Here is the latest progress:
Rigging plates are all tooled up and have one sewn and riveted, the next is ready to sew and rivet.
While I waited for glue to dry I built some stirrup hobbles - These are 1/2"w and set-up for 2.5" stirrup leathers. Jeremiah Watt buckles. Used 1/8" beader to create edge detail.
For my rivets - I know there is a lot of debate surrounding 'doming' rivets. I certainly agree that too heavy of a dome is undesirable - However, I purchased the domers from Sheridan Leather and am pretty happy with them. They just ease the rivet enough to keep the sharp outside edge down and when you polish them up they look great.
As you can see I sewed up the off side rigging plate first - Mainly because I'm still trying to get handy with my Cobras Class 4 - It works good that machine. Sewed up that first plate like it was butter. Really happy with it. I'd still say though that hand stitching does that most accurate clean job...but for those of us who do this as a hobby and don't have lots of spare time, A cobra machine is a great investment - Does a very good job, easy to use and save hours.
One thing I'm doing on this project - I'm trying to get ahead of all the little stuff - Stirrup hobbles, rope straps and latigo carriers etc. That way at the end you can save some serious time by not having to mess around with all that little junk...Anyhow, next step is to install these plates, the swell cover and then black the skirts on!
30/01/15 - So last night I glued up the last 'on-side' rigging plate and while I was waiting for that to set-up I polished up 7 rivets - I personally like a polished rivet and I also like them to have a light dome to them.
For those who have never 'domed and polished' a rivet I will explain how I do it.
Doming & Polishing Rivets:
Tools Needed: Hammer, Domers (Sheridan Leather), Mini Anvil (Tandy), sand paper (200 & 400 Grit), and leather scrap with stropping compound.
I have modified one of the little mini anvils from tandy. I have drilled holes in the top - These are sized just larger than the two rivet sizes I use - #9's and #12's, The holes are drilled far enough down into the anvil that the rivet sticks out of the top of the anvil by only about and 1/8" or so. This gives me a secure way to hold the rivet when I 'pre dome' it.
I grab a rivet, stick it in the hole in the anvil and then pre-dome it using my Sheridan Leather domers - A few good shots with a hammer is all it takes.
I then chuck the rivet into a cheapo 3/8" electric drill I keep handy - I have the drill rigidly mounted and this allows me to use a fine sandpaper (200 - 400 grit) to sand the nicks and abrasions that seem to come with typical copper rivets. The drill spins the rivet and all I have to do is work the sandpaper till the rivet smooths out and all the nicks and ridges are gone. I then take a piece of heavy hermann oak that is loaded with stropping compound and do the same thing. This polishes the rivet till it really shines. If stropping compound remains on the rivet I buff it off with a cloth.
This is the result:
I'll try to get better pictures of this on the weekend. Anyhow - basically I think it makes the end product look better and it also keeps the sharp outside edge of the rivet tucked down so it won;t catch on clothes/other leather etc.