Diary of an English Bridle Part One.
Resently I have been working on an english bridel and I thought I would share the process with you guys.
The first step in any project is to clear off your workspace and gather your materials, for a bridle I use the following.
Glue (I use Uhu general purpose.)
Jump rings 2x.
Crimp beads 2x.
Reeves matt varnish.
Length of string.
Craft knife and an xacto knife (You only need one but I have both so I tend to use them Pair of pliers. for different jobs)
Pair of wire cutters.
Pair of scissors.
Mechanical pencil with a metal tip.
Pointy object (awl, large needle etc)
The model you are making tack for.
Reference pics of the type of bridle you are making.
Headphones and something to listen to. (audiobook, podcast [i'm currently listening to Potterless on Spotify, it's a relatively entertaining Harry Potter podcast, although it is a bit more adult in terms of language], music)
You don't need all of the tools listed, they are just what I use, experiment, try different things.
The first thing I do why pretty much any project is prep the leather.
I use my scissors to cut even strips approximately a cm wide.
I use the hand I am taking the photo with to hold the leather strip.
(yes there are three xacto knives in that picture, no it's not all of the ones I have, Why? bc it is cheaper to buy a cheap handle that comes with some blades than a pack of blades)
I can basically never get a strip skived evenly and it remains in one piece. Don't give up, the short pieces are still helpful for keepers and shorter parts of the bridle.
The next thing I do to my strips of leather is cut a microscopic amount off the edge, just to get it nice and straight and even with no fluffy-ness.
Then I seal the back, this makes the leather a bit stiffer and less likely to snap. I really should get something better to do this with but at the moment I am having relative success with rubbing it down with reeves liquid matt varnish, something I already had for customising.
Ready for tack (top) vs unprepped (base)
The other thing that sealing helps with is trying to get the flesh (back) of the leather to look as much like the back.
(One hour, 4 minutes)
Right after that fun exercise in patients, it is time to start making the bridle itself.
Start by measuring your model to get an idea of how long each piece needs to be.
I start by making the throat latch I'm not entirely sure why, again it's just what I do, you don't have to, experiment.
I cut a strip of leather twice the width I want for the straps, I then hold the piece in place (flesh side up) and mark with my pen where I want the straps to start carefully cut the piece in half. Punch holes (with the mechanical pencil) Make a buckle and a keeper.
And try it on my model.
Despite measuring, it's too short. This really really annoyed me. Most times this happens the piece ends up in the to be finished (aka never going to see the light of day again) box.
I decided I was going to push through with this one though and quickly came up with a plan. Instead of making a whole new piece, I would simply take the buckle off, punch holes in that strip as well,