Wow, what a fun project! I've done only a little saddle repair work........just enough to be dangerous! Like I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable putting a saddle back together but I do know how to hand sew. If you could take it apart and pick the stitching, Art could glue on new fleece and if you knew how and had the time, you could hand stitch all of that and have Art reassemble it.
Hand stitching leather is one of the best things I've ever learned. I have made my own breast collars and put wear-leathers on all my wool blankets, repair things that need repairing, it's great! If you haven't already learned that, it's honestly not that hard. If Art would be kind enough to show you or you can find tutorials on You-tube. It does take some time, but that could save you money in the labor department. I did that once with a saddle maker, they took it apart for me (because I was totally green, I could probably safely do that now) and glued on the new fleece (must go a certain direction) and I did all the sewing and they reassembled it for me.
Anyway, these kinds of projects are my idea of fun! I admittedly haven't done saddle projects much because I never seem to find cheap saddles. And if I'm going to pay $500 or more, I will just get one in near-new condition. But I love working on tack.
The fleece condition wouldn't scare me as someone who would ride in that saddle. But from a resale point of view, everyone will see that as a "issue" to lower the price. Of course fleece is expensive and the labor to replace it is expensive, so you will have to decide if the cost and effort is worth it. Just cleaning and conditioning would be a lot for improving it's appearance.
I don't know how to do the braiding on the back either. I've seen it done and it was complicated just watching it. The guy I saw working on it was a saddle maker and even he said he had to pull out a book to make sure it was right.
Anyway, have fun!
, were you the one would got some mohair blend cinches a while back for like $15 a piece and were wondering if they were any good? How did those work out for you?
One of our local stores has some mohair blends on clearance for $22 a piece and I am thinking of buying some because the price is right. I usually buy pure mohair. But for the price, I don't see how I can go wrong. Just wondering what you thought of them? (If I am even asking the right person......I don't remember who it was, but thought it was you?) I don't know what these are blended with, but they are nice and soft and a thicker cord and still have a bit of a mohair feel to them.