A Saddle, From Start to Finish.
Last night I worked on a saddle and tried to take enough pictures for it to be a tutorial, I failed, but then I thought where is the fun in being told exactly how to do something, for me anyway the fun comes from finally working something out. It has taken me 5 years to get a Schleich scale saddle I am truly happy with and so here is a sort of walkthrough of making a saddle, But I don't have pictures for everything so well, Let me know if it is helpful.
Here's the "finished".
So firstly you will need a pattern, I have only just started making patterns for my saddles and will be happy to share them once I have a way of uploading them on to my computer.
Oh I guess I should touch on tools, Please note I did not get all of these at once also I will probably mention a whole tone of things I forgot to put in the picture.
The key things,
-The horse you are building the tack for.
- A sharp pointy object, (I use an awl a large needle would also work)
- Scissors 2x the ones in the picture are my fabric/leather scissors I have another pair for paper tin and anything else I want to cut, I strongly recommend this for one reason, paper and tin WILL dull the blades of your scissors making it much harder to cut leather and fabric. So get yourself a new pair of scissors and tell your family they are for fabric and leather only.
-Ruler, sometimes I use it sometimes I don't
-a craft knife of some sort.
-A cutting mat or board (not the most nesacry but safer and you won't be cutting up your carpet or table
-Something to skive leather with, (I use a craft knife type blade without the handle cause I just couldn't get the right angle with the handle) also skiving is 10x easier if you keep this sharp.
-Your preferred tack making glue (I use Uhu) it isn't in the picture because at that point in time I had no idea where it was.
-other colours of leather if you want a two-toned saddle.
^^^ this is a very flexible list and I think most people use what works for them, this is what I use not what you have to use.
Now back to that pattern Jenifur Bruxton as a method for making your own you can give it a try if you want or you can you know just wing it like I used to or I don't know there are probably other options.
So anyway once you have your pieces your next goal is to get them out of leather. The leather I am using for my saddle is quite thick so I set about skiving it down to about 2mm
That's my blade there, oh also here is something I forgot to add to the list of things you need, patience LOL.
once you have enough skived leather you want to cut out your saddle flaps.
Oh look you can see the pattern for my flaps in this very out of focus photo of the leather flaps.
On to the saddle tree. (PS now is a great time to find that tube for your preferred tack making glue(: ). For this part, I am going to use more pictures and fewer words because
(oh yeah you will need some thin tin like a soft drink can, and some craft foam or leather or both. Oh and here comes the patience test, some leather skived papper thin)
Oh, also I used the red craft foam to make some padding on the folded-up bit of tin.
Right here is the time I started forgetting about pictures so bear with me as I try to explain everything, for the rest of the seat you want to trim the rest of the leather and then cover it with your paper-thin leather. Out of the scraps of the 2mm you skived earlier cut the skirting and now we can begin the assembly process, glue one skirting to either side of your seat and set this aside while you make your stirrups, I make these by twisting some wire around the pliers and squeezing them until I am happy with the shape, these are then run on to the leathers which are glued to the underside of the skirting, then each flap is glued to the skirting as well.
And Then the top of your saddle is done. but it still has work to do, which I guess makes the title of the post miss leading. Stay tuned for part two on the underside of the saddle and also please let me know if this is helpful and if there are other tack items you would like me to walk through.