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We have a few new folks here, and sounds like all of us have been bucked off. I want to start this thread to kind of tie up this topic in one place. Probably very few of us build many bronc saddles, unless the 7-10 guys that do are using aliases here. Some of us will see them for repairs though. I just want to have a thread dedicated to construction and repair of them when we do see them. Things like stiffener material for inside leathers, bind material (biothane, latigo, or harness?), is it doable for the average guy to "rod" a tree, should we rod a tree or is it time for a new one, replacing or reworking a ground seat, all leather or half strainer seat, rerigging to stay within the rules (which are a bit nebulous), that sort of thing. If we tend toward new construction, that's cool too.

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Good topic Bruce!! Ihave worked on a few myself. I also build a lot of half leathers.

For binds and quarter binds I prefer synthetic as do my customers. I do not use biothane but rather the left overs from my stiffener. The belting I use comes in a 4" width and most of my leathers are 2 1/2" so I have leftovers. I was using a belting resembling baler belting except it is brown and stiffer. I am currently out of it and would really like to find more.

As far as rodding trees I have yet to do one. Not that I haven't been asked to but rather I have not had time when they have asked.( most guys want them done during the week before the next rodeo of course)

When it comes to ground seats I firmly believe in a tin strainer and prefer 18 guage. It's not that a lot of guys are real hard on saddles it's usually the volunteer help at the stripping chute that are hardest on them.

A good friend of mine worked for who I consider to be the best bronc saddle maker out there being Allan Pursley who builds the Broken Arrow saddles. I have been told that Allan is usually more than willing to help a guy out when it comes to working on bronc saddles. I am trying to make time to spend some time with Allan in the near future although he spends his winters in Arizona.

Edited by Elton Joorisity

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I've rodded quite a few of them over the years and its not hard to do. It helps if you have someone to stand back and watch to keep you drilling straight sure helps. A drill bit long enough to go completely through the fork isn't cheap but is the best way to go. You can over tighten a fork and actually make it very brittle and easily broken if you are not careful. Measure your gullet width with a set of dividers before you start and use this as a reference while you are tightening to see how much its coming together. Found it kind of funny that one particular make seems to spread more than others but I have also been told their forks are butt-jointed together so that if that is true it would explain it. Greg

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great topic!!im actually looking for patterns and assembly of a bronc saddle,ive not yet had the pleasure of working on one yet but am starting to build one

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What does it mean to "rod" a tree?

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I've rodded quite a few of them over the years and its not hard to do. It helps if you have someone to stand back and watch to keep you drilling straight sure helps. A drill bit long enough to go completely through the fork isn't cheap but is the best way to go. You can over tighten a fork and actually make it very brittle and easily broken if you are not careful. Measure your gullet width with a set of dividers before you start and use this as a reference while you are tightening to see how much its coming together. Found it kind of funny that one particular make seems to spread more than others but I have also been told their forks are butt-jointed together so that if that is true it would explain it. Greg

a few observations over 30 or so years is that tree makers [factory] tend not to advance construction technique.in other words a suiccessful bronc saddlemaker wants his tree such n such a way and this is my way dont sell this tree but to me! joe blo asks for a 16 in seat bronc saddle and it comes on full qh bars or so on! if you dont know what to ask for you dont get it! therefore some saddles are spread out from the start. most of the bronc saddles used in the top end are border line illegal in gullet width the front rig also is dicey at best the front edge of front dee must not be further back than centre of swell. tilt the swell forward in construction allows dee to set closer to centre fire this allows saddle to set easily on top of wither where the majority of bronc riders prefer .i have seen several top 15 bronc riders ride the floppiest leathers they can get reason.ride the horse not the saddle.i've been around long enough to see the complete cycle on leathers but the saddles have advanced some over the early hamleys n sundry but there ain't nothin purtier than a good bronc ride eh!

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I'm not a skilled saddle maker but I'm a bronc rider and I work on quite a few saddles. I've recently put new riggins in 2 brand new saddles (probably the most popular saddles being rode today). There are around 4 major brand saddles that guys ride these days and they all have pros and cons. The ones that ride the best seem to be the most fragile. They break in the bars either where the quarter binds screw in or from one of the nails from the ground seat. This saddle in the picture below is the first one I built. I built it for myself. It's a full fiberglass tree. The molds were made from the old Dahls that rode really good but usually wouldn't last a year. It's hollow through the swells and cantle due to the weight. It has to stay under 40lbs to fly or you get charged extra. I built a prototype tree first just to advance the little bit of fiberglass skills I have. It's a very time consuming process and I'm not sure if it's gonna be be worth it or if guys will be willing to pay what they would have to cost. The old Salisbury saddles were fiberglass trees and you hardly ever heard of one breaking. 

IMG_0159.JPG

Edited by Jsonnier

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