Timaru Star II Braided Saddle Sets, Page Three

Click to go to #423, the bottom of Page Two.

TSII #420.  With this saddle we returned to the blue-and-white braided trim of #413 and #416, but in a simpler way.  Finished 0102.01; owned by K. Janes Morgan.  The cantle bracing employed on #419 (a leather padding, to prop up the seat without darts) was used here too and may well become standard.  Apologies for the photo: somebody else's camera!  :(

TSII #420.  What I learned on this piece was how to do realistic double ferruling, using Rio Rondo's fantastic long twist beads.  The crimps and buttons cover up the glued-and-stitched mess of the ends.  However, this method was not used on the bridle, and I'm still searching for a better solution.  Owned by K. Morgan, finished 0102.01.

TSII #419.  Sullivan's Celtic Cutter.  This is my first real cutting saddle, with the flat seat, upright horn, and thin fenders.  The tooling pattern was freshly interpreted from our own Intertwine; I called it Celtic Intertwine.  You'll just have to imagine the horse, a wild buckskin grulla pinto Nandell's Power Steering. :)

TSII #419.  With this birds-eye view you get to see the unusual sinew Spanish edge braiding on the cantle, and the buttons on the saddle's concho tassels.  Number 419's sinew cantle binding was indeed the first time I'd done this, although we had a test scrap with it; and decades ago (in the 1970s) I had bound cantles with leather lace, using the same Spanish Edge lacing.  M. Sullivan's #419 was finished 0101.19, about ten months after #416.

TSII #419.  The next wave of braidwork on saddles came with Sullivan's Cutter.  The headgear was quite elaborate.  Please forgive the bright penny.  :(  The six interweave rings on the long breastcollar button were a first for me---and I have to say, almost too much trouble, somewhat too intense and small for the overall scale of the set!  This is a common problem in model tack.

TSII #416.  I can hardly emphasize enough how avante-garde this set was for me.  Everything came together: the colors, design and materials.  Blanket-wise, this was the first time I did tooled leather strips, and the concho with a matching tassel.  This detail, while difficult, makes an enormous difference in the overall picture of the rig.  No. 416 was my third-ever angled-edge saddle.  Finished 0004.07.

This bridle, the Blue and White to Bouras' TSII #416, was my first to have pinheads set in the tips of the end knots.  They're most noticable at the ends of the cheekstraps, right above the bit.  I used two small knots, instead of the real-life one, here.  I could not make a single knot small enough to pass through the loop.  (Note from the future: this has since been done; see fall 2002.)

TSII #416.  The next step to braidwork after #413 was this one, built in the spring of 2000.  This was my second-ever white FB RB (the first I kept) and the first to use blue with the white---a beautiful turquoise sinew.  Following the very popular Ripple Weave fashion and angled skirts again from Sergeant's, this whole set was a dream come true for its owner, E. Bouras.

TSII #413. This rack shot shows the entirety of the breastcollar and bridle.  At the time, the braidwork and design were very ambitious.  The breastcollar was made in one solid stretch of effort, Thanksgiving Day 1999---impossibly, it seems to me now.  Of course this set was based on the famous "Silver Mesa" western designs of Sergeant's.  The idea of contrasting color braiding on the cantle and pommel binding did come to me through Sergeant's.  This saddle was my first, but not the last! to use it.

TSII #413. This is a case of one photograph showing just about everything: a saddle shape I was very pleased with, a fantastic tooling pattern (having just read about Gothic cathedrals, I named this one Rose Rayonnant); a color scheme based on a real-life bridle; and my first-ever denim saddle blanket.  I had been offering Mexican striped ones since 1979, and No-Sore white ones since 1988.  Meanwhile cross stitch specialists had come up in the hobby.  I couldn't offer that, but the denim made a big difference.  There were also romal reins made for this set.  Owned by N. Tubb, finished 9911.27.

TSII #410.  Here we have a shot of the whole layout, showing the actual size of the little thing.  The blanket was a piece of summerweight shirt.  The silver beads were 2mm silver rounds that had to be filed.  The white buttons were my first attempt at such a scale.  I thought the effect looked pearly.  Owned by K. Kiley, finished 9909.02.

TSII #410. This one is another saddle with a good claim to first.  Made two years later than #403, in Sept. 1999, this Little Bit scale set was where I tried thread braiding on the cantle and pommel---with excellent results.  How is it that Little Bits are easier to test things on?  They're less complicated; one feels freer somehow.  Number 410 was also the first Ripple Weave stamping job done in this scale.  Owned by Kim Kiley.

TSII #403.  In seeking a piece which represents the beginning of today's (2004) braided saddles, this one is a good place to start.  Braided buttons on the concho tabs were the start of decorative colored braidwork on my saddles.  Several saddles were made with these, such as #397 (Oct. 1996), #398, #399 and #404.  This one, made for E.J.Harvey in Sept. of 1997, was unusual in having silver angled borders and rippleweave stamping---both recent developments as well (#403 was the second-ever to use them).

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