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About BigSiouxSaddlery

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  1. Nope, looks similar in style, but the Pearson shuttle is about half the size. Supposedly a Pearson shuttle will drop in a Bauer machine, but not vice versa. I haven't tried it yet, but that comes from a guy who would know.
  2. Dang I must have missed those. I'm a big fan of Jay Lynn's tools and swivel knives.
  3. Well you could have fooled me because I've seen those exact same remarks many times before. It is my understanding that there are no custom makers to learn from in the OP's area. It is also my understanding that he has the Stohlman books and another book that I consider less helpful. Neither of those go into much (any?) detail of using different weights of leather to reduce weight. I still do not see the need for super heavy leather where and if it's not needed. A saddle damn sure can weigh 60lb completely rigged with super heavy duty taps, flank, breastcollar, etc if overbuilt in the first place. I've had those kind through the shop, and eventually, they need repair too and it isn't because they wore through on the swell cover. Different area, different issues. I won't take issue with having to build to one's clientele. I've just seen a lot of really poor first (and 2nd, and 3rd and 10th) attempts at swell covers and some of that could be alleviated by not using 13/15oz leather for that part, ESPECIALLY if welts are needed, in addition to a whole lot of helpful instruction.
  4. I'll use as light as a 7/8 on barrel or cutters, or saddles that won't get roped on. Otherwise, I feel 11oz is heavy enough. Quality over quantity. The days of everyone wanting a 60lb saddle because "that means it's a good one" are over. I build for some guys that ride every day, I build for women that ride once or twice a week. You cut weight by trimming ounces, and one way to do that is by using lighter weight leather where heavy leather simply isn't needed. Cantle backs can be down to 9/10 oz. There's more than one way to skin a cat. I've been thirty years in business in the same township, I'm turning work away because I can't get to it in a reasonable amount of time, and I'd say I'm doing something right. I'm not going to look down on my customers because some of them are "weekend riders". They help pay my bills too. Some people need to tear others down to feel better about themselves.
  5. Using 13/15 for the swells will make you hate covering swells. That is one of the problems with every written saddle making publication I've ever seen: they don't address using different weights for different parts of the saddle in an effort to reduce weight and make the job easier, especially for a beginning saddle maker. Not every saddle part needs to be 1/4" thick. I will order the lightest weight skirting available, along with heavier sides, when ordering skirting. I might even order some split down to a lighter weight yet, if I know I have an order for a saddle where keeping the weight down is a primary concern. One of the most successful saddle makers of all time told me he used 6/7 oz Mexican shoulders for his swell covers. While I personally wouldn't do that, using a lighter weight of leather will make the process easier. Another important consideration is the side itself that you choose for the swell cover. Not every side yields a swell cover. Some sides all but mark it out for you. I like to take mine from the center upper belly, with firmer leather to the front of the pattern, softer leather to the back, and if there is a difference side to side, firmer leather to the side the rope will be carried on.
  6. The "splashed" rivets are the easiest of all to remove. A friend of mine (now deceased) loved to tinker and build stuff for the shop. He made a press that has a hole just a little larger than the rivet head on the bottom, and a tiny drive punch chucked in the top. I put my piece on the press with the rivet head over the hole, and step.on the pedal to bring the drive punch down in the center of the "flower" and it pushes it right out. It took longer to tell about it than it does to knock a rivet out. For years before I got that gadget, I used an the Heritage anvil tipped on its side, with the rivet over the largest hole, and used a scratch awl in the center, and hit it with a hammer. The only time I'd have trouble with either method is if the leather around the rivet is rotten, and in that case, there's trouble anyway.
  7. Hi Matt. I make at least several hundred slide loops a year with a stapler that sets a staple similar to Weaver's press. I use the Standard #2 machine that was made by Standard Rivet, and I use a little bigger staple than the Weaver press takes. Theirs is a 15 x 4 staple, mine is a 15 x 5, which is plenty big on smaller loops, but works better on the larger ones. It's a pretty straightforward process. The staple pokes its own holes, so no pre-poking needed. The anvil turns the points of the staple back up into the leather, but there is a bump left by the prongs. I normally put the loops on a loop iron after I've stapled them to form them up anyway, and I hit the bottom with a hammer to flatten the prongs so the loop slides easily and doesn't leave imprints all over the backs of the straps. If you have been riveting and hand stitching your loops, stapling will be a treat, even with a single feed machine. I have dies for my automatics for both the 15 x 4 and 15 x 5 staples, but more often than not I still staple them on my old Standard #2 hand feed machine. Regarding strength, slide loops are the first thing to fail on a harness, usually. It's just a fact. I don't mind handstitching loops like they are on English tack, but I have to get paid for it. There are two or three dozen slide loops on a set of team harness. You see the problem. I replace lost/broken slide loops free of charge on a harness that I build. The stainless steel staples hold up pretty well. Plated steel rots out quickly, and brass falls somewhere between the two. Longevity depends somewhat on the application I guess. On belts, I think they'd last forever. I hope that answers your questions. Good luck.
  8. Absolutely what Tugadude said!!
  9. I revised my answer somewhat as Yintx replied while I was composing my reply. I'll start by saying I normally treat roughout like any other leather, which is a liberal coat or coats of neatsfoot, depending on the project. However, let me add that I do not build holsters, or at least not very often. Using Bick 4 will not cause harm to the leather, but I suspect it will leave a very smooth, slick feel/look to the roughout. Anything that will "seal" the roughout to prevent you leaving dark fingerprints will tend to do the same. My advice is to do a practice piece on a scrap of the same leather you are using for your project.
  10. Harness makers do press loops from all 4 side with a loop iron inside, steel last longer than wood with heavy use) to get a very firm loop with 4 very well defined corners. When you consider that a team harness can have two or three dozen slide loops, it's cost prohibitive to block each one up individually for common harness. If it's a show harness costing many thousands of dollars per harness, then there's more room for individual attention to each loop. It's not out of the question for an Amish made contraption to have ended up in AZ. There are leather equipment sales and people do travel from all parts of the country to attend, Amish included. Some of those Amish are tool and machinery traders. They are almost as mobile as we are, especially if someone else is paying for the fuel.
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