. Here’s what it looked like with an average amount of oil in the first round:

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Not a good look unless you’re into saddles with “character.”

Having learned my lesson, I literally began dunking this stuff on my facecloth, and sometimes spilling it “accidentally” onto the seat, to get the oil to soak in. The top part of my seat had a bit more trouble absorbing the oil, as it wasn’t as worn in as my actual seat, but overall, I think I got some pretty good results. Final saddle look was a nice dark Havana/chocolate/rich brown:

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I finished it up with some Effax Lederbalsam to moisturize the leather a bit. Oddly enough, the darkening oil was not very moisturizing, and even dried out some parts of my saddle. Weird. Anywho, I’m very happy with the results and wanted to share my experiences darkening a saddle for the first time ever! No hair dye needed 😉

Does anyone have any tips/ideas on how I can improve this process? Past experiences?

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