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Topic: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Hey Everyone, 

I have 5 leather whips that i absolutely love, but my falls break constantly.  I have read that and been told a couple of different methods of maintenance of these falls, as far as when and how much grease to apply, and have tried most but am still having the same problem.  so I present you with a couple of questions to discuss:

1. Can you grease your fall too much?  Does too much grease cause the fall to actually dry rot?

2. What is everyone's preferred product? Store bought or Homemade?

3. In your respective opinions, Does grass dry out leather?

Any other tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated as it is almost winter in my area and my prized Roo hides will have to be put up until next year!!

Thanks,
Chris

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

What is leather but a cow's (or other animals) skin.  As such it craves moisture.  Otherwise it will dry out and crack.
I make my falls from either Australian whitehide, redhide, or Indian Tanned latigo.  The redhide is my favorite.  It is the strongest of the three and is a "greasy" leather.  If I could afford to purchase an entire side I would.

For conditioners I recommend Pecards Leather conditioner.  A little goes a long way.  Tandy Leather carries Fiebing's Aussie Leather conditioner.  It is good also.  For cleaning you can use saddle soap.  When I make whips I use a homemade leather soap made from Ivory Pure Soap, Water, and Lard.  It greases the strands and conditions them also.  I also give the whip a good coat of Pecards when I shellac it.

Leather whips require a little more care.  Use a good quality leather conditioner on them.  NEVER use a product with neatsfoot oil in it.  A light dressing on the whip once a month or so is good.  Put a light coat on the whip and let it sit a bit to soak in.  Wipe the excess off with a cloth.  I use the same cloth over and over.  There is a bit of conditioner left in my towel.

For falls it is recommended to give it a good coat of dressing before every session or use.  If the leather fall is dry let it soak in well and then wipe the excess.  After use give the fall and the end of the whip a light cleaning (use the before mentioned cloth) / wipe it down.  Store your leather whips in a cool dry space.  Hanging the whip vertically is better than coiled.  A coiled whip will "remember".

A leather whip can get wet, just don't let it get soaked!  If it is too wet let it dry in a cool dry spot and then give it a good coat of conditioner.  Grass will not dry out a whip, but might stain it a bit.  clean as necessary with your dressing soaked cloth.  Avoid rocks and rough surfaces as they can damage a whip.

Here's wishing you find time for the things you want to do, and for the things you need to do.
We see ourselves in our children and hope for a better future.

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Forgot to mention also about leather falls - depending on what it is made of can determine how long it lasts.  American latigo is mostly terrible for falls.  It is usually very dry and breaks easily even when properly treated with conditioner.  I like the greasy redhide best, but would use an oily leather before the standard latigo.  Whitehide and Indian tanned latigo are good, but start out very dry.  I give them a good soaking in conditioner when making them.

Here's wishing you find time for the things you want to do, and for the things you need to do.
We see ourselves in our children and hope for a better future.

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Thank you for the response, Jeff.  I have noticed that redhide seems to last the longest as well.  So along with my roo hide bullwhip that is with me and used daily, I should keep a tub of grease as well.  I am getting pretty good at changing falls though:-)

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

For dressing leather falls, at a pinch I have used lard from the supermarket. Not ideal, perhaps, but it seems to work!

'Less is often more!'

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

I have heard about that Robert.  I think it was Ron Edwards book that suggested using hand cream or unscented lotion if nothing else was available, like Jeff said leather is just skin!!

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

I don't think you can condition a leather whip too much.  I condition mine all the time.  I get my whip wax from Peter Jack.  He makes it himself.  I believe that it is an olive oil, bees wax and pine gum mix. 

Wet grass...  even a little wet will dry out you whip if you don't condition it after it has dried.

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Thanks Bobbi,  I think it maybe the wet grass like you say that is causing my problem.  On a side note, How are the ribs?

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Thanks for asking Chris.  I'm coming to the sad conclusion that I am old and don't heal quickly.  I re-injure them every time I do a show whip handle.  But on the good side,  I don't have to wear a bustier everyday to keep them in and I don't have to swear like a sailor every time I sneeze.

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Haha, Well i am glad to hear you are on the mend, even if it is slow going.  They sure can take a while no matter who you are.  Take care now!!!

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Re: Leather Falls and Proper Maintenence

Thanks for this thread.  I will have to source some good conditioner and saddle soap.

In vino veritas