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Real Sheepskin Vs Wool On Synthetic Backing?

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#1 Aurelie

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:17 PM

Hello guys!

Here i ve got some questions for you and would appreciate your advices and feedback.

I usually use real sheepskin for my skirts lining (i do understand the quality, thickness and behavior)

I have seen on Weaver catalog :

Wool on synthetic Backing - thickness 1"
What is it about?
Is that real sheepskin wool that has been kinda "sewn" on a synthetic "support"?

Does it have a similar behavior than real sheepskin? or not at all?

As good as real thing?
As good as the 100% synthetic stuff?
or worse?

Anyone has already used this?

What can you tell me about it?

Thanks for the feedback! ;)

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

#2 Ken Nelson

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:57 PM

It is wool attached to a cloth backing. It is better than some of the synthetics being sold but it is not and will never be even close to a real bark tanned sheepskin. I have never seen a good saddle lined with any type of "fake" sheepskin. Never!!! If someone tells you they build really good handmade saddles and use fake sheepskin to line the skirts in my opinion, they are either a liar or blissfully ignorant. My 2 Cents Ken

#3 Aurelie

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:05 AM

Thanks Ken for your input.
I totally agree with you and totally aware of this.

Thing is i have to build a Barrel Racing saddle and have to go as lightweighed and as "cheap" as possible (within some limits due to my morale)

I am doing it out of Hand O leather 11/13 Oz , a Ralide barrel race saddle tree (wanted to try those ralides and see by myself)
Good hardware and good and nice padded seat.....
Building it as good as i usually do but i was wondering what kind of "cuts in cost" i could afford without doing junk

i was just wondering about the option of Real sheepskin vs synthetic and came across that "Wool on synthetic Backing - thickness 1""...so i was wondering even more.....trying to find the best option regarding price/weight and quality...
realsheepskin is still 3 time the price of that wool on synthetic
here is the reason why i asked ....wanted to know more about the alternative, the pros and cons.....but still totally aware that nothing better than real sheepskin ;)
In for a penny, in for a pound....

#4 Ken Nelson

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 07:25 AM

Ralide trees are JUNK!!! No matter how good a craftsman you are, you cannot build a good saddle of any kind out of junk. Like the old saying goes, " you cannot build a silk purse out of a pigs ear". I do not beleive you can compete with the production lines that are using inferior materials and I do not beleive a serious saddlemaker, even one just starting out, will even try. People that know the difference don't want to use saddlemakers that compromise on quality or workmanship. But that is just my opinion. Ken

#5 Josh Ashman

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:09 AM

Aurelie,

I relined a set of skirts once with the synthetic stuff, that was about 3 years ago for a guy who rides once or twice a month. I ran into him the other day and he said everything was holding up great. I haven't used it since and can't imagine a reason I'd use it on a saddle I was building. I have however owned several "production" saddles that have synthetic sheepskin, two of them (Billy Cook Classic Rancher bought in 2004 and Saddle Barn Wade bought in 2007) have been used quite a bit and they seem to be holding up just fine. By quite a bit I mean 3 to 4 rides a week most every week of the year.
I also had a saddle with a Ralide tree, it was built by a novice maker who didn't stamp his work. I picked it up in the local feed store when I was in UT. Anyway, I used it for a few years and it worked fine. If I was in your situation, trying to build a lightweight barrel saddle, I might consider it. Maybe someone who's built on one can give you some better input or a quality barrel saddle builder can give some ideas on keeping weight down.

Good luck,

Josh

#6 Aurelie

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 09:25 AM

Thanks a lot Josh for your input, i appreciate it
i ve know several people happy with saddles built from ralide
I would not compare those to a "real" custom one with a rawhide/wood saddle tree just 'cause it does not compare...i would not put this kind of sheepskin on my regular saddles but here we're talking "barrel" .......
My aim is not to build junk but to find a "compromise" in order to be able to sell it at a "justified" price and one people are willing to pay without throwing me in the sewer.....

I do not want to enter the "polemic" subject about what is junk or not......'cause i ve seen that everybody get his piece of mind about it.....I am not here to get or have judgment....i just wanted to have :
opinions and feedback on experiences....and go from here....
In for a penny, in for a pound....

#7 Josh Ashman

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:14 AM

I understand what you mean Aurelie and I wish you luck on your project :) !

Josh

#8 BOB BRENNER

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:01 AM

Aurelie,

The questions you are asking will generate a lot of answers and is a sensitive area.

For better or worse here goes — To start out – form follows function. In the case of saddles the saddle is designed to meet the function fo the saddle. A roping saddle is designed for roping, a cutting saddle for cutting, a barrel saddle for barrel racing and so on. Therefore, the material used will be different to meet the specific needs.

I began using acrylic fleece and Ralide trees in a line of saddles I make in the late 1980's, where weight and cost is a consideration. Have made over 350 to date with no problems. When the local Police Department started their mounted unit they had me make their saddles. I used acrylic fleece and Ralide trees. The police used these saddles for almost ten years. The only problem they had was a broken horn when a horse went over backwards. If a rawhide covered tree had been used the result would have been the same. When the unit was eliminated because of budget cuts, they brought the saddles to my shop for me to appraise them. Since the police department keeps accurate records, they had a logbook for each saddle giving the total hours they had been used. The total hours used ranged from a little over 10,000 hours to just under 17,000 hours. With that usage these saddles probably had as much or more use in ten years than most saddles see in a lifetime. With eight saddles, there was no indication of any of the problems everyone has given me as reasons to not use a Ralide® tree or acrylic fleece.

As for the wool fleece from Weaver, the last time I looked at it ( about 10 years ago ) I found the fiber density to be below my standards. The acrylic fleece is also below my standards but acceptable for general use. I have talked to them about upgrading but it is a cost factor which I understand. The acrylic fleece I use costs $26.00+ per yard with a minimum order of 50 yards which puts out of reach of most.

As for using a Ralide tree in a barrel saddle, I think you are OK for an entry level racer. I have made several with Ralide trees although not my first choice. The new fiberglass or Kevlar covered trees are extremely popular with the pros. I use the Kevlar covered tree.

As for weight, try a in-skirt rigged mother hubbard skirts, a smaller fender 7" to 8" wide, half stirrup leathers 2 ½ wide, and a tree with a built-in ground sea as is the case with a Ralide tree.

When the rubber meets the road it is your choice, but remember there is no one answer that meets all situations.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Bob
Bob Brenner
Pikes Peak Saddlery
www.pikespeaksaddlery.com


#9 Aurelie

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:27 AM

Aurelie,

The questions you are asking will generate a lot of answers and is a sensitive area.

For better or worse here goes — To start out – form follows function. In the case of saddles the saddle is designed to meet the function fo the saddle. A roping saddle is designed for roping, a cutting saddle for cutting, a barrel saddle for barrel racing and so on. Therefore, the material used will be different to meet the specific needs.

I began using acrylic fleece and Ralide trees in a line of saddles I make in the late 1980's, where weight and cost is a consideration. Have made over 350 to date with no problems. When the local Police Department started their mounted unit they had me make their saddles. I used acrylic fleece and Ralide trees. The police used these saddles for almost ten years. The only problem they had was a broken horn when a horse went over backwards. If a rawhide covered tree had been used the result would have been the same. When the unit was eliminated because of budget cuts, they brought the saddles to my shop for me to appraise them. Since the police department keeps accurate records, they had a logbook for each saddle giving the total hours they had been used. The total hours used ranged from a little over 10,000 hours to just under 17,000 hours. With that usage these saddles probably had as much or more use in ten years than most saddles see in a lifetime. With eight saddles, there was no indication of any of the problems everyone has given me as reasons to not use a Ralide® tree or acrylic fleece.

As for the wool fleece from Weaver, the last time I looked at it ( about 10 years ago ) I found the fiber density to be below my standards. The acrylic fleece is also below my standards but acceptable for general use. I have talked to them about upgrading but it is a cost factor which I understand. The acrylic fleece I use costs $26.00+ per yard with a minimum order of 50 yards which puts out of reach of most.

As for using a Ralide tree in a barrel saddle, I think you are OK for an entry level racer. I have made several with Ralide trees although not my first choice. The new fiberglass or Kevlar covered trees are extremely popular with the pros. I use the Kevlar covered tree.

As for weight, try a in-skirt rigged mother hubbard skirts, a smaller fender 7" to 8" wide, half stirrup leathers 2 ½ wide, and a tree with a built-in ground sea as is the case with a Ralide tree.

When the rubber meets the road it is your choice, but remember there is no one answer that meets all situations.

Hope this helps and good luck.

Bob


Thanks Bob,
You summed up exactly what was in my mind ;)

That barrel saddle will surely not go to a "pro barrel" (just because barrel race here in France is becoming popular but still not at a "high" level)
So, i am pretty sure that this saddle will not be ridden 8H/day ;)

Really appreciate your input, and thanks for the advice for the width of fenders (i had not thought about it...everything else : yes....but not the fenders ;) )

I was not expecting 1 and only answer...just wanted to know more if wool on synthetic backing was :
- better
-worse
- same
as synthetic regarding the difference of costs and regarding the specifications (thickness, density....)

Again, thanks a lot

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

#10 Ken Nelson

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 07:28 AM

It is your reputation. What you build is your reputation. I don't try to compete with production saddles, I cannot . I am very busy and I only use the best materials available to me. Beleive me it is hard to build a good reputation building on ralide trees and synthetic sheepskin. You may as well go all the way and use Tandy skirting. Ken





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