drugfree906

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  1. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Good Morning Folks, Just wanted to check in on this thread. For all of you who chimed in on my first go around, I can't thank you enough. I got all the way (more or less) through my first build. All hand stitched. It was a complete mess once completed. Big surprise, eh? That saddle sat around my shop for the entire spring, summer and fall. Never moved. Couldn't bear to show the world my first attempt at building a saddle, and certainly couldn't bear to have my horse pack such an awful joke of a saddle around! So, there it sat. As soon as I finished throwing my last hand stitch, I immediately purchased a Cobra Class 4. Since then, I was asked to build all kinds of things that I would never have been able to (without loosing my shirt) before. Stitched belts, holsters, headstalls, etc all started coming together. I never really made any money, in fact I've been putting more in to my business, but that's because pretty much every dollar that comes in is turning around to buy quality tools or to replace materials that I learned valuable lessons on. All the while, that 'saddle shaped thing' sat there and collected dust. I'd rotate it once in a while so it would get suntanned evenly, you know, to be reasonable and all. I built chinks, spur straps, sheaths, holsters, belts, gun belts, and a slew of custom orders. All the while, my hand was improving. I got the change to visit with a maker over in NY who showed me a few things about finishing edges. I continued to learn and remained excited, despite my awful failure at saddle #1. This fall, when my horse's winter coat started to come in, she had a couple white spots on her shoulders. I felt absolutely horrible. Upon checking the fit of my only functional saddle, I found that she had filled out quite a bit towards the end of the summer and it no longer fit her well. I had accidentally made her sore and felt very badly about it. Not sure what to do, I vowed to ride her bareback until I found something that fit her better. Then, I remembered that junker in my shop. I tore it completely down to the tree, which I brought out to my mare and sure enough it fits her quite well. So, I started on attempt number 2. You can see pictures of basically the entire build here (if you're interested): https://www.facebook.com/MakerNT/ Now, I've hit a hard spot, and I am hoping to find a little guidance here again. I'll be purchasing the JW DVDs on Monday, as I'm sure this will help me quite a bit, but in the meantime does anyone have any tips for getting this cantle binding on? I've cut it out of a straight piece of 6/7oz HO. I get it to stretch in just fine across the 'face' of the seat. Backside looks good too, right until I get to the last 3 or 4 inches down where the cantle meets the bars. Gets all bunched up back there and do matter how much skiving, casing, smashing, stretching, cursing, etc I do, I just simply can't get the binding to lay in there well enough to stitch. I'm not looking to build a museum piece here, folks. Just want to get back on my pony. I expect my third attempt will be far better once I've viewed the Watt DVDs, and I expect I'll be doing most everything different from the start. For now, though, I'd just like to get through this bad boy, get back on my horse, and start the next one fresh. Any advice you could offer would be much appreciated. Thank you all, very much!!
  2. Good morning folks. Been on this site for a couple years now. I can't thank you all enough for your support. Such a wealth of knowledge here. I've been at leather work for a few years. These first couple have been a steep learning curve for sure. I attempted my first saddle last winter. Learned about a dozen things I'll never do again. Planning on tearing the whole thing down and starting again this winter. I hand stitched the whole thing last winter. Purchased a machine his spring; The day after I threw my last stitch on monster-saddle. Best move ever. Since then my leather work has improved in quality quite a bit. I can finally spend time working leather as opposed to throwing hundreds of stitches at a painstakingly slow pace. We'll be visiting Montana for the first time next week. I am looking for recommendations on a place to stop in for a quality hat. I'm also checking in with this group to see if anyone is around the Bozeman area... And would be willing to collect a small fee for spending some time with a young, motivated, self taught, leather worker. Very interested in learning from anyone willing to share a bit of the trade with the next generation. My main focus is tack, but I also build holsters and gun belts. If anyone is available between August 4th and 10th, please let me know! Also, if you know of a good hat shop I can stop in to around the area, pass the word along! May your stitching awl steer clear of your digits. All the best! Nate
  3. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Hello Everyone, What a crazy few months. Among other life events, work decided to put over 300 of us on permanent vacation following a recent acquisition. Actually pretty nice, though, as we're covered with severance through the first of the year! So. I find myself with quite a bit more time to ride my horse and work on this project! After much deliberation, reading, and a little bit of cutting, I decided to follow the sage advice of everyone on here/I've ever talked to in person... and make patterns/lay out all my pieces. I've managed to get everything on two hides at this point, except for my rear jockeys. Looks like I'll be needing to pick up a third hide before it's all said and done. From what I've read, it seems like lots of guys find themselves cutting in to their third hide before the end of their project. And I'm sure I'll be making some mistakes along the way, so I expect the body count to climb before I'm riding this thing. Hoping my thread here will be a little more active in the coming weeks/months as I really get to working on this job. So excited! Nate
  4. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Again, thanks all for the continued support. I'm just waiting for my stainless ring shank nails to come in, at this point. First free night I get I'm going to start making some cuts from the hides I've got for this project. Finishing up some knife sheaths in the meantime! Bob - I've planted myself in Vermont for the last few years working for a coffee company during the day, and riding as much as I can at night/on the weekends. Looking to move again (west) in the next couple years once the misses finishes her Masters degree up. Thanks again everyone. Talk soon! Nate
  5. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Thanks much, Bob. Happy to have great craftsmen nudging me in the right direction. I see you're from Manchester, Mi. My folks live in Brighton. Interesting
  6. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Thank you very much R. Sounds like we're coming from a similar place. Very excited to get started. Just started posting on another form looking for a few old school CS Osborne tools. Also going to take a look at JW. From here out, I'm only going to buy the higher quality tools available. I also feel like I'll end up with the videos you mentioned... probably at the end of my first night of wresting a stubborn piece of HO... Again, thanks much. Pictures soon.
  7. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Can't thank you all enough for your realistic advice. I just ordered the Stohlman eBook (2 and 3) from Tandy. I'm already glad I did. Tons of information, and like you said Keith, I still see plenty of places for me to burn myself even with these books on my bench. It is remarkable how much saddles have changed since then. I'm seeing that there will be plenty of 'blanks' for me to fill in, anyways. For instance, none of the stirrup leathers he covers are twisted. I guess I might be feeling a little foolish for 'trying to build an airplane in my garage'... but better to be checked on my thinking now rather than a few dozen cuts down the road. I'm going to post pictures as I go. Please feel free to review/chime in/check my work as I go. This is gonna be a trip! Again, thank you all. Spending the rest of the work day reviewing these books, then I might try to make a gullet/cantle template tonight. Who knows, now that I have an idea of the right part of the hide to cut these pieces from, I might even get started! Also, thanks for the nail info Ron!! Very helpful. I appreciate you guys not shutting me down and calling me a complete idiot... at least to my face... Also, appreciate you guys telling me to go read a book. More soon!
  8. drugfree906

    My First Saddle... The Hard Way

    Thanks for the suggestion, Josh. Any idea where I might find said material? Talk soon.
  9. Hello there Leatherworker folks, My name is Nate. I've been lurking around these forums for some time now trying to glean as much advice as I can from your collective experience. Over the past year I've been working on small projects (headstalls, breast collars, etc) in preparation for building my own saddle. Things I've learned so far: The Bruce Cheaney YouTube channel is incredibly valuable Tools need to be sharp It all starts with cutting a nice, clean, straight line (without a straight edge) Use the right tools, and materials, for the job Think ahead, but don't give up if you make a 'mistake'... some things 'buff out' down the road Use templates, so you can make effective changes on the second... third... or 17th attempt Saddle stitching takes a lot of time Saddle stitching is incredibly rewarding Saddle stitches are hard to terminate cleanly AND securely Working with tools designed to cut and shape flesh... will in fact do that... even if it's your own And of course, the leatherworker.net forum is an incredibly helpful resource; Hence why I'm posting here. I love the Wade style saddle, so that's where I've decided to head. I've already received my tree from Timberline. We went through a 'back and forth' to get the fit right for my horse. I've already ordered all my hardware for flat plate rigging from Jeremiah Watt and my two sides of first class Hermann Oak saddle skirting (12/14 oz) from Springfield. I have most of what I need to get started. What I don't have are a set of templates... I'll be painstakingly generating those over the next few months. Probably lots of expensive 'guess and check' work. I've consciously chosen to forego purchasing a video or book series at this point. I know some might see this as foolish. Please allow me to attempt to defend my ignorance. I've come to find that I very much enjoy working with leather. I figure I'm going to be at this the rest of my life. As such, I'd rather jump right in with what little I know... so I form a base of experiences (good and bad) in saddle making. This way, when I do watch these videos (plan being after my first attempt), I'll have already 'felt the pain' so to speak. Every little kid is told that the stove is hot... but how many adults don't know what a hot stove feels like? None... because we all have to make the mistake before the words our parents told us hold any value. Just tryin' to burn my hand here real quick before I watch the videos... That being said, I'm not looking to re-invent the wheel. If anyone else has gone through a similar process and would like to pass along their own list of little gems of experience, I'm all ears! Right now, my thinking looks something like this: Use card stock to figure out a rough shape for gullet lining as well as the back of the cantle Make templates for these pieces Cut from the hide, preferably from a 'thinner' portion of material (away from the spine) Skive, case, and form to shape Double check fit after they are dry Glue on (or maybe nail? does anyone know the type of tacks I should be using? I hear people slamming "smooth shanks"...) Generally repeat process for flat plate rigging... checking my template against my current saddle prior to cutting material out Tack, but don't screw yet, so I don't hose myself by putting a screw right where I need to screw or drill a hole later We'll cross the rest of the bridge when we come to it... Again, I know I'm being ignorant here... but I know I'm going to learn a lot in the process. Thank you all for any help you can offer!! Respectfully, Nate