Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tack Tips--Raised nosebands, part two

Today I am going to show you how I make a raised noseband in 1:9 (traditional) scale. The first picture shows the supplies and tools needed to create the raised section of the noseband: two widths of high quality kangaroo lace, waxed linen thread, glue, gum tragacanth, an Xacto knife with a #11 blade and 220 grit sandpaper. Not pictured but used to make other parts of the noseband are two buckles, a hole punch, mallet and cutting board.I start by cutting a piece of prepared 1/8" lace. I add a buckle and keepers to one end and punch holes and point the tip on the other. This simple strap will eventually be your noseband.
Buckle the noseband and slide it onto your model. Using an awl, lightly mark the spot where you want your the caveson hanger to attach to the noseband. Repeat on the other side.
Slide the noseband off the model and unbuckle it. Cut slots at the places you marked.
Cut a piece of skived 3/32" lace that is just slightly longer than the distance between your slots.
Unravel two strands of waxed linen thread.
Twist them together tightly and glue to the center of the flesh side of the 3/32" lace.
While that is drying, return your attention to the noseband strap. Although this piece was skived earlier, the area between the slots needs additional attention. It must be paper thin. I achieve this by alternating between skiving and sanding. Work slowly and pause occasionally to treat the section with gum tragacanth.
You'll know the strap is ready when you can easily fold it half lengthwise.
Smear some glue on the skived area and...
carefully place the 3/32" strap into the glue. Be sure to center it exactly over the center of the 1/8" noseband.
Turn the noseband over and gently press the layers together. Run your fingernail along each side of the cord to make the center section pop out. Clean up any extra glue that has squeezed out and treat the entire piece with gum tragacanth.
You may also choose to decorate the sides with your stitch marker.
Add the caveson hanger straps and your noseband is finished.

Do not be discouraged if your first attempts at raised nosebands leave something to be desired. This is an advanced technique that requires a lot of precision and patience. Thankfully, it does get easier with practice!

Note to novice tackmakers--This is by far the most complicated Tack Tip I've written to date and it assumes the reader is knowledgeable about the basics of tack making. Please refer back to earlier Tack Tip postings for more detailed information about finding and using supplies, punching holes, cutting slots, and making tongue buckles.


  1. Wow! Thanks so much, your tack it amazing and I'm glad that you're not keeping your tack tips a secret. I have so many questions, I could ask you for pages, but I'm going to limit it :D. What makes your saddles look so realistic? (Saddle tree, its not bulky etc...) And if I may ask another... Saddle trees, what do you use, what could work.

    Thanks so much for having this blog, and updating it so often! Its great fun to browse around. You're an amazing tack maker, the reason I started :).

  2. This is a great entry, Jennifer! I have a request for sometime - can you go over how you do the crown piece for a headstall, and how you measure the straps for the throatlatch and to attach the parts that hold the bit? That's probably the most intimidating part of making english tack for me - western is way easier in that regard, there are MUCH less parts to each headstall!

  3. Thanks Jennifer soo much for answering my question in a post you have really answerded my question,i love reading your blog its so interesting :)
    Thanks soo much

  4. I'm glad you all found this post helpful. This is by far the most complicated Tack Tip I've attempted, and I always worry that my instructions aren't clear enough. Erin, it really cracks me up that you find English bridles intimidating. Compared to all that tooling you do, they are a cakewalk!

  5. Tooling is easy though - You can just doodle around, and if you screw up you just hide it with more tooling! English has to be a lot more precise.

  6. Thank you for this! To a large extent, I did manage to recreate it in Stablemate scale, using thin wire for the bulk instead of the string. The pictures of a real noseband really helped.

  7. Oooohhh.....NOW I get it! What did you call the tool that you used for stitchmarking again? I sifted through Tandy's website and didn't find anything...
    Thanks SO much for this - I am now ready to make my tack, I just need the supplies to get here!

  8. Hi Braymere, What kind of glue do you recomend? I use super glue because it drys fast and sticks well to leather but the problem is that I can't touch the glue which is pretty annoying.

    Thanks, Devon Comstock

  9. Be sure to check out my older Tack Tips. There is one regarding glue selection.

    For most things, I do *not* like super glue. As you said, it dries too fast. Additionally, stray drips cannot be removed without damaging the surface and it's not flexible. I much prefer the glue shown in this post!

  10. Your tack tips are always so clear and helpful. I tend to overcomplicate things so a lot of these tutorials that show simple solutions are great and save me from my crazy complicated ideas!

  11. I just made my raised noseband! Although it dose not look as good as yours, I am getting there! Thank you so much for this tack tip!