Huntet02

Trying To Educate Myself On Tree Styles(Will James, Assoc.)Etc. How Can I Learn More?

22 posts in this topic

I can't seem to stay off the "Saddle gallery" love looking….just a buyer/user thats interested in learning what to look for in the way of "quality" trees/styles. My main interest is "ranch roping/wades" I think the Will James tree design is my favorite but want to learn more on the association, mod assoc etc. Am I correct that these are the "tree" name and or style of maker?

Not sure I nderstand all the intricacies involved. Where can I go to learn more on the different styles/trees of wades?

THanks love this site

:grouphug5vj5:

Edited by Huntet02

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Well a Wade is Not the same as an Association and an association is not the same as a will James. those I do know. An association has large swells and a wade is a slick fork as far as the others I dont have the answers and I am sure that there are other differences as well but I am not a saddle builder, but I ride both a wade and an association.

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Huntet.................The names you mentioned are just names given to types of shapes of swells / forks. A Wade is one type of slick fork. A Will James, Assoc., Mod Assoc are all swell forks. Most tree makers make their own version of all the fork styles you mentioned, and many more. The quality of the tree has nothing to do with the "style" of fork.....................a good tree maker, such as Rod / Denise Nikkel, or Jon Watsabaugh, or any other handmade tree makers visiting here (I don't intend to slight anyone) can make a very high quality tree in just about any style a person wants. JW

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Huntet- go to Bowden Saddle Trees website and look at their tree catalog and you can see the names and styles of some popular trees. They can be made to whatever specifications you want

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Some people have the idea that a certain name equates to a specific fit or use. Maybe the original company who named the tree did but once other makers started copying that type of fork, the name simply goes with the shape of the fork. It has nothing to do with how the tree fits on the horse. Our gallery http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?app=gallery&module=user&user=1524&do=view_album&album=112 has pictures of some of the common tree styles we make. If you google images of the different fork names, you will get an idea of the variety of shapes people call by one name...

There are a few good threads on Wade saddles here on LW. Check out:

http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=1907

http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=8781

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:wave:

JW thanks... Ok let me see if I can somewhat reverberate in my own way....Association, Will James etc are different types of Swell/ Forks on trees, with a wade being a slick fork. Wade as I see it is lesser to stay out of the way of roping ... baby steps but I think I was on the correct track.

Thanks Rod & Denise and all yes I tried to read everything on here before posting but knew I would miss some... WOW your tree gallery really helped especially a visual person like myself. We love to read "Eclectic Horseman" mag and view the beautiful saddles on "Ranch World Ads" so this is where some of our questions are coming from. My husband and I argued about the association I said it wasn't a wade tree..... and my cousin was looking at the used "Hardwood" listed.

Edited by Huntet02

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Huntet.................you're headed in the right direction.........a Wade is one type of slick fork. As for a Wade being out of the way for roping / as opposed to a swell fork ? Not in my opinion. It doesn't have anything to do with it. If the fork was getting in my way roping...........I'd know that I wasn't roping very good and needed more practice. Swell fork...........slick fork..........it's all about personal preference. I don't like a slick fork of any kind. I've had a couple (wades) over the years..........one of which I made. They rode just fine...............but I just couldn't get to liking how they looked. Too buckaroo for me, probably. JW.

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what exactly does "Slick" fork refer to ? I compared Rod & Denis'e swell tree vs. wade and trying to understand the different, I always thought the wade saddle (tree) was much smaller in the pommel or swell area meaning not much to hit your knees on if bucking ...well I was going to also put the other pic on here but now can't get back to their gallery without losing all this.

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A slick fork is one without (at least not much) swell to it...........................Wade, 3B, Weatherly are some examples of a slick fork. Yes, not much to hit your thighs on if riding a bucking horse..............not anything to catch you either................which is why many people put buck rolls on their slick fork saddles. Here a couple photos of saddles I've made. One is a Wade (slickfork), the other is a Heavy Buster Welch (swellfork). JWpost-5250-002827100 1283538901_thumb.jpgpost-5250-041770600 1283538923_thumb.jpg

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Tina,

A "swell fork", in general terminology, will be wider across the middle than where it joins the bars. It "swells" out and then comes back in at the bottom to join the bars. A slick fork is widest at the bottom where it joins the bars. The narrower they are on the way down, the "slicker" they are. Our widest "slick forks" will go out and then pretty much drop down straight to the bottom so they still classify as slick forks even though they aren't very "slick". When a lot of fork styles were first made they had a specific width, stock thickness, etc. etc. Over time others look at the basic shape and say "I like that" and copy it, but they make slight changes. Others say "I like that but I want..." and change it some more. So over time the name simply refers to the basic shape, and even that varies between makers. All the other specs are changable. Fortunately, there are some people still around who can give us the history on some of the originals.

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JW, I sure like the looks of your saddles!!

One of my all time favorites is one you did for wife. Billy

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Another term for slick fork is an A-fork. When looking at it from the front or rear it is shaped like the letter "A". An A-fork is a slick fork. A swell fork "swells" wider than an "A".

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Huntet.................you're headed in the right direction.........a Wade is one type of slick fork. As for a Wade being out of the way for roping / as opposed to a swell fork ? Not in my opinion. It doesn't have anything to do with it. If the fork was getting in my way roping...........I'd know that I wasn't roping very good and needed more practice. Swell fork...........slick fork..........it's all about personal preference. I don't like a slick fork of any kind. I've had a couple (wades) over the years..........one of which I made. They rode just fine...............but I just couldn't get to liking how they looked. Too buckaroo for me, probably. JW.

This may seem a bit intrusive but JW would love to see what you ride and rope in everyday.

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In reviewing all these pics its opening my eyes some thanks all. I originally started out looking to buy "Wade" but I have always liked swells and adding bucking rolls seem to be redundant "Why get a Wade if you have to add bucking rolls"? But maybe there is an answer I haven't discovered yet….

Unfortunately I tip forward when I get unbalanced say at a uncomfortable high speed and Denise and I were talking and she also made me aware of some of the seats that can worsen this bad habit like some saddles designed in a way that will always push you forward, that don't have much of a flat spot ahead of the cantle to sit in etc.

So if I'm allowed to ask another question in this same post I'd like to ask... "Which roping saddle seats/forks/ trees would help with a person that tips forward"?

I rode a neighbors old Circle Y the other day it's a western pleasure looking saddle but that seat put me right in the middle every time, my feet/legs could give clearer ques seemed like plus I think it had magic "soft dust" in the seat seriously it felt like nothing me or my husband had ever rode before (he made both of us ride it). My neighbor said that's why he'd never ever sold it even though he didn't have horses anymore it was just way too comfortable...

Bottom Line I think I need to look at a more "well balanced" flatter type Ranch roper saddle…but just thinking out loud. :blahblahblah:

Edited by Huntet02

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Tina, the style of fork is as independant of the rider's seat as it is of the fit for the horse. How you feel when sitting in the saddle has to do with how the saddle maker builds the groundseat. Any style of fork/tree can have a good seat built in it, or a bad seat built in it. The better question is "which saddle maker can put in a good seat?"

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Denise...............I will add that the tree maker does have something to do with how the ground seat is made. How the top side of the bars are shaped can help, or hinder, the saddle maker in putting in a ground seat with the shape the maker desires. JW

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JW, I agree. But I think a good saddle maker can, with a lot of work, overcome a bad tree if they have to, and a bad saddle maker can wreck a good tree without nearly the same amount of work! Do you think that there is such a thing as a tree that is so bad a good saddle maker can't overcome it to make a good seat in it?

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I sure agree with you Denise. Another factor is just about every saddle maker I've ever visited with has just a bit different idea of what a ground seat should look like, although most have a common theme. Additionally....................the intended use / discipline for the saddle has something to do with the desired shape, along with the current trend or fad within that discipline. There are saddle makers on this forum who have built hundreds more saddles than I have, so I'll defer to them on the last question...................but, I did build a number of saddles on a well respected tree maker's trees that for me, were very difficult to get the seat I wanted . However, most of those turned out to be the favorite saddles of the customers who purchased them................Thanks, JW.

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Tina, I apologize. I think I typed too quickly. I should have said "The style of fork CAN BE independant of the fork style". The shape of the fork and the shape of the final groundseat can be totally independant of each other. However, I expect that certain styles of forks are commonly associated with certain events, and those events may have a common type of ground seat to help the rider compete. So while the fork style and seat don't have to correlate, they very well may if you are buying "off the rack" saddles. Now I'll be quiet and let people with far more knowledge in this area type.

PS. JW, looks like we are typing at the same time!

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Huntet,

check out this link and you will see several slick fork trees that look quite similar. The first three trees are all "true Wades" in the sense that the stock thickness (the top of the fork measured from the front of the lip to the back side of the horn) is 5"s (measured in the wood before the tree is rawhided), the horns are wood posts, and the fork sits as close to a horse's back as possible. The first tree measures 8 1/2"s and the second and third trees are 8"s wide which is about as slick a fork as you can make. If you were to examine the three trees in person you'd see the second and third trees are almost flat on the sides of the fork... the first tree is slightly more rounded.

My link

The fourth tree looks like a Wade to the inexperienced eye but it's actually a "modified Ray Hunt" style tree. A Ray Hunt style tree has a stock thickness of 4 1/2"s and other than that one measurement, is identical to a regular Wade. This tree has been modified to provide more clearance through the gullet so the fork is about a 1/4" taller than a regular Ray Hunt tree.

The next two slick forks don't really have names as I had them built to my own specs which don't match up to anything in particular. The first one has a stock thickness of 4 1/4"s which is a shorter stock thickness than a Taylor fork (4 1/2") and thicker than a Weatherly (3 3/4"). The second one is a 4" stock thickness which gives it an appearance similar to a Weatherly fork.

The first swell fork measures 12 1/2"s wide and the second is 12"s wide... only a 1/2" difference but a very different shape to the swell.

You should be able to see that you have alot of options when it comes to the shape of the fork. As Denise mentioned, the groundseat shape is for the most part independant of the fork shape and most saddlemakers would be able to put the same seat in anyone of the trees on that page. I say for the most part because some saddlemakers build their groundseat up onto the backside of the fork while other makers don't. The part of the seat your butt occupies may feel the same between the two styles of groundseat but the shape of the seat towards the front may look different.

Darcy

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Huntet,

check out this link and you will see several slick fork trees that look quite similar. The first three trees are all "true Wades" in the sense that the stock thickness (the top of the fork measured from the front of the lip to the back side of the horn) is 5"s (measured in the wood before the tree is rawhided), the horns are wood posts, and the fork sits as close to a horse's back as possible. The first tree measures 8 1/2"s and the second and third trees are 8"s wide which is about as slick a fork as you can make. If you were to examine the three trees in person you'd see the second and third trees are almost flat on the sides of the fork... the first tree is slightly more rounded.

My link

The fourth tree looks like a Wade to the inexperienced eye but it's actually a "modified Ray Hunt" style tree. A Ray Hunt style tree has a stock thickness of 4 1/2"s and other than that one measurement, is identical to a regular Wade. This tree has been modified to provide more clearance through the gullet so the fork is about a 1/4" taller than a regular Ray Hunt tree.

The next two slick forks don't really have names as I had them built to my own specs which don't match up to anything in particular. The first one has a stock thickness of 4 1/4"s which is a shorter stock thickness than a Taylor fork (4 1/2") and thicker than a Weatherly (3 3/4"). The second one is a 4" stock thickness which gives it an appearance similar to a Weatherly fork.

The first swell fork measures 12 1/2"s wide and the second is 12"s wide... only a 1/2" difference but a very different shape to the swell.

You should be able to see that you have alot of options when it comes to the shape of the fork. As Denise mentioned, the groundseat shape is for the most part independant of the fork shape and most saddlemakers would be able to put the same seat in anyone of the trees on that page. I say for the most part because some saddlemakers build their groundseat up onto the backside of the fork while other makers don't. The part of the seat your butt occupies may feel the same between the two styles of groundseat but the shape of the seat towards the front may look different.

Darcy

Very helpful.....yes I reviewed all focusing more on the groundseats frist then re-read the thickness' and understand perfeclty~ then of course had to peek at the saddles....straight away my eye went to the "Ray Hunt style Wade fork, 3.75" x 13" cantle. I can't describe like I know you educated saddlemakers can but that seat the way your legs would lay in it pulled me in first and foremost so "natural" seems like it would hold you so close and proper to a horse legs right where they need to be without any humps in the way...best way I can describe. LOL

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