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About rdl123

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    Learning, Saddle Construction, Horsemanship, Stockmanship, Roping

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  1. Company6, I am an amateur maker, largely self taught with major help from this forum and good educational DVD's. What i suggest below is how I went about it (more or less). This may not be the best way but I had limited spare time so it was my only option. Obviously apprenticing under a good maker would be the ultimate educational experience. Saddle making is a tedious, detail oriented deal - I recommend you try building some basic tack first. Build a set of chaps, a headstall, maybe some saddle bags. Try some smaller projects first and see if you enjoy the work. Smaller projects will build your confidence, ease you into the world of expensive leather tools, improve your coordination with leather tools and help you to get a feel for when skirting leather is cased 'just right' to tool / mold / cut etc. From there: a) look at as many pictures of good custom made saddles online as you can. Get an idea for what good lines on a rig look like vs/ bad ones (this is somewhat subjective), b)purchase educational DVD's and study thoroughly (Jeremiah Watt & Dale Harwoods DVD's are excellent), c) Buy Al Stolhman's saddle making encyclopedias, d) study as many good saddles as you can in person. See how they are built. Once you have a very clear picture in your mind of all that goes into a saddle you can decide if you want to tackle building one. From my experience: Buy a good custom tree, use only the best leather. Your first saddle will absorb a lot of time - May as well use good material. Here are some makers I draw inspiration from (there are many others too): Keith Seidel - http://www.seidelsaddlery.com/CustomSaddles/index.html Chuck Stormes - http://www.chuckstormes.com/ Freckers Saddlery - https://www.freckerssaddlery.com/ Steve Mason - http://www.stevemasonsaddles.com/ Chavez - http://www.rcsaddle.com/ Scott Brown - http://www.sabrownsaddles.com/ Ron L
  2. Very nice Clyde! I really like the lines of your saddle as well as the shape of the ground seat - Looks like one you could spend a few days in! Do you order your rough-out leather pre-burnished from HO? Thanks - Ron
  3. Very tidy workmanship Josh! Well done! Ron L
  4. Nice job Mike - Ground seat shape looks good!
  5. Thanks Josh & Old Coach, Built this one for me as I sold the first saddle I made for myself... Spent quite a bit of time in on it last weekend - So far no complaints - In skirt rig does get you closer to the horse. See how this one holds up but it seems to me like a good way to go - I like the lack of bulk under my leg. Here is saddle on a waspy little gelding we just started. Second image is of my first rig and this third one - Convincing some young ones to cross a bridge.
  6. Oltoot: That's a great idea...my lines do wander with this daisy stamp...I'll be investing in some 'rug runner'. Ideas like that are what make this forum so valuable! Ron: Thanks! The awl haft actually made a very sharp indent - I'll blame it on my Levi's! On the flank cinch dee - Yes - On this one I moved it back as I had an old hand tell me once it gives a little more leverage for holding a saddle down when roping big stuff if you get your rear dee back a bit...I agree that it looks nicer to have it just below and back of cantle point. I'd like to hear other's thoughts on this! I'm inclined to go back to positioning it a little farther forward then I did here... Rigging below seat jockey - Here is a mediocre pic - I'll try to take a better one showing sewing and added rivets... R
  7. Randy, As you know I am very green but have used Jeremiah Watt's technique on all three saddles. So far it has got me decent ear cuts that are tight and look OK. I find it simple to follow and that it has worked out every time so far. That said my experience base is v shallow... R
  8. Thanks Randy, Got the daisy stamp from Jeremiah Watt...This is definitely the best ground seat I have put in so far - Went tin on this one and it's a little flatter side to side. Rode some colts this weekend and pin bones still feel fine! Saddle #4 starts right away here - I have ground seat in it already - So head start on it. It's a 3B (swanke again) and will have 24" eagle beak taps... Kind Regards, R
  9. IC - Then just pack it in with a hammer handle? Also - How do you like the Chahin leather - I've never tried it yet...Forms and tools nice? R
  10. Very nice Josh - Do you pack these with hair or use the Jeremiah Watt forms? Thanks - R
  11. Hello All, Finished this saddle last weekend. It has just two coats of light oil. Specs are: 16" seat, Ben Swanke tree (4-1/4" x 90 w 5x12 cantle), Guadalajara horn, daisy stamp, 5" monels, in skirt rigged - Placed between 7/8ths and 3/4 position. Still lots of imperfections - Dented cantle sewing cantle binding - Awl snapped and I jabbed handle into dish...Also, the seat has a little too much rise to it by my eye. Wish I had of got about an extra 1/4" out up front... Look forward to any critiques folks might have - Always looking to improve my work. Thanks - Ron L
  12. I like the tooling in the gullet!
  13. Hello Randy - I've had the tree for this saddle for quite a while - However, this one actually went quick for me - Started it in January and worked on it an hour or two on occasional evenings - So feels like it came together quick (saddle 2 took me over a year). Here is the back of the cantle binding - I'm not good at the aim and follow through that Oltoot was referring to...So I definitely end up torquing up the awl blade trying to steer it. Got my Barry King awl blades today - Look OK - So will have to see how they work! I have also attached an image of how I worked the inskirt rigging...I used 4 stainless steel screws up front and two at front of cantle and two behind cantle. Would like input on how others do inskirt rigs. I'll try to get a pic of all how i sewed it and the rivets I added for reinforcement. R
  14. Josh, Must have something to do with sewing the third cantle binding! I have been using a parafin block and rubbing the awl on that - It helps it slide through easier - I was trying to really be careful on this binding and get my stitches on back to look nice - Probably put to much torque on blade trying to 'steer' it. Goldshot, Yes, I use Bob Douglas awls too - Do you know if his blades are still available what with sheridan leather closing? I ordered some of Barry King's when I snapped this one... Glad you like the lines - I've tried hard on this one to get things looking better - There's so much good help available now - Through forums like this, DVD's etc. In particular Keith Seidel has been very helpful on this forum and pointed out things on my last rig that needed attention...I also went and spent a couple hours with Chuck Stormes last summer and he really helped me...it gives amateurs like me a serious help to have that caliber of help available... I'll take some pictures of the riggings and post them for you...A little nervous mind you as I had to figure out how to do that on my own...so not sure if what I did is 100%... Hope your thumb healed up! R
  15. Here is the third rig I have built - It's getting close to done now... Broke an awl blade sewing the pencil roll - Never had that happen before - I am wondering if this is a technique issue... Here are some pics. Made a decent mark in cantle dish when awl blade snapped...think i will add the daisy stamp to cantle dish to help 'camouflage' it...Anyone have suggestions? Saddle Details: Swanke Tree, 16" seat, Inskirt rigged - Rigging at between 7/8th and 3/4...Guadalajara horn (3x4.25"). Next step is to finish sewing cantle binding, oil everything up and then final assembly. Ron L