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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled leather saddles!

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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled leather saddles!

Old 10-23-15, 04:33 PM
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Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled leather saddles!

I am gearing up to try my hand at recovering vintage riveted leather saddles of the Brooks, Ideale etc design. I have copper rivets, punches and a few nice sides of bridle leather but am lacking in frames to practice on. If anyone has any specimens that have leather beyond repair or bare saddle frames they are looking to get rid of, please let me know. Thanks!
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Old 10-24-15, 04:21 PM
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Interesting project, Brewsmith. It'll be interesting to see if anyone is willing to give away any of the saddles mentioned.

One question for you. You say you're using "bridle" leather. I think of bridle leather as being the stuff that is finished with oils, etc.
If so, will that work when wet forming and molding saddle covers?
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Old 10-24-15, 09:47 PM
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Sorry, when I referenced bridle leather, I was referring to the thickness. Still new to the terminology, but the leather I have is unfinished, and pretty thick, between 5 and 7mm. Once I get my ducks in a row I'll put up a thread documenting my attempts.
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Old 10-25-15, 03:06 AM
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I have a Wrights that is about 95% ready to break apart at the nose rivets. PM me an offer.
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Old 10-25-15, 09:17 AM
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What you have is probably vegetable tanned leather. Which is about the only kind that will wet-form well. Some others without a lot of oils in them could work. But your veg tanned will work the best.
Looking forward to seeing your results. Are you building a wooden form to shape them on?

You might want to check in with RHM on techniques, etc. He's the master here on this stuff.

Originally Posted by Brewsmith
Sorry, when I referenced bridle leather, I was referring to the thickness. Still new to the terminology, but the leather I have is unfinished, and pretty thick, between 5 and 7mm. Once I get my ducks in a row I'll put up a thread documenting my attempts.
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Old 10-25-15, 09:59 AM
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Currently pm'img in [MENTION=73614]rhm[/MENTION] now actually Still working on the forming process, sounds like I need to get my hands on a few chunks of pine...
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Old 10-25-15, 01:28 PM
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A few years ago I contributed a post to Vic's Classic Bikes Blog showing my process at that time. But now I can't find it. Can someone find it and post a link? I don't have time to write it up again. Thanks!
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Old 10-25-15, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
A few years ago I contributed a post to Vic's Classic Bikes Blog showing my process at that time. But now I can't find it. Can someone find it and post a link? I don't have time to write it up again. Thanks!


Vic's Classic Bikes: 8/19/12 - 8/26/12
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Old 10-25-15, 07:46 PM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...alue-here.html

Send me an offer or interesting trade...
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Old 10-26-15, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by TimmyT
Thanks! I could not find that, searching with my phone.

That post shows the method I was using about three years ago. In its essentials I still use this method, but the details have changed. The jig (or whatever you'd call it) that I use now is a long piece of 3/4" maple. Once the leather is clamped down to that, I hammer in a series of long thin wedges, also maple (or other hardwood). Each wedge has to be held in by a wood screw; otherwise it will shoot out again. Each wedge has to be a little shorter than the one that preceded it, so you can put the screw into the last wedge to hold the current one. Add more wedges until you can't add any more. You don't need to stretch the front of the saddle much, but the more you stretch the back, the better.

Here's an photo from September 2013 that shows something a little more like my current system, but the wedges are too short, so there's nothing holding them in; they can shoot across the yard without warning:


The white thing between the leather and the wedges is a piece of 3/4" PEX plumbing pipe. This makes it easier to pound in the wedges.

Once the leather is in the jig, all wedges in place, I leave it in for a pretty long time. Several hours minimum. When I take the leather off the jig, it's ready to be shaped into a saddle.
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Old 10-26-15, 06:28 PM
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[MENTION=73614]rhm[/MENTION], that is a thing of beauty, both sophisticated and rudimentary. Thanks so much for the post and pictures, you have given me much food for thought
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Old 10-26-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Here's an photo from September 2013 that shows something a little more like my current system, but the wedges are too short, so there's nothing holding them in; they can shoot across the yard without warning.
Add lawn chairs and you have a new drinking game....
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Old 10-28-15, 03:41 PM
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I have a brooks that I salvaged off of a yard sale find that had been left out in the rain for years. I've spent many hours trying to re-shape and restore the leather, but it is too far gone. I would be happy to send it to you for the price of postage, and a picture when you've recovered it.
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Old 10-28-15, 04:18 PM
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I have a rough selle San Marco regal with rivets if anyone wants it. I guess it's newish (production, not condition.)
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