So what’s a stitching horse?
The stitching horse gives you an extra hand with super strength. The stiff full grain leather only a few fingers wide needs to be held firmly in place. The name stitching horse fits appropriately. You straddle the seat like a horse. You also kick a pedal to engage the clamp, kind of like a stirrup. When the leather is clamped into place, using one piece of thread and two needles, the bridle leather is sewn together using a saddle stitch. This creates a very strong stitch that a sewing machine can not reproduce.
Modern designs like the one we use were patented in the 1870s. The entire horse harness and tack industry used them for daily operations. We use it to make our full grain leather belts, and other items that require hand-sewing. Its clamp holds the bridle leather pieces exactly where you want them. That’s especially useful when we’re crafting bridle leather belts.
This old stitching horse still in use.
Some things were made to last forever, and this time we’re not exactly talking about premium leather. We devoted this blog to one of our faithful stitching horses we use to assemble our Full Grain Leather Belts. Duvall Leatherwork owner and master craftsman Nick Duvall picked up this antique stitching horse at the famous Stormville New York Flea Market several years ago. It’s earned a permanent place in our repertoire of tools.
This stitching horse is weathered and worn, and shows signs that it’s been through some serious repair, like, a very long time ago. The legs appear to have been replaced with wagon wheel spokes. We replaced some hardware, but otherwise, most of the original pieces remain. It’s old and it creaks and it’s probably opened and clamped shut its jaws 100,000 times, but every time, our stitching horse performs as intended, and that’s what we love about it.