Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stepping Up The Stirrups

Today I worked more on "Saddle One" as I am starting to refer to it.  (since I'm already planning on building moar saddles!)

First I finished up the billets and the breastcollar rings and put them on the lower skirt.

The rear billets weren't on here yet

Then the rest of today's work ended up being on the stirrups.

First, I noticed that when following the directions, the stirrups looked too wide at the top.

I confirmed that they were, by looping the piece of the fender that is supposed to be over the pin.  Holy floppy stirrups, Batman!

This may very well be because I cut out the leather strip too thin.  I was having some trouble when I transferred the pattern and cut out the pieces.

I shortened the pins and they looked much better.

Another test fit...

Yep, this looks much better!

Next was putting on the stirrup treads

I was wondering if I should try and stitch them together below the stirrups and I thought I'd seen a tutorial somewhere on how to do that.  I did!  This one: Making Western Stirrups, Part Two.   

Originally I was going to keep this saddle completely plain - just follow the directions, don't try anything fancy... Eh, so much for that.  I decided to try and lace on the bottom of the stirrup treads.  Trouble was, I had already glued them to the inside of the stirrup, so I couldn't follow the tutorial quite to the letter.

Here was my solution, it just so happened that my well-used little block of wood is the perfect size to put the tread piece ends on for hole punching.

I first marked the holes by pressing my hole punch into the leather just enough to leave an indent.  I did six holes on each side of each piece.

Then it was hole punching time!

Time to start trying the lacing.  I was going to try to use embroidery floss, but decided to use wax thread instead.  I had a roll of it in black and found that if I unraveled it and used one piece, it seemed it would be perfect.  I used a cross-stitch needle.  (I've got several of those!)

Midway through my first attempt:

Thread all tightened here.  Hmm, it looks kinda neat.... but not quite right.

I left the first one untied and then did the second one.  For it, I only did the stitching in one direction and then compared them.  I like that one better, but it's still not the full corset type stitch.

It was hard for me to get the stitching just right, but I came up with a plan.  I'm going to try and put a needle on each end of the piece of wax thread and then lace it doing both sides at one.  I'm hoping that will help me get my head around the stitching.

Here's where I left things.  I (carefully) unstitched the first stirrup, to try the stitching again tomorrow!

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