Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tack Tips--Customizing conchos

I love Rio Rondo's photo etched conchos. They are perfectly in-scale, detailed and super shiny. There is no better way to quickly and easily dress up Western (and Mexican!) tack.

There is, however, one small thing I don't like about these conchos: Used as is, they can only be attached with glue. I much prefer a more permanent method of attachment. Luckily, these same conchos can be modified to pin on "concho beads" in just a few easy steps.
First, use your metal snips to remove the conchos from the sheet. Sand the cut edge with fine grain sandpaper. You will need a mallet, punch board and metal awl to make the holes in your conchos. My mallet and board came from the Leather Factory. The awl was part of a "Fun With Metalworking" kit that I bought at Hobby Lobby several years ago.
Use the awl's point to mark the center of the concho.
Then, place the tip of the awl on the mark, hold the awl vertically and give it a couple sharp taps with the mallet. This should give you a nice hole. Flip the concho over and repeat. Your concho will now have a slightly domed shape which I personally find appealing.
However, if you prefer a flat shape, you can use smooth jawed needlenose pliers to flatten it out again.
Thread a pin through the hole and your concho is ready to use!
The finished product in use. You can see the slightly domed shape in this picture.
As always, hope this is helpful!


Notice to everyone dealing with me personally: My Comcast inbox crashed today and I lost several months worth of correspondance. If we've exchanged emails recently, please be patient while I try to sort everything out. Doreen Z, could you please send those tack pictures again? I am still hoping that somehow everything will be restored but I'm not counting on it...


  1. Super information! Hope your email problems get sorted out ok..!

  2. I've been doing this too. Love these conchos. Just wish they did a sheet of all one type!

  3. Oh Vicky, they just added those to their website!!! They don't have all the styles in stock yet, but the new sheets are awesome. Not only are they all one style, but they're all different sizes, too. Woo hoo!

  4. I wish they'd do some the right size for doll belt buckles...

  5. Thanks for the tips and I love the fotos of the parade! The horses look all so flurry in their winter coats, very nice! Hope you will have a better day tomorrow! ;-)

  6. Thank you for your availability and good will on teaching us, Braymare!!!

    Maynard and Patricia.