Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Building Blocks: Dye and Lace

Kind of a part two to the last post.

One thing that's always in my Rio Rondo orders is leather lace. RR sells it in five different colors and five different widths, but I really only ever need the thinnest size, 1/16".

(And sometimes 3/32", on the right, for parts of harnesses or what have you)

While in big tack, you use lace off the spool for pretty much all your strap goods, in mini tack, I cut most of my own lace from the dyed piece of skiver I'm working with. This is mostly to make sure the straps are the same color as the rest of the set- 99% of my tack is some shade of brown, but RR only supplies one, one-size-fits-all "brown" color.

So I end up only using RR lace for black strappy things (black always matches black!), and harnesses or halters or other things that don't need to match something made of skiver. I wish I could use it for all my straps, because it's so, so much easier to prepare lace than it is to cut your own, lace is stronger and less likely to rip even at these teensy tiny widths, and RR's lace will always be a more consistent width than what I cut. But alas.

Lace bridle, stirrup leathers, and billets on this set.

And still, the 1/16" is about halter width on a mini's face, so I end up splitting it for the huge majority of my straps anyway. (I think I'll have a post just on cutting lace from skiver, and splitting spool lace, at some point. Hopefully.)

[insert clever and relevant segue here]


I love dye. I love dyeing. It's just a favorite.

This is another thing I get from RR, but mostly because it's convenient to lump them in with the rest of my order. There's tons of places out there that carry Fiebing's. I actually just treated myself to three fun new colors from a supplier on eBay, seeing as I have six whole square feet of leather to dye and use. 

My illustrious dyeing station- some paper bags on top of a plastic bin lid on top of a bunch of crap in my garage. Whatever works!

I've only ever used Fiebing's "Leather Dye" in the past, but I've heard that their Oil Dye is supposed to be better, so I ordered some up for myself. It's drying as I type, but I have high hopes! So far my only annoyance is that the Oil Dye, which is about a dollar or so more expensive than the Leather Dye, doesn't come with a dauber while the Leather dye does. Why, Fiebing??

So check off our supply list:
Other helpful stuff:
  • How to prepare your spool lace (Braymere's tack tips are responsible for at least half my tack making knowledge, and links to her blogs will definitely be a regular thing here)
  • One way to dye your leather (with skiver, I find it's easier just to apply dye to the rough side and let it soak through, then go back and add more to the grain side if it needs it)
  • How to cut your own lace (Anna Kirby is what I aspire to be in life. Her tack makes me cry, but in a good way.)
Next up: hardware!

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