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 put the antique on with trimmed sheepskin and use several pieces to remove the excess but then I always have a lot of scraps laying around the saddle shop. I use tan kote and do not let it dry before I wipe it off with sheepskin scrap. Kind of pulls the antique out of where you don't want it. I buff with full wool sheepskin after the Tankote. I use clearlac for the final finish, and always apply with sheepskin, usually trimmed to about 1/4" wool.
  2. Angle for Basketweave

    Big Sioux, I love your description of the eastern SD people. I agree with you and WELL put. Go Get Em. Ken
  3. Re doing my first saddle

    I would double think about putting a dime into that saddle and selling it.. A number of years ago my insurance agent told me to never send anything out the door, I was NOT POSITIVE, about being safe to ride His rule was, " Last guy that had his hands on a piece of riding equipment that fails is the first guy sued"! That old saddle would make a neat bar stool though.
  4. Re doing my first saddle

    Mr. Watt, in his instructional videos on building saddles, drills all the holes he puts screws in to keep from splitting the wood. Most trees are pine and it does split pretty easy. I use Lewis trees, which are fiberglass covered pine and predrill nearly all the screw holes. These trees are kind of " you get what you pay for". Some of those lower end production saddles have 50 or 75 dollar trees in them and they are not worth that. They are Dangerous. I would advise you have a good saddle maker inspect this tree before you throw good money at it. Saddles are a common sense not- much to them but a whole lot more complex than most people realize. Actually, they are kind of like riding a horse. You will stop learning about building them the day you quit or die. Just my 2 cents worth.
  5. Lewis Tree Modified Assoc.

    Reduced to $300. shipped to lower 48. Good deal, nothing wrong with it. "Customer" cancelled the order for it after I got it. Ken
  6. Re doing my first saddle

    I know of a real good saddle maker in West Texas that lines his billets, flanks and breast collars with Harness leather as he feels it resists sweat better than latigo. I use latigo on mine and line billets, flank cinches and breast collars every time . I feel it is a quality factor. Good point on the sheepskins being large enough to properly lay out your skirts. Panhandle's woolskins are all 13 FT + and good quality. Harry Adams Book Saddlemakers Shop Manual covers blocking Skirts to the tree very well. Harry also covered leather selection very well on laying out patterns. I plug my skirts pretty heavy. But my saddles weigh in at about 40 + also.
  7. Re doing my first saddle

    There is a reason why most saddle makers that build saddles for cowboys that use them really hard, cut Herman Oak. I build for working cowboys and a lot of them compete both roping and ranch rodeos. I am talking about men that ride nearly every day and long days in all kinds of weather. They have wrecks on occasion and bad wrecks every once in a while. Hermann Oak holds up with proper care better than any other leather I know of. I have used Wickett & Craig (years ago), Teneria and some bargain leathers for stuff that don't get used much. NOW, I use Herman Oak and only Herman Oak for saddles. My cowboy saddles are all 13-15 oz and I figure just over 2 sides for each saddle. I use some 11-13 for breast collars and misc stuff. Light weight saddles will not hold up for the people I am building for. I have had really good service from Panhandle leather in Amarillo, TX. They will sell you 1 hide or a pallet. They have the best woolskins I have found anywhere, but I haven't tried everyone either. They also have the tan thread that Ferdco used to call Peasant Beige and it is really good thread. Good luck on your project. I hope you block your skirts, a lot of production saddle aren't. Ken
  8. OK Here I Go....Bashing Allowed

    You might check on the market place on this forum. There are several good trees for sale on it right now. Lewis Tree Co in Hereford TX builds good trees and if you contact them, they may have an extra or two around that hasn't been picked up. Their trees have worked really well for me. They are good to do business with.
  9. I never use less than 13/15 for fenders or stirrup leathers. I build for working cowboys but any lighter will not hold their shape with very much use. I cut my stirrup leathers on the back side by side. I cut my fenders out of the butt top to bottom on the hide but back to front on the rear end of will work also. I just prefer top to bottom. But that is just my 2 cents worth. HTH. Ken
  10. Saddle making

    Where are you located?
  11. How about absentee bids? Some of us cannot get away to make the trip? Thanks, Ken
  12. I have a Lewis Modified tree for sale. Customer cancelled order after tree was ordered. 15 1/4" seat 13" fork 6 1/2 X 8 Gullet 4 X 12 X 1 cantle Arizona bars # 17 horn with 2" cap $350.00 Shipped to lower 48. Message me your phone # if you want pictures. Thanks Ken
  13. Wiz, I have done some saddle maker schools. I usually figure a month as a mininium and if I teach someone, they will know my way of doing it and there are a lot of other ways of building saddles. I let a couple of young guys do apprenticeships in my shop in New Mexico. One was there part time for a year and a half, partly because he did not have a shop at that time. The other was there, part time, for one school year. I would do a repair school pretty reasonably. If you do or if anyone goes to take schooling from anyone, be sure the person knows how to build a good saddle. Try to find out if the person is a "teacher", some are and some aren't. And that is just my 2 cents worth.
  14. Working Saddleshop

    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
  15. Peasant Beige Poly thread

    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