Thursday, April 18, 2013

Goehring's Reins

At long last, the reins to the Clyde Goehring set are finished!!  The best words I've found for them are 'barbaric Mexican flamboyant style.'  A friend promptly said I could never make anything too barbaric or flamboyant.  Hah.  But since it's a portrait piece, I rest my case.

These beasties have been under construction for several weeks.  It's not their fault that my tackmaking this spring has been slowed down to nearly a full stop.  Only recently, and through a lot of hard work!! have I been able to make any progress at all.  Many parts of these reins had to be done three times over to get them right!  For instance, d'you remember the twist?
(No, that is not a dance question!)
This was what the rein bases looked like when I first tried to make them.  It took three tries to overcome the dreadful spin or turn.  I unbraided them and started over again, once... twice...  What finally worked was to pull much harder with my right hand, while pulling 'normally' with my left.  Under these conditions, the reins eventually came out very straight:  the romal part with no twist, and the hand part (called 'riendas') with a quarter twist in 13 inches, which I felt was acceptable.

Another part I had to do three times over was the central button in the groups, a Pineapple with a single Interweave.  Sounds simple, but it wasn't.  I was so out of practice I forgot my own recipes and procedures, and it took 3 tries to 'rediscover' normal.  The first try the core was too big; the second, I used the wrong thread...  Cores to these are merely three half hitches of a smaller gauge thread, something I'd forgotten.

The large zigzag buttons used on these reins are called 'crazy' buttons.  Technically
the formulas used are classed as Gaucho Fan buttons, and Tom Hall names it a 10P 8B Checkered Headhunter's. 
Right. 
I'm gonna continue to call them crazy buttons... 
I rarely use them, despite their being fun and interesting.  The last time I did was on a pair of reins for K. Smith, in 2007.  Before that, I have only used them on my own Malaguena's FiB RiB [fully braided rawhide bridle], and that because it was a mere doubling; I didn't know how to do interweaves then.

On one of these turnback buttons, the long ones next to the bit, I had to rebraid the dark brown after the white was finished.  This was the first time I'd tried such a trick: pulling out the dark brown without disturbing the existing white button.  Amazingly, it worked.




 I am so pleased to have made progress, any progress at all, that I'm not thinking about what comes next.  But it'll probably be the breastcollar.  I have a bare 2 weeks before I skip town.  It's possible I could get further on this piece.  What I should do is design kits for myself, for my remaining Nine Orders, kits I could start on while I was traveling.  See our Tack Orders page on my website for more information.

Let's take a look at the full scale version of what these reins are a portrait of:
The reins are hard to see, for there is much here to look at.  One saving grace for this model tackmaker is the ability to narrowly focus down on just one feature.  I've done the bit and I've done the reins.  I'm partway through the breastcollar.  The bridle should naturally follow.  I have ideas now on how to do the checkers along the skirts; and engraving is a skill I humbly possess.  But as to the rest of it, well, only time will tell.  I'm gonna have to uncork some serious design and engineering mojo to get through it all.
More pictures are on my website.

This layout shows the side of the bit shanks. 

This is the first bridle I've made where the reins have wear leathers on the turnback loops.  I confess the picture color didn't come out quite right, and the wear leathers are not really so bright orange.  They're actually much more subdued and natural-colored, like the reins themselves.  I used very thin skiver and hand-sewed them in place.

A reminder:  I will be visiting family and friends in Kansas and Colorado from May 2 to June 17.  If there aren't any blog posts for May and June that's why.  If I could make tons of tack on trips I would, but my history is against me.  I find it difficult to sell copies of the Guide when I'm on the road, so your patience is appreciated.  I look forward to returning with plenty of travel tales!  (sorry, no canoe this time!)
And I'm looking forward to NAN, and beyond it, BreyerFest!!

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