Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tack Tips--Laced Reins, Part Two

In this tutorial, I will show you how to make a pair of traditional scale laced reins.

Begin by making a simple pair of plain reins out of prepared 1/8' or 3/32" kangaroo lace. These reins should attach to the bit at one end and buckle together at the other. Most laces retain a bit of curve even after they've been prepared. Use this feature to your advantage by always making sure the curve faces down.
Position your assembled reins on the model and mark the area where you'd like the lacing to begin.
Using your smallest (03) pencil punch, make a hole in the marked area.
Continue punching holes down the entire length of the laced section.
The holes should be approximately 1/8" apart and placed right in the middle of the strap. If you let them get off center, you will be far more likely to break the rein while lacing it.Real reins are laced with a narrow leather strip and there are some model tackmakers who do this as well. I admire the effort but so far haven't felt compelled to duplicate it. Instead, I use waxed linen cotton thread which can be purchased very cheaply (less than $5) at Hobby Lobby.
Prepare the thread by cutting a piece approximately four times the length of the rein's hole punched section. Separate the thread into four strands and run each of those between your fingernails to remove the excess wax. Take two of the strands, lay them side by side and squish them together making sure they stay flat and do not twist over one another.Cut one end into a point and thread it through the eye of your needle. Use the smallest needle possible. A good rule of thumb is this--if your needle can't pass easily through the holes in your rein, it's too big. Starting at the bit end of the rein, push the needle through the backside of the first hole. Pull approximately half the length of thread through the hole, then pass the needle under the rein and back through the front side of the first hole.
Gently continue pulling the thread through the hole until the first loop is complete.
Continue passing the needle though the holes down one side of the rein. Be sure to keep an even tension on all the loops and try not to let your threads twist over one another. They will look better if you keep them lying flat and parallel.
As you work your way down the rein you will probably notice a corkscrew shape developing. Do not worry about this. It's perfectly normal and will go away once you lace the other side.
When you reach the last hole, slide the needle off the thread. Attach it to the long piece of thread still sticking out of the first hole. Repeat the lacing process down the opposite side of the rein.
You should now have a nice length of evenly spaced sideways "V's." If yours are loose or uneven, you can carefully go back with an awl and make some adjustments.
When you're satisfied with the lacing, flatten the loose ends onto themselves, snip them off with a pair of sharp scissors...
and glue them to the rein with a dot of super glue gel.
Repeat the process on the other rein and that's it--your reins are ready to go!
As always, please let me know if this tutorial was helpful and feel free to suggest topics for future Tack Tip tutorials.

20 comments:

  1. That is wonderful! I love waxed cobblers thread. I use it for so much, dreamcatchers, braiding horse hair jewelry etc.

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  2. Aha! It all becomes clear! I was wondering how you keep the leather from pulling apart like taffy at that scale, but it's actually waxed thread. Very obvious once you think of it but I wouldn't have thought of it :)

    Thanks so much, you're amazing.

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  3. Thanks! I'm going to try that one of these days... :)

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  4. ah ha! brown waxed thread! brilliant! I was struggling with how to lace the reins... leather thin enough would tear really easy but embroidery floss shows this really distinct "sheen"... I've been really excited for this tutorial, I have a bridle I'm making exclusively from your tutorials and I can finally add "BCS"-style reins! :P


    Thanks for these tutorials, they're awesome!!!

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  5. Hi Jen,
    You always make it look so easy, I will try it sometime, I think I have some of the waxed thread in my tack kit. What I struggle with is making the nice keepers. Have you done a tutorial about that? If not could that maybe a subject for the future?

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  6. I should make you make the full size Flick a cob size bridle :D

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  7. This was great, thanks! I'm feeling inspired to try it.

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  8. Thank you everyone for your commments. The tutorials take a fair amount of work on my part, so I really do need the encouragement to keep going with them. And remember--I *love* to see pictures of tack made from my instructions!

    Teresa, I would love to venture into Flick sized tack someday, but I'm not sure the results would be up to either one of our (ridiculously high)standards!

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  9. The realism of your tack is amazing. As someone who has just started to venture into making tack (micro) this is very helpful and inspiring.

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  10. I don't do model horses, but I still drop by every day because I find you're work so neat and fascinating! So please, please, please keep sharing!

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  11. Incredible work. So life-like it is just amazing. If I ever decide to try my hand at making miniature tack, I will certainly use your guide as a reference. Thank you so very much for sharing your tips and the photos of your perfect work.

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  12. Thank you for the very helpful tutorial! Please keep up the good work, I really enjoy your "lessons"! :)

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  13. That was really interesting - I really enjoy your tutorials. I don't know if you'd be able to feature this, but I'd love to find out how to hand carve leather for tack.

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  14. Jennifer...you are quite true. It'd be easier to just save the money up and BUY the Passier bridle :D

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  15. This is super helpful- THANKS for posting it, I had no idea how anyone could ever thread such thin leather through itself, but apparently that's not the case :)
    For a future Tack Tip, I'd be really interested in how you manage the buckles that attach the cheekpiece and reins to the bit? The ones that seem to double over on themselves?

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  16. cool tack tips! Can you show us some pics of your saddle patterns and how it goes together/ how you make one. I want to make my saddles better, but i don't know how to make a complicated saddle pattern.

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  17. Love it.... I've read lots of it tutorials so far and they all seem so easy!!!! Except for the saddle, but I always have trouble with those!!! I was thinking thread earlier then u said it and I was like, dang I'm good ;) but thanks much for these!!!!!! I'm defiantly trying a few, like the jump cups!!! And possibly this if I have enough nerve and time!!! Haha :)

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  18. how do you attach the bit and buckle together?hope you know what im talkin gabout:)

    rebekah

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    1. In this bridle, she make the reins buckle on to the bit, but usually you can just glue it right on.

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  19. Thread!!!! Omg this is great!!!!��

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