My methods have evolved considerably since I made the first braided-leather-lace bosals in the 1970s. I've used nylon sinew (miniature rawhide) since the early 1980s. In 1996 I first used thread for nose button interweaves [IWs]. By 2005, when Fancy's was built, I had perfected the use of 4B buttons for the bosal and was tinkering with 3Bs. (Someday I'll have to post on my bosal evolution... and my logo evolution... and my...) Yes, this whole Fancy episode features 10-year-old technology! I have since moved on, to using 3Bs. And those are even harder.
One aspect hasn't changed: the core. Since the early 1980s I have used 20 ga. wire as the core for my bosals. This shot shows braiding the sinew cover of a bosal core; the wire is hooked to the anvil braiding anchor.
The next step is the foundation for the nose button. Note the scotch tape on the left, holding down the dead end (standing end) of the heavy cotton/polyester thread. It's a 4B long button. The number of passes (parts) is determined by length. I haven't counted but it's probably around 13.
Starting the central IWs:
A proper tightening will pull out an inch or more of extra thread. The button is now half as long as when it started.
Now for the side buttons. At the 2005 stage of my skill, I was adding side buttons on separately. Intregrating them into the central nose button, like the grand old masters of the full scale bosals, took me another few years!!
Four-bight (4B) side buttons are relatively simple. I use a few half-hitches of thin-gauge waxed thread for their cores (or groundwork, in Hought's phrase); this helps puff up the button into shape and helps prevent sliding.
The nose button and side buttons are done, and treated with Fray Chek. It isn't a perfect job, this one: I don't like the dark spot just to the side of the central IWs, and the matching of the doubling to the center ends was haphazard at best. But it'll do. Handmade tack is like that: each piece is an experiment. The day I stop experimenting is the day I stop making tack...
So for Fancy's, the heel knot begins with wiring the two halves together with 24 ga. stainless steel. I tried it for sizing on her and on Coconino (Smart Chic Olena). It's very important for the bosal to be symmetrical at this point.
The perfect Trad heel knot core for me is 5mm x 6mm.
I have learned not to tie knots on the outside of this core. They make lumps. Half hitches are the only knots tied, and their ends are fed through (pierced) and cut off. Coating of any sort, such as glue or Fray Chek, is controversial for me: I think it makes the core too slippery, and glue flakes sometimes work their way out. Heel knot cores challenge me.
Fancy's heel knot was a 7P6B with 2 x 2 rings of IW.
Right before cutting the tails:
Around about now I start drilling a hole in a domed Rio Rondo concho. Putting conchos on the ends of heel knots is an idea I got from the real guys: Ray Huffman to be precise. Of course, pinning on a concho also means you've got to find room for the pin shank! There is just about no space between the two wires inside the core. I shoulda put a pin in there when I was wiring the halves!! (to hold the space.) Hindsight is wonderful... The Sales bosal's pin winds up a little off center. It's nervewracking to be squeezing things with all your might while trying not to squish the braidwork.
And the bosal is done.
The only difference between the two Fancy's II bosals is a slight variation in the shape of heel knot; my own is more pointed.
And I didn't notice mine was asymmetrical, until my husband told me.
I do still find myself looking for that lost hackamore... but the hole in my collection is filled. The debt is paid. It's been great refreshing my bosal techniques -- I love braidwork. I look forward to further refinements!