buckarooTB

saddle making questions

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I am starting on my first saddle and I have a few questions. A customer asked me to build one so I decided to give it a try. He ordered a square skirt wade so I am wanting that old vaquero style. In my al stolman saddle making book he discouraged the 'suare' skirt cause he said it would curl and also not to do the stirrup leathers on the outside of the fenders. I also want the stirrup leathers loop through the seat cover, and I want to make the front jockey separeate from the seat cover, but I have never been told how to do this. another question is is designing the fender so that although the stirrup leather is on the outside it is still comfortable. And also, has anyone heard of the one piece ground seat[which uses a strainer plate]? I know these are a lot of quetions but I would be very grateful for some pointers. thankyou

Edited by buckarooTB

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comfort is why al recommends putting the stirrup leathers under fenders when you get the tree it will be open between the bars that's why you need the strainer they you glue leather on top to ground the seat its a little more involved then but that should give you and idea

I know the saddle you want to build its a late 1800

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Your post is confusing.  There is a design that has the leathers looping up through the seat and back under the seat.  Also, there is a design that has the leathers coming out of a slot down on the seat jockeys.  If you are trying for an eight button design that has separate front jockeys which is usually the "old fashion" look, then you may want the leathers just looping through the seat.  I recommend you not try this method for your first saddle; unless you have an experienced saddle maker helping you.  One other item, are you attaching the fenders to the stirrup leathers with the leathers on the front of the fenders?  I believe the Stohlman saddle encyclopedia, book one, shows the different methods of attaching fenders.  This is a good source to refer to.

Ron

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Dwight   

The saddle you describe sounds like the old Jumbo saddle I have on display in my shop.

If this is similar, . . . PM me and I'll get whatever pics you need off of it.  

I bought it out of a pawn shop in Denver, . . . just wish I could sit down with it some day and let it tell me some of the stories it knows.

May God bless,

Dwight

saddle small 3.jpg

saddle small 2.jpg

saddle small 1.jpg

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My personal saddle is a loop seat half-breed with exposed leathers - just like you are describing except that I don't have square skirts.  I have made some saddles with square skirts, however, and I have found that if you use heavier skirting for your plugs the skirt will stand up better.  Eventually it will depend on how the saddle is handled and stored.  Remember, even if you rid for eight hours a day (which I doubt) your saddle will spend three times as much time off the horse as on it.  Go from there and invest in a quality saddle stand/rack.

For an  'eight button seat " such as you describe, follow Stohlman's procedure for fitting a one-piece seat (six-button) and when you get to the base of the swell, cut a tab to match the ear at the corner of the seat and remove all the leather forward of this.  Easier that a one-piece, if you ask me.

My wife fought me from making her saddle with exposed leathers as she was afraid they'd pinch.  Now she doesn't even remember that they'e there.  I have never felt mine either, and I've had them on all three saddles I've made for myself.

I make my own strainers and use four pieces of leather for the ground seat.

0909121714.jpg

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Dwight   

Thanks, cowboycolonel, . . . that is one pretty saddle you have there.

The old cowboy that had mine used a bunch of little stamps on it, . . . trying to dress it up some I guess, . . . but it never was as good lookin as yours.

I also really like the back of the seat, . . . sitting straight up, . . . my kind of saddle.

Nosey question:  where did you get the tree?  

May God bless,

Dwight

Edited by Dwight

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The tree is a Cliff Wade in 15 1/2 from Bowden Saddle tree in El Paso, TX.  I use them almost exclusively because I never had had a problem with balance and symmetry and their customer service can't be beat!  Go to saddletree.com to find them. Central Ohio?  I grew up near Marion. Thanks for the compliment.

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Dwight   

Right now I live in Marion County, . . . our mail box is in Delaware County, . . . across the street.

Another "curious" question, . . . if you had to put a number on the hours you spent on that particular saddle, . . . got any idea how many would be there?

I'm toying with the idea of making a new one for my shop.  I'll use it in a parade or two, . . . but it'll be more of a shop decoration than anything else if I make it.

May God bless,

Dwight

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Grew up in Caledonia.  29 years in the Air Force and now in CA.  The saddle I showed you (Cliff Wade tree with straight up cantle) took about 100 hours to actually build with about another 100 hours to tool and finish.  It's built to be cowboy-used, so it is very strong and comfortable.  Parade-quality and museum -quality will take longer, as would a grain-side out seat.

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Dwight   
2 hours ago, cowboycolonel said:

Grew up in Caledonia.  29 years in the Air Force and now in CA.  The saddle I showed you (Cliff Wade tree with straight up cantle) took about 100 hours to actually build with about another 100 hours to tool and finish.  It's built to be cowboy-used, so it is very strong and comfortable.  Parade-quality and museum -quality will take longer, as would a grain-side out seat.

Thank you, . . . I navigate through the Caledonia area from time to time, my son lives up near New Winchester, . . . off 294.

Again, . . . toying with the idea of making one for the leather shop, . . . it would showcase some of my work, . . . whereas my old Jumbo is just a fixture in there.

Thanks again for the info, . . . gonna have to mull this for a while.  I especially like your design as it is very near the Jumbo in design, . . . and IT IS a comfortable saddle.

May God bless,

Dwight

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If you're serious about this, I suggest you get Al Stohlman's Encyclopedia of saddlemaking (3 Vols) and read Vol 1 prior to even buying leather.  You'll only need Vols 1 and 2, but the whole set is cheaper and will be easier to sell if you decide to.  There are many "right" ways to build a saddle, and many "wrong ways" as well.  Comfort only counts if it is comfortable for the horse as well.  Symmetry is crucial - don't worry so much about weight.  Mine have been weighing between 28 and 35 pounds, but my first saddle weighed ove 60 pounds ( not one I made). The maker said it was for strength, but you can get a strong build at a lot less weight. If it's only going to "ride the pine" then you can cut corners, but I wouldn't, as it would have no sale value and, after all, would have your maker's mark on it, right?

 

Sound off if you need any help at all.

 

Rick

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Thanks for all the replies, really gave me a lot of ideas

Sorry I didn't reply sooner

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