Friday, May 4, 2012

The deconstruction of the Parker & Parker

On the weekend, I finally got brave enough to start taking apart the little P&P saddle I acquired from a friend. The stitching had let go and the safe was slowly detaching itself from the nearside flap. It also needs new billets, overgirth & balance strap and probably quite a bit of flocking.
When I was at the ISSO clinic, I learned how to drop panels and do a bit of flocking, so I figured the little P&P saddle would become my "sacrificial lamb" so to speak. I was going to give saddle fixing a try! I've also had a LOT of helpful advice from numerous saddlers and sidesaddle experts on what to do and how to do it, so I was feeling like I had enough knowledge know to give it a try (or enough to be dangerous! haha). The first problem was, I didn't have any of the right tools to do the job.... But curiosity took over and we started poking & prodding it. I used a flathead screw driver and gently pulled at the tacks holding the panels on at the front....and out they came with a slight groan from the wood.
Now we could kindof see into the inner workings of the saddle but we needed to get the points of the tree out of the point pockets. One came out quite easily but the other was STUCK. Really, really STUCK.
We pulled and tried everything we could to get the nearside point out of the pocket but it just wasn't going to happen. I was worried if we pulled too hard that we might rip the leather on the panels. As the stitching was starting to let go, we figured that we would just cut the stitching on the point pocket and re-sew it back on later. Good thing we did, we would have NEVER gotten that point out otherwise. It looks like it maybe corroded a tiny bit and then glued itself onto the leather of the point pocket. We had to peel them apart.
So now that we had the panels free, we could actually see the tree, the panels and the webbing underneath. Really interesting!
You can see the metal reinforcing the tree and there is a very small bar right behind the main reinforcement. Not quite what anybody would call a "hunting bar". As someone told me, I doubt this saddle was ever intended for jumping, it was likely made for a teenager to go for a tour in the park on.
Ok, so now that we had the panels dropped, we needed to figure out how we were going to fix the safe... that really was what we had originally planned to do. It's amazing how one thing leads to another and then to another. My boyfriend's suggestion was to take the entire nearside flap right off the saddle. I was pretty leery of doing this and balked at it but he insisted and starting pulling tacks. First off were the tacks holding the front of the safe to the tree... Lots of tacks up here.
Next step was to remove the rest of the tacks holding the nearside flap on.... Can you believe the entire flap was held on only by the tacks at the front on the safe and 4 tacks at the back? I thought there would be way more and that it would require a lot more work to remove. Not at all!
I have to say, I'm glad we did end up taking that whole flap off, it would have been a massive pain in the butt to try and restitch the safe back on, with the flap still attached to the saddle. While I began trying to restitch the safe, my boyfriend starting looking at how the billets & balance strap was put on. Can you believe the balance strap was held on by TWO tacks. That's it!! I guess there's a reason they say we shouldn't over-tighten things!

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