Adrienne Hendricks, H-A graduate, Boise Pony Club, in the Intermountain Region has agreed to blog her journey as an Apprentice Saddle Maker. Follow along as Adrienne shares her highs and lows of becoming a Master Saddler

I had a saddle come in to have the foam panels recovered. I wanted to give you an overview of the process of this, so lets start with the before picture of the saddle:

Here you can see the old covered panel. This is a foam panel as opposed to a wool flocked panel. It is felt on top which is the white you see below. Then layers of latex foam that create the shape and calfskin covering the latex. The foam provides a little bit of cushion but had completely broken down and the panels were really hard.

Here are the panels before I took off the old calfskin.

Here they are sitting on the new foam I am going to cover them with. On top you can see the old leather that I took off. I used it as a template to cut out the new calfskin.

Here is a picture of the foam glued onto the old panels before I shaved it down and shaped it. On the bottom is the new piece of calfskin that I cut out to cover it with.

To get the calfskin on, I had to soak it for a few minutes to get it wet. I then stapled it onto the panel to make sure it would be exactly where I wanted it. I also had to be really careful about the tight turns. I can’t have any pleats or folds of leather show so I need to gather them up as tightly as possible and plan for where I will sew them. The staples worked really well to get an idea of where everything will line up.

Sewing on wet leather can do a number on your hands, especially when you are trying to poke a needle through something really tough like leather. I love skin tape! I wrapped my fingers and then wore my gloves. Just sharing as this stuff makes great band aids too.

Here is the panel after I have sewn it. I am happy with how the gathering stitches turned out.

Here is the other side as it is drying. It is still wet and there are a few gaps in the leather that will go away when it is dry.

And here it is finished and ready to go back to the client.

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