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Leather saddle DIY project

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Leather saddle DIY project

Old 12-15-22, 05:18 AM
  #26  
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Leather suppliers

Project update:

I have what looks to be a Brooks Aged line B17 softened (Narrow), in ok condition. The leather has become taught along the centerline of the saddle, even though the tension bolt looks to have not been turned. I currently plan on replacing the leather in fear that the original isn't salvageable structurally.

I am struggling to find local leather suppliers that have 5mm veg tanned cow Butt leather, everything seems to have been skimmed for upholstery.

Does anyone have any supplier contacts within England?
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Old 12-15-22, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by liamM93
Does anyone have any supplier contacts within England?
Yes, check your private messages!
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Old 12-15-22, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
do you recover selle flite saddles? I have an early 90's one but the leather needs to be re-glued and really should be replaced
No, sorry! I wish someone on this forum would step up and make a cottage industry of this kind of repair. It's not difficult, but it involves a different set or materials and tools than what I normally use, and I make a big enough mess with the veg-tanned leather!
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Old 12-15-22, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by liamM93
I am struggling to find local leather suppliers that have 5mm veg tanned cow Butt leather, everything seems to have been skimmed for upholstery.
Does anyone have any supplier contacts within England?
I source my leather from a local leather importer. He sells to the trade as well as having a retail outlet. One of the trade uses for thick vegetable-tanned leather is to resole leather boots. Try searching for such a supplier, or ask your local bootmaker, who should advise on the supplier of the stamped blanks who should then advise of the supplier of the sides of leather. It is likely that you will need to buy a side of leather, enough to do many saddles.
Even though Australia has 24.4 million cattle, the leather my supplier stocks comes from Argentina. Stories abound that after the latest mad cow disease outbreak, the English cattle are slaughtered young, resulting in the leather not being as thick and tough as it was previously. Argentina has no such issues.
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Old 12-15-22, 03:28 PM
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I once made custom knife sheaths. Wicket and Craig was the best supplier of sides at that time. I think I would want to wet form my leather. Techniques used by gun holster makers would seem best. I've been planning a couple myself but haven't got around to it yet.

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I would like to ask about your wood form. Is it exact size of the saddle minus the thickness of the leather? Do you prepare the leather just as if doing embossing or stamping?

I have one helpful suggestion on finishing edges. Sand as much as possible with flat edges, even if it is just a sheet of sandpaper backed by a flat piece. The edges will look better. You can employ sheath makers techniques to make edges look like polished glass if you want to take it than far.

I am considering exotic inlays on the sides of mine. If you want to see a master sheath marker's art look at Paul Long. It might give some ideas about what could be done on a saddle.
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Old 12-15-22, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
I would like to ask about your wood form. Is it exact size of the saddle minus the thickness of the leather? Do you prepare the leather just as if doing embossing or stamping?
The leather is immersed in room temperature water until it becomes soft and pliable, normally around 30 min. Don't leave it in too long or else too many of the tannins from the tanning process will leach out into the water.

If the old leather is serviceable I line the inside with cling wrap and pour plaster into the middle of the upturned saddle to make the form. A wood form is only made if the old leather is unfit or non-existent. Yes, it is sized to fit the underside of the saddle with the leather formed over the form. This works best for me with the vacuum bagging system I use. Any crease lines from the bag are easily smoothed out once out of the bag and the leather is still damp.

I have a large sanding disc on my bench grinder to prepare the edges for later burnishing with a bone folder and Gum Tragacanth. I had researched the leather working forums for techniques to use.

I am interested to see other techniques
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