Friday, December 31, 2010

Progress, slowly but surely!

These western sets are taking longer than I would have liked, I wanted them to be in their new homes by now. But not much more to do. I'm in the process of making the string cinches, a new skill for me but it makes a nice refreshing change from leather. I have never been very good at soldering, but on his short break from work in Australia Andy has given me a crash course in soldering jump rings. We have a gas soldering iron and on the 'jet' setting, soldering the rings can be accomplished in a matter of seconds. Ideal.

Anyway, both saddles have turned out as I envisaged. The studded reining saddle contains a pewter one piece RDLC tree which I really liked using. The saddle has a really nice weight to it and already had the stirrup slots (which I have to drill into the Rio Rondo tree on the other saddle). I hope to just use one-piece trees for western saddles in the future as they are much easier to work with.

Hopefully my next post will feature two completed sets! I need to make some skid boots to go with the reining saddle, and a bridle for each set. Then I want to finish those saddleseat sets and then move onto some pony saddles.

Meanwhile, have a great New Year everyone, and thanks for reading my blog. I hope I can increase the frequency of posts so do bear with me!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Western Sets in progress

I surprised myself recently when I worked out that it has been about 5 years since I last made a western saddle. So, when in November I was given two trade opportunities for western sets, I was slightly apprehensive. But I soon got back into the swing of things. One set is a studded reiner set using Dale Chavez saddles as inspiration, and the other is a roper set. Both are for the Sarah Rose resins, the Reiner and Lonestar respectively.

Both sets are at roughly the same stage. So far I've cut out the patterns, carved and dyed. The reining saddle has half of its nailheads attached, then I ran out. The other set is partly put together, and is pictured above. I'm really happy with how the carving turned out on the roper saddle. It's dyed using a J. Hewit powder dye, Light Brown, which I haven't used for years and years. Which is a shame as its a lovely colour. I just have to make sure that I dye everything using one batch. That's because every dye batch turns out different depending on the powder/water ratio. But I must use it more, an English saddle in this shade would look very refined!

I'm pleased with the stirrup leathers, they're fully adjustable like the real thing. Just need to make the stirrups, get some leather conchos done, fit the seat and glue the sheepskin on! I really want to get these sets done before Christmas!