I use the 550 cord but you braid a number of strands together to make one larger strand. An eight strand flat braid works out about the thickness of decent sized bridle/rein leather. Posted via Mobile Device
Thenrie, my instructor retired about a year ago. I'd wanted to go Stateside but too much paranoia after 911 about Canadians going to the US. Google saddlemaking schools then get references. Some are very skillful but can't teach worth a hoot. You need someone who will provide all the answers to the why questions. That is the only way you will understand why you are doing something a certain way. I was lacing and braiding rawhide and was told push with your thumb, don't pull with your fingers. He didn't say why. I found out why, it makes your fingers bleed. Blood and leather/ rawhide are a poor mix.
Does anyone have any good links to free how-to's? Preferably something like how to braid bridles or breast collars or reins? Or where to get the correct cords to be able to do it?
Thanks I'm brand new to tack making and am really into it!
My husband when he had a good sewing machine made quite a few headstalls and chinks/chaps. His machine didn't sew think enough to make thicker stuff like hobbles unfortunately and he sold it when we moved to TX. We plan on buying another in the spring when we move home.
Anyhow...he learned from apprenticing with other makers. Good quality stuff like lined, stitched with quality silver headstalls will sell. You can't compete with Pakistan and Mexico for the low quality crap. Finding a niche seems necessary.
Finding a wholesaler for your leather is helpful rather than paying full price. We also buy the silver wholesale or have it made and the prices reflected either way.
For patterns, we found that buying a good quality headstall or what ever, take it a part, and tracing the pieces on some tag board is the best. Most makers won't give up their patterns if they think you are going to copy and sell. Tandy Leather sells patterns, but they do need a bit of adjusting to make them workable though.
Making tack for yourself is one thing but to sell to others really isn't financially feasible. The manufacturers have equipment that can cut many pieces at a time and get volume discounts on leather that we can't hope to get even at wholesale. There are also so many saddlemakers that for many it's not the day job, plus trying to compete against the manufacturers. Knowing how to make a saddle is good as it's needed to do all types of saddle repair.