Posts Tagged ‘model horse tack’

Finally, this saddle is finished!

I can’t say this is the same saddle that I started four years ago, because it isn’t. It had to be completely re-worked. However, the vision I had for it remained the same, and honestly? I think it came out a lot better than it would have if I had made it four years ago.

I learned a lot from it though, and it’s the nicest saddle I’ve made so far. Any issues I see with it will only help me make the next one better. I think this is the 6th western saddle I’ve built, and the first in 5 years. (almost to the exact day, that’s really weird!)

Here it is on Lady Phase/Truly Unsurpassed: (who is probably my favorite LP ever, she’s gorgeous!)

Some detail shots… this silver is so hard to photograph!

On Roxy:

And the ISH:

How does it look on Zippo?

Here’s a comparison shot I took mostly for myself. The left is my second saddle, pretty much straight from a Rio Rondo kit. Made it in 2007.. ish? I’m pretty sure I used a thumbtack for the stitch marking and I can’t believe the silver tape plates are still on. 😀

It helps me to compare old work with new work, to see that yes, I have improved, and to not be so hard on myself. ❤

Even with this saddle's challenges I still had a lot of fun putting it together. I'm so glad I decided to re-start this project and see it through to the end!

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The next step was to cover the seat piece. To give a little more shape to the seat, I added a crescent shaped piece of felt:

I used a thin faux suede fabric to cover the seat. It doesn’t fray easily, but I did go around the edges with black Edge Kote just in case. Because it was so thin, it fit around the felt shape pretty nicely, and I’m really happy with how that looks:

Then it was time to create the cantle piece. I got that smooth edge on one side by skiving down the edge and folding it underneath:

Once all that was attached and done, I realized that I made my upper skirt too short. Now it sticks out and I can’t un-see it UGHHHHH!! Too late now, keep going forward!

The last pieces I worked on were the off billet…

And the girth:

As of today, this saddle is DONE. It just needs some stirrup training and proper photos!

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This saddle is being a pain in every way possible but for some reason I haven’t given up on it yet. I’ve had to leave it alone for a few days at a time, and am also at the point where I’d love to start working on other things I’ve been daydreaming about. It’s so close to being done… and still so far.

I knew the lower skirt was going to have to be remade completely. Did I even pay attention to my reference when I first created the pattern? Or actually plan out where all the silver would go? NOPE. Because what I had was WAY off. Way, way, way off.

Sooo I fixed the shape of the skirt, extending it, mostly. (now I’m worried it’s too long but too late for that now!) Then I fired up Photoshop, dusted off my drawing tablet and re-drew all of the tooling flowers and swirly things.

Here is the finished piece, after tooling and adding extra details, and finally, some silver!

This is my favorite part… details!

And the underside:

I was really excited after finishing this piece. I fit all the leather pieces together to get an idea of how it would look, only to find out that the seat piece wasn’t fitting right. Sooo I had to alter the pattern a second time, transferred it to leather, tooled it, etc and…

It was close, but still off. I could have made it work, but I knew it would bug me forever. The only thing that didn’t make me sick about having to tool this piece a third time was that I was never really happy with the second piece’s tooling. At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

I got the new pattern for it made, as well as for the upper skirt:

The paper pieces fit ok:

Third time’s a charm, right? This time the seat fits much better. I prefer the tooling of the first but oh well. Tooling is tricky. I’m trying to figure out the right balance of leather dampness, deepness of the cuts and how much pressure to use. It still manages to disappear after sealing ughhhh.

The more I look at saddles the more details I find. This adds more work of course but it’s worth it, I think. I totally forgot about the lacing in the lower skirt, and was tempted to just leave it off. But it started nagging at me. Punching those holes was SCARY after all the work I had put into the skirt. (my first reject seat was a nice test piece) In a brief moment of insanity I considered using leather lace instead of embroidery thread. Maybe another time.

Also look, the upper skirt is done! This piece was the most well-behaved of the lot!

After getting through all that, I noticed ANOTHER Problem. The cantle on this tree is very low, and finally seeing that was really discouraging.

Luckily it turned out to be an easy fix, with a skived piece of tooling leather glued to the front:

And a piece of skiver glued to the back to cover it up. I had another moment where I thought about tooling that piece but shut it down very quickly. NOPE!

SO. After putting 6+ hours into it today (everything hurts help) here’s how it’s looking right now:

I felt it was safe to start pinning together. I’ve only got one side done because I’m at the “over it” point for the day, but but but! It’s looking ok maybe? I’m trying very hard not to point out all the issues I have with it. ^_^

I can say that I’m really happy with the scalloped leather bits under the conchos. I’ll share a post on how I made those here soon.

There’s still a lot left to do but the end is in sight!

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