Goldshot Ron

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About Goldshot Ron

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    Southern California

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    saddles and tack
  • Interested in learning about
    improving leather working skills
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    search on web
  1. Welcome to the world of leatherworking. Now that you've finished your first saddle, like Sioux said, look at other saddles and see how they were made. Not just the factory made ones, but custom saddles. Maybe find friends with horses and offer to clean their saddles for free or at cost. Take photos and draw pictures of these saddles. What you see may not teach you much now, but later you'll be able to compare results. Check out You tube, and look for Bruce Cheney saddle making tips. I say this because he made "how to" tapes in the 80s demonstrating saddle construction, and his main tool was a sharp pocket knife. Don't think that you need a lot of tools to build a saddle. I recommend buying a few good tools; quality over quantity. And, go ahead and ask questions on this site at each confusing step. Someone here has been there and can help you along. And oh yeah, just because you think that you completed this saddle, don't be afraid to tear it apart and make improvements. I've recovered a horn five times before it finally satisfied me; and don't get me started on rear jockeys. Good luck, Ron
  2. When ordering your leather, make sure that you make it clear that it is for a rough out saddle. Also, request the sides to be leveled. I saw first hand during a contest that I entered how this process really makes the saddle stand out. Needless to say, mine wasn't made with leveled sides. Other than that, rough out construction procedures aren't any different. It's the final oiling procedure that bothers me; what's too much oil and not enough? I took a hit on my contest saddle because I didn't oil it enough for the judge. Good luck. Ron
  3. John, Don't remove the swell cover, it sounds like you'll make more work for yourself than necessary. Just recover the horn, and add a horn wrap to cover the base of the horn at the swell. When repairing saddles you always need to take into account of how much to charge and what the material costs will be. Also, if something doesn't come off easily, chances are that you'll end up haven't to do more work than you first planned. Ron
  4. Randy, Good looking job. I really like your stitching. Pretty nice saddle for small cowboys. Ron
  5. Well Randy, Like you, I kept looking at ways to attach the bit on headstalls. I saw photos in catalogs, but never how to actually make the ends. So, over the years I've worked up prototypes. I've attached some photos. The workmanship of these prototypes was quick and dirty; just to see if the design would work. Please don't critique the work. Photos 1 and 2 show two types of quick change ends. Photo three and four shows buckle ends (two styles). And, photo five shows an attached bit strap and bleed knot. A concho would be installed, but not shown. Ron
  6. Billy, I've had saddles come into the shop for repairs with stains on the seat. I've tried a solution of: 1 part ammonia, a skirt of Ivory liquid soap, and 3 parts water; it works well on oily dirt and did a little on the mouse poop, but didn't get everything out. I even tried an oxalic acid solution without real success. In this last case, I ended up dying the seat and oiling it to cover up the stain. It looked okay, but I still knew what the stain was. If you come up with something, let us all know. Ron
  7. Tom, Have you received your tree yet? Ron
  8. Try taking a Sharpie and mark over the lettering; and, quickly wipe it off. The ink in the permanent marker reactivates the old ink so that you can wipe it off. I've done this on other items, and white boards where someone used the wrong pin. Most of the time it does work.
  9. Your post is confusing. There is a design that has the leathers looping up through the seat and back under the seat. Also, there is a design that has the leathers coming out of a slot down on the seat jockeys. If you are trying for an eight button design that has separate front jockeys which is usually the "old fashion" look, then you may want the leathers just looping through the seat. I recommend you not try this method for your first saddle; unless you have an experienced saddle maker helping you. One other item, are you attaching the fenders to the stirrup leathers with the leathers on the front of the fenders? I believe the Stohlman saddle encyclopedia, book one, shows the different methods of attaching fenders. This is a good source to refer to. Ron
  10. Tom, I don't know if both brothers help out in the saddle shop, I was just surprised to have Heath answer the phone when I called. His brother Shawn builds the La Porte trees, and his business cell is (313) 515-0594. And, the shop number is (970)482-6229. Good Luck
  11. Tom, The styles of each company is slightly different from each other. Each company is owned by one of two brothers, and they don't compete with each other. If you call Double H Ranch Saddlery in Wyoming you can get your questions answered. I have used one of the LaPort trees and the customer was quite happy. However, I didn't use the cable rigging. Keith Howe is the brother who owns Chicago Stock Yard, and I talked with him recently at the family owned saddle shop in Wyoming. I have worked with him before, and he was very helpful with my questions. I have a customer who wants a lighter weight trail saddle, and I am planning on using his Wade style tree when the customer makes their final decision. Ron
  12. Try calling International Sheepskin and Leather in Commerce, CA. 323-588-1818. They have a website also. I use their fleece for saddles, but they carry a full line of sheepskin. They wholesale to many of the suppliers that leatherworkers use. They have a no minimum policy. I have always had good customer relations and service from them. Ron
  13. Thor, The photos you posted are as you stated single ply off billets. However, you can use a latigo billet just like the on side latigo, so you have two latigos on your saddle; or, you can use a half breed billet. It is shorter than the on side billet, and is attached differently. A two ply off billet is basically two lengths of leather sewn together. The tongue of the cinch is going toward four layers of leather, and two layers of leather are going over your rigging plate (hence, it should be stronger than a single ply). It has been my experience that billets fail not while riding, but when the horse is tied and you turn your back to do something. The horse does something weird, and the saddle is on the ground with the billet torn in half. Ron
  14. You can use a latigo chinaman to tighten a latigo hornwrap; however, when using a light colored leather (mule hide) for your horn wrap, you need to make a chinaman out of the same material or color. Dye from the burgundy latigo will rub off on the lighter leather. I lost points in a saddle contest because of this. I now have two chinamen in the shop.
  15. Ron, You did a fine job on this saddle. Your stitching looks good, especially around the cantle for the Cheyenne roll. Your front jockeys look balanced and in line with the rear jockeys. It's hard to offer any suggestions because you did such a good job, and every one has different ideas when building a saddle. However, there are two areas that I think need some consideration: your horn and horn wrap, and your fenders. The fenders appear to be a little small for the saddle, and if the stirrups were lowered there might be a pinching problem for the rider (but that may be the angle of the photo). The horn cap edge needs to be cleaned up with a larger edger so that the three pieces making up the horn cover blend together better. This may be a burnishing problem that you mentioned. The horn wrap detracts from the saddle. It doesn't look as meticulous as the rest of your work. On a folded fork cover at the gullet, like you have, it is hard to form the wrap tightly around the horn without bending the fold at the gullet. You'll see that many makers attach the end on the wrap to the rope strap screw on the off-side, and finish the end like you did. However, I'd tuck the loose end under the seat so that it doesn't just hang like your wrap does. Kudos for the inlaid padded seat, it looks good. Keep up the excellent work. Ron