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G'Day, I'm just in the process of repairing a pair of old trace straps and a martingtale as per clients request.  The bulk of the straps are in two layers of harness leather and are in fairly good condition, although in some parts are a bit cracked and in all honesty, I'd rather make brand new ones, but thats not what the client wants.  I have to replace the strap-ends , and the crew holes( see pics)  and re-stitch the two layers. But, I don't think it will be a good idea to machine stitch them as the needle may split or damage the  old original leather parts, and... despite my best efforts , the machine may not align  exactly with original holes. . So the whole lot will be handstitched. 

So, I'm thinking of keeping the old  original threads in place as a way of keeping both layers of leather aligned  and handstitch over the top. It would also save me   quite a few hours unpicking the old thread . As many would know, it can be a long laborious job. I would normally unpick  on smaller jobs , like  on the martingale  that will come after this. 


Some input would be great. 

 

Thanks

HS

Harness Restoration 012.jpg

Harness Restoration 020.jpg

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The condition of the ends tells the story. . . .in my opinion these would not be worth the time spent to repair them.  If something comes into my shop that will not withstand machine stitching, and is intended for use, I advise the client to trash can the item. If for restoration and display purposes only, then that's a different story.  Traces (or tugs as we call them here in the Midwest of USA) are not something that a person wants to be using that may be of questionable strength.  The leather is likely rotten throughout the length of the trace, just more so on the ends where the process has been hastened by the holes. If you charge what you need to have to cover your time completely hand stitching this job, I believe completely new traces would not cost any more.  In the process of skiving the layers back in order to make a perfect splice, the old leather is likely to tear apart.  I would refuse to do it if the client is wanting to use these when finished.  What are the front ends like? Are they attached directly to a hame, or breastcollar, or are they buckle-in type?  Years ago, still in my teenage years and early twenties, before I started do this work for a living, I'd buy this type of old junk cheap at a sale and try to fix it up. Then I'd use it (I was working horses for a living at that time) and something else would break, and like as not cause a wreck that would have been avoidable if using good equipment to start with.  In my early years in business, I got a lot of older guys bringing in old dry-rotted harness and wanting it fixed for cheap.  It's throwing good money after bad. But that's just my opinion.

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Can't add much that Big Sioux hasn't covered,

Two things i notice are, In the first pic, on the bottom strap, it already has been fixed at least once and the fix is worn out. You can see a double stitch line on the bottom and looks to disappear off the edge.

In the second pic, the bottom strap has all the stitching worn out, i bet all the rest of the stitching on that gear is not far off.

In addition, its gonna be pretty hard to get a needles and thread through the original holes without picking the stitching.

If you are remaking them for use, could you sandwich a synthetic webbing between the layers to get some strength back?

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G'day and thank you for your replies,

Yes, they are in a bit of a state aren't they ?  And I still have the martingale to do yet. :crazy:

Your answer is pretty much want went through my head too Big Sioux . 

I will be replacing the crew holes  with some new  ones, with the  leather approx 10" in length,   tapered, shaped etc as close to the orig. and  spliced in. 

The other ends are the buckle in type, I'll be doing the same there too, approx 22" worth. 

They have been repaired once before with 'bits of this and that' .But I do agree with you, they would be better off with some new ones.....but...the client wants these repaired. So  I will do my best to repair them, assuming they are for use. 

I do like the option of the synthetic webbing TT . , thanks for that. And yes, the stitching is pretty worn  pretty much along the pair of them .

But  now I've read your replies, I will definitely keep the old thread in place.It might...'sort of' ..give some extra strength.....maybe,    and may save a little time  ( not sure about that comment either  :) ) , and perhaps some cost  for the client.  It might take a while to get the awl & needles through, but I have handstitched some pretty thick leathers before. And , I know this sounds really silly,  I'll be using my saddle machine ( without thread)  to punch out the holes on the new sections so save a bit of time too. 

 

O'h well, I'll post some pics when I've finished....wish me luck :)  I might have another chat with the client as well. 

 

Thank you very much for your replies, I do appreciate it. 

 

All the best,

HS 

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Mate. Irrespective of what the customer wants, you will be held responsible when the train wreck occurs. These are cactus. Tell the customer it is new or nothing.

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