This post is also about just plain starting. I find it quite difficult to begin a big piece. How to get through the initial logjam? Where do I begin? Dividing and conquering just makes more logjams... Over time I have evolved a habit-pattern: much of the time I do start a saddle with the horn. (Since I build mostly Western saddles, horns are taken for granted.) I think of it as equivalent to starting painting a horse by doing his nose.
Above is the start of the start. That blue paper pattern was made from some random scrap of construction paper during my college years (early 80s) - and it's still in use today (2015)! Since my shears can't cut so tiny a turn, I use the hole punch and the X-Acto. The hole punch has the benefit of making that angle nice and smooth.
After dyeing the leather, the next step is hand-skiving the horn. The slanted edge must be feathered thin; it will form a wrapped edge later on and should have no bulk. The rest of the horn piece is left reasonably thick, although the inner edge is skived some.
How the Timaru Star II got its name). And ever since, every single Western saddle I've ever made has got that little star right in its horn. By now there are layers of "wish upon a star" and of just plain time-honored history in that stamped mark. It might be covered by a horn cap (in fact frequently is!) but the star is always there.
Here also I am slitting the rim of the horn for the braided-silver binding. The tool is a needle chisel, homebuilt.
The next step is to make the horn core or frame. I use 20 gauge galvanized steel wire. The horn is about the last place left in my saddles to use galvanized instead of stainless, because it will be unseen (and any corrosion won't affect things). Practice will be needed to shape the horn core: rounding the rim, paralleling the neck.
The back of the Galaxy lace shell is marked in a sort of checkerboard of tiny squares. The right width for #455's horn, and most Trad jobs, is just one square wide.
Life is never boring.