My wife used to work at a taxidermy shop. She still has some hides that were tanned for use on maniquins. Is it possible to use neatsfoot oil on the hide to soften them up without causing any slippage of hair? If not, is there anything else that can be used? She no longer does taxidermy but would like to soften the hides in order to display them in the house. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.
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Neatsfoot oil is a leather finish, not a softener. You need a lanolin product like any cheap handlotion. Wet the hide to the point where it puddles up. Wipe it off and then knead the leather to insure it's penetrated. Add more if necessary.
In either case the skins must be rewet to apply any kind of dressing to them for softening purposes. I agree with George about plain Neatsfoot oil being only a surface type oil. Its not made to penetrate. Otherwise when you'd use it on shoes it would bleed onto your socks.
I would prefer using a good tanning oil. Its chemically charged, so it penetrates, and should add a lot of softness to the skins. It should also dry, whereas other non-drying oils sometimes leave a less desirable "feel" to the surface of the skin.