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Hello all! Here is my first saddle build. It's a 13 inch youth saddle for my younger siblings. (I figured my first saddle should for kids who wouldn't mind all the mistakes.) It took me 20 days from start to finish on this rig. I used thoroughbred leather. 

It's far from perfect so if you have any critique I'd love to hear it! 

Thanks!

Ryan 

Screenshot_20191103-133523_Instagram.thumb.jpg.93cb71fb1656232cfbf5bae4c970446a.jpg

 

Screenshot_20191103-133609_Instagram.thumb.jpg.04a722859aa3188926adc19528f211dd.jpg

 

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Ya'll are gonna have to point out those mistakes you mentioned!!! Exceptional work, as usual. I'm glad you told us who it was for, my first impression was, "where is he going to sit"? Although, you're kinda a skinny dude, too.

 

Jeff

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7 minutes ago, alpha2 said:

Ya'll are gonna have to point out those mistakes you mentioned!!! Exceptional work, as usual. I'm glad you told us who it was for, my first impression was, "where is he going to sit"? Although, you're kinda a skinny dude, too.

 

Jeff

Haha thanks Jeff! 

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That looks first class and the amount of tooling is just the right amount, some seem to over tool them which can distract from the nice clean lines

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I don't know a lot about saddles but that looks fantastic to me. Super clean and very classy.

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As with all your stuff Ryan, it looks amazing! Chaps, chinks, saddles....you have a gift dude. Congrats on what I consider a milestone...a well executed milestone as far as I can see.

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That's Beautiful Ryan.

 

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Beautiful job on the saddle Ryan!  I wouldn’t know where to begin on a project like this.  Did you get someone to mentor you, read a lot of books, watch videos or a combination of all these to tackle this project?

Gary

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I am both stunned and humbled.  Talent plus ambition and work ethic equals someone to reckon with.  Let me know when you find your limits because as far as I can see your potential is unlimited.

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You never disappoint! I'm with Jeff, you would have to point out the mistakes because I can't see them. For a first one it looks fantastic! Your lines are great. The aesthetic is very balanced. 

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Awesome!  Mistakes?  I don't see any ;)  I'm sure they'll love it!

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'Attaboy ;)

Looks good, Kid.

 

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It's all been said Ryan. I wouldn't have the patience. Very very well done.

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Ryan,

Thanks for sharing your work. While I am far from an expert, I will share what I see in your saddle. First, I think your tooling looks great. It is classic and shows a lot of style. I really like the dyed edges. The welts on your swells Look really great. If that's your first attempt, kudos. Also the ear cut on your seat looks great. It's really tight and the ear lays flat. The horn wrap looks tight and the stitching on the cantle binding looks really good. There's a lot to be proud of.

Since you asked for a critique, here's my opinion. One of the first things that I noticed was the gap between the rear jockeys and skirts. It's hard to get that gap closed on a small saddle, but I would like to see the jockeys tight against the skirts. Since I mentioned the dyed edges, I noticed that the skirt edges were not dyed. Also on the skirts, I suggest you trim the wool skin a little more. If you trim at an inward angle, the edges will look cleaner. I looks like the horn hole in the swell cover is too big. If you have the Stohlman book, they cover this topic in detail. I'll bet a Coke that I missed some things that you noticed. :)

Great job. You should be proud of your accomplishment. I look forward to seeing #2.

Randy

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45 minutes ago, rktaylor said:

Ryan,

Thanks for sharing your work. While I am far from an expert, I will share what I see in your saddle. First, I think your tooling looks great. It is classic and shows a lot of style. I really like the dyed edges. The welts on your swells Look really great. If that's your first attempt, kudos. Also the ear cut on your seat looks great. It's really tight and the ear lays flat. The horn wrap looks tight and the stitching on the cantle binding looks really good. There's a lot to be proud of.

Since you asked for a critique, here's my opinion. One of the first things that I noticed was the gap between the rear jockeys and skirts. It's hard to get that gap closed on a small saddle, but I would like to see the jockeys tight against the skirts. Since I mentioned the dyed edges, I noticed that the skirt edges were not dyed. Also on the skirts, I suggest you trim the wool skin a little more. If you trim at an inward angle, the edges will look cleaner. I looks like the horn hole in the swell cover is too big. If you have the Stohlman book, they cover this topic in detail. I'll bet a Coke that I missed some things that you noticed. :)

Great job. You should be proud of your accomplishment. I look forward to seeing #2.

Randy

Thank you for your comments and critique! I really appreciate it. 

The gap between the jockeys and the skirts was my biggest disappointment. I think I needed to block the skirts a little more and I also think I lost some of the form when I installed the plugs. 

You're right about the skirt edges. I didn't dye them because of the other thing you mentioned, the shearling needs to be trimmed more. My electric trimmer broke so I had to trim the shearling with scissors which didn't do as good of a job. When I dye edges with poorly trimmed shearling, it's too easy for the shearling to absorb the dye and looks messy. So I decided to hold off on dying the skirt edges until I get new trimmers.

Good point about the horn. Looking back, I should have trimmed the horn a little closer to the stitching. It turned out a little bigger than I wanted. I cut several practice holes in scrap leather to see how small a hole I could cut and not have it tear. I followed Stohlman the best I could for the horn but I think I pulled the swells on and off a few too many times because it was my first go at swells. That probably made the hole stretch a little bigger. 

 

I owe you a couple cokes ;)

I did a big no no on the swells. I trimmed one welt too close an exposed a stitch or two. Thank goodness I didn't cut any stitches! I glued a shaving over my mistake burnished it and antiqued. It's still a mistake and it's still there but not as noticeable. Oh well, live and learn I guess.

Thanks so much! 

Ryan

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Ryan,

I think your saddle looks top notch.  Your tooling design looks balanced, and the impressions look good.  At your age, you'll be a master in 20 or so years.  And, still young enough to use your tack. 

I have to second what Randy mentioned.  Dyed edges should be on all the edges, even the skirts.  The edge of the wool (fleece) needs to be trimmed more; this is important if you enter any contests (Prescott Leather Show is coming up ya know).  It's a real "no...no" if the rear of the bars show, so take Randy's critique seriously.  The handhole is a little small, like Randy mentioned; it may not matter too much on a kid's saddle, but real important (to me) on a working saddle.  And finally, your cantle binding appears to be low in the seat.  It could rub a sore on the rear of the rider.  Try to keep the binding recessed above the cantle (or actually in line with the seat contour).  In one of the issues of LCand SJ, Bob Klenda has an article about rawhide cantle bindings that I feel can be pertinent when installing a leather binding on a straight-up seat.

You've come a long way in the past years.  Keep up the good work.  Hey, the saddle stand looks trick also.

Ron

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Ryan,

We posted at the same time, and I just read your reply.  On the rear skirts here is what I do: make a large shot bag about 12 to 14 inches long by 4 inches wide.  Dampen your skirts when blocking and put the saddle on your stand with the shot bag under the skirts behind the bars.  Use you draw down strap to pull down the bars into the skirts.   This simulates the butt of the horse and how the saddle would fit the horse.  This trick can be used in final assembly also. (The draw down strap would be behind the cantle) It rises the skirts and draws down the rear jockeys at the same time.  (The shot bag comes in handy when laying out patterns and weighting drying glued pieces.)

Ron

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i know when something i have no interest in makes me iook at it and say wow thats unreal . then it's really great and that saddleis one of them wonderful work! and thank you for sharing.

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I know nothing about saddles but I can appreciate craftsmanship when I see it. I can't imagine a project more complicated than building a saddle, but you nailed it! Very impressive work. You should be very proud of this accomplishment.

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Beautiful work!!!! I don't see a thing wrong with it.

 

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RYAN,

I know mom and dad and your siblings are all very proud of you. First out of the bag, you are a fine Artist. My wife and youngest daughter fit that expression also.

I can see very few problems. Having never taken on a Saddle project I don't know a lot about it. You done a fine job in my old eyes.

Ferg

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Looks great other than some of the things others pointed out,. 

On the small saddles I've done getting the rear jockeys down tight took some time, 

To me personally I like a hidden stich on the back of the cantle binding, and beveling the saddle strings, it also looks like the bleed knots are sticking up, I use a hammer to tap them down and flatten them a bit.

The tooling turned out very nice, looking forward to seeing another one. 

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On 11/4/2019 at 12:35 PM, Goldshot Ron said:

Ryan,

I think your saddle looks top notch.  Your tooling design looks balanced, and the impressions look good.  At your age, you'll be a master in 20 or so years.  And, still young enough to use your tack. 

I have to second what Randy mentioned.  Dyed edges should be on all the edges, even the skirts.  The edge of the wool (fleece) needs to be trimmed more; this is important if you enter any contests (Prescott Leather Show is coming up ya know).  It's a real "no...no" if the rear of the bars show, so take Randy's critique seriously.  The handhole is a little small, like Randy mentioned; it may not matter too much on a kid's saddle, but real important (to me) on a working saddle.  And finally, your cantle binding appears to be low in the seat.  It could rub a sore on the rear of the rider.  Try to keep the binding recessed above the cantle (or actually in line with the seat contour).  In one of the issues of LCand SJ, Bob Klenda has an article about rawhide cantle bindings that I feel can be pertinent when installing a leather binding on a straight-up seat.

You've come a long way in the past years.  Keep up the good work.  Hey, the saddle stand looks trick also.

Ron

 

On 11/4/2019 at 12:47 PM, Goldshot Ron said:

Ryan,

We posted at the same time, and I just read your reply.  On the rear skirts here is what I do: make a large shot bag about 12 to 14 inches long by 4 inches wide.  Dampen your skirts when blocking and put the saddle on your stand with the shot bag under the skirts behind the bars.  Use you draw down strap to pull down the bars into the skirts.   This simulates the butt of the horse and how the saddle would fit the horse.  This trick can be used in final assembly also. (The draw down strap would be behind the cantle) It rises the skirts and draws down the rear jockeys at the same time.  (The shot bag comes in handy when laying out patterns and weighting drying glued pieces.)

Ron

Thanks Ron for your comments!

I would really like to enter a saddle in the Prescott saddlemaking contest. Right now I'm seriously debating if I should let my little siblings use this saddle now and make another saddle and enter #2 in the contest or if I should enter the first one. I don't think this kid saddle would place but I'd still really like to get critique from some of the best saddlemakers. The handhole isn't quite as small as it seems in the pics. I have a somewhat large hand and I can fit it easily in it. I bought a ranch saddle and the handhole was cut too small and it's quite annoying so I made sure to make this one larger. You are right about the cantle binding. I will pay closer attention to that when I build #2. 

You seem to have a good method for blocking the skirts. I'll definitely make some shot bags. 

Thanks for all the information!

Ryan

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