The Repair Shop

Are Saddles and Tack Ruined After Hurricane Harvey?

The most common question that I have received recently in my shop is “Are saddles and tack ruined after hurricane Harvey?

Many of us in Texas have been affected directly or have someone close to us that has been affected directly by hurricane Harvey and the effects will surely be felt for many months from now.  I grew up on the Gulf Coast in Aransas Pass, TX so I am aware of the damage that hurricanes can cause but in my lifetime I have never seen this magnitude of damage in our state.  I have so many friends and family along the South Texas Gulf Coast that are dealing with the aftermath of Harvey and are working hard to help others while trying to also assess the damage to their homes, barns, communities, livestock, and countless other recovery concerns.

In this article, I want to help you see if your saddles and tack are ruined after hurricane Harvey.  Saddles and tack are surely some of the most treasured items that were damaged due to flooding and or damaged barns and saddle houses.  As you begin to go through these areas and find your saddles and tack severely water damaged and possibly beginning to mold or mildew, the first instinct may be to put all this in the ruined pile and possibly claim them as part of items lost due to damage from the hurricane.

This may be the case in some instances, but there are some things that I want to discuss that may save some of those pieces of equipment so that you can continue using them.  Although water damage is surely not good for leather in general, it does not always mean that they can not be salvaged. Continue reading

Do You have Projects You Procrastinate On?

img_1011Have you ever found yourself working happily on the project that you are most excited about only to have a voice in your head reminding you of that one job you put off for way too long?  Those projects you procrastinate on consistently? That one job that you set on the bench in the corner of your shop and feel it staring at you throughout the day?  In your mind you know that you need to just put down what you are doing and get it done so you can get back to what you love.  But as the days, weeks, or maybe even months continue to cycle by, you make an honest attempt to convince yourself that you will do it “tomorrow.”

 This is procrastination, resistance, or simply lying to yourself.  We all do this from time to time, but for some of us this can become a chronic disease among the best of craftsman.  We work so hard to improve our skills and talents, that we tend to put off the types of work that don’t add value to our skill set.  In an attempt to be good stewards in our business and remain financially responsible, we take these jobs because of our lack of confidence in our true passion.  We tend to look at these jobs as a necessary evil because it must be a sin to turn down work.  So we end up taking the project on, knowing in our minds that we don’t want to do them and in turn putting them off to the point that the customer is upset.  And we ourselves are upset for having to do them.

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How to Price Your Work

David Picciuto is a woodworker from Toledo, OH and has a YouTube channel called “Make Something” where he posts videos on creating beautiful art using wood as his primary material.  I have been a fan of his channel for a year or so now and I love the way he presents his videos and the things he creates.  Although I am not much of a woodworker myself, I find a great amount of useful information from his videos and vlogs.

A video that he did semi recently helped to answer a question that is always a huge topic of discussion for any tradesman wanting to make a living within their craft.  This question is “How to Price Your Work?” Continue reading

Guide to Buying Used Saddles Part 3

This is the last article in our Guide to Buying Used Saddle series, and if you have already gone through the last two articles I hope you found them useful.  In this article, I will go over some key areas to look for when assessing any possible repairs that may need to be performed on a used saddle that you are considering to purchase. Continue reading

Guide to Buying Used Saddles Part 2

This is the second article of our Guide to Buying Used Saddles, and in this section we will discuss the pricing structure of the different types of used saddles in the market.  As we spoke about in the previous article, the buyer with the most knowledge wins. Continue reading

Guide to Buying Used Saddles

Whether you are looking to buy a used saddle from an individual or from a retail store that sells used saddles, it’s a good idea to do some research in some key areas of the used saddle market.  This guide to buying used saddles will get you started on the road to buying a quality used saddle.  The first thing to understand is what makes a “good used saddle.”  For me the definition of a good used saddle has three key qualities that I’m looking for when purchasing:

  • Making sure the saddle tree is not broken
  • Knowing what brand the saddle is and whether it is worth repairing
  • The price of the saddle compared to the market value

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Real Sheepskin or Synthetic?

One of the most expensive jobs in the repair shop is replacing your saddles sheepskin lining underneath the skirts.  This is labor intensive because we have to completely disassemble the saddle and remove the skirts from the tree.  This job can easily run upwards of $400 depending on whether  you go with the synthetic wool or the genuine sheepskin. Continue reading