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About cowboycolonel

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Saddles, cowboy gear
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    fellow saddlemaker

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  1. I went to Japanese Woodworkers in Southern California. As you probably know, the Japanese craftsmen have long been known for the sharpness of their tools, so I gave it a try. I bought two sharpening blocks, diamond embedded with rubber carriers, so they don't slide around as you use them. One is "Fine" and the other is "Extra Fine". I also bought a "DMT Diamond Sharpening System" set of three "steels", also diamond embedded, but with these, you stroke the sharpening tool over the stationary knife, punch, or whatever. These are really cool and well worth the money. Let me know what you think, The bench stones are "Dia sharp"
  2. My opinion: Don't waste time using a synthetic fleece. DON'T use ring shank nails. They are too hard to remove and if you need the extra strength, you have bigger problems than a ring shank will solve. I use blue lathe nails 1 1/8". You don't want a permanent bond when installing the fleece, so use rubber cement around the edges and then stitch. Let the fleece breathe with the leather and it will last longer. Be sure to use the same stitch holes as doing otherwise will perforate the leather and ruin the skirts. Have fun.
  3. Those "tassels" are called saddle strings and if teh saddle is properly made, they help hold the saddle together and serve to tie things on - like a slicker, pair of saddlebags, etc. On and "arena" saddle they are mostly for looks as they are not normally strong enough to serve a real purpose.

    1. bikermutt07


      Thanks, Cowboy.

  4. Saw the actual belt last week - SUPER!!!
  5. Big Sioux, I do it that way because I use the guide on my Adler to align the stitches, and if I try to sew at the same time, I run the risk of having the fleece catch up in the feed dogs, which REALLY messes up a stitch line. Besides, I think a hand-stitched skirt looks so much better. As I said, I "tack" the fleece to the skirts with rubber cement then half a dozen randomly- spaced single stitches. The fleece can slip a bit and still come out right. If you trim it first and it slips, then you have a wreck to clean up. I hate wrecks!!!
  6. I don't use Barge's any more, as I have found that replacing the fleece is more difficult because of the tight bond that results. And you WILL have to replace the fleece sooner or later. I have never done the "wet fleece" thing, as I have not had problems, but I can see where that would help.
  7. Tandy sells zippers by the foot. Buy the pieces separately and build your own. It's really easy, especially if your zipper will be blind on both ends. It's a no-brainer.
  8. Dam, There are "efficient" ways, meaning ways that don't take as much time, and there are "good" ways, meaning ways that create a product you will be proud of. If I'm fleecing a saddle for the first time, then I line the skirts up on my Adler and pull the threads out so that I am simply punching holes. I run a stitch line as if I were actually sewing the fleece to the skirt. Then I cut out the fleece over-sized and apply rubber cement along about a foot of each side - fleece and skirt. I tie a stitch on each end of this "tack" and several other places around the skirt so the pieces stay in place. Then I stitch in the holes I have pre-punched, using a diamond awl and two needles. When I get to the end of the "tack", I create another one in the same fashion and sew it, etc, until the skirt is done. Trim and edge, and you're done! When you are finished, you will have a professional job. I only apply rubber cement to about a 1 1/2 inch ribbon around each piece to allow for breathing and shrinkage of the dissimilar materials. Do Not glue the whole surface!!! When re-fleecing, your best looking job will be accomplished if you use the same stitch holes as the original saddle maker. Otherwise you will perforate the leather and the job will not only look tacky, it will not hold up. Some jobs just don't lend themselves to short cuts. This is one of them, if you ask me. Cowboy Colonel
  9. Go to George Hurst's videos and he'll show you how to make a pattern and holster all in one - can't get any simpler!
  10. So what is the prevailing wisdom out there? Do we shop for a new bed, try to get this one re-surfaced (and if so, how), or what? The clicker has been USED and is still in great shape, except that the bed has been worn down to the point that just about every "click" results in a stuck die. Of course this means that sometimes the piece gets stuck in the die and then possibly stretched out of shape on removal. Operating from the adage that "Money spent on tools doesn't count", where do I go and what do I do? Suggestions
  11. Dwight,


    I only read your initial post on the subject of being too stiff, so someone else might have offered this up.  I use Skidmores Leather Cream to keep or make leather supple.  It is a beeswax product and will also address the issue of chapped hands and split cuticles that you suffer from in those Waldo winters.  I go through the stuff like mad, but be warned -- it does have a shelf life.  Don't go buying gallons of the stuff until you can get an idea of how fast you'll use it up.  I apply it to every saddle (except the rough-out surfaces) before it goes out the door.  Also keeps belts from cracking, etc. I introduced the New York Yankees to the stuff, and they now order cases for their gloves, shoes, etc.

    1. Dwight


      Thanks, . . . I appreciate the tip.

      If nothing else, . . . I might get some just for my hands (lol)

      May God bless,


  12. Fleecing skirt for first time, or re-fleecing it?
  13. Dink up George Hurst's video sets. Some Great info there
  14. did you case it before carving? a dew seconds in warm water and let it dry overnight in plastic. Look up "casing"
  15. Does anyone here know an easy way (other than trial and error and error and error) to fine tune the adjustments on a Landis Lap Skiver? I just put a new blade in mine and everything is WAY off!