Having trouble getting to the tight areas when oiling that saddle in your tack room? Here’s a trick I have learned!
Pam makes a spray olive oil that, although maybe a little pricey, works great for those spots a big fat hand won’t fit! Since we oil all our leather products with good clean olive oil, this oil in a spray can is a great complement in our shop and takes a lot of pressure and worry from the hard to reach!
Try this out and let us know what you think!
A common problem among people is “saddle slides back on my horse.” Many times this is with competition ropers and/or ranch cowboys who rope quite a bit in the pasture. Almost every single time I see this issue, it is more of human error than saddle fitting issues.
When I am checking on this problem for someone, I have them saddle the horse just as they would any other time. This is when I know if we actually have a serious issue or just a simple human error. Usually, the customer will put the saddle way up on the withers right on top of the shoulder blades. At this point I run my hand under the saddle and pads and find the tip of the shoulder blade which is usually right under the center of the front bar pad. THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT SPOT FOR THE SADDLE TO SET.
Now I don’t care how old you are or how long you have been a cowboy. I don’t even care if your dad, old grampy, your uncle, or John Wayne told you to set the saddle up high on the withers, I am telling you now, THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT SPOT FOR THE SADDLE TO SET. Continue reading
Well it’s upon us again. Seems like we just finished the Christmas season, and here we are set up at the George Strait Team roping Classic in San Antonio, TX.
This is our third year attending this event and we are looking forward to seeing our friends and making new ones. Like every year in the past, we try to start early and have two or three custom saddles made for this show. Again this year we were only able to bring one. With our growing order list and the demand our saddles have at home, we were only able to escape Brazos county with one.
This is the first time in our three years here that the weather has been bad. It’s currently raining and cold, so the ropers will have to contend with cold fingers if they want a chance at the money, truck and trailer.
Good luck to all the contestants! And to all the spectators, set back and enjoy some of the best team roping action on the planet!
Driving to work this saturday morning, thinking to myself about the list of “have toos” and “if i cans” for the day, it struck me with a bit of excitement and fear. Fear, because i only have two weeks left to finish the gifts that have been ordered, and excitement because we are completing our seventh year in business. Unbelievable!
Seven years ago i was a 24 year old rookie saddle maker putting Vet school on hold to pursue an oppurtunity. My entire life up until this point had been focused on vet school and all of a sudden I had made the decision to give this oppurtunity a whirl. Thinking about it now, I should have been a bit more worried. But as with most of the things that i do, i made the decision and figured all the details would work themselves out.
I have absolutely no regrets in my decision to start DGSaddlery and have enjoyed every minute… Even the scary ones! As a group, we have been truely blessed and so grateful for the friendships that we have made. As we enter the christmas season again here in 2011 and prepare to begin our 8th year in business, we would like to thank all those customers who have supported us and who enjoy our work. Getting better every year is our main focus and we hope that this coming year will be no different. The thing that makes our products stand out is our customers’ imaginations and thanks to them, and our talented artists and craftsmen, we have had the oppurtunity to create some great products.
We hope that everyone has a wonderful christmas and we look forward to 2012 and putting your dreams in leather!
Jim and I are in the booth early this morning… Probably a little too early, but what the hell! Our good friend from All Around Perfmance Horse, John Klam got in last night and we ate and had a couple beverages. As usual we solved some world problems and made some predictions of the outcome of the finals.
It’s good to be here again and we are eager to see all our friends and make new ones. We made a new friend yesterday in Lawton, OK after spending the morning hanging out at Howard Council’s saddle shop. When it comes to saddle making careers, Mr. Council’s is by far the greatest. He has built saddles for over 250 NFR qualifiers and it was a true pleasure to spend the time with him.
Nine days of team roping and lots of money given away. If your around come by and visit. If not we will post frequently and fill you in on the excitement.
This is where we see how well we did so far. If all is well, then the seat should fall right in and even match up with the old wear marks around the swell cover. The seat is pinned in place around the front so we are sure it is where it should be while we glue it in.
We glue the rear of the seat first with two coats of glue. If we are right the seat should line up with the cantle plugs at the back of the Cheyenne roll and be even. If you have a little difference here you can sand off to even it up.
Once the back of the seat is glued down then we move onto the binder. Most of the time the binder is destroyed during it’s removal, here we got lucky and were able to use the old one. I prefer this because it makes the saddle look more original when completed. The less new leather you have to use the better the job finishes out. My motto with repair is do your best to cover your tracts so that it looks like you were never there.
On this particular project we had to make some compromises in sewing the binder. I usually like to always stitch back in the old holes, but with the age on this saddle we couldn’t do that for the new stitches tearing through. My fix for this issue was to stitch through every other hole, with as close as the holes were to start it worked out well and looked fine.
Last to do here is glue down the front of the seat (with two coats). The hardest part of this job is completed now and all the parts are ready to be washed and oiled. This is done no different than a normal clean, oil, and polish. I do this to all the retrees that I do to insure that it gets a good oiling and looks great for the customer.
Here you can see that the saddle is complete and ready to be put back to work. Aside from the new horn the saddle looks no different than when it first came to us, except being cleaner… And now the tree isn’t broke.
Let us know what your thoughts are on putting a tree in a saddle. I do probably two a year, and I credit that to me trying to talk folks out of them. But for some situations it is worth the money, and for this customer it was well worth it! He was glad to have his rig back to work out of.
Here we have cleaned up the original rigging of this saddle and installed it on to the repaired tree. This is where I don’t worry so much about putting them back EXACTLY where they were to begin with. With this particular saddle, age and use has probably stretched the rigging somewhat out of alignment and proper alignment of the rigging insures the saddle rides square on the horse. For this reason, I install the riggings without paying attention to where they were and instead putting them where they should go. Sometimes you have to accept a little difference to get there but not enough that will affect the rest of the job.
Once I have the rigging installed I move on to the ground work. Luckily with this saddle we were able to utilize the ground work completely which saves some time. Each piece is installed just as it was when the saddle was first made. The great thing here is that all other parts will fit as original (seat, cantle back, plugs, and so on). On the occasion where these pieces can’t be used, you would install the groundwork as in a new saddle keeping in mind the way the old seat and such will fit with what your trying to recreate. This adds lots of time and labor.
After all this is completed, the cantle back and front should drop right in place and with the help of glue and elbow grease you are ready to put the seat in.
Occasionally when putting the front on, you will notice a difference in the horn hole thanks to the new horn cover. Everyone covers horns different and the original may have been thinker or thinner at the base. My suggestion here is to cut it bigger if it’s too tight (which is better) and if it’s too big, your only hope is that the glue will help to hold down the slack around the base.
The next post we will visit about installing the seat and binder which gets us to the point of washing and final assembly.
I want to thank all our customers for making 2011 a great year so far and with all this growth we at DGSaddlery are doing our best to insure the quality and timely delivery of all your custom leather goods.
With my time being better spent designing all the artwork that is requested on our beautiful saddles and gift items, I have very little time left to handle a lot of the day to day management duties. So as of last week Jim McFerrin will be in charge of all saddle making in our shop. Jim has been with us for five years or so and has built probably 90 percent of the saddles that have come out of our shop. Jim has over 35 years of custom saddle making experience and has used that knowledge to help us design the look and feel that has made our saddles the best on the market. With him handling the build process from time of order to delivery, will insure that our saddles quality remains consistent and completion is timely.
When it comes to small items such as custom belts, wallets, chaps, and other gift items, Jodi Finke will be in charge of all the duties there. Jodi has been most of our customers’ go to person and now she can devote more energy to managing those jobs to completion. Jodi has been with us for four years and is a true asset to our system.
Feel free to call the shop and talk to either one of these great craftsmen and don’t worry, I am not going anywhere… I will be at my table drawing and tooling. I will still be building saddles and other items, but that depends on what the bosses tell me to build when I’m not drawing.
Thanks again and we look forward to finishing the year as good as the first half!
After almost a year of ropings, the end is here and all that is left is the Big Loop Big Money Tour Finals.
On the weekend of July 23, 2011 in Bryan, TX, cowboys who have attended at least three Big Loop ropings during the year will compete for custom Don Gonzales saddles and of course lots of cash!
This years event will also include a “Girls Gone Wild” horse sale, sponsor roping, and an all girls roping.
Don Gonzales Saddlery will have our booth set up displaying all 14 custom saddles that will be given away.
We invite everyone to come out to the Brazos Co. Expo Center to enjoy some of the best roping and visit our booth to see 14 of the best saddles that can be won anywhere. And if your not roping at the finals or don’t win won of these great saddles, we would be glad to build one just for you.