For more than twenty years, Carol Willliams' Rio Rondo has been the model horse hobby's go-to source for all kinds of tackmaking supplies, including cast pewter bits. One of my favorite Rio Rondo bits is #E607, the Weymouth combination. The size and proportions of this bit make it a perfect choice for a dressage type double bridle. It does have one drawback, however. Like many of Rio Rondo's cast hardware items, it requires a fair amount of prep work to make it usable. Today's tutorial explains the preparation process.Interestingly, I use the same tools for prepping bits as I do for prepping leather lace--an X-acto knife and 220 grit sandpaper. Additionally, I sometimes use a small file to help clean up really egregious seams.
The first step is to carefully remove all the extra bits of pewter left over from the casting process.
Then, I gently scrape all the seams with the knife's blade...
and follow that with an all over sanding. The pewter is surprisingly soft so it's important to go slowly and check your work from several angles to prevent lopsidedness.
Don't forget the insides of the bit rings! I use a small piece of rolled up sandpaper to clean those hard to reach seams.
Although most pewter bits are generally sturdy, this particular bit is prone to breakage in the area where the snaffle section meets the curb.
If you sand the snaffle piece like this, you're likely to end up with two separate bits.
As much as possible, I try to hold the bit like this so as not to stress the fragile area.
Before and after. It took me approximately one hour to achieve these results.
Prep-work is not the most glamorous part of tackmaking, but it's one of the most important. Take your time and the results will be worth it in the end!