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After the cemented lap joints have completely cured the belting is drawn thru a Neatsfoot Oil solution. This replaces much of the oils lost in the tanning process, softens the leather & aids in extending belt life. When that has been completely absorbed it is wound onto reels to be made into drive belts.

As time goes on, perhaps every 400 to 600 hours of operation or once a year, with a rag dampened (not dripping) with mineral spirits wipe the driving surface (hair or pulley side) of the belt being sure to rub in a direction that would close the end of any lap joints rather than lift or open them, & the pulley faces to just clean off oil, grime & dust accumulation, Then on the clean side of the same rag spread about a teaspoon of clear Neatsfoot Oil compound, kind of squeeze it into the rag a bit & wipe the drive face of the belt only with this. Then let it sit over night before using the belt. It is also good to use the same cleaning procedure on the outside (rough side) of the belt every 2nd or 3rd time the driving face is treated, followed up with a very light coat of straight Neatsfoot Oil compound applied with a paint brush. Caster oil has been used in place of Neatsfoot Oil with success. Mineral oils should never be used on leather belting. Dressings containing rosin should never be used except in a pinch while waiting for a new belt as it helps the driving ability but for a short time then starts to gum up the leather & cause cracking on the driving face as will as additional slipping. Do not run a new leather belt on a pulley that has had rosin on it before thoroughly cleaning the driving faces with a good solvent.

It’s a good idea to be sure to release the tension on the belt when you're not using it & don't run it with a load such that the belt is continually slipping. If you are running a belt on a flanged pulley & the belt tends to climb the flange, under cut the bottom of the flange with an undercut .030” to .040” deep with an OD. a bit larger than the OD. of the pulley plus twice the belt thickness & run the ID. down .020” to .030” below the pulley face. If the belt wants to wander or run to one side of a pulley, check for a proper crown on the face of the pulley or misaligned shafting & correct the alignment or recrown the center of the pulley. It is not uncommon for fiber pulleys to need to be recrowned. Do not run a belt that is slipping due to lack of adjustment on the machine, shorten the belt because constant slipping will destroy the friction qualities on the driving face of the belt. If you have a belt that is stretched to this point & it was purchased from me I will shorten it, replace the Clipper clips in the trailing end at no cost to you other than the postage both ways. As long as you own this belt & I’m still kicking.

Hope this helps, if something here appears to have been compiled in outer space or sounds “far out” please feel free to get back to me.


Q: Is there a right & wrong side of single ply leather to run on the pulley face & why?

A: Yes! The smooth side, hair side, grain side or outside should always be run in contact with the face of the driver & driven pulleys. The hair, grain, or smooth side is tougher, will wear longer, & is stronger than the rough, skin, inside, or “gut” side. Also the smooth side will provide 30 to 50% more driving friction on a cast iron, wood, or fibre pulley face, than the rough side.

Q: I have been told it’s a good idea to run a belt first on one side then on the other. Why do you recommend one side only?

A: In the case of double-ply or multiple-ply belts where the plies are cemented such that both faces of the belt are smooth side out (i.e., hair side out), the useful frictional life of the belt is doubled, so it's best to make sure the wear is equal on both sides. Still, the direction should be maintained with respect to the lap joints, no matter which side of the belt is in contact with the pulleys. Depending upon the lap joint direction, sometimes a one-half twist is put into the belt (at the point where the two ends are joined together) on the slack side between the driven and driver pulleys, thereby reversing the driving side of the belt once each full revolution of the belt.

Q: Why is there a “crown” on the center of a flat pulley?

A: A flat belt will run to the high point on a pulley, therefore with the crown in the center of the pulley the belt will center itself & stay there. As a general rule the pulley face should be at least 1/32” wider than the belt width.

Q: How wide should a leather belt be for my machine?

A: Approximately 1/32” narrower than the narrowest face of the driver or driven pulley. Although generally Leather Drive Belts are commonly made in, 3/4”, 7/8”, 1”, 1-1/4”, 1-1/2”, 2”, 2-1/2”, 3”, 4” etc. most any width can be cut depending on the application.

Q: Is there a recommended direction to run a leather belt in & what if it is sometimes run in reverse?

A: It is generally better to run a belt in a direction having the feather edge of the lap joints on the rough side of the leather facing “away” from the direction the belt runs the majority of the time. This tends to protect the outside ends of the lap if struck by guards, guides or shifters. For the same reason the trailing end of the belt will have a slight chamfer on the outside corners & one less clip than the leading end. Most applications demand that a belt run in both directions, it is best to install the belt such that it runs in the direction specified during the majority of its useful life.

Q: What if I don’t find the answer to my question here?

A: If you do not find the answer to your belt related question here, please click on the Email address on the lower right hand corner of any page & send your question to me, I’ll answer it personally if I know the answer & tell you if I don’t. Thank you in advance!