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Neatsfoot Oil isn't so neat.

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Wowbagger, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    I just received a Case Trapper knife pouch.
    I am totally happy with the quality and the detail especially for the price.
    As far as I can tell from the
    Case used Neatsfoot oil to finish/protect it.

    When I got it mail order it was in a card board fold and pack cover with a clear plastic face similar to what Apple packs their iPods in.

    The leather was almost damp from the oil.
    Once I got it out and onto my belt it wasn't long before I began to appreciate the full effect of what I had.

    I haven't left the house with it yet but this thing stinks so bad that If I went into a room full of people they would soon be looking at me to see what was wrong.

    The finish of the pouch smells very strongly like old nasty crank case oil.
    Usually leather is like "Oh smell that nice new leather . . . doesn't it smell great !"
    This thing I stuck in the window sill to air/dry out and then all day on the cloths line for more of the same.

    This is silly. Why does a nice old time company like Case turn out a product that is nasty smelling as if this was the first year they been making belt pouches ? ? ?

    Can I soak it in denatured alc to get this junk neatsfoot oil out of the leather and put on some of my excellent leather finish / protectant ? By the way check out Blackrock leather stuff.

    How long does it take for the stench to dissipate if I just tough it out ?
    Anyway to speed up the transition like put it in a barely warm oven or a heat gun ?
    Oh good then the house will smell extra bad.

    Just blows me away Case could choose this junk finish.

    To close on a positive note the pouch is great and I really like my Case stag trapper that I just got to put in it.

    Mr Stinky
  2. gadgetgeek


    May 19, 2007
    I wouldn't use alcohol, it would likely also strip any dye. Just use a very basic soap, something like saddle soap if possible, but mitchels wool fat, or even a laundry bar will help take away some of the excess. it may take a few tries, don't soak the leather too much, just do a little at a time. Its the recommended method for de-oiling strops that have been over oiled.
  3. mt_hangglider


    Jan 19, 2009
    I use high quality neatsfoot oil on a lot of my leather and it is nothing like what you describe. In fact, it produces very little odor. Compounded neatsfoot oil has petroleum distillates and I would imagine that is what they used. If you get pure neatsfoot, it really doesn't smell much at all and leaves the leather smelling just like it did before you applied it.
  4. sheathmaker

    sheathmaker Custom Leather Sheaths Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 18, 2005
    So far you have received good information from both of the previous posters. Many times I have cautioned to use neatsfoot oil very sparingly, (applied using multiple coats only if if necessary.)

    What you have now through no fault of your own is a case of cost/time vs benefits. The time and effort needed to remedy your situation will far exceed the cost of the sheath unless you are worth an inordinately low wage.

    The old tried and true method taught to me by saddle makers was to bury the item in a quantity of diatomaceous earth (powder) and allow it to stay for a few days and the the material will extract and absorb ​some of the excess oil. Pulverized "kitty litter" might do the job as well, but as I stated the cost in $ and time vs. the benefits is way out of balance.

    The other solution will take weeks or months and that is to put it in a well ventilated environment and just wait until it dries up some on its own. The odor should dissipate as well.

    On another note, I envy you. If this is the major problem in your life, you are indeed fortunate.

    Best regards,

    Last edited: Oct 19, 2015


    May 30, 2007
    contact case customer service see what they say about it, ive got a big folding hunter that came with a sheath and the quality was great and didn't smell like you described, somethings definitely weird with yours.
  6. Wowbagger


    Sep 20, 2015
    Dang, you are totally right; I should have remembered that. I definitely knew that from past leather work but it has been a while. Doesn’t look like any dye was used but I’m going for the Saddle soap. That came to mind first but I hated to take a chance on making it look other than crisp and brand new. I’ll go easy and make a few passes.

    Mtn. Hangglider,
    I looked up neatsfoot to find out what it really is and discovered that it is from the legs of hoofed animals. That does not turn solid like the fat from the body. Cool stuff !

    The reason I know the smell of the lower quality stuff is because I have a container of it from way back and it smells the same as my pouch.

    I wish they would have went more along the lines of carnauba wax if they were not going to use the more pure Neats.

    man are you right there . . . nah dude, nah my main problem is the :
    soooooo . . . the good news is looks like it is going to be worth my time after all.
    I see what you mean though.
    As far as absorbing it out that has been what I have been trying first . . .
    in a half fast way :)
    I have just been keeping it tightly wrapped in paper towels and in my pocket to keep it warm. I thought about burying it in talc but didn't want all the white stuff all in it.
    The paper towels have made no significant difference so I suppose I will go for the wash, wash.

    I almost just carried my new Case in the pouch for my Buck 110 but that seemed like the wrong foot to start off a relationship with my Case Trapper so I canned that idea in case she might take it badly and respond by taking off my finger tip when next I took her out for a little soiree.

    One more question if I may :

    I use "Blacksmith's Leather" for projects off and on and it comes from the supplier with a good deal of oil in it. It does not really smell bad though.
    Is the oil in Blacksmith's Leather high quality Neatsfoot oil ?

    Thanks again guys.
  7. Brumby53


    Jun 3, 2014
    You could perhaps warm the sheath gently but more than the pocket warmth you have already tried..... sit it out in the sun perhaps or near a heater - if it is as you describe some of that excess will seep to the surface wipe it off and repeat the process (Repeat the process...Repeat the process...Repeat the process )
  8. Guitarist7.62


    Mar 1, 2015
    Kitty litter and warmth. Maybe hot tap water, running it under that might heat up the oil and replace it with the water inside the leather making the oil to go down the sink and the smell to go away a little. Gives you a chance to wet form it too, but let it dry naturally if you go that route, don't want to ruin it.
  9. indischI


    Oct 19, 2014
    I find that with a paste leather conditioner you can avoid the pitfalls of neatsfoot, i.e. smell, excess dampness, etc. Try Effax Leather Balsam or Passier Lederbalsam. These products are sold for equine saddlery and can be found a many horse supply sites. Also, after allowing the conditioner to penetrate the leather, it should be sealed with a good saddle soap and very little water.
  10. Ed Carey

    Ed Carey

    Jul 5, 2017
    Having the same problem with my Case knife sheath. Bought a Hobo knife a while back to pack in my lunchbox. The gear oil smell is so strong that it contaminates the food in the lunchbox. I called Case customer service 1800 523 6350. They said they haven't heard of this problem and couldn't offer a solution.
  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Easy peasey. Dump the Case sheath and build your own slip sheath to carry it in your lunchbox. All kinds of help here if leatherwork is new to ya.
    Ebbtide likes this.

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