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    Black Forest, CO

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  1. I have also seen a slow down. I realize the Covid deal is the problem. But what I do not understand is how items are being routed. One first class item that was to go only about 70 miles from here in Colorado Springs took 8 days by way of Billings MT - an extra 1,200 miles. Another going 150 miles took 5 days and went from Colo Spgs to Denver back to Colo Spgs then to it's destination - an extra 200 miles. Last month shipped an item to Montana and one to Utah. Both went from Colo Spgs to Denver then to Iowa and back to Denver then on to their destinations - an extra 1,300+ miles. I track all items. Yesterday, got a notice that an item was being returned for Insufficient Address - going to a PO Box in a town of around 1000 people. Called the customer and the address is correct. Go figure! I think the system has been broken for some time and Covid is the trigger. While the items do get delivered, the extra handling and transportation costs is costly and compounds to the USPS's overall problems.
  2. Each rigging dee or plate has its own requirements for installation. One rule I always follow is to use plugs on all inskirt riggings. Without plugs a ridge is created that over time with the stirrup leathers rubbing on the rig, will wear the leather down to the rigging. A couple of weeks ago at the Colorado Saddle Makers Assoc. we were working on some saddles for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and had a saddle with a 5053 rigging plate. On both sides of the saddle, the leather was worn away. Here are some examples.
  3. There are many choices when it comes to the foam for the insert. Would suggest an open cell or closed cell neoprene foam in the thickness required, with 1/4" to ½" common. I use 3/8" closed cell. Closed cell holds up a little better than open cell, but has a harder feel.
  4. I saw one similar to this one. The tab was stitched first then the cantle was stitched. You may have to un-lace the cantle first.
  5. Power River Saddles was the store brand for the Denver Dry Goods Co. Denver Dry Goods was the major department store in Denver Co. They also owned the Heiser Saddle Co before selling it to Keyston Bros.
  6. This conversation is not appropriate on this forum. Request it be deleted
  7. Do not want to discourage you In the project, but would advise that you do not use the tree pictured. Some of the rawhide lace stitching is broken and and there are a couple of places the rawhide is beginning to fracture. You are going to spend $1000.00 give or take in materials with a tree that questionable. Could endup as an expensive decoration.
  8. An hourly labor rate based on the national median household income is $50.00 (rounded up) and the household poverty hourly labor rate is $17.00 (rounded up). So with 2 hours removing the stitches and 5 hours replacing them (7 hours of labor) - between $119.00 and $350.00 for labor. If one adds in overhead expense then $207.00 to $438.00. At minimum wage it would be $ 77.00 plus $88.00 for overhead or $165.00.
  9. You might look into Goliger Leather in Ventura CA. 6-7 OZ "A" grade is $9.49 a foot.
  10. Matt, You need to find the Ordnance Memoranda for the model of McClellan you have. These Memoranda should give you the details. For example, stirrup leathers in the 1891 Memoranda are 1 3/8" wide, cut length is 56" with a finished length of 53"
  11. Generally, when stirrup leathers are attached with a bolt, a "TEE" nut is used. The "TEE" nut is set into the bottom of the bar and has prongs that hold it in place. If these prongs were bent on installation or not griping the bolt and nut will spin. You will have to drop the skirts and replace the "TEE" nut. Depending on the construction method you may have to cut out the fiberglass covering to replace the nut. It is a pain in the rear end. This method of attaching the stirrup leathers is a take off of the Fallis balance ride saddle known as the Monty Forman saddle. When this happens I charge double my regular charge for replacing the leathers. You will spend more time fixing the nut than replacing the leathers. Have fun. Bob
  12. Got an interesting letter from Weaver today. As of April 1, 2016 if your do not buy $1,200.00 in 2016 you will lose your wholesale account. You will be able to buy at retail or you can buy a wholesale membership for $200.00 that is non-refundable. Can you say super Tandy?
  13. Yes it can be done, but the cost will probably be more than the saddle is worth. Replace the seat $500.00 to $700.00. Replace fenders $240.00 to $300.00. So could spend $740.00 to $1,000.00 and have a saddle worth $400.00. Best to look for a new saddle.
  14. I agree with Keith’s thoughts. Saddle making in my observation is a time warp in respects to the old or traditional ways. If any industry is to be viable is must innovate. It has been my experience, that saddle makers by in large resist innovation. For example, should a tree that is ten times stronger, 90% lighter, with the same qualitites and at a similar price of a wood tree covered with rawhide be rejected because it is not traditional? Think carbon fiber in ten or fifteen years. As to the question at hand. I have heard and have been told many times that when building a saddle you must be very careful to not cut into the rawhide as that will weaken the rawhide and lead to failure of the tree, which I understand. But, then we drill 1/4" to 3/8” holes in some of the weakest points in the saddle tree. A cut is bad but several holes are OK? Think about it. This is something I have never understood and never received a reasonable answer other than it is traditional. If tradition is the way to go then cowboys need to do away with the internet, smart phones, GPS, etc. Just an old saddle maker’s opinion.
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