Friday, August 11, 2017

Peacock Mecate II

When we left off, the popper had just been tooled, and it was time to start the final twisting of the Peacock Hackamore's mecate.  One of my challenges had been to connect the blue strand with the green.  I achieved this with the help of that great tackmaker's friend, Elmer's.
Here you can see that the headstall ornamentation has been completed on the cheekstraps.  This shot gives some idea of the incredible lengths of thread involved.
The next step is to hang everything off the popper and start spinning.  But now there was a snag.  The button I tried to put on the popper didn't look right.  I hadn't allowed for its bulk, neither width nor depth, nor for the button's anchoring (not sliding).  This button had to be beautiful as well as strong and tight, as I would be pulling on it all during final twisting.  What to do?
The answer was to cut a notch.  This tiny cut made room where there wasn't any.  It had to be done with a sharp X-Acto, one edge at a time, by eye.  In hindsight I should've put in a core wrapping, to help shaping, but the notch worked out anyway.
I painted the bare leather with Edge Cote.  Then I tried 3 different times to get this crucial button right.  Sometimes it takes that many tries.  In the end it was a Spanish Ring Knot of 2 Passes that worked.
Now we can begin!
Starting the final twist on this mecate was as hard as anything I've done on this Hackamore.  I struggled and struggled.  I knew one white strand had to disappear:  it was the core.  But how to start to wrap the other strands!?  At last I went back to earlier notes.  I put a weight clip (a clothespin works nicely) on the white core strand, so I could tell which one it was, and spun the 2 whites for about 3 inches.  This three-inch length is just right for these mecates:  I make them 3 inches at a time.  Then I added in just the green.
This picture (above) shows the 3 steps.  At the bottom, my green and white, as tight as I could make them.  Next, I put in the blue, in between the two whites.  Lastly, I took the two checkered strands and twisted them together by themselves for about 3 inches... and then combined them onto the green-and-blue.  The combining opened them up, in a larger version of the twist that made them in the first place, and they turned out to cover one of the whites.  It was this white that became the core... it disappeared.

A whole lot of pulling takes place during these steps.  In particular the white core will get pulled, and inevitably it gets longer.  In hindsight (again) I should've allowed for this lengthening, and hung it a little shorter to start with.
Below, you can see the checkered strands held to the side (the clips), the completed white/green/white, and the blue in mid-spin.
It took me four days to finish this phase.  Every inch is tweaked and adjusted by hand during spinning.

I ran out of one of the checkered strands first, so that determined how long it was!  The last part of any mecate is the tassel knot. Here I've started the core of the tassel knot:  a 4-part Undercrown, with the white core strand as a center.
Then a 4-part Overcrown and Wall, giving the appearance of a 3-strand braid along the edge, miraculously.
I didn't take pictures of every step.  I didn't shoot the insertion of the tassel hair.  It was 8 strands of unwaxed dental floss, as are all the white tassels here at the TSII.  : )  Nor do I show the careful clipping of the strands below the end knot, once so hard-won and now so much dross.  Nor have I shown the covering knot to the tassel end knot, an exotic button I got out of Tom Hall's books.

My attention went to the popper end.  I needed another knot to tighten up the rope and disguise some ends.  While full-scale mecates don't have buttons here, I frequently need them for construction purposes!  At least it will match.
What a relief to unwind everything and see it all laid out!  The ultimate test of a spun thread rope is whether it will stay twisted by itself when the tension goes off.
And this one did.
The tassel end knot was another button that took more than one try.  It didn't come out perfect.  Here is the other side:
Unable to resist, I opened the Guide to page 114 and tied on this mecate to the waiting headstall and bosal. 
There you have it.  Only the throatlatch to go.

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