Ken Nelson

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About Ken Nelson

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    saddles,tack and chaps

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  1. I am really serious about retirement at this time. I have a house for sale with the basement set up as a closed saddle shop. I will sell the house which has a nearly complete remodel and the basement set up and ready to go. House, saddle shop in basement including inventory. Located in Wessington Springs, SD. A nice little town with good services, low cost of living, VERY low crime area, a block from hospital and clinic. Good Schools here. Message me for further details. Ken
  2. Panhandle Leather is stocking the thread we used to get from Ferdco in Peasant beige. I think they said they are calling it tan. It looks the same and feels the same but I have not used it yet. Cost me $25.00 for a 1# spool. Give Jim a call if you are looking for this thread. Ken
  3. It has been my experience that due to a lot of horses being bred today that are of different types, it is almost impossible for one saddle to fit them all. A saddle that will fit a 10 year old thoroughbred that is rode down hard, will not fit a mutton weathered 3 yr. old that is fat and I don't care how many blankets and pads you have. A lot of people don't have to ride that wide a range of horses. 50 years ago I had 1 saddle, 1 double weave Navajo blanket and 2 hair pads and fit everything that I got on for about 10 or 12 years. AND I wasn't soreing horses either. Then I started having problems fitting some of the horses I rode. Just too many different types of horses and some of them come into my string thin and some fat. Some could be close to be classed as deformed. I agree that if you have a knack for working with your hands and a strong enough desire to learn how to do it, it is possible to be a really decent self taught saddle maker. I did it and the saddles I built when I first started 15+ years ago are still in service but I did make some mistakes on them. Like the previous poster, I had rode a horseback for a lot of years. I made most of my living for over 35 years working cattle a horseback. I figured it up after I quit ranching and cowboying for a living and the best I could tell, I had been on close to 900 head of different horses, maybe a bit over that If you have rode extensively, been on a lot of different horses and repaired your own and maybe done some leather work it is definately possible to be self taught. However, when you figure in the machines, tools, and material needed to do a good job of building a saddle, not mention a good manual, and a good video or two, you will probably have more invested than what a good handmade saddle will cost you and a lot more than what a good used one will cost. I have repaired the best and the worst and learned from all of them. Good ideas and what not to do. I think it all depends on how long you want your learning curve to take, and how good you want to get. Going to a school is not going to guarantee you will get off to a good school. I have seen a couple of schools that were really good and a couple that are awful and some in between. The best instructor cannot teach you if you are not open to learning and doing it his way. I was fortunate enough to work for and under one of the best saddle makers on the northern plains and I did learn a lot. I had a lot of respect for the saddles this man built and I wanted to learn how he built them. If I had not wanted to learn his way, I would never have walked into his shop and asked for a deal. Rule # 1 is, in my opinion: If you don't know what a good saddle is, what makes a good saddle, You will never build a good saddle. I know a lot of people that think they know and don't know. Some of them should know but don't. That is my 2 cents worth. Ken
  4. If you can learn to build saddles online, why would you not use the resources on this site to learn how. There are some very informative video series out there that can be bought reasonably. Hands on instruction will never be replaced by videos and online instruction in my opinion. But it is an option for a lot of people. I am a self-taught saddlemaker, using two different teaching manuals and the help of a couple of friends that had some experience. After building 60 or so saddles, I did an apprenticeship under a really good saddle maker and learned a lot. So with 15 years of doing it behind me, I hope I have learned some things. Make sure the person teaching the course is a good saddle maker. Make sure you know a good saddle from a poor or worse junk saddle. Be aware setting up to build saddles correctly is not a cheap investment You have to have the proper tools and machines of good quality to do a good job. You are not going to be a saddle maker after building a few saddles. It takes a number of them to learn it and master the skills. It takes room to build saddles and you need a designated shop space. You need to use good trees and materials to build good saddles These things cost a lot of money and if you are lucky, you may get your materials out of the first 10 or so you build. Bottom line is this.: Education costs and it does not matter rather you go to a really good saddlemaker and pay him to help you learn or buy a set of books or videos and learn how yourself, It is going to cost you. In my case, I worked as a straight up cowboy for a lot of years I knew good saddles from poor saddles and that is an important part of it. I used to frequent Harry Adam's saddleshop on a regular basis for 4 or 5 years before I started on my journey and I picked up a lot of information there. I wouldn't even consider teaching someone to build a saddle for $500.00. The cheapest good guy that I know that will teach you to build a saddle and I think you build 2 there was getting $6000. and you room and board yourself. He is cheap for as good as he is. I don't even know if he is still doing it. Best of luck on your journey. BTW I work full time building saddles, just saddles and I am out nearly two years. Ken
  5. Check some of the livestock supply web sites, Might start with Valley Vet. Not really hard to figure out but I do hate making them. HTH. Ken
  6. I would like to see someone put this good bench machine back in service, So for $450.00 I will ship it in the lower 48. Thank you for looking Ken
  7. Lewis trees have the strainer fiberglassed in them and are really easy to get a good ground seat on. Good Trees. I have been using them for 8 years and never have had one come back.
  8. I will pay the shipping for the $500.
  9. How much for the 4 punches?
  10. Thank you so much MadMax! The knob on the bottom is where you adjust the thickness you want to split down to. Dixon went out of business not too long ago. This splitter is old but I do not know how old. I have had it about 20 years and it was old when I got it. Works good though.
  11. I have an old Dixon 6" splitter I will let go. I have an extra 8" blade that I will let go with it. I have been told someone with a water jet can cut the blade down to fit this splitter but DO NOT know that for certain. Anyway, I will take $500.00 for it + shipping and throw in the blade OBO. It is in really good shape. I am having problems downloading pictures of this but if you contact me with your pm, I will email you photos of it. Thanks Ken
  12. I would guess Mexican by the looks of it.
  13. Has anyone rode one of these trees for any period of time very hard? I was a rawhide covered wood tree guy for a long time. Last few years I have been building on wood trees with a fiberglass cover. I have had great success with them fitting horses and standing up to some serious wrecks. It is not that I automatically dismiss new ideas but I would like to visit with someone that has used one of these LaPorte trees in a situation where he is riding a lot of different horses and roping a lot of big cattle outside in extreme weather on a daily basis. Just Curious.
  14. Sold! That didn't take long. Ken
  15. I have the volume 1 and I would let it go. Ken