Thursday, 18 October 2018

Saddle and sundries

When restoring a rocking horse you have to make hundreds of small decisions along the way as to how you are going to do it. As a jeweller, I'm obsessive about minor details and like to get things right. But sometimes you just can't find a photo of a similar horse in original condition, and you have to plump for one thing or another. The gold fringe, for instance, is possibly more Ayres than J & G Lines - but I couldn't resist the way it looks.

Here are some photos of the process, to show how I made the saddle. I used a staple gun, which was very handy, two types of Bostic and domed upholstery nails. I stitched the saddle on an ordinary sewing machine using a new needle - it only worked if I used the leather forming the underside of the saddle suede side up, as the other side wouldn't feed through the machine. It's stuffed it with horse hair which I believe is traditional. I cut the thick leather on a cutting mat with a stanley knife, and used scissors on the soft leather.

The tail strap was surprisingly easy and quick to make. Everything else took ages.

I made paper then fabric patterns of the saddle first

I glued on the velvet saddle cloth, smoothing it out as I went.
The strap, screwed in with three screws, is to hold the stirrup leathers.
The saddle is made of soft leather, stuffed with horsehair and staple gunned to the horse.


These are the saddle flaps, with decorative trim glued on.

The finished (almost) saddle, with decorative rondel.
I still have to shorten the stirrup leathers and put a couple more studs in the saddle flaps.

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