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Arizona Roper


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#1 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:53 PM

Here's a saddle I just finished for a customer. It's built on an Arizona Roper tree by Rod Nikkel with 12inch swells and bulldog tapaderos. All comments and criticisms are appreciated, I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks, Chuck

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#2 rickybobby

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 09:25 AM

Very nice saddle. I like the tooling on rough out leather. I have done a couple smaller projects with boarder tools on rough out but not any saddle parts.

Nice job!
Rick

#3 Go2Tex

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 11:39 AM

Nice overall look. Well done. Main complaint, if any, not enough pictures to really fully appreciate it. I would glue the seat down around the hand hole. It looks loose there. Construction wise, I'd be hard pressed to find much to complain about without seeming overly nit-picky. It looks to be a fine, well made using rig.

Just an observation for conversation sake and not really a critique, but I don't put cross-over rope straps on a swell fork. They work best, it seems to me, on the big fat wood post horns and slick forks. It's a matter of choice, of course. I think I've done one on request, but it was just for looks anyhow and more likely to hold a picnic basket than a rope. I guess it could be used as a night latch.....
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#4 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 06 February 2012 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Ricky, I like stamping on roughout but find carving on it a little tough. This saddle has initials carved on the cantle back and they were a little tricky.

Thank you Brent, the crossover rope strap was at the customer's request. I have never done one on a swell fork before and it took a little thought to get it positioned correctly to keep the rope off of the swell braids.

I had trouble uploading the pictures from the camera, it kept saying the file was too big. This was a cell phone shot and not the best. I finally nailed down both corners of the seat by the handhole. I should have glued it but wasn't sure it would hold, the backseep on the swells through me a little when trying to fit my seat and get it drawn down tight. Fitting seats always seems to give me trouble and I'm not sure how to make it easier.

Thanks again guys,

Chuck




#5 Go2Tex

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 10:34 AM

....... I finally nailed down both corners of the seat by the handhole. I should have glued it but wasn't sure it would hold, the backseep on the swells through me a little when trying to fit my seat and get it drawn down tight. Fitting seats always seems to give me trouble and I'm not sure how to make it easier.

Thanks again guys,

Chuck


It is hard sometimes to get it tight across the handhole, depending on all the variables involved. I always glue it, though. It holds better than you might think. Rough it up real good if you suspect it might pull up. That always helps. Swell forks do present more problems on the fit-up. I would look at the design, the shape of the hand hole area. The higher you bring the seat up on either side on the swells will increase the amount of leather that can be pulled up by a curious fingered customer, obviously. Keep it as low or straight as possible, making a gentle curve down the face of the fork to the base. Also, the hand hole doesn't need to be big enough to get your entire hand down in there, either. Just big enough to get a good hold with the fingers. It ain't an access port. The bigger the hole, the weaker the seat, particularly with an all leather groundseat. At least, that's been my experience. Others might disagree. There are many factors that are involved.

Below are 2 examples of hand holes. The first will most likely be harder to keep it tight than the second example.

Attached File  s12-1e.jpg   82.98KB   148 downloads
Attached File  s26-4.jpg   96.99KB   149 downloads
Brent Tubre

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#6 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 07 February 2012 - 04:35 PM

Thanks Brent, My saddles tend to have a rounder cut at the top of the seat next to the handhole, much like the one in your first picture. Of course sometimes that comes from trying to cover up a bad handhole cut in the swell cover. One problem leads to another! I'll try to flatten that curve out on the next one and see if that helps. Maybe a wider draw down strap would help also. I have a hard time getting my seats spiked at the ear, spiked under the swell, spiked at the front button and pulled down with the drawdown without having some slack leather at the backside of the fork when its done. I mostly build on association trees and a lot of 14 inch swells.

I build an all leather ground seat, and have experimented with different size hand hole cuts. I'm trying to cut a pretty small hole, but have enough room and shape to get the corners of my skirts screwed in without much trouble. I tried to upload another picture but they are all to large, so I guess I'll have to get my wife to help with that.

Thanks again, Chuck

#7 jwwright

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 07:43 AM

Real nice saddle Chuck. I have never seen an Arizona Roper swell that narrow...........all I've seen / built / ridden are 13 or 14" wide............mostly 14". That one looks nice too though. You mentioned fitting seats around forks, etc........for me, it's actually easier cutting / fitting around wider swells with more undercut.........as opposed to straighter sided forks like this one. Not sure why that is............probably because I build a lot of wide swell forks with undercut and that's what I'm most used to . Any way............real nice saddle, I'm sure the customer is thrilled, and congrats to you. JW
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#8 Go2Tex

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Posted 08 February 2012 - 09:42 AM

One problem leads to another!


Yeah, been there done that. Always does. My processes and designs are constantly evolving as I try to make things come together easier and better.

Maybe a wider draw down strap would help also.


It might. I use the Stolhman design drawdown and pretty much the process described in the book, with a few of my own and other's ideas thrown in. I don't use that elaborate ear cut deal with the nails to find the cut location. It never worked. I always had so many marks I had no idea which one to use.

I have a hard time getting my seats spiked at the ear, spiked under the swell, spiked at the front button and pulled down with the drawdown without having some slack leather at the backside of the fork when its done. I mostly build on association trees and a lot of 14 inch swells.


We may be using the term "spike" differently. I'm having a hard time visualizing all those points spiked at the same time on fit-up and having any slack anywhere. I don't "spike" the ears or front jocks at all on fit-up in the normal sense of the term, as in leveraging. I tack them and then apply the drawdown to remove any wrinkles or bulges and smooth it down. This makes it real tight across the top of seat at the hand hole.
And when I spike under the swells or at the base on a slick fork, it's mainly to establish a registration point. I don't really have to leverage it much with the spike by that time. On final assembly, when I am ready to lay the seat cover down and pull the strings through, that is when I spike it down, or leverage it under the swell to get the seat tight over the hand hole. You might have to move the spike hole or angle slightly, and that is something to keep in mind when you are making those seat cuts around the swell. You want to have some leeway and not have to worry about covering up something underneath, like tacks or boo-boos.
Brent Tubre

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#9 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 03:55 PM

Thanks JW, the saddle was built based on one the customer had ridden and taken some measurements from. Rod had never built an AZ roper tree that narrow either, but the customer was pleased with what we came up with. If I was building another, I would probably have a little more undercut added to it. Thanks for all your help!

Sorry Brent, when I said spiking the seat I was refering to after I had it cut and was letting it dry. I usaually spike things as tight as I can, then put drawdown strap on and pound out wrinkles under the strap as I tighten it. Seems like when it's dry I still have some loose areas around the swell. I also use the Stohlman style drawdown, I was wondering if I needed a little more leather over the front area of seat to put some pressure there when I draw it down. I've been using the method J Watt shows in his DVD on making the ear cuts for the seat. Sometimes it works well, sometimes I get them a little to wide. Thanks for your time Brent!

#10 Go2Tex

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 10:16 AM

Thanks JW, the saddle was built based on one the customer had ridden and taken some measurements from. Rod had never built an AZ roper tree that narrow either, but the customer was pleased with what we came up with. If I was building another, I would probably have a little more undercut added to it. Thanks for all your help!

Sorry Brent, when I said spiking the seat I was refering to after I had it cut and was letting it dry. I usaually spike things as tight as I can, then put drawdown strap on and pound out wrinkles under the strap as I tighten it. Seems like when it's dry I still have some loose areas around the swell. I also use the Stohlman style drawdown, I was wondering if I needed a little more leather over the front area of seat to put some pressure there when I draw it down. I've been using the method J Watt shows in his DVD on making the ear cuts for the seat. Sometimes it works well, sometimes I get them a little to wide. Thanks for your time Brent!


Well, it sounds like you are doing everything right. I move my drawdown strap forward at that step to get more stretch and smooth things down. Depending on the ground seat, leather thickness, casing condition and tree, there could be more or less slack remaining. It just takes practice to know what is acceptible and what to worry about. Once it's dry, it might not be as tight as when you were fitting it. That's a fact. It shrinks a bit, but mainly it looses thickness, or volume and that is what gives you the loosness. It's the same effect that causes the horn wrap to get slack after it dries. It's not that is stretches out, but everything gets thinner under it. That's why I try to let it dry for a couple days before putting the swell cover on. It invariably gets a tiny bit of slack, no matter how tight I get it, even when I think it's dry. Actually, I'm beginning to think this is caused by evil spirits in my shop just messin' with me.

So, you may want to let your seat dry out completely before you make those final trim cuts, so you can then spike it down real tight and determine where it needs to be trimmed, or not. If in doubt, cut it less than you think is right.

As for those ear cuts, I'll tell you what was told to me. Ya just have to build more saddles. Of course, that's easy to say, but it's the simple truth. There are so many variables involved that trying to come up with a sure fire, easy, fool proof methodology is darn near impossible. It just takes a lot of practice, trial and error and good deal of luck..... not to mention one's ability to hide mistakes. Or, to adapt and adjust to miscalculations.
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#11 horsewreck

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 10:42 AM

Chuck,
That is a good looking saddle that cries out for heavy ranch work. You just can't beat a good old roughout rig, and you did a good job. I agree about the rope strap, but we all learn something on every one. The narrower Arizona tree is a good look.... Jeff
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#12 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 12:14 AM

Brent, thanks for the advice. I've still got a long ways to go and I know experience is the best teacher, but a little help along the way sure doesn't hurt. Thanks for your time!


Thanks Jeff, it is getting some use.

Chuck

#13 Aurelie

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:51 AM

As for those ear cuts, I'll tell you what was told to me. Ya just have to build more saddles. Of course, that's easy to say, but it's the simple truth. There are so many variables involved that trying to come up with a sure fire, easy, fool proof methodology is darn near impossible. It just takes a lot of practice, trial and error and good deal of luck..... not to mention one's ability to hide mistakes. Or, to adapt and adjust to miscalculations.




Yup! totally agree with that....and sometimes you get out of it easy, nice...and sometimes it won't let you go easily!
What i ve learnt after my 2 1/2 saddles i ve built so far (3d one is in process) ??
Think outside the box
and try Plan B, C, D...'til it works the way you want! ;)

i so love that job...and sometimes...i so hate it! ;)
Héhéhé

And Chuck : i really like your saddle
may be not perfect but totally good to me! ;)
..and do not worry , next one will be even better!
;)
Good luck !!


In for a penny, in for a pound....

#14 Aurelie

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:57 AM

Oh!!
and i forgot to tell you :
i really love the tapaderos too ;)
In for a penny, in for a pound....

#15 BuckhornBrand

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 03:15 PM

Thank You Aurelie! Sorry, I haven't been on here in a while. But thanks for your kind words of ecouragement.





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