top of page

Sleigh Bell Restoration

Do you have an old set of bells you would like brought back to their former glory? We can do that for you! We can remove and polish your antique bells and put them on a brand-new handcrafted leather strap with heirloom quality details such as hand stitched and fancy embossed loops, colored felt scallops, colored patent leather, etc. We can help you design a new strap around a set of bells or replicate an old one. Email us with your ideas. Below you will find some of our past projects and helpful information. I also have access to brand new, beautiful brass sleigh bells. If you are interested in commissioning a set of new bells, please email to discuss your needs.

restored set of 29 brass petal sleigh bells on a wavy, black leather strap, stamped borderand red felt trim

Past Projects

String of Bells

antique sleigh bells on old brown leather strap
Pile of old bells, running keepers and black leather straps awaiting assembly
Detail of a leather strap keeper showing the saddle stitching

BEFORE: String of old bells that hung on a barn wall for decades. 

Bells were removed from the old strap, cleaned(old patina was kept ), straps and keepers cut and prepped, buckle polished.

This strap required 24 handstitched keepers

10 running loops featuring a 19th century embossed pattern on the face of them
Lined strap of bells in the process of buckle being stitched on
Antique string of bells with trees and grass in the background

The keepers were then put in an antique loop press- one at a time . The press embosses the loops with a design and also presses them from the sides. This helps "box" them up. This ensures strap can easily pass through

Buckle  end and loops in the process of being handstitched. Stitching was done at 9 stitches per inch on this project.

 AFTER: Completed bells on a double strap. 

Graduated Brass Bell Restoration

These bells are not for sale, they were a custom commission. They were sent in needing a new strap, buckle and billet and to be cleaned. Customer chose not to polish.

Body starp of brass bells on brown leather

Finished bells on a heavy creased brown strap

Brass buckle and strap splice in the process of being handstitched
Splice in brown leather strap being saddle stitched

Buckle and keeper sewn, splice tacked and prepped for stitching.  The buckle is an antique that I was able to provide for this project.

Splice halfway thru being saddle stitched.

brown leather strap with hand stitched and creased keeper

Strap completely sewn, holes and slots punched. Ready to install bells

Handful of cleaned antique bells, brown leather
Brass bells and brown leather, creased strapwork

Close up of completed bells. Everything was saddle stitched by hand at 9 stitches per inch. Keeper was handsewn in as well and also hand creased. It's little details like this that matter when you want high quality work done.

Collection of loose bells for door hanger

Old, grimy brass sleigh bells
shiny brass bells with hardware rings and keepers prior to being made up into a door hanger

Antique brass bells sent in by a customer. Request to be up into a door hanger, polished and lacquered.

Polished bells, hardware and keepers

Unique brass bells on black strap
5 bell doorhanger on premium doubled leather strap with keepers

Close-up of bells installed on strap

Completed door hanger, all handstitched leatherwork

Sleigh bell double strap Restoration

Old brass bells on old brown doubled leather strap
Pile of bright and shiny brass sleigh bells and black creased leather keeper loops
Black running keeper loop on metal loop stick, shown with antique creasing tool and anvil

Before: old brass bells on double strap

Loose bells polished and keepers, ready to be put on a new strap

Creased keeper on strap, shown with the tools used to get that effect.

Boxed and creased keepers
Brass roller buckle and creased loop on anvil

Closeup of keepers- that was a lot of stitching and creasing!

Finished buckle end

Polished brass sleigh bells in the snow
3 coils of brass bells on new black leather stap

After: Completed bells on doubled strap, keepers in between, everything handstitched

Close- up of bells and strapwork

Combination Strap Chimes/Bells

Antique silver saddle chimes with body strap of bells

Before: circa 1915 Saddle chime/bell strap. These bells had great sentimental value to the customer. Since the plating was in poor shape, we decided to just gently clean them and put them on new strap work matching it as close as possible to the original.  

underside view of antique saddle chimes, red felt liner

Saddle  had red wool felt and  strap work had imitation stitching along edges.

Original felt border on saddle chimes
Antique nickel bells that have been cleaned

All that remains of the pinked wool edge along saddle

Bells after being removed from strap and cleaned. As you can see, lots of wear on plating.

Chime saddle with new brown leather and fancy red felt border
Saddle with new red felt liner in the process of being stitched

New leather and felt pad tacked up and ready for stitching. I used thick 100% Merino wool felt and an antique scallop punch to make the decorative border.

Saddle in the process of being  stitched  together by hand.

Old zinc buckle on new brown leather strawork with imitation edge stitching

Strapwork prepped and tacked together. Imitation stitching replicated along edges as on the original.

Dark brown bridle leather strap with punched holes, imitation stitching on edges and zinc buckle

Close up of work, bells are ready to be installed

Restored silver saddle chimes with attached body strap bells
Restored silver saddle chimes with bells and red felt border

Finished saddle

After: Completed bells

Pony Rump Bells

Designed to attach to the back band of a horse harness . 

Bells and leather pieces for pony size rump bells

6 small antique brass bells that have been cleaned and polished. Unique hand stamped border and keepers.

Fancy stamped black leather and brass sleigh bell pony sized rump bells

Completed strap

Brass bells on a wide black stamped leather strap with embossed keepers

Close up view

Brass bells on fancy, wide black leather strap with stamped border

Another view of bells

False Martingale with Bells

False martingale with hand stitched keepers in an embossed pattern, raised patent leather drop with brass ornament and 3 antique brass bells. These can be made to complement an existing harness.

patent leather pony sized false martigale with antique brass bells
pony sized patent leather and brass raised martingale drop
false martingale with polished antique brass bells

Strap of 29 Graduated Brass Bells

Body strap of 29 graduated antique brass bells on a hand cut wavy and tapered strap. Strap features a hand stamped border, pinked wool felt edge and a hand stitched and creased keeper, raised leather billet. This piece is fulling lined in heavy chestnut bridle leather and measures approximately 4" in the center and over 100" long. 

restored set of 29 brass petal sleigh bells on a wavy, black leather strap, stamped borderand red felt trim
one of a kind string of antique bells on wide, wavy cut leather strap, stamped border and red felt trim
artisan made wide, wavy leather strap, stamped border and red felt
detail of strap with hand stamped border and hand pinked 100% USA  wool  felt
process of hand pinking red wool felt for borders
body strap of antique sleigh bells for a horse
restored/polished brass sleigh bells on new black leather strap
antique bells on brown leather strap, brass roller buckle on white hitching post.
brown leather strap with antique stamped brass metal sleighbells

String of polished brass bells on doubled strap, handstitched and creased keepers.

Another style of bell on dark brown strap, original patina retained.

fancy shaped billet on brown leather strap for sleigh bells

Fancy shaped strap billet end, also available in "raised" leather. A very nice detail to add to a string of bells. Shown with embossed keeper on buckle end.

Saddle Chime Information

Solid brass horse saddle chimes against a rich red brocade fabric

Modern brass saddle chimes awaiting cleaning and polishing

We can clean and polish your antique or modern saddle chimes. Please note: a lot of antique chimes were plated over a base metal. We do not offer re plating services. All chimes will be taken on a case by case basis. If interested, please send  several good quality images of the chimes in question.

4 Antique brass Swiss style sleigh bells on old brown leather strap with a rusty buckle

BEFORE: brass rump bells on old, rotten leather strap

chestnut leather neck neckstrap with brass bells and pinked wool felt border

Chestnut leather neck strap of graduated brass bells with pinked wool felt border and brass roller buckle.

modern brass sleigh bells on new brown leather strap
Cleaned and polished antique sleigh bells on rump straps for a horse

AFTER: the same bells (on the left), cleaned, polished and installed on heirloom quality strapwork with a tooled border.

door hanger sleigh bell strap with stamped border and brass spots and ring

10 antique brass bells made up into a door hanger on wide brown leather strap, stamped border, brass ring for hanging on a wreath hook or door knob

Freshly cleaned and polished brass petal sleigh bells on a coiled up brown leather strap with a brass roller buckle

 Graduated brass bells that have been cleaned, polished and lacquered. Installed on a new brown leather strap with brass roller buckle for use as a  a neck strap for a horse.

Fancy graduated brass bell door hanger on black leather

Fancy shaped 15 bell door hanger with stamped border and brass spots, ring for hanging.

Short video of antique sleigh bells being rung

Early Post Civil War sleigh bell strap( dated 1866)

Interesting custom project I had come through the shop. Customer requested no cleaning of the bells and to try to reuse the original buckle. I had to make a custom hand punch to get this particular strap pattern and replicate the " imitation" stitching down the edge that was on the original.

Original strap of early, post civil war sleigh bells
Early American sleigh bells on new brown leather strap

How to get started

-Email pictures of your bells and what you would like done.

-I will discuss with you the options available and a price quote.

-Ship your bells (packaged securely), along with your contact information, the number of bells you are sending and the down payment.


-I will notify you when the bells are received and email a work order.


-Remaining balance is due before shipping back to customer. 

Down Payment:

-If you are sending 1-9 bells the downpayment is: $60.

-If you are sending 10-19 bells the downpayment is: $ 100.

-If you are sending 20- 29 bells the downpayment is: $200.

-If you are sending 30 bells or more the downpayment is: $300

Personal check or money order made out to: Clark Harness


Clark Harness

1918 North Yoki Road

Forbes,MN 55738

What to Expect:

-I will send out updates and keep you informed of the progress.

-Remaining balance due before shipment

-I guarantee all work coming out of this shop. 

A Note About Riveted Type Bells

These bells were originally installed using rivets and the rivets must be cut off in order to remove the bells from the old strap. The tools originally used to install rivets in these bells is almost impossible to find. There are two fastener types in use for the riveted bells- screws and cup washers or a custom modified ,modern rivet. With this method of installation, there is a chance of a bell cracking. This is more likely to occur if the bell is already cracked. I take great care to avoid this. If, in the unfortunate event it does occur, I will notify the customer and try to install the bell in a less conspicuous location on the strap. This also changes the appearance of the backside of the strap. If that is a concern, there is the option of a doubled strap with keepers or rivets.

Steel Bells

Steel bells can be cleaned/polished and put on a new strap.  They do not clean up as well as brass bells and the finish on them can vary. I recommend this only if they are family heirlooms or have sentimental value.

Available Configurations

These are some of the bell configurations, but not all. If you have something in mind, please inquire.

  • Door hangers; straight strap or shaped

  • Harness drops; all shapes

  • Body straps; plain or fancy

  • Martingales; can be made to match your harness

  • Rump bells

  • Swiss style body strap w/tassels; plain or fancy. This goes behind driving saddle

  • Pony sized bell straps

  • Neck straps; plain or fancy

  • Pony straps- a wide strap with double rows of small bells

Additional Resources

The American Bell Association is an excellent source of information for those interested in sleigh bells (or just bells in general) and for finding like-minded individuals. You can visit their site here:

 Prices vary according to the work to be done, strap design, configurations, number of bells, etc. Unfortunately, we do not offer repair of cracked or broken bells or re-plating services. If interested, please email.

Clark Harness

1918 North Yoki Road

Forbes, MN 55738

(218) 251-3754

bottom of page