New Saddle in Progress
Hi this page is devoted to the making of a custom saddle.
This saddle is being made for Mark Killick of illinios USA.
Ok here we go on a new project I been waiting for one to come up with lots of stamping and carving , top two photos are (left ) horn cover , gullet cover and cantel cover stamped in a old time waffle stamp dates back to the early 1900s .
Placing the seat strainer plate with leather risers
Once the leather is dry we use a skiving knife to shape , round , and take out any and all high spots in the leather ground seat .
We add a second piece of leather to the front for a gentle rise , this can change depending on what type of use the saddle is being made for , on marks he will be doing mostly trail riding and roping .
First photo is a cut out skirt shape the next photo we form and block the skirts to fit the bottom side of the tree .
One way to tell a custom saddle from a factory saddle is by feeling under the saddle for the shape of the bars , if you feel the shape your saddle is custom made .
This rigging is called plate rigging the photos show the steps from cut out to end , the plate rigging placed in 7/8 is a good way to help the saddle stay in place because it wraps down the horse when its cinched up . we also use 3000 pound test nylon wrapped around the rigging dee's and screwed to the tree .
The fork cover has many steps this one as you can tell started out as one piece then we formed it to the front cut the side to allow the lacing , did our stamping and a small amount of hand carving around the horn .
the skirts have been blocked and shaped and now is the time to sew the sheep skin on . we only use 100 % sheep real sheep skin .
this is the old style fenders the fenders are pre twisted to make the stirrup hang right and as you can see the stamp used only makes its mark once per hit , there is close to 400 hits on just 1 of these fenders .
rear jockey formed and stamped .
the seat comes out of the prime back of a cow hide , it is a large piece of leather that we strap down when wet so that it shapes to the seat then we shape it to the style of the saddle and stamp and hand carve .
ok as you can tell the saddle is done sorry for the laps in photos but once you have all your parts done its just the matter of glue nails and screws we take a lot of pride trying to make sure the saddle is made the way our customers want so Mark i hope you enjoy and happy ridding
The photos will be of a current saddle that I am making from beginning to end. From day 1 to for this saddle about 180 hours later there will be plenty of hand carving and silver work and it will be a one of a kind so thanks for taking the time to look
A starting place we have the ground seat, horn cover, gullet cover, and cantel cover (above)
Cantel cover hand carved (above)
Fenders plain and then hand carved (above) will have a close up when the antic stain is applied
Hand carving with a silver lace roll around the bottom of the fenders I spent about 8 hours on each fender (above)
Left side fender with the same hand carving with the silver roll and silver covered stirrups (above)
The fork cover there will be many steps to this, 1st photo, sizing, then putting a welt, and then stretching the fork cover over the front of the saddle (above)
Ok in most cases I don't jump around in saddle making, this saddle has a lot of Montana Silver ordered for it, some of the silver I need in order to shape the the saddle parts and this saddle order has many extra items like headstall, chaps, breast collar, rifle scabbard and as I am waiting for the silver to come in. I will get the smaller items done and post them for you
Ok I got some silver in so back to the saddle above would be the fork cover with the first photo of the caving lined out and hand cut then #2 photo with all the back ground carving done 3rd 4th and 5th photos are of a finished fork cover with the silver in place.
We will move on to the base of the skirts they are cut to the shape and size needed. In this case we had to form them to fit the shape of the silver that will be installed on the skirts, one note a well made custom saddle should be blocked meaning shaped to fit the bars of the saddle tree (#2 photo) this lets the tree fit the horse better and will cut down on the saddle sliding from side to side .
The lay out of the carving on the skirts (above)
Hand carving filled in with the silver (above)
Carving with the dye applied (above)
The last 2 photos of the skirts are with the silver lace rolls around the back end and front and of the front rigging, we are one of the few that use 3000 pound test nylon to reinforce the rigging it allows the rigging Dee to move but adds more strength than you will ever need . (above)
The rear rigging plates built set up with a carving pattern then dyed and the silver rigging plate installed (above) just a side note on the second photo you see the sheep skin being glued on we use 100% real sheep skin.
Next the cantel stiffener plate is installed with the silver lace roll on the edge of the plate this saddle has a very nice silver cantel plate that will go on top but were not at the right build time to install it .
Ok its been a long week and it may seam like I did not get much done but when it comes to the seat there are a lot of steps that need to be in place, I am hoping to show in the photos that follow just how much time and detail goes into hand carving. Its a art form all in its self. Leather carvers seldom have the same style of carving and mine was self taught, my grandfather gave me the basic and I built from there. (above) The raw set pressed in and the shape of the seat being cut
Once I have the seat shaped you draw out your pattern using tracing film and a pencil then I use the carving knife to cut out the pattern in the leather, I like a very deep cut because you can make you flowers pop out like a 3D shape and is more pleasing to the fingers.
Next step is to use a filler to push in the back ground away from the carving (above) yes a very small tool.
Next a beveler is needed to help shape the flower of the leaves and flowers, some of the tools I use are from my grandfathers time this one was made from a old nail and one of my favorites.(above)
Now we use a pointed beveler and a mulefoot to finish the ends of our knife cuts (above)
A tool called a veiner well add texture and decoration to the flowers and leaves (above)
We use a tool called a seeder to bring the flowers to life (above)
Now a pear shape shader is used to add little ridges and shapes to the flowers and leaves.
Ok this is where we get personal the decorative cuts are made with the carving knife for me there is no set pattern I stay with and over the years they have changed, they are used to draw your eye to the carving and to make it stand out most carvers will incorporate there name or initials some where on the saddle the same way a artist would sign a panting the last photo shows a sample of this (above)
Next step is to install the seat first photo is of the dyed haft seat , second photo is the closed sell foam we use this because we can take a scratch awl and form the foam to what shape we need and it will not retain water. Third is a close up of the forming of the seat .(above)
Now we add the 2-3 oz chap leather glued and sewn in (above)
And then the cantel plates are added this one is a Montana silver smith 3 piece set(above)
Sorry for being late on the update the first rain storm in 9 months and the power goes out heres the horn cap installed (above)
The rear jockey cut out shaped and the carving pattern placed on it (above)
The rear jockey with the finished carving and dye second photo is the saddle chonchos added to the back and sides of saddle (above)
The rear billets cut to shape and carved ,(above ) we are very close to being done I am hoping the have this saddle completed in the coming week and will have some photos of the the saddle in its finished stage.
The front of the saddle is now complete with a silver latago keeper and choncho and a black latago.(above)
Ok the day I have been waiting for and I am sure the owner of this saddle has too.
A finished saddle I have about 190 hours in the saddle, all hand carved no shortcuts my hands can testify to that, I want to thank Bruce for letting us blast his saddle all over the world wide web and my wife for all the back ground work she did on this saddle. Its been fun but I hope for a few weeks break before the next carved saddle comes along
PS This saddle had extras ordered with it you saw the headstall but below are his chaps ,breast collar , rifle scabbard
Thanks for looking . have a great day
Last Updated (Thursday, 07 February 2013 15:54)