Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ingredients for a girth

Today I made two girths. This is what they look like now...And here's a look at the girth ingredients. The body of the girth is made from two types of leather--petite tooling calf and sheepskin skiver. Both of these are dyed and sealed, and the cut ends are treated with Edge Kote. Each girth has four 1/8" photo-etched buckles with added rollers (made from the sheet metal) and buckle tongues (made from 24 gauge stainless steel wire). The buckles are attached to the girth with 1/8" kangaroo lace and elastic cord. The entire girth is glued and sewn together. Gum tragacanth is used during several stages of the construction process.
On to the tools! The sandpaper, scissors, X-acto knife, Q-tip and pounce wheel are all used to cut out, prepare and finish the leather pieces. The rest of the tools are used on the buckles. The blue handled wire cutters are used to snip the buckles off their sheet. The tin snips, round nosed jewelry pliers and blue handled smooth jaw needle nose pliers are used to cut out, shape and attach the rollers. The red handled wire cutters, pink handled needle nose pliers and round nosed jewelry pliers help form and attach the buckle tongues. It's not really necessary to have so many different types of pliers and wire cutters, but it sure is helpful. Detailing buckles is tedious work, and I am grateful for every tool that makes my job a little easier.
Before I forget again there is one more "tool" that you can always find on my work desk:
I am a messy worker. If I didn't have paper towels handy, my entire work area would be covered with glue and gum tragacanth. Believe me, these are essential!


  1. I am actually rather embarrassed at how many different kinds of nippers and pliers it takes me to make a standard saddle set. It's a lot. One day I'll take a photo...

    Agreed on the paper towels! My very very favorites are the blue shop towels you can get at the hardware store. I haven't found them here yet... I am also a chronic pant-wiper when I don't have something else handy, which is why every single pair of my sweat pants has glue smears on the legs.

  2. Lol,
    That sounds like my prepping pants. They have paint and filler stained all over them.

    I love your girths! They are really quite magnificent.

  3. Sadly, you have described almost my entire wardrobe. One of these years I'm going to have to start dressing like a grown-up! :)

  4. I *love* *love* *love* rollers on girth buckles. I refuse to buy them (real or model) without...

  5. Your girths are so detailed. I wish mine looked half as good! I think my main issue is that I have only photo-etched buckles to use. I would make them out of wire, but they don't turn out very well that way. Someday I will figure that out! ;)

    Yes, I go through many, many paper towels just cutting and assembling saddle pieces.

  6. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing!