Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Clean

I cleaned my desk last week.

Why is this worth a blog post? Because I am a truly, ridiculously, maddeningly messy person. I feel for the next person I move in with. And I like making fun of my inability to keep anything clean.

My tiny computer desk is also the place where I make tack, so when you sit at one place, day after day, and are as untidy as I am, things tend to get a little filthy.

The clean started because I could not find the bridle for one of my models. I searched my tack box , the shelf, and my old photo-taking area (which is now just a junk-holding area), but nada. Then I turned and eyed the desk. It had to be in there.

I found the ribbon browband from the bridle relatively easily, but before I go any further, let me tell you what else I found. Keep in mind that when I said I was messy, I am REALLY messy.

I found:
- 12 bobby pins
- 9 mini wooden pegs (that I use to hold drying work together
- 17 tiny elastic bands used for braiding a horse's mane (in my case, used for holding hanks of lace)
- 24 (!) browbands of various sizes and colours
- 6 paperclips
- 5 single model horse boots, none of them matching
- 16 1/16" D-rings
- 7 Australian one- and two-cent coins. These coins haven't been in circulation for over 20 years, yet I still hang onto them. Why?
- 1 classic harness shaft loop

Little bit hilarious, isn't it?

I did eventually find the rest of the bridle, but by the time I did, it was too dark for photos. That'd be right.

So instead I turned my attention to my new glue, Helmar 450 Quick Dry Adhesive. To test its mettle, I made a traditional silver Western show halter:

and then a bridle:

At this point, I've discovered a flaw. The glue is super stringy when wet. If you're not careful, you can end up with cobweb-like bits of glue all over the place. They are easy to cut off when dry, but they are annoying

I have a love-hate relationship with the lid on the bottle. It's a twist cap - twist up to open the bottle, twist down to close - instead of a removable cap like on Duco. This is good as you can't lose the cap, but the design also means that if you forget to close the cap, you can find a great bubble of glue forming on the top.

Other than that, the glue itself seems relatively strong. The connection holds well and doesn' come apart easily. So, happy with the glue, I turned my attention to Dan's harness.

I finished off the girth and belly band with Duco, since that is what I started using on it. I'm not entirely happy with it - there is a glue mark on the very bottom, so if I have time I will remake the girth.

Next came the breeching, which I spent today working on. And then I discovered 450's deep dark secret.

It doesn't like tragacanth-treated leather. At all.

That's the backing of the breeching coming off the stitch-marked piece.

(This probably didn't show up with the test pieces as they were made with natural leather, and I don't treat that colour due to colour changes.) I'm annoyed, but I think I may be able to work around it by only treating the piece after it is complete.

I did manage to get all of the breeching and the backstrap and crupper finished today, using Duco.

It is sitting a bit high on bubble-butt Lady Phase here, but Ricky's butt is not as big so it will sit properly on him.

I also started on the breastplate. The blue piping/trim is done, and I've attached the traces, but there is still a bit of work to go yet.

I still haven't touched the bridle yet. Oops.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Glue hunt

Mail day! My TWMHC order arrived.

Hames for Lisa's harness, two pairs of racing stirrups (one set for Dan, the other for my DUN donation), two bits for the two harnesses, one bit for me and some hooks.

It's Tuesday which is shopping day for me (lol) since it's my day off. As I promised earlier, I went glue hunting.

Unfortunately, the bargain gods weren't smiling on me today and I only came home with four.

Three, technically. I know the Tarzan's Grip glue isn't great for bridles, but its tendency to go stringy  does have a benefit - it can be pulled off if I forget to wipe it off. (See the trim on the harness saddle below - that visible glue will come right off with no damage.)

The other three glues are not ones I've tried before. The 450 was recommended to me by the cashier at Riot Art (who asked when the wedding was when I said I make miniature bridles :P), and I bought the little red craft glue bottle because it sounded feasible. The Selley's tube says the glue won't dry too quickly, but it might be worth a try. If it doesn't work for me, I'm sure my dad (handyman) will find a use for it!

To test out the glues I'll spend today making a few halters. I may also make a set of boots to see if any of the glues will work with my skiver (which is unfortunately weatherproofed).

Slow progress

I am, technically, halfway through making the bridle for Dan's harness bridle, but the blinkers are driving me up the wall. My inability to cut straight is showing on the blinkers and it's affecting my mood. to work on them. So I've moved onto the harness saddle instead.

It is




Since taking these pictures I've made shaft loops and added straps for the belly band and shaft loop height, but unfortunately everything else (breastplate, breeching, girth, belly band, false martingale and of course reins) all rely on measurements. I have also picked off all the glue visible on the saddle's trim. Nothing like a camera flash to pick up on all of the flaws.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


My glue died.

I hate when this happens.

And of course it always happens when I'm in the middle of making something. Murphy's law, eh? (For what it's worth, this house was built by a Murphy, and the previous owners were Murphys, so I think we are fairly well steeped in it by now.)

I'm on my last tube of Duco Cement, but I don't think I'm too upset. Next week I will hit up Kmart, Big W, Safeway, Coles and Riot Art, buy all the glues I can find that are reasonably priced and seem like they might do a reasonable job, and then come home and experiment.

Really, I'm not a huge fan of Duco - it doesn't really dry clear, it's really runny (especially when it's a warm day), and just tends to go everywhere. I have been considering investing in a dispenser like this or like this, as the nozzle on most glue tubes is far too big and you have little control once the glue decides to come oozing on out. I have heard of some tackmakers squeezing out a small amount of glue at a time onto a piece of paper and then using a toothpick to apply it, but since Duco dries fairly quickly, this method thus far hasn't worked for me. Maybe I can try this again if I find another glue that I like that takes a little longer to dry.

In other news, Dan received her racing set gift from me and not only is it (almost) a perfect fit, but she's really thrilled with it. :D Not bad for working off measurements! Only the browband needs to be adjusted, which is an easy job and should only take a few minutes. The saddlepad is from another set; Ruffian, show name Miss Melbourne, will eventually have a white saddlepad.

Next up for Dan will be another racing set, this time for Smarty Jones - a much easier task, seeing as I actually own a Smarty! I'm not sure on colours yet, but I think green will be nice on him.

The Western halter order from a few posts down has been received as well. I was a bit anxious about this order - always am when an order is made purely from measurements. Thankfully the halter looks excellent and has no issues with fit! The customer has promised photos for the blog, so I hope to share them soon.

I've started making progress on the harness orders. Lisa has dropped her order down to one harness for now. Both she and Dan are ordering trad spider phaetons from Cheryl Campbell of Argyle Farm. I still haven't managed to get up to Lisa's yet to take measurements, so I've started working on what little I can. So far for hers I have done the trace carriers, and prepped heaps of lace. I've got a little further on Dan's; as well as trace carriers, I've started the hanging buckles for the breastplate and breeching, started to work on the saddle, and tonight I started on the bridle since I now have measurements.

With these harnesses, I get to try a new method of stuffing for the saddle. Earlier in the year I purchased a pool noodle, whose foam will be used underneath the saddle. Hopefully. It's a nice dense foam that mostly holds its shape even when the girth will be done up (the stuffing I used on my classic harness last year collapsed as soon as the girth was buckled), and so should give a nice outline. Hopefully it won't be killed by any glue I need to use on it!