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About Martyn

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  • Birthday 08/13/1965

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  1. This is just nonsense. You are conflating one style of saddle with saddlery in general. Who makes the harnesses that pull artillery? Have you ever seen a Shire horse? Where do you think they come from? I'll give you a clue - I live in the county of Staffordshire, which is inbetween the counties of Cheshire and Debyshire. They were used to haul the heaviest farm machinery and pull the biggest wagons. Who do you think make the harnesses and tack for these animals? Your statement is absurd.
  2. Just to expand on this - because hidepounder referenced it too. British saddles might seem like effeminate things used by posh people to pose around the countryside on horseback, drinking champaign and socialising - and there might be some truth in that today. But this has not always been the case. It would be a mistake to assume that English saddlery isn't as 'robust' as Western saddlery or that the techniques used are somehow inferior. Horses were first domesticated in Britain and used to ride, pull chariots and ploughs from about 2500BC. The same is true for most of Europe - there is about 4,500 years of hard-use saddlery (farming, travel and warfare) behind the techniques used in European saddlery today. The motor car is not yet 150 years old and before that, horses were used for everything and even as late as WWI, Cavalry still actually meant going into battle on horseback. Britain alone had over a million horses in that war. They were used to pull ambulances, artillery and supply wagons as well as carry troops - they even had gas masks.
  3. You are too modest Michelle - I saw that camera harness you made and the stitching struck me immediately, I thought it was knockout good - I use exactly the same technique you describe but I'm not yet anywhere near as neat and consistent as you. One day. This is dead right. I had the same problem and it took me a while to figure it out. If you are casting a loop and it's flattening your back side stitching, it's because of the direction you are sewing - left to right/right to left or front to back/back to front - and whether you are casting the loop over or under the needle. If you are casting over and it flattens the stitch, just cast under instead and visa versa. The hard part is remembering all the different permutations. :D I keep meaning to go on one of Nigel's courses one day, he's only about 20 miles from me and I really should take advantage of it.
  4. Seems I have touched a nerve. My apologies. Maybe I'm missing something, but I dont see a groove in that saddle?
  5. You didnt. I'm just making the argument for the other side, because so many labour under the misconception that stitching should be recessed to protect it. Very rarely does it need it - maybe on saddle skirting where two bits of leather are constantly rubbing over each other, or the inside of a knife sheath where the stitching could be exposed to a knife edge, then yeah, it makes sense. But for the most part, it's cosmetic. That's my point. For the most part, it's a cosmetic choice. We all have our preferences, but you have to admit, there is a sort of blinkered obsession with following the Stohlman method when it comes to stitching? His method and the Western style isn't the only way. For most products and with modern bonded polyester thread, the stitching will probably outlast the leather (and the owner), grooved or not. There are other options and those options dont put the stitching at risk and they are not inferior. BTW, my back[pack wasn't well looked after. This was the condition it was in when I bought it: ...and after I had cleaned it, treated the leather and re-proofed the canvas (and added a couple of blanket strap mounts on the bottom)...
  6. I'd draw your attention to this.... It's the webbing on a Swedish Army backpack. The saddlers mark is date-stamped 1949 and these packs were not decommissioned with each soldier, they were handed in, cleaned and re-issued. This pack has had a hard life, but in spite of it being nearly 70 years old, I'd say there are a few more decades in it yet. All stitching is linen obviously, no groves to be seen and no evidence of an overstitch wheel. I agree there are times when a groove is a good idea, but for general surface stitching, even on items that are destined for extremely hard use, it's absolutely not necessary. You wont see it on any English saddlery and there is loads of old tack knocking around to testify to it's durability.
  7. Yeah, you saddle stitch as normal but cast a loop on the back. This guy explains it well.... https://youtu.be/3zTOqJCWbfY?t=231
  8. Martyn

    Just Asking

    Yeah, it's a Dixon plough gauge, or about 70% of one - it looks like it's had some parts replaced, not sure if the fence is original. This is what mine looks like: Be careful sharpening the blade. These are valuable tools that are no longer in production and you wont get a replacement blade if you mess it up.
  9. I'd try it as-is first, you shouldn't have any problem clamping it, I think the clamps are rated for about 200lbs or something ridiculous. The cam puts a helluva lot of force through the limbs. If anything, I think yours may work better. In fact, you may not need a spring at all.
  10. Correct. But like I said, the Tandy pony has clamping tension in the limbs, they are not parallell and the block at the bottom is not square, but a slight wedge. If I remove all the hardware, the top of the block is 58mm and the jaws are clamped together. It's actually perfectly usable without the bolt and wingnut. If you watch this video of an unmodified Tandy Pony, you'll see what I mean: Yeah, that sounds about right. You have to remember you'll add some with the washers. It also depends how far down you put the clamp, but yeas, sounds about right. It depends how wide you want the jaws to open under the force of the spring. It looks like a 45mm spring will open them to a little past neutral, but that is just an educated guess.
  11. The gap is... Fully closed: 56mm, fully open: 60mm - and the inside washers (1x steel penny washer + 1x rubber penny washer) are 4mm each side. But remember, the legs on a Tandy clamp are in a state of compression, so are squeezing on the spring at all times. So the 65mm spring is about 48mm fully compressed and about 52mm with the clamp fully open. That 4mm of movement in the spring, creates about 22mm of 'range' at the jaws. The jaws will open wider than that but need a little manual assistance. I was limited because the legs of the clamp are glued in place and I didn't want to risk breaking them by trying to force in a longer spring. But if I was doing it again, I'd probably try and carefully take one of the legs off and install a 70mm spring just to give it a little more range - though I haven't actually needed more so far. Oh and the centre line of the spring is 185mm below the very top of the jaws. Go with the yellow 'light duty' springs. They are plenty strong enough.
  12. The groove just forces the stitch to run straight, so if you're not too good at stitching, it can make your work look neater, but there is a price to pay for it. A saddle stitch makes a zig-zag pattern like this.... If you run it in a groove, it flattens out the stitch. It stops it from laying naturally in a zig-zag and effectively destroys the look of the stitch. It ends up looking more like a machine stitch. This is a good video for getting your head round saddle stitching. Like I said, it takes practice, but it's not rocket science and the result is well worth the effort. Best of all, it's a fraction of the cost of a sewing machine and the perfect solution for axe masks, knife sheathes and such. Here4's another - it's a long video, but the technique is probably explained a bit better and he uses chisels to make the holes instead of an awl - which I think is an easier, albeit less traditional method. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0EL7K2NhYs
  13. ....and you are using a groove because? A good saddle stitch is a beautiful thing, but running it in a groove forces it to run straight and destroys it. The groove serves no practical purpose.
  14. Learn to saddle stitch. Far, far better than an EZ awl and the stitches are so much nicer, In addition, in terms of pure quality and craftsmanship, saddle stitching is absolutely the top of the pile. There isn't much sewing in an axe mask which makes it a perfect candidate for a real saddle stitch. Most people who use machines accept taking a step down in quality in exchange for convenience, speed and cost efficiency - that only works out if you are doing a LOT of sewing. You should at least try it before investing in a machine. It takes some practice to do it reasonably well, but it's not rocket science.
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