Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Birth of an English Saddle, Part Three

The final part! Let's finish this thing up.

This next piece is another I don't even have a pattern for- the little semi-circle of leather that covers up the backside of the tree. It's very much an estimated piece, then cut out, held in place and trimmed as neccesary. Then skived of course, and glued over the exposed soda can.

And the very last part to any saddle is the panels.

Here I've cut out my current pattern and trimmed a little off the end (when I held it against the bottom of the saddle it was a tad long). Right after this pic I made a cut all the way along the long side to make the whole thing thinner.

Then, just like we did with the tree, I hold the soda can piece to the rough side of my leather and trace a larger version, then cut it out. That piece gets skived.
Recently I've started adding a little tiny piece of felt to the back end of my panels- it really helps make them "squashier" and help the saddle sit nicely on the horse's back.

Baby pink color is optional.
You can kind of see the shape I've traced on the edge of the leather there.

I then super glue my skived leather piece to the felt side up side of the soda can panel. This makes it much easier to wrap and glue the edges to the flat soda can back.

Starting to tuck up those edges.
After the panel is fully "wrapped," I repeat the whole process again with the other one!

The reason I use soda can for my panels is because a) it's really easy to wrap the leather neatly around, b) it holds its shape even after the leather is applied, and c) you can twist the whole panel into the shape of the underside of the saddle, which helps hold the whole saddle into a nice curved shape instead of it easily going flat.
Twisty twisty.
And finally, both panels are superglued into place on the bottom of the saddle.
And the saddle's done!

Actually, the two very last steps are to gently bend the tooling leather in the knee rolls to better "hug" the horse's shape, and to take a tiny, tiny amount of silver paint and dab on nailheads to the skirt.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this little series! If you have any specific questions, comments, or would like to see any process in greater detail, just drop me a comment below and I'll make it happen!

Next topic looks like it's going to be skiving leather. Something I spend a lot of time doing. :)