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Spur Strap Challenge - Baby Steps And A Million Questions

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Well OK - not a million in this particular post ...

Backstory: I've been playing with fancying up horse tack with rivets, conchos etc and am also starting out OK with some braiding techniques. Of course I have also been lurking here for a while now, getting up the courage to try something more advanced.

And now - my DH has challenged me to make him a pair of spur straps for Xmas (fortunately didn't say which year). I have found a local source for pre-cut straps at a reasonable price so right now I'm not focused on cutting leather. For my first attempt I went with my strengths and simply attached a concho to the pre-cut and thought I was done - but then... the questions started.

  • the concho is applied with screw-backs - does this mean that the strap should be lined to prevent it scratching the boots, or is it useable as is?
  • If I added spots around the button hole(s) and turned their ends inside can I still get away without lining?
  • does it need actual lining grade leather- or doubling up with the same weight leather (looks to be about 4mm thick)? will suede work for this?
  • should any lining cover the whole area or could this be a partial coverage (i.e. just around the screw-backs / central design area)
  • I assume if it is lined this has to be glued then stitched down or is there another option? I'm OK with stitching - this will push me into learning something new as well as getting new tools.
  • should I have applied any finishing on the leather before attaching the concho?
  • what else should I be doing?

I have attached a picture of my current (minimal) progress. It all sounded so simple when I first set out but now I'm second guessing myself. At the same time I'm kind of excited that this looks like it is going to lead me into new skills.

Any and all replies welcome


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I line any spur strap I make that has conchos / spots / any metal decoration, . . . to protect my customer's boots.

I do not want to get a bill for a ruined $500 pair of Plesiosaurus skin roping boots. But I also don't want those boots harmed by my work, . . . if the cowboy rips off his heel doggin' a doggie, . . . that's his problem, . . . I just don't want to contribute.

That said, . . . I use pig skin, . . . contact cement it, . . . sew it, . . . full covering over the back and the tongue, . . . and it is all done before the dying and staining process starts. AND, . . . I also back and sew the matching piece of the spur strap.

May God bless,


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Most of leather stuff is discretionary -- personal preference. There are some rules that just 'are', and many of us have a few of our own "always" and "never".

I 'always' apply finish before hardware. Meaning almost always.

I wouldn't line with suede. Suede nap can hold on to 'stuff', and there will be some that low to the ground. A piece of suede with little particles of dirt stuck in.. think sand paper or scrubbing sponge ...

Your concho has two screws, so less an issue than one with one screw. Still, a mention... If yours had one screw, and you line and stitch, then the concho could rotate out of position, and there would be no access to the screw to fix it. You might be able to twist it back, but that can mar the surface, which you were tryin to prevent. Better to punch a hole in the liner to get at the screw (the screw head would be 'set in' anyway).

You could 'get away' with lining only that area, and no lining on the buckle ends. I would skive the edge so it tapers off, though, not just stop. Doesn't need to be meticulous, just remove the big step down (which could let 'crap' up under there when worn).

And I always apply color / finish before lining and stitching. Always meaning vast majority of the time :)

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Thank you - these replies really help. I think I'm going to slow down and figure out how to stitch two pieces together before going too much further on this one. I'll try one with dying/finishing before, and one after stitching and see which one works for me :) It'll be by hand so will take a while

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