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 Hought Fine Art & Leather

Leather Braiding Instruction - Private Lessons


Welcome! We are pleased to invite you to participate in our leather braiding classes. We trust you will find the individual instruction educational and of benefit in your pursuit of the art of braiding. To learn more about who we are and our leatherworking skills, please read "About Gail and Eric Hought".

To experience leather braiding without added travel expense, you may be interested in purchasing a leather braiding kit first. It will include all the tools and materials necessary for the project items in the kit, and includes the book, The Art of Braiding, The Basics-Revised Edition. A leather braiding kit will help you decide if you are interested in braiding instruction. It will give you an idea of what kinds of skills you will learn, as well as, an opportunity to try your hand at braiding prior to signing up for instruction.


Gail Hought

For those who would like to learn to braid or for braiders who would like to improve their braiding skills, I offer private braiding instruction. The project oriented instruction is tailored to fit individual interest and experience. The number of students per session can vary from one to as many as four. Each session is 3 - 5 days, held in my home in McKinleyville, California, and the date depends on mutual time constraints. If you are from out of town, you will need to either locate a local motel (at your expense) or make arrangements with me for alternate accommodations for the duration of your class. If you are interested, please call me at 1-800-839-1164 to discuss what you would like to learn and to establish dates that work for both of us.

Hourly fee:

1 participant $100.00
2 participants $165.00
3 participants $225.00

All leather braiding materials will be supplied, however there will be additional charges for special projects.

The open dates in white on calendar below are the available dates for braiding lessons. It will be updated as needed. Updated 1/15/2016.


Phone Consultations


1. Why should I seek out instruction? Instruction is most important for the beginning student as it builds a strong foundation and establishes good habits while the student learns to handle tools and materials, thus avoiding trial and error and achieving early success. Experienced braiders also benefit from instruction as it provides an opportunity to improve and perfect skills, expand knowledge through the introduction of new projects and helps them learn to refine their work giving it a more finished appearance.

2. What benefits can I expect from a braiding class? A braiding class will set the proper groundwork for the beginning braider, while experienced braiders will improve their technique and the appearance of their projects. A class can answer specific questions and help with individual knots. Courses are also available for the more popular items such as braiding the bosal.

3. What are the projects? Instruction for beginning braiders includes skill development using a mandrel, then a key fob and a sliding ear headstall. Intermediate students will braid and take home either hobbles or a bosal depending on the course chosen. Advanced instruction is directed toward whatever a braider wishes to learn or wants to improve, therefore projects are tailored to their individual requests.

4. What materials or tools should I bring? All tools and materials are provided for beginners. Material costs for advanced classes are determined on an individual basis. If you have been braiding you may prefer to bring your own fid and any other tools you may have. All students should bring a notebook and pen.

5. How many hours per day? Sessions are 6 hours per day for as many days as the student feels necessary. Working longer than 6 hours per day many times results in decreased mental concentration.

6. When is the best time to arrange a class? Dates for instruction are set when most convenient for both the student and Gail.

7. Where are classes held? Classes are held at our home in McKinleyville, California, in the heart of the Redwoods, about 1 1/2 hours south of the Oregon border and 2 miles from the beach.

8. What accommodations are available? A wide variety of motels are within 20 minutes of our home. A list will be mailed to you when your class date is set. Our guestroom is available for a nominal fee depending on the distance you must travel to arrive at the class site. Breakfast and lunch are included. Inquiries are welcome.

9. Is there a class criteria? The criteria necessary is a desire to learn to braid, perseverance and a good sense of humor (required).

  Instructional Courses

Beginner’s Course

Description: This class is designed to provide the beginning student with the basic skills necessary to braid almost any piece of tack or decorative item. Strings are precut to save time, so the student will be braiding most of the time. There will be ongoing demonstrations and explanations for the use of tools and materials.


1) Learning buttons on mandrel
2) Braiding buttons on a key fob
3) Braiding a series of buttons on the cheeks and ear of a sliding ear headstall.

Basic Skills: The student will learn basic buttons needed for most projects. Skill development begins on a mandrel followed by braiding a series of buttons on a key fob and a sliding ear headstall.

The student will also learn:

1) To cut, split and bevel strings
2) Basic button construction and function
3) Plaiting
4) Sizing
5) How to finish buttons.

Items furnished:

1) The Art of Braiding, The Basics
2) Fid
3) Mandrel
4) Key fob
5) Sliding ear headstall
6) All roo strings needed for both practice and braided projects.
7) Miscellaneous supplies and tools will also be available for use such as saddle soap, finishing tools, finish, and any other materials necessary for a finished project.


intermediate Course

Prerequisite: The instruction is designed for a student who has completed the basic class or has equivalent skills. The participant should be able to plait 8 strings.

Description: This is as an intermediate skill development course, one which applies braiding skills to a totally braided project. It also includes skills necessary for braiding a bosal. Strings are precut to save time, however hands-on demonstrations for cutting strings will be given.

New skills taught: from The Art of Braiding, the Basics - Revised Edition, The Art of Braiding, Bosal l - Revised and The Art of Braiding, Bosal ll, books not included.

1) Plaiting 12
2) Braid a 6 bight Turks head
3) Terminal Knot
4) Groundwork over a terminal knot
5) Fancy Pineapple Button
6) Braiding matching symmetrical buttons
7) Plus continued instruction on improving braiding skills.The majority of skills learned will prepare the student for braiding romal reins, see The Art of Braiding, Romal l.

Students will learn:

1) To cut a hide into strings
2) Prepare an inner core
3) Nose button groundwork
4) Braiding a nose button
5) Heel knot groundwork
6) Braiding the heel knot
7) To size strings, finishing, and other techniques.

Bosal Course

Prerequisite: The student must know how to plait 12 and braid a 6 bight Turks head.

Description: All skills necessary for braiding a bosal are taught. Strings are precut to save time, however hands-on demonstrations for cutting strings will be given.

Students will learn the following:

1)To cut a hide into strings
2) Prepare an inner core
3) Nose button groundwork
4) Braiding a nose button
5) Heel knot groundwork
6) Braiding the heel knot
7) To size strings, finishing, and other techniques.


Anton Retief working a bosal in our studio.


Anton back home in South Africa

Advanced Braiders

Description: Instruction is tailored to meet the needs of the individual braider. Examples of instruction requested: a) adding color to a bosal; b) braiding a fancy bosal with a rawhide nose button and heel knot; c) extra help with a complicated button; d) to learn to work with rawhide; e) to improve the finished look of their braided work.

Clay Christensen letter

Braiding News: Introducing a New Mailing list

To better serve your braiding needs, we invite you to join our leather braider email mailing list. Periodically, we plan to send Braiding News that we trust will be of value. Included will be any new material or tool sources, new available books and information that might be of interest to braiders. If you would like to be included on our list, please send your email address to hought@humboldt1.com. We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your interest.

Gail and Eric

 Email - hought@hought.com

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