Reataman started following Sean Ryon and Jeff Smith Cutting Saddles, Broke-In Feel
Reataman posted a topic in Saddle ConstructionThis post is for those who have good knowledge and familiarity of Sean Ryan and Jeff Smith cutting saddles (and other makers who make similar cutting saddles). My question is how do they get their leather so supple, soft, and delivered virtually broke-in when brand new? Cutters really like them with that broke in feel. I'm pretty sure they use Herman Oak leather, and their cutting saddles are literally soaking wet with oil when delivered new. Believe me, I've have many pairs of oil stained Wranglers to show for it. I've made a few saddles so far using HO. But, whether I oil them to death (saturated), heat the oil first, and/or use some type of saddle butter, etc., the leather is still relative hard and stiff. I made a saddle for one cutting horse trainer (he loves it) but even after two years, it's just now getting broke in, and he rides in it every day...all day long! I've seen and worked on numerous Ryons, Jeff Smith's, and several others and they are all similar in this respect. I just don't know how they do it. I even tried asking their reps at the trade shows at the Futurity and Super Stakes. But, the reps were, I think, mostly sales staff, not actually saddle makers. I saw a post from 2010 on another forum that mentioned "oil infusion", whatever that is, referencing Don Rich saddles. I can't imagine they somehow infuse the leather side or parts with oil before tooling or assembly. That would seem to make a real mess of one's shop. Sorry for the long post, but this has been bugging me now for a year. I'm 3/4's through my own cutting saddle and really would like to know if an experienced saddle maker has a good answer. Thanks for taking the time to read my post.