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About Skipndance

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    San Francisco-ish, CA United States

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Very basic stuff right now
  • Interested in learning about
    Career in Leather craft/saddle repair, info/training
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  1. For someone like me who has a Dremel tool but no drill press, the little burnisher is the best tool for the job and, as many others have said, I don't think it is overpriced for the quality of product and usefulness of it. Never assume no one will want something you make. If you make it well, they will buy. :-)
  2. I don't know how/when I'll be able to work it out, but I was hoping to eventually. I actually took the Basic/Level 1 Bridle class and Bench Flocking class that Ian and Andrew Hastilow taught 2 years ago in Maryland, USA. My mom was a self taught saddle maker and specialized in sidesaddles. She passed away nearly 3 years ago now, but I kept her tools and supplies. I have 3 sidesaddles (a C&W, an Owen and an unmarked) in various stages of discontent, that I had bought for my mom to restore, which will sit in my garage until I figure out how to do it myself. I know conceptually how they are done, but not the step by step, nuts and bolts of the process. When I saw your statement on your website that your most cherished prize is the one you won for your sidesaddle, I knew you were the one I needed to connect with if I can ever afford to do this!
  3. Hi gmace99/George, I'm interested in the classes you offer and yes, I did the math and I could spend 5-6 weeks of classes in Scotland. I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it work, might have to do some creative accounting, but I'm setting it as a nebulous goal right now! I'll pm more tomorrow, but my immediate question: after looking at the dates on your website, do you do your 1:1 private classes in the weeks between the scheduled/group classes? Thanks!
  4. HI Mike, I'd like the two geometrics (geometric shape and corner geometric) as well as the $5 set. I'll pm you for more info. Thanks!
  5. Hi Ron, I just caught this thread from the bump. Are you sticking with stamps or could you do embossing rolls? I'm not sure if the acrylic would work, but I have my mom's old Randall Machine Company embossing machine with a couple of rolls. but finding the unique vintage rolls/wheels for it is next to impossible. I found a couple of border/bar illustrations that I think would be cool as an embossing wheel pattern. Just wondering if the acrylic would be a reasonable option. It's always good to have options!
  6. sstalker has a set posted below if they haven't sold yet.
  7. Hi all, I know this is an old post, but I saw this thread and wanted to mention that Lillian Chaudhary was my mom and passed away in July of 2014. I've kept all of her tools and have a couple of sidesaddles I had bought to have her restore, but didn't get done. I'm hoping to gradually build my skills doing smaller projects and then eventually restore the two sidesaddles. DJ1935, my mom specialized in western sidesaddles, so I may be able to help if you are still looking for info. I know the Australian sidesaddle riders are always looking for saddlers who are familiar with sidesaddles. If anyone has any questions about sidesaddles, I'm happy to answer or try to point you in the right direction. Thanks, Anita
  8. Hi Wiz, I have a quick question on the old Singer machine. I have inherited my mom's machines and one is a Singer 7-27. Is that the same as the model 27 you are referring to? I'd like to find any info and or manual - if there is such a thing for it. I'm just starting to look it up right now, so I will probably find some info, but curious for your comment. Thanks!
  9. Thanks ferg. I think you may be right. It seems like it got soaked and dried out fast because the leather is fairly thin. A ) How can you tell by looking at it that it was too wet when tooled? B ) How do you keep moisture consistent while you are tooling when it's thin leather? Thanks Rohn. I'll try the Gum Tragacanth and see how that does. I took a short (1 week) basic class in Nov '14 from a bridler from England and her secret was that they use powdered pigment and mix their own black dye and add a bit of what we call wood glue to the mix. You apply the dye and rub the edge with the grain with a piece of denim and it turns out smooth and glossy. I didn't know how to get the same effect if I'm not using the glue dye. I'll figure it out though. I have another friend who wants a cuff like this one but in a mahogany or darker color. I'm wondering if I could add a little wood glue to the mahogany dye and see if I can get a similar result.
  10. This is my first project. I used an old Craftaid belt pattern and just used one section for the length of the cuff. I didn't have the tools recommended on the Craftaid, but did the best I could with the basic set I have. I am going to look up the tools recommended and see how different they are from the ones I have and if I do more of these cuffs (there is interest), then I might justify acquiring a few more tools. I tried burnishing the edges using a leather conditioner, but it didn't seem to have the effect I was expecting. I'll try a few other things and see if I get better results. Thanks for looking!
  11. Hi Guys, Sorry for the lull in conversation. In addition to these leather projects, my day job contract is coming to an end this week, so I'm actively interviewing and everything that goes along with that process. Anyway, Josh - thanks for your comments. 1) Apparently the thickness is not an issue after all. I don't know what I had done the last time (it's been a while), but I lined everything up again to check it again after your comments and the slides, posts and leathers all fit together fine. To answer your other questions, I bought full Blevins sets. It didn't occur to me that you could buy just the posts and reuse the slides even though that's not recommended. 2a) I measured the new leathers against the old ones and cut them to the same length from the non-punched end. 2b) I riveted the post ends in but haven't sewn it in yet. I think I should sew them since the original ones were sewn it and I think it would look funny to have perforated edges on the fender legs. 3) You are absolutely correct! This one I wish I had read before I got so far along. I did exactly what you thought I might do and laid out the old leathers on the new ones and marked the holes where the ties were at the top of the fender and the rivet holes at the bottom of the fender. Now if I do as you suggested, it doesn't quite line up - just like you said it wouldn't. Considering the stretch question, I am wondering if I should punch the set of holes for the ties about 2 inches lower than I did so the leathers have room to stretch without stressing the fenders. I was told that is a way to still stretch them at this point - wet them, turn the stirrups and then put 25 lb weights on each side and let it stretch in the curve of the leathers and leave the fender without pressure. 4) Will do 5) Almost there! I've been gradually collecting Dusty Johnson's materials. I got Saddle Savvy first at his suggestion. I just got the DVD, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. Looks like that's next on my playlist. Big Sioux, thanks for the detailed response. Since the leathers are pre-punched, it sounds like pre-stretching isn't an option, but if I were to leave some slack in the fender so it doesn't put stress on the areas you mentioned, would that be a viable alternative to a full stretch? Blevins buckles are relatively inexpensive to replace. It doesn't make sense to me to go cheap on that. Just out of curiosity and for future reference: How would you usually stretch the leathers? Do you have some kind of medieval rack? I don't have a drawdown stand and am trying to think of what kind of contraption I could rig up to stretch them. Thanks again for all of the contributions!
  12. Hi and thanks for your reply. I don't have a full picture of the saddle with the stirrup leathers on it. I took this one I've attached before I cleaned it or dismantled the fenders/stirrup leathers. The saddle itself is older but not thrashed. I am replacing both stirrup leathers, but the fenders themselves are in good shape. I don't think they need to be replaced. The second picture is of the right side fender. I had to reduce the size of the image to fit, but I hope you are able to see what you are looking for. In the picture in my original post, it was showing how the leather was broken. It looked like someone ripped the leather crossways (I have no idea how unless it got caught on a fencepost as the horse spooked and bolted or something high impact like that) but then rather than replacing the stirrup, they used something the thickness of pig skin or glove leather and zigzag stitched it across. Of course, that eventually let go and apparently snapped the end of the old Blevins buckle at the post. I basically just want to know if it is acceptable to skive or split a few millimeters so that it fits in the buckle. It could also use a reline as it's worn in a few places, but I don't think that's on the menu for this time.
  13. Hello all. Looking for some guidance here - maybe just reassurance. Long story short, I am getting into saddlery after a long hiatus from horses. I have a Hereford Tex Tan saddle which belongs to a friend of mine. Knowing I am looking for projects learn from, he gave me the saddle to replace the stirrup leathers because one of them was broken. I bought a set of replacement Blevins buckles (vertical posts) and a set of pre-cut/punched Weaver stirrup leathers. I thought it would be a simple swap out. Remove stitching, rivets, punch holes, rivet and stitch new ones. I got the old ones taken off, picked all the stitching from the holes and got the right size rivets, but then when I was looking at putting them together (not riveted or sewn yet), I realized that the thickness of the new leather is much thicker (maybe 15 oz) than the old ones (maybe 11 oz) and the Blevins buckles won't fit over it. The leather is not pre-stretched (which I found out after I had punched all of the holes to lace it back together), so I was wondering if it should be skived/split down to a comparable thickness, just enough to fit or if there is something else I should be taking into consideration. I couldn't find anything in writing that details the steps for replacing stirrup leathers on a western saddle. Most is high level like "replace old leathers with new leathers and reassemble" but I'm finding that in doing it the first time, I feel like I'm missing something. Please explain any recommendations step by step as though to someone who knows nothing and feel free to ask any questions which aren't answered in the info above. Thanks in advance for your help!
  14. Hi Lois, I went to Maryland in November 2014 for an English saddlery class. The first week was re-flocking English saddles and replacing billets and the second week was Level 1 Bridle Making which is really learning your tools and some basic hand stitching and strap work. The class is taught by two Master Saddlers (one is primarily a saddle maker and the other a saddle fitter) and a "bridler" from England. In the classroom (in the basement of an old farmhouse) they had 4 stations set up. The work surfaces are covered with carpet so the leather doesn't get scratched when you are working on the English saddles. You have the saddles sitting on the surface and moving them around, turning them over, removing stitches, working on the panels, sewing/lacing them back up. When we moved on to the next section where we were cutting leather, striking the pricking irons, etc, they would bring out a 1" thick board and set it on top of the carpet so we had a hard surface to work on. Rather than have the bench permanently covered in carpet and have another board to set on top and remove, I got the idea to use these toggles, so I can take the carpet off as needed. When I'm working on English saddles or other repairs, not cutting, tooling, edging or dyeing, I'll use the carpet cover. If I'm doing anything best done on a hard surface, I'll take the carpet off and use the hard surface. I might get some cheap craft paper to cover the board when I'm dyeing things to keep the surface clean as possible. That is a suggestion I read somewhere here, I think. I got a carpet remnant from someone on Craigslist for $10 which is 29" x 10 feet (I think) originally to recover my mom's old saddle stand which is stained from 25 years of use and I realized it would be enough to do both the saddle stand and the workbench. Bit by bit, I'll make it a nice little workspace. Then I have to learn how to do the work... Anita
  15. Thanks Lois. I'm taking baby steps right now since I work full time - got to pay my bills. My mom was a saddler and passed away about 18 months ago. So many of her clients and people I know were encouraging/begging me to continue her work, but I'm not at a skill level where I can just step in and do the work. I can generally see what needs to be done, but don't know the step by step of how to do it. The frustrating part was that about 6 months before she passed, we had talked about me coming up in the summer and having her train me, so I could help her, but we never got that far. I kept her tools, equipment and supplies, and brought them to my place a little less than a year ago, a week before I started my new job. Everything is kind of squeezed in with my personal stuff, which will need to be thinned out further. My friend's husband works in construction, so I drew a diagram of a workbench (and gestured a fair bit) that would fold up against the garage wall when not in use and asked him to look at it and tell me if that was feasible. He collected scrap wood from the job sites and built the workbench for me with a couple of improvements/considerations I hadn't thought of. I have been buying little things here and there and now just need to get in there and rearrange things so I can finish setting it up and have room to work on things. I have two 4 ft wide wire shelving units on casters that I got for cheap that utilize the vertical space and keep things accessible. My next projects are to get some peg board for the wall behind the bench (between the open studs) and magnetic strips for tools, nail down the cutting surface on the work bench plywood top and then to cut the carpet scrap I got to the size of the work bench surface. I got some toggle fasteners to attach to the carpet and work bench, so I can take the carpet on and off easily. I'm starting with a few small projects. I have lots of stuff I need to figure out how to use in order to bring my ideas to life. I'm looking forward to gleaning what I can from this community and sharing what I can that might be helpful. Tannin, it's amazing what you find and can consolidate when you start cleaning out drawers. Congrats on your newfound liberty!