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Ken Nelson

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About Ken Nelson

  • Rank
    Leatherworker

LW Info

  • Leatherwork Specialty
    saddles,tack and chaps

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  1. Panhandle Leather in Amarillo, TX has much higher quality leather than Tandy at much lower prices and Jim Blain's shipping is the best Rates I have found. And they get orders out quickly!
  2. You are absolutely right! I would be lost without my duck bills and lasting pliers.
  3. I use most of the method taught in Harry Adam's book to cover horns-the bottom and filler. One thing I do on it, is after I skive the cut out, I let the bottom piece dry and glue it with contact cement and rewet it before I put it on the saddle. I glue the horn, and install the bottom piece before the glue sets up. If I have the filler and and "cap piece ready, by the time they are installed, the glue will be ready to make a tight bond on the bottom piece. Let your choke strap set it tight against the bottom of your horn. Don't forget to tack your filler in place so the whole cover does not spin when someone dallies something heavy to it. I make my cut in the filler and bottom about a scant 1/8" narrower than the piece that goes in it. I also don't skive that part of the cap and wings very much. If you do, it will stretch and be too narrow to fill the cutout. I don't know if I do it right but counting all the horns I have recovered and new ones I have done, it is up over (and I am estimating here) 300 horns. I hope this helps someone a little bit. I hope I don't sound like I am being critical, I would like to help someone learn. I don't know about a lot of types of saddles but I do know a lot about working saddles. I build a lot of them and most of them go to some pretty darn good cowboys on very large ranches that use them hard. I don't advise anyone on pleasure, trail, cutting saddles or barrel saddles. I am not qualified to comment on constructing them. However, There are a number of people that will give you a lot of advice on building a working ranch saddle that are unqualified to comment on building them.
  4. I use a pair of lasting pliers to pull as much slack out of the wings as I can when I put the wraps on the horn. I tack them, ( leaving the tacks out a little so I can pull them) then I take my "choke strap", very wet and a lot of white saddle soap on it and pull the wrap tight. It is surprising the slack that the choke strap will pull out. I work on choking a horn wrap several times to make sure I get it to my satisfaction. Your notch on the rear of the horn is a bit too wide for your horn pattern. Your bottom piece is not pulled up against the bottom the horn tight enough on the second horn. I had the good luck to work for a great saddle maker when I first got started and he told me pretty quick to be really picky about how a horn looks. Everytime a rider looks down, he sees that horn. It is one of those things that shows a window to your workmanship. It won't make the saddle less usable but it is something a discriminating buyer has a problem with if it is not done well. It will get easier, and all of us go through the learning stages.
  5. They are about all I use on the saddles I build. You have to pull the leather strings through the hole below or they will come unhooked and loose the "clip". Not maybe but how soon. They last forever, have less bulk than Blevins type buckles and being stainless steel, they don't rust or corrode like Blevins do.
  6. I have never built a saddle that weighed 60 pounds in my life. It does depend on where and how a saddle is going to be used. Believe me an 11 oz fork cover will not hold up for a long time in the mesquite country of West and South Texas. A lot of people don't realize how much abuse a saddle takes on the ranches in the southwest, Red Desert, and Great Basin. " Got my saddles in service in all them areas. Believe me, I don't look down on the weekend, trail rider, or hobby horse person at all. They are an important part of the horse industry. I do feel that everybody needs to realize where they are at and what their clientele is, and if you are wanting to learn to build saddles, learn to build from someone that understands building for your clientele. There is a world of difference between being employed as a cowboy on a ranch running over 500 sections and a ranch hand on a "ranch" covering 2 to 10 sections. And the demands on their equipment is a reflection of the area they are in and the work they do. The first time I had a pair of batwing chaps out of South Texas come in to have a pocket put on them, I could not believe how heavy they were. But they have to turn some nasty brush down there. The heaviest rawhide taps available are not a fashion statement, in some places.
  7. I use 13-15 for the swell cover on nearly all saddles I make. If someone wants a lighter leather in all of their saddle, I use that weight on the swell cover. I have replaced a number of swell covers on fairly new saddles because they were too light of leather when built. Of course if you are building for the weekend trade you don't have to worry about your saddle standing up to constant hard use. Same on the cantle back. A 13-15 cantle back is no more difficult to pepare and install if cut from the proper part of the hide than a 11-13 oz one. A cantle back is just there, it really doesnt get much wear if any at all and does not need strength. BTW 95%+ of my work is building new saddles and I work 6 days a week. I have built a few.
  8. The thickest (1 1/2") is just a tick over 5/16" .
  9. I will see if I can get these loaded> 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8, 1, 1 1/8, 1 1/4, 1 1/2. and a rack to hang them on. I bought these at an auction at Clark, SD several years ago. Estate auction of a harness maker.
  10. I have a set of loop irons I bought at a auction a few years ago, I have never used. I would let them go for less than what I paid for them.
  11. I build a large portion of my saddles with a full "patch seat". It is a heavy full grain chap type leather-5/6 oz. buckstitched in with latigo buckstitch lace that I cut myself. These saddles are custom saddles and that is what the orders call for. Suede side ( roughout) out. I don't use any padding under them as they are ordered that way. I discourage putting padding in seats as I have seen so many of them break down if they are rode hard in extreme weather conditions. I used to get some seat padding years ago but don't remember who had it. It was about 1/8" thick and had a cloth back on it. I was sewing patterns in it and it seemed to hold up just OK. A suede seat, especially with padding under it, will absorb water and will gall you and gall you bad if you ride it wet and on a hot day. They are miserable to ride wet on a cold day and I have done both hot and cold. In my opinion, how good a saddle rides is dependent on how good a ground seat it has and how well it fits you.
  12. I use contact cement and put a lot of patch seats on saddles.
  13. It uses the same bobbins as a Adler 205, they are a steel bobbin but I have used the bobbins from a Cobra and Cowboy in them. They use either a 794 or 328 series needle depending which hole in the needle bar is used. I think it has the same shuttle as a Juki 441 or 441 clone but don't quote me on that. HTH
  14. I will pick up a new Luberto Classic this coming week. It will be the 3rd one I have owned. I really like a Classic and this one is not going to be for sale. The threading and feed system is somewhat different from the 6/6. It uses a different needle system and he had a terrible time finding the needle system it used.
  15. If you want a motorized machine, why don't you save a little while and hunt for a good used motorized machine that is suited for your needs. If you intend to hand crank a "hand crank" machine and it fits your need, you are probably on the right track. I recently sold a really good Artisan Toro 3000 for not much more than what a new hand cranker costs and I made a little money on it.
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