Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Draft tack

Remember how a few weeks ago, I received a Stone Drafter in the mail, and I called him Monster because he was so big?

He is so big that I had to order in new lace just to fit his big noggin!

I'll back track a little bit. I answered a Wanted posted on MHSP for some draft tack - a halter and a bridle, and when the cutomer decided to work with me, dutifully went out and bought Mr Stone Drafter so I wouldn't have to work from measurements.

While the customer came up with her final decision for her order, I messed around with my leather to see what I could get to fit him. I knew part of the order would involve white lace, so I got experimenting with different sizes.

Unfortunately, the only two white sizes I had in stock were 3mm (1/8") and 8mm (5/16"). The 3mm by itself wasn't going to work, as I dislike the two-piece crownpiece some hobbyists use. I thought I would be smart and trim the 8mm down to 6mm, and attach 3mm straps to it for the cheekpieces and throatlatch.

Unsurprisingly, it was too big!

Frustrated, I put it aside and dug around in my leather bag. The customer by then had decided she wanted a bridle in a shade of brown, so I started to work on that. Luckily for me, I had brown in 4.5mm (3/16") width! I figured that if I could use that for the crownpieces, I could use regular 2mm for the cheekpieces and throatlatch. The difference in width between them would be less than a 1mm, so I figured I could pull it off.

And pull it off I did!

This is 'brandy' coloured lace, darkened with leather conditioner. (The conditioner hadn't fully  set in by this point so the colouring is a little wonky.) With the 2mm straps I could still use the B6 buckles from Rio Rondo (funnily enough, Rio Rondo says those buckles are for 3/32" lace (2mm), but I normally use them on 3mm lace). I did fix that wonky browband hole too.

I was very pleased with how it came out - but it didn't resolve my issue for making a piece from white leather, as I didn't have it in 4.5mm width. I whinged on Blab a bit but eventually caved and bought a 10m hank (at ~$25). I don't think I could have completed this order if I didn't order that leather!

At first I tried to copy the brown bridle, and use 2mm on the cheekpieces and throatlatch, and a 3mm browband and noseband, and cut the straps from the crownpiece right up the middle. But it didn't look right.

(Ignore the chain derp, haha).

I went back and did some more research, and found some pictures of Belgians wearing white halters that had thicker cheekpieces, but their throatlatches were narrower. Lightbulb!

So I went back, partially pulled apart what I had made of the white halter, and gave it 3mm cheekpieces. Then, with a new crownpiece, I cut the straps off centre. The straps for the cheekpiece are now closer to 3mm, and the strap for the throatlatch is closer to 2mm. When put together with a throatlatch made from 2mm lace, I got the picture I was after!

The cheekpieces could theoretically be a smidge shorter and the browband a touch shorter too, but right now they are good as-is.

The real reason for this lengthy post is to let you know I have a surprise about draft tack to share with you in a few days. :D I don't think anyone will care aside from me, but I am super excited, so I will be sharing it with you anyway - so stay tuned!


  1. Heck, he looks handsome dressed up! If I ever finish work on my new stone drafter, I reckon he would like some tack like that :P

    1. He sure does! Almost makes me want to get into trads just so I can do a harness for him. What colour will your drafter be? I would love to give him some new clothes. ;)