How's that again? Six years and only 6 saddles finished?!? Gone are the days when I made 30, 40 and even 50 saddles in a year! But that was LONG ago, in the 1980s. The number of saddles made per year has been shrinking, yes; but we are still making saddles --- and this is our 40th year as a professional model tackmaker. And four hundred fifty-six saddles is something to be proud of.
Both Clyde Goehring Mexican Parade saddles can now claim the same thing: Their trees are proving immensely difficult. Here is what I started with. It's an RDLC cast white resin tree (right), available from Alison Benuish's The World of Model Horse Collecting:
Various files and the X-Acto are used. The 'buttons' on the shoulders are the beginnings of the domings on the full-size saddle.
Bit by bit, the swells (shoulders) are reduced down to what the real saddle looks like. Pencil marks show the next phase of filing down.
Filing down such a complex curved shape has to be done entirely by hand. I'm using the paper towel to clean off dust and the toothbrush to clean the files, which get instantly packed with whitegrey. The buttons or domings (I don't have a word for this aspect of this saddle. No other Mexican set I've seen has such a thing!) are naturally the hardest to do.
View from the front:
Switching to the cantle end of things, at about this point I realize I need to add more Apoxie. My old paper seat pattern shows that the current cantle is much too short; and as seen above, there are gouges and divots to be covered.
And here's the skirts part. On my FaceBook I showed the first pictures of the tooled parts for #457, CG2. Unfortunately I had failed to allow space for both rows, upper and lower, of white buckstitching on the second skirts. The real Goehring has them:
Just like #451, CG2 is being extremely difficult. I think there are various causes, but one is surely my own lack of discipline. The saddle has no real deadline -- even Christmas vacation is only a soft deadline. There seem to be a thousand other things I'd like to do, or that I have to do. For instance I have counted 8 other blog post subjects!!! However, those 40 years have set up their own pattern of behaviour. I am a tackmaker, first and last. I am so happy on the bench, creating yet another piece that takes great engineering. We can do this. There are saddles beyond this one that I'd love to get to. Even with such distractions as FB and blogging, canoeing season is over (until Thanksgiving, Hah!) and there just might be more time for tack.
Wish me luck.