Wednesday, March 28, 2007

swell cover, skirts, jockeys & seat


Once the ground work is done everything really starts to look like a saddle.

The swell cover is fit and sweat on the tree, I try not to put a slit down the back of the swell or use welts, this does take a little more time and effort when sweating the swell cover on but it is worth it in the long run. This style of tree takes quite a lot more effort to sweat a swell cover than a wade style tree would. When picking the leather for a swell you want leather that fairly thick, the reason for this is when a rope is packed on the saddle, the friction caused by the rope will wear the leather, the best or thickest/firmest side of the swell cover will go on the side the rope is being packed on.

After the swell is finished then it is onto the skirts, as with just about everything on a custom made saddle there are not set patterns, the skirt pattern is fit the each individual tree, once the skirts are cut the are laced together and blocked on the tree, then the skirts must completely dry before they are taken off the tree to be lined, if the skirts are taken off while they are still damp they will shrink.

Then the rear housing or jockeys are fit and installed on the saddle, again there is no standard pattern, they are fit to this tree. When the jockeys are installed they are spiked forward so that they fit the saddle very tight.

Now it is on the the seat, the leather is cased to the proper moisture content, then the fitting process is under way. Fitting the seat can take a fair bit of time also, no patterns are used as the seat is fit a little at a time until you have a nice line from the handhole around to the ear. once one side is fit and cut the that line is transferred to the other side. Then the seat is put back on the saddle and allowed to dry.

Ground seat & cantle filler


After the top ground seat piece has dried, it is then glued in place. Once glued in the process of shaping or shaving the ground seat is underway. There are no short cuts when shaping a ground seat, it can take many hours of shaving to get the shape you want, there are no flat spots or straight lines on a ground seat, between the cantle points there is a slight rise or pole to the seat, it is not made flat between the points. The rise in the seat is also not a straight line, it rises up in a valley or a concave line going to the front of the seat. The ground seat is also made to be as narrow as possible within reason.
Once the ground seat have the proper shape and is glass smooth then it is onto the cantle filler. The cantle filler will smooth out the cantle and will also aid in making the cantle bind firmer. The same process of shaving is used as when shaping the ground seat. The filler will also be glass smooth.
Then the handhole and stirrup leather slots are cut into the seat.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

riggings and ground seat

The rigs are then installed on the saddle, and the ground seat is the next step on the saddle.

The rigs are sewn, then the threads need to be knotted and melted, then the edges are trimmed flush, edged and slicked.
The riggins are next, these rigs were sewn on a Pearson machine, I just purchased this machine, which has great sentimental value for me, this Pearson was my Great Grandfather and Grandfathers machine.

gullet and back cantle

The gullet and back cantle are the first things I build on a saddle. This saddle will have a Cheyenne Roll. There is a filler on the back side of the cantle to firm up the bind, I do not want soft cantle bind, they should be nice and firm with no movement in them.

ruff out High country


Starting another saddle here, the tree was made by Rod Nikkel; it is a High Country Tree.

The leather used to make this saddle is from Hearman Oak, It takes two sides of leather to build one saddle, I try to use a left and a right side for each saddle, this is not necessary but it does make things a little more efficient. So basically you use one cow to build one saddle.


Howdy ;

Here is a Martingale or Choker (depending where you are from) that I just finished.


Here are the cuffs when they are finished.