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rktaylor

Swell Cover Tips

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My plan was to sweat this cover on without a welt or lacing. It's a leg cut Olin Young, 12.5". The leather is from the belly near the shoulder and about 11/12 oz. I wrestled with it more than two hours and was making progress. However, I didn't think I could get all the wrinkles out. Any advice is appreciated. 

Randy

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Personally, I never use belly for a swell  cover. But in any case, you need to obtain lengthening in this area and in this area only, without lengthen the bottom (a leather lengthened can no longer shrink, the necking is not possible).
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For that, I work my leather by the reverse by pushing back the material with round tool.

Moreover I don't work the gullet (front and rear) at the beginning, it allows to distribute and absorb a few of folds.
But, this is my technic and there is several schools for that and it depend too of the leathers used which may behave differently.

I'm not a big saddle maker I only made a few western saddles and a lot of good repairs during the 10 last years. So if some real saddle makers pass here thanks to be cool and forgiving.

Mich'

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Best (but not without struggle) place for a swell cover is in the front leg crease. Horn hole right at the firm/stretchy break. (Transition from firm to belly, not either/or) Start at the horn hole, then the gullet and hand hole, then pull the front down starting where welts would be and then 'splitting' the gaps around and there will be no second trys, it will work the first time or go in the scrap box, and best shot is well cased, not real wet. I have even seen Little Wonders without welts but why? Welts are better on swells over 11" IMHO

Edited by oltoot

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This style of rubber hammer is very effective for forming swell covers over undercut swells.  It really helps to work out those wrinkles.  It works best to pull as much slack into the hand hole and front gullet as possible before trying to sweat the cover over the rest of the swell.

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Thanks for all the tips. I have been distracted from this task for a while, but hope to tackle it sometime this week.

Randy

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I thought it would be nice to finish this thread. It's not perfect, but it'll do. 

Randy

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You, people who can take a piece of leather and turn it into a saddle, have my deepest respect. I only ever rode in the fruits of your work but never even dreamed of making anything as complex and involved.

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Randy,

It looks like it came out fairly well; but, I can now see the "leg cuts" on the swell.  I'd like to see how you deal with them installing the final seat.  It looks like it will be another challenge.  Good luck.

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Thanks for the comments. I've had the seat in the back of my mind as well. I'll try to post a picture when it's fit. 

Randy

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