Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tack Tips--more on buckles

Two weeks ago I showed you how I prepare photo etched buckles for use on various tack projects. Since then I've had a couple people ask how I make single loop buckles. The truth of the matter is that more often than not I still make those out of straight pins. There are a couple reasons for this. The first is that I like being able to fit each buckle precisely to its strap. I also like the way the buckles feel. Their round wire shape glides smoothly and easily over the leather and does not mark its surface in the way that photo etched buckles can. Because I've had a lot of practice, I don't have much trouble consistently producing the size and shape buckles I want.Sometimes, however, I do use Rio Rondo d-rings. I don't particularly like their shape for a hunter type bridle, but they look good on dressage bridles (particularly in the gold color), harnesses and all sorts of other things. Simply clip the d-ring off the sheet, sand off the stem and add a buckle tongue.One other thing I neglected to address last time is the proper length for a buckle's tongue. I often see buckles that look a lot like this when I'm cruising MH$P or eBay.Both those buckles are functional, but because their tongues are much too long, neither looks particularly polished. For comparison's sake, here are some close up pictures of full size buckles.Note the tongue length--it does not extend out over the top of the buckle.Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix. Here is a picture of the same two buckles after I've trimmed their tongues with my wire cutters. Not only do they look a lot neater, but they're also easier to use.
One last picture--here is a show halter I made last year that features buckles made from Rio Rondo d-rings on the chin section and properly sized buckle tongues throughout. As always, hope this was helpful!

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