Although we can and do restore steel sleigh bell straps, we do not generally recommend it, because the cost of restoration will exceed the monetary value of the bells. In some cases -- such as this example -- the sentimental value of the bells far outweighs economic considerations.
Although the 36 steel sleigh bells were originally chrome plated, the plating had long ago disappeared, leaving bare steel with a few patches of heavy rust. Steel bells clean up to a soft silver gray where there is no or very little rust. Areas with heavier rust remain a dark brown. These bells were in better-than-usual condition, so they are mostly silver gray.
The bells had originally been riveted onto a narrow unlined body strap. We installed the bells and the original buckle on a new "pony" strap -- the name for a wide strap with bells arranged in two (or more) columns. This type of strap can be made to fit any equine from mini to draft.
Following the design of the original bell strap, we fastened the bells onto their new strap with aluminum blind ("pop") rivets. I chose to stitch the buckle on, using a traditional decorative pattern.
This particular item is a custom, one-of-a-kind project made for a past client. Items in this Custom Projects section are for information only; they are not available for regular sale.