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Here we go. saddle tree test. Carbon fiber verses hide


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#1 SITTINGUPHIGH1

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 05:30 PM

This is a test of the strength of a carbon fiber and a hide saddle tree. The hide tree is from large and old saddle tree manufactor in the United States. The strongest tree they make. Not sure what company. I think it may even have fiberglass underneath the hide. I think this is a full carbon fiber tree. No wood underneath. Ether way it is impressive. The carbon fiber saddle tree doesn't move. 60 to 80 % lighter then hide covered wooden trees.

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#2 Johanna

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:20 AM

I'm not a horse person, but this doesn't seem like a fair way to compare trees because a truck running over a tree does not provide the same stresses a tree would be subject to in real life situations. My mom's car weighs several tons less than my truck, and in an accident, she is more likely to be injured than I am because her car sits lower than my truck. However, she gets double or triple the gas mileage that I do. So is my truck "better" than her car because I am less likely to be killed? You can't compare apples and oranges.
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#3 Alan Bell

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:40 AM

That test just proves the superiority of the hide covered tree for making saddles to put on horses! The carbon fiber tree has no 'life' to it. You might as well use a piece of steel across the horses back! As Johanna points out the test is not really a fair one if we are judging how well the trees would perform for their intended uses. If we want a tree that will not flex and is rigid and has no life to it then we are not considering the horse IMHO.
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#4 rdb

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:44 AM

Way back when, in some tree discussion, I suggested that carbon fiber would be the newest advancement. Since I know very little about saddles and such, I was rightfully ignored. There are still problems with it, I'm sure...like how easy is it to nail into, etc. A saddler can adjust, but if he or she needs three hands to make a saddle, that might be a detriment.

Johanna is absolutely correct, I don't know any riders who have been run over by a truck, and since many old wooden treed saddles are still around, I would think this demo speaks only to relative strength, not viability.

From everything (or what little I know..lol) I have learned here, it's not so much how or what the tree is made of, but the skill of the maker, and their ability to design and build the correct fitting, and viable product. But I'm still amazed at modern science and it's ability to create some fascinating things.
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#5 Rod and Denise Nikkel

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:20 PM

a truck running over a tree does not provide the same stresses a tree would be subject to in real life situations.

I agree Johanna. On the other hand, its kind of fun to do! This is a picture where we did the same thing. This is the front end of the half ton sitting on one of our trees. The quality of materials and construction techniques used do make a difference in strength. Note: The “quality control department” had cut the lace and peeled back the rawhide when it was not yet dry to check that section of bar. It didn’t pass muster, which is why we got to drive over it! And even with that spot open, it didn't break the bar.
Attached File  Testing_.5_ton.jpg   29.98KB   143 downloads
SITTINGUPHIGH1 – where did you get these pictures? I keep trying to figure out them out. There are at least 3 different rawhide trees in these pictures since the hardware on the first, second and fourth are all different. I can’t tell on the one squashed by the tire. And why are there bolts extending through both sides of the front of the “bar” in the first picture? I am not all that versed in English saddles, but I have seen an English tree that was a black plastic of some sort with a built in seat (broken) so some are made with the seats built in as these ones are. On the other hand, these have “bars” that extend out beyond the cantle. Are they a cross bred Aussie tree? Either way, built in ground seats aren’t “traditional” for them either. I don’t know of anyone who makes a built in rawhide seat – just fiberglass or other synthetics – so that is at least part of the covering on these trees.
We are not the ones who will run with carbon fiber technology, but I am curious about it. Is it something you have to pour into a mold? Or can it be shaped or carved on its own? Can it be used to overlay something? It is mega-strong, but how flexible is it? Too much flex is not a good thing (despite the number of flex trees out there). Anyone know anything about this stuff? rbd?

Edited by Rod and Denise Nikkel, 21 November 2008 - 01:20 PM.

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#6 rdb

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:34 PM

I have done a little research on it for some projects I had in mind. It was a bit pricey to experiment with at the time for me. As far as I know, it is not poured. I have seen extruded pipe, etc, so at least a molten form can be used, but in general, I have seen it as a cloth type, which you bond to the next layer, similar to a fiberglass cloth buildup over a mold. It is VERY stiff, not flexible when built up like this. My concern would be the ability to nail into, not sure if you can. If you can't, then drilling holes to tack to would be a pain, I would think, just don't know for sure. It seems the lightness of the finished product, and the durability would be well worth a tree maker to explore, though.
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#7 JAM

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 12:14 PM

I made my first saddle with a carbon-fiber/kevlar covered tree - over wood - and it was very lightweight. I anticipated difficulty nailing into it, but really there was no difficulty at all.

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#8 barra

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 01:15 PM

Are they a cross bred Aussie tree? Either way, built in ground seats aren’t “traditional” for them either.


That first tree has me intrigued too.

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#9 tonyc1

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 04:13 PM

Some handgun parts are carbon fibre these days.
Tony

#10 Denise

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 04:43 PM

Is Kevlar and carbon fiber the same thing?

#11 grumpyguy

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 07:49 PM

Hello all,

Denise, No, Kevlar and carbon fiber are different.
Kevlar enjoys a reputation for being hard to penetrate hence the use in Military helmets and bullet reistant vest. It can be used in hard resins like the helmet application or it can be woven to make a semi flexible fabric which in many layers will resist puncture by blunt objects moving at several hundred feet per second and stop some projectiles. Sharp or pointed objects under enough force can and will penetrat Kevlar. Kevlar is often times a white, cream or golden colored fiber which sometimes has the appearance similar to woven fiberglass. Meat cutters in high production shops will use kevlar gloves to guard against cutting or slicing themselves while cutting and trimming meat products.
Carbon fiber will almost always be used in resin for structural applications where strength with some flexibility might be desired along with weight as a consideration. The areo space and car industry have made use of these materials. Carbon fiber is dark grey or dull black material usually woven like fiberglass. There are other types and uses as well but these are the usual uses and what we normally see. Some fishing rods use a resin with carbon spheres as well as long unwoven fibers.
Carbon fiber could be used in a very light weight tree. It would have to be much thinner than wood to get much flexibility out of it. So maybe in a super close contact saddle of very light weight it maybe superior to wood and rawhide. Now that I have said that, I would also say for the purpose of the western saddle, It could be used as a covering of wood. I don't think you would have the flex you would have with rawhide. I'm a traditionalist in that I believe the wood rawhide combination is at this time the best material for western saddle trees as the resin impregnated fibers usually are too stiff for my taste.
I have a hard time seeing any benefit to kevlar in a tree.
I can only imagine that others will strongly disagree but several hundred years of horsemen can't be ignored. Starting with the ealiest riders, wood and rawhide combination have for centuries been held as the best material for saddle trees. Granted we have more materials availbe to us than those early horsemen. To date I have not seen a material that best the wood and rawhide.

Sittinguphigh, Is that wood and rawhide tree a Jennifer style cavalry saddle? (A pattern developed and used by southern saddlers making saddles for Confederate officers during the civil war.) It's fork is too thin to be a Mc Clellan but the bars and cantel resemble that type of saddle. That particular tree design was never known for strength in the first place. A production western tree would not do well under the same abuse but they are considerably stronger. The custom trees are a much different story as the example Rod and Denise show us.

Edited by grumpyguy, 23 November 2008 - 09:13 PM.


#12 jwwright

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Posted 23 November 2008 - 09:23 PM

I don't suppose that this debate will end any time soon. To each his/her own, I say.

Personally, I like a good fiberglass covered tree, and am building on those made by Ray Lewis and Jon Watsabaugh.

Troy West wrote a couple of good paragraphs on this subject in the is forum a while back. You can find it here http://leatherworker...s...40&start=40 It is well worth reading, in my opinion.

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#13 SITTINGUPHIGH1

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 03:42 PM

I agree Johanna. On the other hand, its kind of fun to do! This is a picture where we did the same thing. This is the front end of the half ton sitting on one of our trees. The quality of materials and construction techniques used do make a difference in strength. Note: The "quality control department" had cut the lace and peeled back the rawhide when it was not yet dry to check that section of bar. It didn't pass muster, which is why we got to drive over it! And even with that spot open, it didn't break the bar.
Attached File  Testing_.5_ton.jpg   29.98KB   143 downloads
SITTINGUPHIGH1 – where did you get these pictures? I keep trying to figure out them out. There are at least 3 different rawhide trees in these pictures since the hardware on the first, second and fourth are all different. I can't tell on the one squashed by the tire. And why are there bolts extending through both sides of the front of the "bar" in the first picture? I am not all that versed in English saddles, but I have seen an English tree that was a black plastic of some sort with a built in seat (broken) so some are made with the seats built in as these ones are. On the other hand, these have "bars" that extend out beyond the cantle. Are they a cross bred Aussie tree? Either way, built in ground seats aren't "traditional" for them either. I don't know of anyone who makes a built in rawhide seat – just fiberglass or other synthetics – so that is at least part of the covering on these trees.
We are not the ones who will run with carbon fiber technology, but I am curious about it. Is it something you have to pour into a mold? Or can it be shaped or carved on its own? Can it be used to overlay something? It is mega-strong, but how flexible is it? Too much flex is not a good thing (despite the number of flex trees out there). Anyone know anything about this stuff? rbd?


Here is the site I found the carbon fiber tree in Rod


http://www.american-...ish/karbon.html

Check it out. let me know what you think. It's good to see the classic saddle tree can hold up to a strength test.

#14 SITTINGUPHIGH1

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 04:25 PM

Alot of questions come up with this test. At least for me.


Should saddle trees move or not? On this forum and others I have read both opinions. People don't like flex trees because they move. Then people don't like fiber glass or carbon fiber cause they don't move.


The construction on the inside of the carbon fiber saddle trees are made of a type of foam. You can nail and screw into them. Pound for pound Carbon fiber is strong them hide or fiber glass. There is no doubt. Just look at the figures and tests in the science world. Carbon fiber and fiber glass in water proof, easer to cover, less labor intensive.

I like the hide covered trees myself. But you have to become impartial with progress.
There never used to to saddle trees at one time. The horses were ridden bare back.
Should we go back to riding bare?

One thing never changes. You have to buld it right with the right materials and the right way. Hide, fiber glass or fiber carbon.



Things you need. Fit the horse, fit the rider, strength, longivaty. And people today weight is a factor.

#15 SITTINGUPHIGH1

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 02:07 PM

I like a my furniture wood not plastic. I like the idea of a all natural saddle tree. But if I need a tool to do a job give me a strong and long lasting tool. We use to not ride in a saddle. All bare back. Should we go back to riding bare back? But you have to become impartial with progress. Carbon fiber is the strongest, more durable, cuts done on labor cost. The prices on carbon fiber are now reasonable. The important thing is can you make it fit the rider and horse. I think you can. One way is to make a tree out of wood or a light material and use carbon fiber to cover it. Problem with saddles is the horses changes. So you have a choice buy a new saddle every time the horse changes. Or modify the tree. Or replace the tree. Some times you can modify the tree. If you can't then replacing the tree is a must. Making the saddle easer to tear down and put back together would help to. The old mountain man saddles were very simple. Easy to fix and light. Another way is to make the bars with carbon fiber from a casting. I think less labor cost and fits the horse right.

Saddle and saddle tree making used to be a craft. Now a days it has turn into more of a art form. Which is not a bad thing. I do alot of miles on my horse. So function comes first.

The way of science is to test something. To take it to the limits. This gives you a idea how strong something is. As far as saddle tree are conceded. A horse can wieght from 900 to

No matter what way you build your saddle trees what matters is materials and how you build it. Strength, longevity, fit and looks.





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