Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year orders

Part 2 of Dan's Christmas present was a racing set to go with part 1 (NIB Ruffian). She kindly left the colour choice up to me, so after finding an awesome picture of a yellow bridle on a dark bay (which of course I can't find now), I decide to go with yellow, white and black. But one problem. I don't have enough yellow leather! Oops. So I've ordered it and while waiting for it to arrive, I got started on the saddle.

Dan asked me to make the saddle smaller than my previous one, so out came the paper and pencil. I now have a Smarty Jones tack model (thanks, Lisa!) rather than Ideal, so I think this saddle is more correct.

Above the new pattern is laid over the old; you can see there is more definition in the pommel and the flaps.

Something I had wanted to try after crafting the first saddle for Lisa was a tree of some kind. I didn't like how the first saddle was perpetually flat, and I worried how it would sit on a model with a more defined wither, like Smarty.

I admit I don't know the first thing about trees, or how to attach the leather, or what type of glue to use. This is part of the reason why I've been so reluctant to get into saddles for so long.

Last year I had ordered some aluminium sheets from Oakridge Hobbies, after reading Jennifer Buxton's tutorial on roller buckles. Oakridge had two sizes, 0.008" (which was the size Jennifer recommended for the rollers), and 0.016". I bought both, cause they were cheap (sucker for a bargain), and the larger size might come in useful. That's actually what I used for this saddle's tree.

I traced the pattern onto the tin with permanent texta, then cut it out with regular scissors, making sure it was slightly smaller than the pattern (so it wouldn't show). To get it into shape, I bent the front section into a vague saddle-like shape by pressing it against my cutting mat. The tin is kind of stiff so it took a little bit of effort, and means the saddle shouldn't bend out of shape too easily, but should be able to be shaped to the horse without too much trouble.

Next came the underside leather. For some reason I traced off the tree, not the paper pattern, so I didn't cut flaps. I have durr moments sometimes. :P I added flaps after I glued the tree to the underside leather (after roughing the tree with a nail file and using my trusty Selley's Super Glue gel), and they aren't visible unless you turn the saddle over.

 Next came the attachments for stirrups, and the girth billets.I copied the method I used for Lisa's saddle - two d-rings attached to a strap for the stirrup rings, and one long strap (with a wider strap over the top) to act as girth billets and the buckle protector thing (there's a name for it but its purpose is to cushion the jockey against the girth's buckle).

At this point I also cut the slits for the surcingle (angled up towards the pommel), and threaded the stirrup leathers. Ignore the temporary D-ring stirrups, hehe!

My TWMHC order arrived yesterday, so I was able to add stirrups to the saddle. And here's where we are at the moment: wearing a temporary surcingle while I wait for the yellow leather to arrive! I do need to put trim around the edge of the seat, and on the pommel, too, but that won't take long.

In other news, I have somehow signed myself up to make five harnesses within the next few months. All are traditional, except for one lone classic harness (which is for me). Lisa needs three, and there's a marathon harness for Dan. I can start Dan's harness immediately, as it will be made to fit Ideal, but Lisa's will have to wait until I can go to her place and measure her resins. One of her harnesses may also feature a collar, courtesy of the tutorial in Model Horse Magazine number 8. I really am stepping out! The tutorial sounds pretty easy so I am kind of looking forward to it.

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