Project: Stitching Horse

Posted in Projects on November 21st, 2010 by The Cyberwolfe

I got a little distracted while building this, so I’ll put the whole thing up in one post instead of making you wait for it. Here’s a couple shots of the completed build, then I’ll break it down into components after the jump.

Completed Horse - side Completed Horse - front

The materials:

3/4″ plywood – I found that my local Home Depot carries several grades of plywood in 23″x23″ squares at a reasonable price. The downside is that these are usually prone to having more knots than the fine-grade full sheets. One of these was enough to complete the seat, arms and the lateral supports for the legs.

2″x2″ square stock – if you aren’t familiar with wood sizes, you’ll discover that they always exaggerate the dimensions by 1/4″ in each direction, which means a 2″x2″ is really only 1-1/2″x1-1/2″ – but that’s all you really needed anyway. Usually comes in 10-foot lengths which is plenty. My original plan called for the longitudinal leg braces to be the same material as the legs, but I messed up a couple of cuts and went with some pine out of my scrap bins.

Hardware –

  • a good hinge (Al used a piano hinge; I was going to use a door hinge until I realized I didn’t have room to mount it so I went with a cabinet “T” hinge – it wobbles just a touch),
  • several lag bolts with nuts and washers from 1-1/2″ to 3″,
  • a box of 2″ wood screws,
  • a 1″ welded D-ring, (I just had to replace my original due to stretch)
  • a pair of compression springs
  • some mild steel, about 12″. (Home Depot only sells 3-foot lengths)
  • a small bit of steel strapping,
  • a handful of 1″ screws to mount the Footman’s loops and the saw teeth.
  • 3  Footman’s loops and the Conway buckle (purchased at my local leather supply store.)
  • Lastly, there will be a bottle of wood glue and about 30″ of strap leather cut to 7/8″.

Read more »


The non-leather leather project: a Stitching Horse

Posted in Projects on November 7th, 2010 by The Cyberwolfe

If any of you have ever done any leather sewing, you know that a stitching pony is an invaluable tool. After you start making things larger than a billfold or some of the more complicated projects, you realize that you could really do well with a larger stitching pony – a stitching horse.

When it comes to full-size stitching horses, I have seen reference to three different types, two of which are built much like a child’s rocking horse in that they offer a full seat and have 4 legs under them. The first has a belt that travels through one of the clamp jaws to attach to the other at about the halfway point, leaving you some 8-12″ of jaw depth to work with.

The second type, called a Saddler’s Horse, has a complicated mechanism underneath the seat to close the jaws, giving you a much greater depth in the jaw. Saddle-making requires that greater depth, whereas the rest of us can get by pretty well with the harness-maker’s horse.

The third type is used mostly in the U.K. and Europe and is called a Clam. It is basically just a really big set of tweezers that rest on the floor and you hold them closed with your knees while you stitch. The arms of the clam are shaped in such a way that their resting position closes the jaw so you have to pull the jaws apart to insert the workpiece. This model offers the benefit of requiring far less space and you can adjust it to your own preference very easily. It requires a stool for you to sit on, however.

In his book The Art of Hand Sewing Leather, Al Stohlman includes the complete plans for what he calls his “Quarter Horse”, a stitching horse that rests upon any available chair and only has a pair of front legs. It is a variant of the harness-maker’s horse that has the strap going through the jaw arm for tension.

I’ve done a lot of research on this, and it has been very difficult finding someone willing to sell one of these, so I’ve decided to build it myself. Over the next couple of posts, I’ll be documenting the construction of a 4-legged variant of Al’s “Quarter Horse”.