Posts Tagged ‘tack making’

Recently I was inspired to try making another English saddle. I don’t build saddles very often… I’ve mentioned before that I find them intimidating, but at the same time it’s something I want to do more often and want to get better at, and like so many other things I’m into, I won’t get better unless I PRACTICE.

I still don’t really know what I’m doing though.

So when Carrie Olguin of KeriOkie Entertainment posted some new how-to videos on her YouTube channel, I really wanted to give another saddle a go. I mean, I need all the help I can get. XD I’m a bit stubborn and like to figure out how to make things on my own, but I also see value in following tips and tutorials by other tack makers, as it provides an opportunity to gather new ideas and try things you may have never thought of trying before.

I didn’t get a chance to start working on the saddle till this week. It’s become my after-work project, and I’ve been enjoying working on small steps at a time.

The first few days were spent cutting, dyeing and preparing leather:

Another was spent putting together the panels:

Followed by the saddle flaps:

Now that the weekend’s here I’ve had a little more time for it. It’s starting to look like a saddle!

Here’s how it’s looking today:

I have done some things differently than what was shared in the tutorial. I’m using a heavier metal instead of an aluminum can for the tree, I dyed all my pieces after cutting them out, and my stirrup bars are different from what was shown, just to name a few.

But it’s been so much FUN to put together, which is what I need with tack making right now. 🙂

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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 T_T)

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. (aka 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 exacto 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!

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