Though tack designed with a working western flair is popular, complete with narrow leather ties securing bits and reins to headstalls, the venerable Chicago screw seems here to stay. Chicago screws consist of two parts, and one half is flat-headed. That half is inserted through both pieces of tack that you’re trying to connect. Then the other half, which includes a notch for a screwdriver, is driven in through the other side and tightened into place. Theoretically, the Chicago screw is a solid, reliable piece of handy hardware for western riders. Yet they need to be selected and applied correctly to prevent them from coming apart at just the wrong time.
- Most tack stores sell small bags of Chicago screws in various lengths for just a few dollars.
- Make sure you select the appropriate length of Chicago screw for the job at hand. Thicker leather requires Chicago screws with longer stems.
- Once you’re certain of the right size, add a drop of clear nail polish to the flat-headed half and then quickly use a screwdriver to tighten both halves together. This helps stabilize the threads of the screw.
- Never use glue with a permanent bond to secure your Chicago screws. If you decide later to replace them, they’ll be impossible to remove without damaging the leather tack.
- Periodically check all Chicago screws to make sure they haven’t loosened with use.
- Plain Chicago screws are easily replaced with more decorative conchos. That allows you to personalize your western tack.