bruce johnson

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About bruce johnson

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    Saddlery & Tack Moderator
  • Birthday 06/15/1960

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    Oakdale, CA

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  1. tree fit question

    There are some old threads on the forum here discussing this issue. It may be 5-7 years ago. At the time Rod Nikkel was still making trees and Denise had done quite a lot of studies about pressure, bridging, fitting most horses, etc. The room to round up issue was addressed and Here is what I believe the consensus came to - At one point in the stride the back may round up into that area but generally the whole musculature is lifting through out the stride. To allow a space for one group of muscles to round into at the expense of increased local pressure on the rest of the supporting muscles doesn't pan out. You mentioned cowhorses and a whole different ball game than a walk trot lope events. Horses have to adjust their stride, stop hard, turn short and fast, stretch out, shorten up run hard slow up and rate. Rounding up throughout all of that is not generally the case. I am attaching a picture I took back then. This picture has been around a bit. Denise and Rod may have used on their website. The test monkey in the picture is cowhorse bred and might have been 7 years old then. The customer had ordered this tree brought it to be built on. The tree was from a production tree maker and popular with some of the cutting and cowhorse saddle makers. I did as much lifting tricks I could from the ground and could never get him to lift his belly enough to make any difference. I passed on using that tree.
  2. The Outlaw has finally Struck....

    Bikermutt, Thank you for the video link!! I have zero experience with this new version but quite a lot of experience with a cast iron Boss. I paid off a ton of medical debt with one. Basically it would sew whatever I could cram under the foot. I sewed corner leathers onto 1" felt saddle blankets, 4 layers of skirting for a few odd ball projects, and some other stuff that would be an issue for most other machines. Coincidentally I talked yesterday with a saddle maker who has a ton of experience with old stitchers who had a Boss with a lower serial number than mine and his experience with the Boss matched mine. The cast iron ones were good once they got the early bugs worked out. Simple to use, easy to control, and did a pretty decent stitch. A Boss then was around $1500, a hundred or so more got a few feet and accessories. At that time, a powered machine with any sort of capacity was either a used needle and awl machine that you took your chances with ($1500-5000) or you paid $5-6K for a new closed needle machine. (I did that later too). This was before Artisan brought out the short arm clone and priced them under $2000K and started the low price machine ball rolling. It was before Servo motors too. You "kids" don't know how good you have it now. Addressing some of the concerns above regarding use. After a few uses I set mine up on a lower table and sat on a stool up a little higher so my hand was no higher than my shoulder. That reduced quite a bit of the user fatigue.Easy to learn to sew on and you control the speed. After about 5 minutes you have the "stroke" down and it becomes muscle memory. My first wife was making some things while she was going through Chemo treatments and she sewed at her speed. My son was sewing spur straps by the box when he was thirteen. After my wife died and Rundi I started dating, Rundi sewed belts on some of our "dates" when I had wholesale orders to get out. User friendly. It sounds like from what Bob wrote, this Outlaw has addressed some of the "improvements" that have plagued the later version of the Boss. I've got a relative who does some leather work and handsews. He needs to step it up - something portable and I've been sort of looking for a good used cast iron Boss for a gift. Pretty sure I just switched trails and will be thinking pretty hard about one of these Outlaws for that price.
  3. Weaver Easy Edger

    The blades can be resharpened. There are 12 edges to use. Weavers offer a resharpening service for them once you've gone through them. They are worth the $$$ if you are doing a lot of strap edging. There are two versions one does two edges and one does all four edges. I just sold two of the smaller top edge versions at the Sheridan show. They will do two top edges at a pass, flip the piece over and pull through again to do the bottom edges. Handy dandy.
  4. Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show...

    We will be there - the now semi-famous free rulers, stickers, what's been described as a pretty good to excellent candy dish, and some stuff to sell on a few tables.
  5. Sharpening A Splitter Blade - Am I Doing This Right?

    Here you go -
  6. Screws for Blanchard Paris Gauge

    I have not found replacement screws with that type of head either. On some the head is actually threaded onto the shaft of the screw. I found this when the head screwed right off a few jammed screws. I have also found at least 2 or 3 different threads in equivalent screws on different Blanchard ploughs. I've got about 25 or 30 Blanchards in the back shop right now with various problems with broken or stripped screws. When I get to them, plans are to redrill and tap for modern screws.
  7. There are a lot of hotels in Prescott so while the host hotel may sold out - Prescott and Prescott Valley have rooms. Sheridan usually sells out pretty much the town.
  8. Here's my take - both shows are pretty similar. Prescott is maybe in it's 5th year and Sheridan is coming up something like 26th. The same major vendors at both but a few more vendors at Sheridan. Pretty similar core of classes at both shows. Many of the instructors do classes at both shows, and some are the same classes at both shows. Prescott attendance is a bit smaller than Sheridan but still a good one and growing. It has been the most successful venue other than Sheridan that the journal has sponsored shows at. The Prescott venue is tighter - most of the classes are right there and there are areas to sit and socialize outside of the lounge or restaurant. Sheridan is bigger and classes are more spread out - some are at the college and not really a gathering spot at the hotel other than the lounge or restaurant. At Sheridan KIng's sponsor a party the Thursday before and it is a good time. Prescott is smaller and the journal sponsors a reception Thursday night as well. If you haven't been to any shows before, either one would be a good pick.
  9. Good Rosette Stamps that won't break the bank?

    It is going to be hard to find a decent handled rosette punch under $60. once in a while a clicker concho punch shows up for under $60.
  10. splitter blade sharpening

    I have had people send pictures of blades or blades themselves done by professional shops with deep wavey edges and divots. some have severe grit marks - they never got past about 80 grit. some are longer front to back one end vs the other by a large amount. A few of these don't have enough material left to salvage the blade. The best options for a local service would be one who is proficient with doing wood plane blades. Things to check on an as-found blade are fairly straight edge and minimal chips at the cutting edge area (chips at the very tips don't concern me as much)
  11. splitter blade sharpening

    If you REALLY trust your local general sharpening service, or even the local knife sharpening service try them. Also have a back up blade just in case. I have seen some real basket case pictures from shops that don't understand these. There are a few of us that do them. Art Van Hecke does blades. Right now I am getting ready for the Prescott show and wont't have a slot open until I am back after March 8th. Once I am back, I ask people to contact me first but I can usually do them on an overnight turnaround. Unless a blade is really bad - I am at $15-20 average plus $8 return shipping by small flat rate box priority mail.
  12. Blanchard vs Osborne 155

    Only when it comes time to replace a tube or anvil. There are a bunch of CS Osborne distributor sources. Maybe what, two VB in the US and ordering the odd needed bit might not be a stock item with either.
  13. American St Louis crank splitter

    First off, in the current market that is a good buy. Crank splitter prices have been crazy high with broken parts or not. That adjust handle broken off is the weak link on the American splitters. They always break if not removed for shipping or even in the shop if something hits them at just the wrong angle. No replacement parts available, they have to be made. As far as paint schemes - there are no rules. Mostly green but I've painted them green, brown, gray, burgundy, and have a solid black coming up in a week or so. Parts and diagrams - have not seen them for the American or Champions. It is a bit of an undertaking to take on totally down and refurbish but not like taking a watch apart and expecting it to run afterwards. There are a few tricks and "so that's how it goes together" things along thew way. I tell people it is a twenty chapter book or a 15 minute phone call to talk somebody through it. Be glad to help if you decide to go that way.
  14. Skiving stretchy leather

    One of the best guys I have seen skive used a home made blade on a turned over glass bowl. You know those honking big colored glass bowls that Grandma put potato salad in for the family reunion? His was the green color with white insides. He had cut the blade out an old saw. He was skiving boot top inlays at a cowboy trade show and fascinating to watch him work. A guy needed a mulehide horn wrap skived the length of the edges. This guy just held his blade flat so the bowl curve made the gap, stuck out two fingers out as a guide and as fast as he could pull it through, he was skiving the edges. I mean he was ripping it through there like it was on fire with an even skive just peeling off. It wasn't his first rodeo so to speak. I didn't ask if he would sell the bowl but I did ask him about a blade. Took $20 and a while later I got it in the mail. He put a handle on mine - duct tape.
  15. It always conflicts but if we weren't setting up on Thursday I'd be in Paul Zalesak's class on sharpening. A basic skill universal to all leatherworking.