Doug Mclean

Point of reference on a tree?

Recommended Posts

waddy   

I hope this fits in this topic. What do you use for a reference when you are placing the bare tree "level"? Let's assume we have the perfect horse, with a perfectly level back, and of course we want the skirts to be parallel with the ground. Several have mentioned blocking up the back of the tree, which is obvious. But how much? What is used as a refenence to determine when the bare tree is actually level? We have to ignore, at this point, the horses which have "uphill" or "downhill" backs, but other than the old "that looks about right", do any of you have a good method to level the tree for a starting point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
GordonA   
Denise,

The nail in the cantle method. Set a yard stick on the back of the bars right behind the cantle. Take a small square and set it centered on the yardstick between the bars. If its 3" set it at 1 1/2" and draw a line straight up the back of the cantle. Turn the square around check it on the opposite side. It should be in the same spot. This should be a very accurate center point between the bars, Which is the goal, a center point between the bars.

This is the method that I use, and I believe it to be very accurate. I have a center finding ruler that I lay on the bars behind the cantle that the square is set on. However, without a second reference point to triangulate from I wouldn't be able to rely on this point on the cantle to line up riggings side to side. This second point can be more difficult to locate. I like to use the center of the horn at the base, or the center of the seat at the hand hole. I find this by measuring up from the widest point of the front pad of the bars on both sides with a large pair of dividers. I've found that by triangulating from these 2 points I can accurately locate the off side rigging using the triangle from the near side. This is how students of orienteering transfer compass readings from a map to the real landscape. The distances we are talking about on a saddle are so short that any margin of error is extremely small, making this a good method if laid out with care. After its all said and done I rely on my eye. If it looks off balance I keep working it until it measures and looks right.

Just a thought about rigging placement; Before we started roping from saddles the overwhelming majority of rigging placements was center fired or 5/8s. I don't think that the pull from the horn can be discounted in this conversation. It would be my hope that any tree maker is taking into account the pull of the rope on the horn when placing the horn in relation to the front pads of the bars. On the trees that I am using the center of the horns base has always lined up with the widest part of the front pad if not slightly behind. This helps the horse absorb the shock from a rope. With the tree maker that I am using this allows me to use the center of the horns base as an obvious location for a full rigging, provided that the tree has been properly leveled. A plumb bob is helpfull here.

Gordon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is the method that I use, and I believe it to be very accurate. I have a center finding ruler that I lay on the bars behind the cantle that the square is set on. However, without a second reference point to triangulate from I wouldn't be able to rely on this point on the cantle to line up riggings side to side. This second point can be more difficult to locate. I like to use the center of the horn at the base, or the center of the seat at the hand hole. I find this by measuring up from the widest point of the front pad of the bars on both sides with a large pair of dividers. I've found that by triangulating from these 2 points I can accurately locate the off side rigging using the triangle from the near side. This is how students of orienteering transfer compass readings from a map to the real landscape. The distances we are talking about on a saddle are so short that any margin of error is extremely small, making this a good method if laid out with care. After its all said and done I rely on my eye. If it looks off balance I keep working it until it measures and looks right.

Just a thought about rigging placement; Before we started roping from saddles the overwhelming majority of rigging placements was center fired or 5/8s. I don't think that the pull from the horn can be discounted in this conversation. It would be my hope that any tree maker is taking into account the pull of the rope on the horn when placing the horn in relation to the front pads of the bars. On the trees that I am using the center of the horns base has always lined up with the widest part of the front pad if not slightly behind. This helps the horse absorb the shock from a rope. With the tree maker that I am using this allows me to use the center of the horns base as an obvious location for a full rigging, provided that the tree has been properly leveled. A plumb bob is helpfull here.

Gordon

Gordon one thing to keep in mind with the center of the horn theory is that if you have two identical trees from the same maker with the only difference being one has a wood post horn and the other a metal horn your full double position you mentioned for reference will be in two different spots. This is why I believe you get a more accurate point of reference working off of the bottom side. This is just my opinion and heck I have been wrong before. Greg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just starting work on some flat plate riggings and it got me to thinking about this whole point of reference thing, rigging positions, etc...

I am making a roughout saddle that will have flatplate riggings which I have already assembled and have ready to install. I know from reading posts over the last year that people have a variety of ways in which they find their rigging position and then there are almost as many methods of installing the riggings evenly that range from advanced jigs to eyeing it up. The two flat plates I have are absolutely identical in every aspect other than being a left and a right. My question is, has anyone ever punched or drilled their screw holes in both flat plates, lining up the holes with one plate on top of the other so that the holes are in exactly the same place on both riggings and then marking the screw holes positions on the bar and pre drilling them by using a paper template of the bar shape as shown below? This seems like an extremely simple way of ensuring that the riggings are installed evenly and are pulling the tree down in exactly the same way.

I have seen factory made trees with one bar that is longer, shorter, thicker, and taller than the other but the handmade trees I use are quite precise so I don't see a problem with the squareness of the rigging being thrown out of true from asymetry. Anyone have any thoughts on why this couldn't work?

Darc

DSCN1173.JPG

Edited by D.A. Kabatoff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kseidel   

That would work fine for balance and symetry. How would you determine the desired position prior to punching the holes for placement? Use the pattern? Fit one side first, remove it and make the pattern off of the first? In any case the idea will work.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Keith,

I would determine my rigging position as I always have using the points of refernce that I'm comfortable with to find full position and then build the different postions into my paper patterns. I would then have patterns for 7/8ths, 3/4s, etc... trying to keep my screw holes consitently in the same position. After thinking about this a little more, I figure I will have my tree maker mark on the bare wood with a felt pen where my screw holes should be. Hopefully this would show through the rawhide and would make up for any inconsistency in hide thickness and allow the two sides to be indentical.

Darc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwwright   

Darc, I like your idea. I am preparing to put riggings on a couple trees in the next few days. Both of these happen to be dropped double D rigs, but I see no reason why your idea would not apply the same. As you wrote, I have the riggings already built, identically. If you don't mind, I will try your ideas, and post later about how it worked out for me. JW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jw,

sure would like to hear how it works out for you... I don't see a reason it can't work for any type of rigging that's screwed to the tree.

Darc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hennessy   
Troy I use a nail top dead center on the cantle first, then I stand the tree up on the front bar tips on my stamping block and measure both front and back rig distance from block.. If everything is where its supposed to be the measurements will be exactly the same both ways. As for rigging depth I have a 1 foot wooden ruler to which I have fasten a piece of skirting flush with on end making a large stop . then I took two pieces of skirting 1" wide by 3 " long and sandwhiched the ruler between these two placing a rivet close to the edge of the ruler on both sides. I can set the blocked end of the ruler against the bottom edge of the bar then slide the riveted piece up to the bottom of the riggin ring or plate then check the other side. This is nice cause if the phone rings or I get distracted I don't need to re-measure or try and remember the measurement as I still have my ruler set. Greg

greg you can also set tree on flat surface,hold front off surface and ease tree down watching for when th dees touch surface if at the same time your even

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tnestes   
In reading through these posts, here is the list so far for what people use as their basis for the "full" rigging position.

Center of the horn

Measurement back from the front tip of the bar

Lowest point of the bar

Center of the base of the horn

Back of the base of the horn

Center of the fork

Center of the front bar pad

There was a thread on this before the crash that, if I recall, had some more ideas as well. Obviously, saddle makers are no more "standardized" than tree makers in how they do things. :)

For what it is worth, from the perspective of a tree maker:

Using anything but the bars themselves as a reference point for rigging position will introduce a whole bunch of variations. We can make a wooden horn or put a metal horn on the same fork style. This makes the center of the horn vary relative to a specific spot on the fork. We can make vary where we set a metal horn on the fork, or where we place a wood post horn on a fork, and how we shape it as well. This makes the back of the base of the horn vary relative to a specific spot on a fork. (We have even been asked to set it ¾" ahead of normal to provide some needed extra "belly room" for dallying.) We can stand a fork up or lean it ahead. The center of the fork relative to a specific spot on the bars will then be different, and this also affects all the horn references. All of these changes can give different reference points for "full" even when used on identical bars that will sit on the horse in an identical place on its back.

It is the shape on the bottom of the bars that is crucial in determining where on the horse's back the bar will sit, especially the front bar pad area. If the front bar pad is designed to fit behind the shoulder blades, then the "roundest part" or "deepest part" of that area will determine where the bar fits relative to the shoulder. (This "roundest part" can be more difficult to determine on bar pads that are flatter rather than rounder, but the shape does affect where the bar fits.) And that "roundest part" is as far forward as you would ever want a rigging to go – if that far. Further forward, and you will be pulling the front of the bars down, acting to tip the saddle forward and more likely affecting the movement of the shoulder blades as they rotate back. Even that far forward can cause problems for a lot of horses. In checking out a bunch of pictures of trees tonight, almost all the measurements from the horn and most of the measurements from the fork as described above would put the pull of the rigging too far forward on our trees based on this idea.

How does the "roundest part" of the bar pad correspond to the front tip of the bar? Doesn't have to be, and isn't, consistent at all with different bar types and especially between makers. On our trees, there is a different between "regular" bars and "Wade" bars in that the bar tip for Wade trees is longer (from the fork cut forward) to accommodate the extra stock thickness of the Wade fork. But the "roundest part" is consistent compared to the fork cut between regulars and Wades. So using a consistent measurement from the front bar tip on our trees would vary the "rigging position" (compared to the bar shape) depending on bar type. Between makers, it would be all over the map.

How does the "roundest part" of the bar pad correspond to the lowest point of the bar? Doesn't have to at all. The outline of the bar doesn't have to correspond to the bottom shape in any set manner. Every tree maker does things differently, you know. :) On our trees, it happens to. Because it was planned that way? Not by us, but probably by wise people in our "genealogy" of tree making who knew how to make things easier for a saddle maker. If it does correlate, it makes it a simpler way for a saddle maker to figure a rigging position.

Basically, as far as we see it, the full rigging position needs to be based on the shape of the bottom of the bar since that is what determines how the pull from the rigging will affect pressure from the tree on the horse's back. And that shape, of course, varies between tree makers, which gives saddle makers an excuse for varying how they do things too. :)

A story about the "string from the center of the cantle" test: We have pictures of a rigging on a tree that passed that test beautifully – string to same spot on the rigging an even length. Unfortunately the actual rigging was ¾" farther forward on one side than the other and also off an equal amount up and down. A case where it appeared that two wrongs made a right, but the horses sure didn't think so! So while it can be a good check, in our experience it shouldn't be the only one that is used.

I fully agree, Rod. Your ideas make the most sense of all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Everyone,

At the risk of either agreeing or disagreeing with the comments in this thread, I find that this topic is fully covered in detail, and also how to make a "jig" that works on all styles of rigging, and instructions on how to use it, can be found in The Encyclopedia of Saddle Making by Al Stohlman. I have used this method for a very long time now, (15 years) and have never had a saddle that came out wrong. I have used it on saddles with Quality , Superior, Hadly & Fox, and Bowden trees. The outcome is the same and does take into consideration any inconsistancies in the tree itself.

Bondo Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bondobob;

I do not have the stohloman books so I am not familiar with the method and jig system in it. could you explain the system and maybe show us a photo of the jig.

thanks in advance

Steve

Hi Everyone,

At the risk of either agreeing or disagreeing with the comments in this thread, I find that this topic is fully covered in detail, and also how to make a "jig" that works on all styles of rigging, and instructions on how to use it, can be found in The Encyclopedia of Saddle Making by Al Stohlman. I have used this method for a very long time now, (15 years) and have never had a saddle that came out wrong. I have used it on saddles with Quality , Superior, Hadly & Fox, and Bowden trees. The outcome is the same and does take into consideration any inconsistancies in the tree itself.

Bondo Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bondobob;

I do not have the stohloman books so I am not familiar with the method and jig system in it. could you explain the system and maybe show us a photo of the jig.

thanks in advance

Steve

Here you go...a quick scan.

Stohlman_Rigging._Gaugejpg.jpg

Regards,

Ben

post-9-1231369886_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After seeing some more of the complex jigs people are using, I thought I'd expand on my post from above and report some findings I've had over my last seven saddles.

I have tried using the paper pattern method for pre-marking rigging screw holes on seven saddles now and am happy to say everyone of them has come out as square as can be made. On the first six saddles, I started by using the paper pattern to mark holes and then temporarily pinned my riggings into the marked holes so that I could take measurements of squareness through the use of threads coming from rear bar tips, top-center of the cantle, and top-center of the horn. I also used the method of tilting the tree on it's nose and measured plate height from a granite surface and distance from the bottom edge of the bars. On all six saddles I tried this on I have not had to make any adjustments at all. The last sadde I built I didn't bother with the temporary attachment of the riggings for double checking squareness. I simply marked the holes on the tree and riggings, drilled my pilot holes on the tree and attached the riggings... I'm happy to say that the rigging on that saddle also squared up as evenly as can be done. It took me approximately 5 minutes to make a simple paper pattern as pictured below, mark the holes on everything, drill my pilot holes, and attach the riggings.

For anyone tired of fooling with jigs, you might want to give this a try. A short explanation of how to do it is as follows.

To use this method it requires a well made tree with bars that are as near to indentical as can be had. It also requires that your left and right riggings be mirror images of each other. For reference points, I used the front junction of the bar where it meets the fork and the leading edge of the stirrup leather slot on the bottom of the bar. You can see from the fourth photo below these points... the lower, vertical blue line indicates where the stirrup leather slot is and the blue dots indicate where I marked the screw holes on the tree.

To start, I made a simple paper pattern out of construction paper by cutting it oversize and holding it against the bottom side of the bar and traced the edge of the bar from the two reference points. After cutting the pattern, I double checked it against the offside to make sure both bars were the same shape. I then marked on the pattern where I wanted my screw holes to be and then lined the pattern up with the reference points on the tree. I used a scratch awl to mark the screw holes on the tree. Using the paper pattern, mark the holes on your rigging, doesn't matter if it's a flat plate, big D, or inskirt, it'll work just the same as long as you made both the near and offside riggings identical in size. Incidentally, I have found it easier to mark my screw holes on my rigging paper patterns as shown in the last photo of a skirt rigging, and then use the paper rigging pattern to mark the tree.

At this point for anyone trying this for the first time who isn't confident in the method, I would suggest using small nails to temporarily tack your rigging to the tree in the marked holes and then double check the squareness through whatever means you are comfortable with. If everything checks out ok, you can drill pilot holes at the marked locations and screw your riggings down.

Darc

bar%20pattern.jpg

holemarking.jpg

holemarking2.jpg

screwholes.jpg

horn%20measurement1.jpg

horn%20measurement2.jpg

inskirt1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jwwright   

Thank You Darc, for bringing this idea up again. I've been meaning to give it a try, but just hadn't. I will be giving it a go very soon. JW

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Here you go...a quick scan.

Stohlman_Rigging._Gaugejpg.jpg

Regards,

Ben

Thanks Ben,

You beat me to it. As a side note, jigs, paper patterns, nails, strings, whatever; the most inportant issue is results. Once you have your rigging tacked in place, put your tree on your tree stand with the front sticking out forward of the end of the stand so that the rigging is clear of the stand. Level the tree bars from side to side, and be sure it is square on the stand, and the stand is level on the floor. Then put a broom handle through the rigging. If it, (the broom handle) is level with the floor and square to the front of your stand you have achieved your goal. If not, start over.

Bondo Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now