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About JAM

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  • Birthday 01/07/1956

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  • Location
    Rathdrum, ID
  • Interests
    Saddlemaking, braiding, strap goods, handbags/purses

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Saddlemaking, Braiding
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  1. Thanks to everyone - pretty much the same pros and cons I've been thinking through for years. On the topic of scored rawhide and broken trees - how exactly did the trees break? scored rawhide will allow moisture in, if there's a lot of moisture right there at the scored rawhide; screw holes and nail holes would also allow moisture in and break the rawhide integrity (although not in a straight line which can pull apart as it dries again), but how exactly would scored rawhide cause a tree to break? Or did the tree break and the rawhide failed to hold the tree together? I have only seen (and repaired) saddles with broken trees that were factory saddles with a thin veneer of fiberglass, and those few were a result of catastrophic wrecks that broke the trees. So I am curious about what you've seen.
  2. I build all-leather groundseats, and with every saddle I ask myself again, "Bar risers or not?" Without them, there is danger of scoring the rawhide when cutting stirrup slots, and the seat is closer to the horse's spine/saddle pad, but the rider is that much closer to the horse and it's easier to make use of the seat curvature built into the tree by a good treemaker. With them, it can be more difficult to make the seat shape I want, and the rider is just that much higher off the horse. Thoughts? Julia McCormack
  3. I've always used stainless steel nails - ring shank, twist, and common - to build my saddles, and I got them from Sheridan Leather. Now that Sheridan Leather is gone, I don't know where to get them. Does anyone know where I can find them now? Julia
  4. Hi, all, I build my saddles with stainless steel nails - common, ring shank, and twist - and I always got them from Sheridan Leather. Now that Sheridan Leather is gone, I can't find stainless steel nails anywhere. Does anyone know where I can find them again? Thanks, Julia McCormack
  5. Try Harper Manufacturing - they've been making maker's stamps for saddlemakers for many, many years. I use two from them - the kind you pound but I use them in my 6T press because I don't trust my pounding. Very heavy, high quality, will last forever. www.harpermfg.com Julia
  6. Ha - I never would have thought of that! That opens up a whole new niche. More realistically, anyone with that much money could come to my place for the custom seat fit. Customers close enough to me have done that, and it has been a great way to get to know them better. Most of my customers are pretty far away (CA, NJ, Toronto, New Zealand, Italy) - guess I got lucky with those saddles. But I ought to make that custom-fit service here at my workshop plainly available to everyone. TinkerTailor, you are inspiring!
  7. Update: Redid the ground seat for the second time (good cantle binding practice - ) I made it dead flat side-to-side from the back of the stirrup slots to the cantle corners (even added a few mm at the top of each bar to make the seat a bit wider and more quick-drop at the edges), with a long sloopy arc from the handhole down into the center of the seat and back up to the cantle binding. It's very pretty, but atrociously uncomfortable for me (I wouldn't be able to ride in it for five minutes). Also, from the seat-bones mold I got back from her, her ischia are very close (like a man's), and the left one is a little deeper and a cm forward of the right one - so I made a gentle compensation for that in the seat. No way to know if that helped, but it seems to have not hurt anything. Anyway, her pronouncement was "Have saddle, will ride - 100% improvement - :thumbsup: " So I got it right (for her). Now I'm flummoxed. My reputation is in the seat I build. I've always built the seat that works for me, and all my customers (until this one) have raved about it. This one broke the mold, and now I'm jittery about my seats. I think in the future I may add a seat-bones mold to my DL profiles cards package, so I can get profiles for both the horse's back and the rider's seat. It's really not a good thing to be unbuttoning and opening up a nice, tight, new saddle (and I hate cantle bindings! ) Thanks for all your help, everyone.
  8. Such terrific help, thanks to all of you! I will use all of your ideas. I've seen the Schleese videos, along with lots of other research into rider anatomy and male vs female - all very helpful. All that information helped me to develop the seat I build (the one that works for me, and that has worked for every other customer I've ever had) - and it all helped me understand why I couldn't ride comfortably in a dead-flat cowboy saddle seat. But it only stands to reason that eventually I will have a customer who can't ride in the seat that works for me - so now I'm making modifications without her direct real-time input. After the saddle came back the first time I sent her a wad of thermoplastic plastic stuff (Equimeasure - the thermoplastic sheet for taking the shape of a horse's back - which doesn't work so well for the horse's back but works great for a seat-bones mold) and had her warm it up and sit in it in her saddle so I could see how close her ischia are. Much closer together than mine - more like a man's, which explains a lot. I made the longitudinal "crown" in the seat gentler and flatter, but it didn't work. I suspect she needs the dead-flat cowboy seat that I find so uncomfortable She says she wants the seat "concave, not convex". So I will ask her the anatomy/injury questions, and ask her for templates of a saddle she likes, and hope the third time is the charm. With all the shipping back and forth, I'm losing money on this saddle now (but I'm getting lots of cantle-binding practice). I will post my results here when this third iteration is done. Thanks again! Julia
  9. Thanks, Ron - that's a good idea. I hadn't thought of that, and I will give it a try. No doubt that would be a bigger help than pictures. Julia
  10. I'm having a problem with a customer's saddle - specifically, I can't seem to get the seat right for her. I've built maybe 30 saddles, and this is the first time the customer has not said "The seat is terrific, comfy, perfect, etc". In fact the seat in this customer's saddle nearly crippled her. It's on its way back to me for re-shaping a second time, and I've got to get it right. A seat that works for me has always worked for my other customers, but this one, for the first time, doesn't even come close. Apparently I put too much crown in it. I hate to take it down to dead flat because flat is a shape I can't ride in and can't get a feel for. I'd appreciate any advice or ideas. BTW, all of my customers, including this one, are too far away to come in for a fitting, so I have to do the seat shaping long-distance and just hope it works. Has any one else had this problem? Julia McCormack McCormack Hill Leather www.mhleather.com
  11. Davidbane, it's been many years since I started this thread. I just now came across it while randomly cruising around the forums. Since I posted this in 2008, I've built probably 25 custom saddles for customers, and 95% of them are 3B, single-rig, 3/4 or 5/8, on custom trees built for the horse. All are very happy. One thing I've never given much thought to is cinch width, which you bring up. Wider makes sense. I recommend mane hair if it can be found, and angora or mohair if not. But wider - there's a good idea!
  12. I don't know what it's called, but I sure like the edge it makes! Julia
  13. Personally, I wouldn't use it. If you send it back for an exchange, you'll probably get another just like it. I'd look for a better treemaker - there are lists of them on the site here.
  14. OMG, that's gorgeous and special. I believe I need one. How do I get my name on your list? Julia
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