|TSII #442, built in 2005. 4-Strand Round Braid on cantle.
Cutting the slits is part of edge braiding, but it's a skill I'm taking for granted in this post. I have made Needle Chisels (as mentioned in my book The Guide to Making Model Horse Tack), out of needles and paintbrush handles, in order to have miniature thonging chisels. For my current (2017) saddle (TSII #456 Star Wars), I am using my largest Needle Chisel. The blade is about 1.2mm wide. The slits are cut parallel to the edge of the leather, a little less than their own width apart. I'm afraid I space by eye -- experience is the best teacher here. I'd guess my spacing is about 2/3rds or 3/4ths of the width of the chisel; the above shot and the third one down provide some example.
Of course the first time my Galaxy silver strip is pulled through the slit, all its handcut irregularities are revealed! My best efforts are not perfect. I must be prepared to go to an ungodly amount of fuss and care trimming it.
To begin, I've learned to always look down on the grain side of whatever I'm edge braiding and start at the extreme left end. On cantles this turns out to be the off side. My breastcollars and tapaderos have many sections of edge braiding and each section has to be done individually - just start at the left end. The braiding thus travels from left to right.
I open the slits with my Needle Awl or miniature fid, one at a time, as they are braided.
I don't use needles with Galaxy lace. I just cut a point on one end of my strip. The point has to be small enough to easily pass through each slit and let me grab it on the other side. This works out to be about half an inch of point.
The magic number with Four-Strand Edge Braid is four. Starting with the first slit, the next slit is the fourth one to the right. The starting slit will turn out to be useless -- the end will be withdrawn later -- so leave about two inches of dead end at this time.
The Four-Strand edge braid basically follows a figure-8 path. Here the first pass back is shown, through the second slit. Once through, the lace is bent again to go to the right.
View of the back side (flesh side). Having passed under, the working end enters slit 3 (remember him?) and emerges. It's held under my thumb here.
The Four-strand Round Braid really does follow a figure 8 path, overlapping each pass one slit to the right when viewed from the grain side.
And then there's Problem-Solving!! My point has become so worn and frazzled it's delaminating. When this happens, I shorten the lace a little and cut a new point.
The Galaxy end can be glued down on the flesh side with white or brown glue.
I will end this pair of posts with the same shot of my unfinished, completely silver edge braided saddle, TSII #456. When this shot was taken, the seat had not yet been fastened on. Only time will tell whether entirely edging a saddle with silver braid was a good idea! The beauty is fantastic but the increased delicacy and fragility will require dainty handling.
|TSII #456 'Star Wars' unfinished.