rgerbitz

How I cut string

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This is how I do it now. It's different from how I was doing it last year and I might be doing things different next year. But this is how I am doing it now. Nothing I do is original I have stolen just about every idea I've ever had on any subject. I start with a hide that has been dehaired and has dried in a frame. I cut the whole thing out, role it up and toss it in a stock tank, then go to bed.

The next morning, after coffee and conversation with sweetie I go out and haul the limp, soggy hide out of the water and let it hang for about an hour or two. Then I cut the whole thing into a 3/4 inch strip. This last hide gave about 475 feet. I then take that strip and run it through the splitter and get it all down to the same thickness. After that it is back out to the corrals where the whole strip is stretched out between some post and left to dry for a day or two.(depends on humidity) When that has dried the whole thing gets waded up into one giant tamale and dunked in a garbage can full of water for about 20 minutes or until it starts to feel like half cooked spaghetti. It's taken out and shook out real good then place in some garbage bags for a few hours to a day or so to temper through. This strip will have a curl in it that needs to be taken out before any other string can be cut from it. I run it through on old ax handle with a slit cut in it.

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Now I can start cutting string to width, after that is done everything is splitt down to its final thickness. And finally beveled. I only bevel two sides. (Because I'm lazy)

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I have several barrels with the tops cut off that I employ when cutting, beveling, or splitting. All sting goes into and come out of these. It helps to keep the string from getting stepped on and tangled up if it needs to be moved. And if I need to leave to do something else I can just slip a plastic bag over the top and keep my moisture in there. If I have to be gone long I will set a glass of water down in there and it will keep the moisture right for days. Always remember to put something on the end of the string if you are going to drop it in the barrel it will save alot of time trying to fish out the end.

027.JPG028.JPG

If I know I will be using the string in the next week or two I will put in the humidor. There is about an inch of water in the bottom with enough clorox in it to kill most living things. This helps to keep mold down to a minimum.

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I think I got it all in here. If you have any question just ask and I'll make something up. If you have something to add please do I am far from having this all figured out.

Rob Gerbitz

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Rob,

What do you use for your initial cut down to 3/4? Draw gauge?

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Yes sir, I use a draw gauge. This is the one I use, its the only one I've ever used, wouldn't know if there is any advantages to the other ones. I did try and use just a good sharpe knife once, but my patience ran out about 2 feet in and I went back to use the draw gauge.

Rob

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Is that stainless steel mesh? Do you have to deal with iron oxide spots on the string? Anytime rawhide or leather that is damp comes into contact with metal, it turns black wherever the contact is...

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Thank you for the wonderful post Rob. I give a big tip of the hat to all that make there own rawhide strings.

Heather

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It's galvanized mesh that I picked up at a farm store. It was sold as rabbit cage flooring. It is pretty heavy duty.

Rob

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So I assume you haven't had any spots develop on the rawhide from using it in the humidor? Good post, by the way, always like to see how others do their rawhide - never know when a different approach can help your own!

SL

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That's right Shelly, I have not had any troubles with spots.

Rob

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Nice post Rob! Thanks for taking the time to post this!

Vaya Con Dios, Alan

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Rob,

Thanks very much for the detailed pictorial/tutorial - it's terrific!

Question: Your cutting/beveling tool - did you make that, or buy it? It looks perfect for the job - how can I find/get one or make one?

Julia

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Hello Julia,

You are welcome. The string cutter in the pictures was made at a local machine shop for me for $50. I have since bought a cutter that Brian Neubert sells it works a little better due to the ability to fine tune it for beveling. Something I could do with the other with a little time. I couldn't find it quickly, but someone here was making and selling a cutter/beveler that a few people have and seem to like. Maybe someone else can chime in with the details. I had some pictures of mine all taken apart but I can't seem to find them either. Yes you can make your own or have one made or buy ones that are already made to sell.

Hope this helps more than hinders,

Rob

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Hello Julia,

You are welcome. The string cutter in the pictures was made at a local machine shop for me for $50. I have since bought a cutter that Brian Neubert sells it works a little better due to the ability to fine tune it for beveling. Something I could do with the other with a little time. I couldn't find it quickly, but someone here was making and selling a cutter/beveler that a few people have and seem to like. Maybe someone else can chime in with the details. I had some pictures of mine all taken apart but I can't seem to find them either. Yes you can make your own or have one made or buy ones that are already made to sell.

Hope this helps more than hinders,

Rob

Oh, yes, this helps. I already own the Neubert cutter/beveler, a cutter/beveler made by Wayne Jueschke, and a cutter/beveler made by the James's (recommended by Gail Hought). I keep looking for the perfect cutter - the problems with my imperfect strings are no doubt due to operator error, and I keep bouncing from one to another when I'm not quite getting the results I want. Yours (in the pictures) looks so simple and perfect that I wanted to know more about it. If you find the pics of it taken apart, please post them - I'd love to see them. And thank you again for the tutorial.

Julia

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Very nice, Rob. TThank you for taking the time to post this. Like everyone else, I look for ways to improve the way I cut my strings. There are no bad ideas, only different.

Julia, I think most people here would agree that the key to cutting good, uniform strings or lace is a very sharp blade and patience. The former is not that hard. Patience on the other hand.....

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Julia, I think most people here would agree that the key to cutting good, uniform strings or lace is a very sharp blade and patience. The former is not that hard. Patience on the other hand.....

:blush: Yup. Patience. And it's amazing how fast rawhide eats up razor blades! I suspect part of my problem is the temper of the rawhide - it seems like it's always too wet or too dry, and if I ever get rawhide that seems to be perfect, it dries out before I can get it all cut/beveled. That's really frustrating, and I have not figured out the right technique/procedure for making perfectly tempered rawhide. There's lots of help available(Bruce Grant's books, folks like those here who work in rawhide, etc.) but when I'm in my own workshop it's hard to make it work. Yeah, I know - practice, practice, practice - I'll get it someday.

Julia

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Here you go Julia, there is some info on the string cutters here. And Whitebuff is the name of the guy here that is making a string cutter.

Rob

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Thanks very much, Rob!

Julia

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how many finished strings can you cut from the 3/4" rough cut string? Just one?

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3 to 5 depending on how everything works out. I seem to end up with somewhere between 450 to 550 foot of the 3/4 strip depending on the size of the hide and how much gets trimmed out.

Rob

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I really like your string cutter. I made one kind of similar but it's not as neat. What kind of metal is that? Did you make it?

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The shop that made it for me mostly repaired hydraulic cylinders. It is part of a shaft off one of those. The metal is some kind of chrome or something. Not much of a metals guy sorry I can't be more specific.

Rob

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Oxbow Bare Nylon 2 measurement.jpg

I really like your string cutter. I made one kind of similar but it's not as neat. What kind of metal is that? Did you make it?

Hi everybody on the braiding forum. I'm still a real newbie at braiding and am still working with leather not rawhide. Though I hope someday soon I'll be brave enough to try.

I've been tooling since I was about 22 and making my own chaps and gear. (don't even ask how old I am LOL) I've just gotten back into the tooling this last year making some small stuff like Vaquero spur straps mostly and other little odd and ends. I do repairs on Leather goods, tarps, tie downs in my shop in addition to other non leather related stuff. I just love the old hand made braided tack and even the new.

Now my question... I hope I have the right forum here. .At my age (no hints :o) I gotta be a little more careful about riding. So I saved up and bought the STI safety stirrups. (only decent made break away stirrup on the market IMHO), no affiliation. The thing is I bought the uncovered oxbow so all you see is plastic. (yuck) my first plan was to just cover them with leather. But I was looking around on eBay and saw new hand made oxbows that were all rawhide braided for about $120. from a saddle shop in Arizona. After seeing those I wanted mine to be rawhide braided too. But problem is I'm no where near being good enough to do it my self, especially with rawhide. Is there anybody here that does outside work with raw hide braiding that would do a set of skinny oxbows? I would much prefer to send them to a list member than someone I don't know at all.

I attached a couple of photos of them with the measurements. Any leads, advise, comments would sure be welcome. Spring is coming and I'm itching to ride. Thanks Katy

Oxbow Bare Nylon measurement.jpg

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i can take care of those oxbows. but i would advise against it. the rawhide will make them stickier to the boot. if you are looking for a slick get away find a brass pair. they are probably cheaper than covering the one you have. and you would have a higher quality product.

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Rob,

I streched out my string before I split anything down and it has that curl in it, what would you suggest do I soak it in water for a day or so than let it case overnight, I'm just a little lost on trying to get that curl out, I noticed the slit in the piece of wood there is that what takes the curl out. I tried to split it but it had that curl and wasn't working to good just beveling the edges to a point and just scuffing the center. Any help would be awsome, Thanks Tom John

This is how I do it now. It's different from how I was doing it last year and I might be doing things different next year. But this is how I am doing it now. Nothing I do is original I have stolen just about every idea I've ever had on any subject. I start with a hide that has been dehaired and has dried in a frame. I cut the whole thing out, role it up and toss it in a stock tank, then go to bed.

The next morning, after coffee and conversation with sweetie I go out and haul the limp, soggy hide out of the water and let it hang for about an hour or two. Then I cut the whole thing into a 3/4 inch strip. This last hide gave about 475 feet. I then take that strip and run it through the splitter and get it all down to the same thickness. After that it is back out to the corrals where the whole strip is stretched out between some post and left to dry for a day or two.(depends on humidity) When that has dried the whole thing gets waded up into one giant tamale and dunked in a garbage can full of water for about 20 minutes or until it starts to feel like half cooked spaghetti. It's taken out and shook out real good then place in some garbage bags for a few hours to a day or so to temper through. This strip will have a curl in it that needs to be taken out before any other string can be cut from it. I run it through on old ax handle with a slit cut in it.

020.JPG019.JPG

Now I can start cutting string to width, after that is done everything is splitt down to its final thickness. And finally beveled. I only bevel two sides. (Because I'm lazy)

025.JPG030.JPG

I have several barrels with the tops cut off that I employ when cutting, beveling, or splitting. All sting goes into and come out of these. It helps to keep the string from getting stepped on and tangled up if it needs to be moved. And if I need to leave to do something else I can just slip a plastic bag over the top and keep my moisture in there. If I have to be gone long I will set a glass of water down in there and it will keep the moisture right for days. Always remember to put something on the end of the string if you are going to drop it in the barrel it will save alot of time trying to fish out the end.

027.JPG028.JPG

If I know I will be using the string in the next week or two I will put in the humidor. There is about an inch of water in the bottom with enough clorox in it to kill most living things. This helps to keep mold down to a minimum.

021.JPG022.JPG

I think I got it all in here. If you have any question just ask and I'll make something up. If you have something to add please do I am far from having this all figured out.

Rob Gerbitz

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I'd soak it till I got a sort of half cooked spaghetti feel to it then take it out and wrap it up good in plasitc for overnight. You might have to let is soak for an hour or two depending on how thick it is. The warmer the water the quicker it will soften. When you get it out the next day it should be pliable but if any of it is overly strechy let it case for another day of so till the moisture gets down to where its not strechy at all. Then pull it over and through the stick with a slit to take out the curl. When the strip is passing through the stick it should be making an S shape as it travel over and through. I have been finding that if a split the whole strip down to about 3 or 4 32's prior to streching that I can usually get away from the strip curling up so much that I need to do anything about it.

Hope this helps

Rob

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Thanks Rob,

Ill give that a try on the next go around as I just cut the circle into string today and it came out fairly nice for a first but there is a lot for me to learn so any help is just awsome, do you know if it is easier to do the lime process or the dry scraping for removing the hair this hide was the first one for me and I cut it into string and than scraped the hair off. Tom John

I'd soak it till I got a sort of half cooked spaghetti feel to it then take it out and wrap it up good in plasitc for overnight. You might have to let is soak for an hour or two depending on how thick it is. The warmer the water the quicker it will soften. When you get it out the next day it should be pliable but if any of it is overly strechy let it case for another day of so till the moisture gets down to where its not strechy at all. Then pull it over and through the stick with a slit to take out the curl. When the strip is passing through the stick it should be making an S shape as it travel over and through. I have been finding that if a split the whole strip down to about 3 or 4 32's prior to streching that I can usually get away from the strip curling up so much that I need to do anything about it.

Hope this helps

Rob

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