Working on 1/6 scale saddle pieces needs thin leather in good condition. On the advice from the Tandy leather guys in Manchester, I picked up some extras to improve the quality of my finishing. For the leather itself, Aussie Leather Conditioner, a product to keep it supple and workable and stop it drying out. It is very useful for dry leather, I’m just testing it out, applying some then doing a dye, see if it goes on smoothly. Also Gum Tragacanth and a variety of leather edge burnishers (I’m still trying to find the best ones for thin leather!). But it does make for a really beautiful finish on the edges of the leather.
I’ve had a set of Al Stohleman cut saddle pieces in my box for a while now – I’ve been distracted by a somewhat ‘left field’ commission – so I decided to get dyeing last night and get it completed. Today I used the conditioner and edge finishing and the colour has turned out beautifully after being somewhat pale and uninteresting when first dyed. I’ve used 3D stamps on the saddlebags, back jockeys and fenders and I will be using the new photo etched pieces too, it’s all very exciting!
The new 3D stamps to compliment the saddle bag flap arrived last week. Sadly I had not taken into account the limitations of the printing process enough. After the success of that first flap, I made the next ones too detailed. So we had some spurs and blurring when I tested them out (I am very picky!) but it was a good learning process. Back to the drawing board and a full set of new files are out printing as we speak. But the saddle bag flap has stood up to repeated testing and use and I have completed a set of saddlebags in red showing what these 3D stamps can do.
I also have tried a different method for producing small tack items, western bits and flat plates along with the stamps – this was more expensive and used resin material rather than plastic (PLA). Its produced a much smoother, finished product which is holding the shape really well. Hopefully lots less finishing and a better look!
I did go on a leather carving course a couple months back, its a lovely thing to do, working with leather stamps is very satisfying. But it made me think about just how small the carving would need to be to look appropriate at 1/6 scale. So I decided to try another adventure in 3D – and I think it worked amazingly well.
Using my Adobe Illustrator software (again) and one of the handy patterns included I created a saddlebag flap illustration. Sounds easy? Not quite that easy, fiddly and involved some detailed adjustments. And after all that, on the advice of the printers, a little more fiddling! But the finished stamp has been working so well…
After lots of testing, (sourcing of g clamps) and generally trying out clamping and drying times etc, this is where I’m at. Because its worked so well I have ordered 2 more stamps to complement this one, for the saddlebag connecting strap and front of the bag. I hope to complete a full set of saddlebags very soon…