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how much leather do you use in a saddle?


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#1 figthnbullrider

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 07:13 PM

for you guys that have built a few saddles how much leather do you say u use in total. i was estimating using a side and a half but i think i might be shooting low. how much does it take you.

#2 bruce johnson

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 07:36 PM

It really depends on a lot of factors - skirt patterns, a flate plate rigging uses more leather than most dee ring setups, pretty open. I have never got by with less than two sides, and usually get into a third side on at least half of them. I am getting my patterns down a little closer, not as much trimming, but still 2 sides minimum. I may get two longer sides, and not get the yield of two deeper sides. For the first one, I was lucky to get by with three sides.
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#3 Randy Cornelius

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 08:38 PM

If you are lucky to have some large scraps to use for the ground work you might get by with 2 sides. But I always figure 3 sides to cover for thoes accidents and miscalculations. And big mistakes.

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#4 Go2Tex

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 09:02 PM

You should be able to build a saddle with 2 sides unless you screw up or you get small sides. Now, that's not unusual these days. It seems the sides are getting smaller. I heard they're going to market sooner and thus have smaller cows.

I usually have quite a bit left over until I do my plugs for the skirts, and after that, I'm left with some real nice small to medium sized scrap from the good parts and a bunch of belly leather that seems to pile up until I get tired of tripping over it and throw it out.
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#5 AndyKnight

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 11:53 PM

diddo to Go2Tex. can make a saddle from 2 sides however will often get into the third not because ther is not enough leather but because in am anal about using more firm leather so I have lots of bellies left over. 5 sides for two saddles....

Edited by AndyKnight, 06 December 2007 - 11:54 PM.

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#6 Cowboy Crafts Online

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 02:42 PM

I would have to agree with Andy 5 sides for 2 saddles. If this is your first saddle you are going to waste leather until your patterns get developed and you start learning how to lay out patterns on you sides.

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#7 David Genadek

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 08:49 PM

The whole side and a half thing comes from factories. What they don't tell you is that they buy their stirrups and flank cinches from other people so in the end they are all using at least two sides of leather per saddle. It is one thing to do a bunch of saddles of the same type with set patterns and another when you do custom. Besides you have nothing to loose by basing your prices on lower yields and everything to loose by basing them on higher yields. In the end it is foolish for a small shop to sharpen thier pencil to try and compete on price. 2.5 sides per saddle is a wise move if you can do three do it. I don't care how good you are knives slip, dye spills, eyes don't see flaws until the oil hits, you forget to flip a pattern,orders get read wrong...mistakes happen.
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#8 figthnbullrider

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 04:31 AM

again thanks for all the help. the side and a half came from my own guess.

#9 Go2Tex

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Posted 08 December 2007 - 10:05 AM

....... eyes don't see flaws until the oil hits, you forget to flip a pattern,.............David Genadek



Oh yeah, these 2 things will kill ya. Actually, I usually don't spot the flaw until I wet it down for carving. I've got a pretty good collection of parts in a box now from that very situation. Or, you cut out a fender from what you thought was going to be thick enough and ...AAAH CRA**!!... it ends up about 10 ounce on the back side.

And this all results from having to work around flaws in a side. If every side came perfect and wide, I could throw the patterns on there in the same place every time and never have this problem. But cows are cows and tanneries are tanneries.

And another tip, ask for a right side and a left side. You won't always get it, but it helps in laying out those parts, particularly your flat plate riggings.
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#10 mulefool

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 08:58 AM

I go with the 2 and a half sides. Sometimes it might work for three for the reasons mentioned.
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