Why are my buckles crooked?! – A tip on tongue buckles

For more experienced tack makers, this is probably really obvious. However, it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out, so I’m hoping this post might help someone else out there. (unless I’m the only one…)

I used to hate making tongue buckles. I must have made a subconscious decision to get over it, as I’ve been putting them on everything lately. (and that decision is working- I don’t hate them so much anymore)

The problem I kept running into was the tongues, and how they would line up crooked or wouldn’t lay flat against the buckle. I couldn’t figure out why this kept happening until I looked at a full-size buckle. (in this case a belt, as I don’t have any real tack to look at here)

I saw the problem immediately.

To make tongue buckles, I would cut a small notch in a folded piece of leather lace, then thread the buckle and tongue on. Even though I was making the notch big enough for the tongue, I wasn’t considering the size of the loop attaching it to the buckle.

Here’s an older example, on a miniature horse halter I made some years ago:

Crooked tongue argghhh

Here’s a newer one. From the top it looks ok…

But from the side, you can see the problem:

Since the loop couldn’t fit through the notch, it wasn’t acting like a proper buckle at all.

I’ve since solved this by using a mechanical pencil to punch a hole through the folded piece of lace.

I keep it close to the folded edge, then use my xacto blade to cut a bit off one end.

When opened, this creates a nice slot (not a tiny hole!) for the buckle tongue to fit through.

My buckles are looking and working so much better now. It’s amazing how such a small thing can make such a huge difference!

7 thoughts on “Why are my buckles crooked?! – A tip on tongue buckles

  1. Ooh question about the mechanical pencil punch! I’ve tried them and they work really great, but after a few punches they seem to get gummed up with leather bits that I can’t get out, then they don’t work as a punch anymore. 😦 Thoughts on preventing/fixing ths?

    1. Mine does this too! I’ve tried to get in the habit of tapping the pencil on my work surface after every punch. They usually come right out. If not, I’ll use a pin to try and poke it out instead. 🙂

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