Monday, August 21, 2017

How to make English saddle panels

In the almost nine (!) years I've been writing this blog, I've fielded countless requests for a tutorial on English saddle panels. Because of this, I was really excited when Australian tack maker, Bronwyn Ahyong of Infiniti Custom Studios posted the following how to on her Facebook page. This isn't the exact process I use, but it's pretty darn close. Thank you so much, Bronwyn, for taking the time to write this up. I know you've made a lot of people really happy!

English Saddle Panel Tutorial

by Bronwyn Ahyong

What you'll need:
- Thin leather (skiver works well)
- Your pattern
- Glue
- Thickish leather (.7-1.1mm) this will be covered it can be scrap leather
- Hobby knife

The first step is to trace the pattern onto the flesh side of the thickish leather and cut it out.

Then, spread glue all over the grain side of the cut pieces  and place them firmly onto the flesh side of the leather. Allow the glue to dry, then cut out the pieces. The panels are now two layers thick.
Next, spread glue on the wider part of the panels and glue them back to the uncut leather.
Repeat this step two to four times.
Use a craft knife and sandpaper to sand down and carve the panel until it is rounded on the outer edge. 
I also taper the mid section for a smoother transition between the two layer and four layer sides. 
Here's a look at the shaped panel.
Cover the panel with the thin leather...
and glue it to the underside of the saddle.
Clean up the excess glue... 
and the saddle is finished. Hurray! 
I hope this tutorial makes sense and is helpful!

1 comment:

  1. To me, the hardest part of making panels is getting the thin leather to cover them smoothly. I wet down my skiver, then carefully shape it around the panel, pulling it smooth, then hold it in place for a few minutes. Next I set it aside & let it dry before I glue it.