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ValleyEquine

Basic Tools Needed For Braiding

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Hello! I am interested in learning to braid horse tack. I'm planning to start with paracord, then once I am getting the hang of things, I'll try leather lace. As Christmas gifts, I am requesting "Encyclopedia of Rawhide & Leather Braiding" by Bruce Grant as well as "How to Braid Quality Custom Tack" by Rebecca Albertson and Cybele Geidema, from U-Braid-It.

Can someone please tell me the basic tools I will need, assuming I purchase pre-cut lace? I'm sure the books go over that, but I'm wanting to be able to get the tools along with the books, so I am ready to go!

Thanks!

Edited by ValleyEquine

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Also, can someone recommend the diameter and stiffness of the cord I should start out with?

Edited by ValleyEquine

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megabit   

Paracord pretty much comes in one size, so that part is easy. As to tools, fid, jumbo lok needles, sharp knife or two, maybe a lighter if you are mostly working paracord. Grant shows lots of homemade tools you can copy too. Some clamps and hemostats would come in handy too. Eventually you will want a lace cutter and beveler, pre-cut lace won't cut it for long. Lace prep is a huge part of how you projects will end up looking once done.

Mike

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As far as tools go, Braiding is probably the cheapest and easiest leather discipline there is. All you need is a sharp knife and something pokey to use as a fid. That said, depending on what you want to do, a lot of tools can be repurposed for other jobs. When I started out, I used paracord (probably like most people) and you should get a couple hemostats, a good butane lighter, and a fid. When you make the jump to leather, precut lace ( in my opinion) isnt even worth using as it isnt any where near good enough to learn the correct techniques and it isnt beveled. So in order to cut your own lace, you will need a lace cutter. There are quite a few on the market that work really well for cutting a lot of lace in a hurry, but not everyone wants to drop 3-400 on a good lace cutter. You can actually make your own if you have at least a little metal working skills and a welder. The biggest problem is understanding from pictures how most of them work, but once you understand that they are pretty easy to make.

Dont feel like you HAVE to start with using paracord as there have been 1000s of braiders that have learned starting with rawhide, since 100 years ago, we didnt even have nylon cord to braid with. I would suggest instead of asking for tools, you ask for money to go and learn from one of the masters. It may seem like a lot of money and since you live in PA, there arent many braiders close to you, so you would have to do some traveling. BUT, the amount of good instruction that you will receive will cut your learning curve down GREATLY!!! You might go through a couple thousand $ getting to the point that you want to be in your braiding that might have been cut down by paying a couple hundred to learn from some one. There is actually a workshop in Feb at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City being put on by the TCAA and instructed by Nate Wald and Leland Hensley that is going to be REALLY good. Having spent time with both of them, I know that they are both great teachers and willing to share EVERYTHING they do. They have no secrets, because most of the stuff they do they can do better than anyone else, and most people wont work as hard as they do to get to the point they have.

So, ask for money to go on a trip and learn from someone rather than get tools. It will help you immensely.

CW

Edited by Aggiebraider

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Paracord pretty much comes in one size, so that part is easy. As to tools, fid, jumbo lok needles, sharp knife or two, maybe a lighter if you are mostly working paracord. Grant shows lots of homemade tools you can copy too. Some clamps and hemostats would come in handy too. Eventually you will want a lace cutter and beveler, pre-cut lace won't cut it for long. Lace prep is a huge part of how you projects will end up looking once done.

Mike

Thanks for the response. Paracord is a nylon parallel cord. Is polyester cord ever used? What about awls? Or the knobby sticks, usually wood, that some knots are braided on (don't know the proper name)?

Also, reading through some of the other threads, I hear some of members here can be "sweet talked" into occasionally selling nice cut lace? Is this true? Although I may end up proving myself wrong, I don't think I'll ever be making enough braided leather items that an investment in the cutters and bevelers would be worthwhile.

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As far as tools go, Braiding is probably the cheapest and easiest leather discipline there is. All you need is a sharp knife and something pokey to use as a fid. That said, depending on what you want to do, a lot of tools can be repurposed for other jobs. When I started out, I used paracord (probably like most people) and you should get a couple hemostats, a good butane lighter, and a fid. When you make the jump to leather, precut lace ( in my opinion) isnt even worth using as it isnt any where near good enough to learn the correct techniques and it isnt beveled. So in order to cut your own lace, you will need a lace cutter. There are quite a few on the market that work really well for cutting a lot of lace in a hurry, but not everyone wants to drop 3-400 on a good lace cutter. You can actually make your own if you have at least a little metal working skills and a welder. The biggest problem is understanding from pictures how most of them work, but once you understand that they are pretty easy to make.

Dont feel like you HAVE to start with using paracord as there have been 1000s of braiders that have learned starting with rawhide, since 100 years ago, we didnt even have nylon cord to braid with. I would suggest instead of asking for tools, you ask for money to go and learn from one of the masters. It may seem like a lot of money and since you live in PA, there arent many braiders close to you, so you would have to do some traveling. BUT, the amount of good instruction that you will receive will cut your learning curve down GREATLY!!! You might go through a couple thousand $ getting to the point that you want to be in your braiding that might have been cut down by paying a couple hundred to learn from some one. There is actually a workshop in Feb at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City being put on by the TCAA and instructed by Nate Wald and Leland Hensley that is going to be REALLY good. Having spent time with both of them, I know that they are both great teachers and willing to share EVERYTHING they do. They have no secrets, because most of the stuff they do they can do better than anyone else, and most people wont work as hard as they do to get to the point they have.

So, ask for money to go on a trip and learn from someone rather than get tools. It will help you immensely.

CW

That would be fantastic. I'd also love to take some tack and saddle making classes! Unfortunately, my health is not stable right now, so even if money were not an issue, I'm currently unable to leave home for extended period of time to travel alone to a destination several states away. So, for now, that won't work.

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megabit   

Also, reading through some of the other threads, I hear some of members here can be "sweet talked" into occasionally selling nice cut lace? Is this true? Although I may end up proving myself wrong, I don't think I'll ever be making enough braided leather items that an investment in the cutters and bevelers would be worthwhile.

WellI could likely be persuaded to cut and sale some rawhide lace, however the price I would demand would quickly make buying the cutting tools look rather cheap.

:rolleyes2:

Edited by megabit

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Ecapone   

The first tool you are going to need, can't be bought anywhere. Actually is free. It is called "patience". You will need a lot of that and just a few extra tools like a fid (or awl) and sharp knives. I have never used paracord. Only rawhide so I can't help you with that one either.

Good luck braiding and I hope your health improve. Assisting one of those classes is really good. I wish I can go to the one Leland and Nate are going to be giving but I already sign in for the one Pablo Lozano and Armando Deferrari are going to be dictating next May in Idaho. I can't take both.

Cheers,

Enrique

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I think my first tools for braiding leather were a $1 box cutter and a $1 yard stick. So for $2 you can get started...then if you can find some scrap leather you can probably get going for under $25!

Those two tools are still my two main tools that I used today.

Louie

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