Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Building Blocks: Hardware

When I say hardware, I mean anything in a tack set that is made of any type of metal or metal-like material.

Starting with my favorite: stirrups.

Old picture, I know I know
Your options for Stablemate scale English stirrup irons are basically limited to these guys from Horsing Around over in the UK, and the ones The World of Model Horse Collecting carries on eBay.

Anna Kirby compares them in detail here, but for me the bottom line is that HAUK's irons have a better shape, size, and price (which is nice when I'm usually buying ten pairs at a time!). 

Of course, if you don't want to drop money on cast irons, you have other options. Some people are talented enough to make attractive stirrups from bent wire, or you could try your hand at sculpting your own.

My sculpt on the left, HA iron on the right.
The only other fancy cast hardware a set could need is a bit. All of my past bits have been made of wire, but earlier this week I took the plunge and ordered a full cheek snaffle from The World of Model Horse Collecting (TWMHC). They carry a few different styles of mini scale bits, but I figured a full cheek would be the hardest to make on my own.

And everything else- all my buckles, D rings, you name it- is wire.

26 gauge is the heaviest, used for making bits and nailheads. Then there's 28, which I used to use for everything else, but now is saved just for D rings, breastplate centers, and other in-between size things. And finally, 32 gauge, which is what all my buckles and tongues are made of. It's thin enough to look in scale on a tiny strap on a mini's face, but sturdy enough to hold its shape.

28 gauge wire bit and 32 gauge wire buckles and tongues.

And I'm actually considering getting myself even smaller wire specifically for the buckle's tongues (which, on real buckles, are thinner than the rest of the buckle). But then it would be too flimsy? Maybe? I don't know. Better try it and find out!

Makin' our way through the shopping list:

  • HAUK stirrups
  • TWMHC stirrups (she also carries some nifty gold-plated ones that I've been tempted by more than once...)
  • My current supply of wire is equal parts from Micheal's, eBay, and my local beading store. Any jewelry making or art supply store probably has what you need! If you buy online, make sure you're signing up for jewelry making type wire instead of house repair/electrical wire- the latter will still work, but I prefer the cleanness and shine of jewelry-grade stuff. 

Next up is tools, supplies, and everything else!


  1. Fantastic post - Great explainations and thinking.I'm looking forward to what you have for us next..!