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Strength testing - or - Why we use yellow poplar for our bars

What does it take to break a bar? A whole lot of whamming!!
It isn’t often that pieces of a tree get to the finished stage before they get rejected by Rod, the final quality control supervisor. If something isn’t going to make the cut,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/strength-testing-or-why-we-use-yellow-poplar-our-bars/

Flex in a wood/rawhide tree

Do rawhide covered trees flex more than fibreglass covered ones? Should they? Here's our answer to those questions...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Does a rawhided tree flex? Sure. So does a fibreglass covered tree, tall buildings, steel beams and concrete. Everything flexes to some degree,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/flex-woodrawhide-tree/

Every tree maker does things differently (part two)

Here's some of the differences under the rawhide.
Subscribe to RSS Feed In part one about this tree we are duplicating, I showed you the differences that could be seen with the rawhide still on between this tree,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/every-tree-maker-does-things-differently-part-two/

We told you it would be good...

A very sad tale of the life, and death, of a saddle tree.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Our saying has always been "We won't say you can't break one of our trees, but we do say we want to hear the story, because it's going to be… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/we-told-you-it-would-be-good/

Reasons #1 and #2 to order a hand made tree - materials and workmanship

Here are some explanations for the top two reasons we start with when asked why someone should pay the extra money to order a good hand made tree.
Subscribe to RSS Feed When we try to give people good reasons to order a hand made tree as opposed to a production tree, the two reasons we discuss first are always… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/reasons-1-and-2-to-order-a-hand-made-tree-materials-and-workmans/

Cantles - making them symmetrical

Making our trees symmetrical is very important. Here's pictures of the basic steps we use to do this with our cantles.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Here are some cantles glued up.  Two layers of 1/2" Baltic Birch plywood (less than 1/16" laminations of solid birch) then two layers of yellow… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/cantles-making-them-symmetrical/

This week out of the shop

We did our annual wood buying trip this week. Nothing like going through lifts of lumber, board by board, to choose what we need to make us glad we don't have to do this more often!
We ended up going through two full lifts to get the wood we need for bars this year.  What we ended up with is on the right.  The other two piles we left in the right size and… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/this-week-out-of-the-shop/

Hamley Hangers

Hamley Hangers are metal stirrup bars to go on Western saddles. The Hamley company came up with this design many years ago, but they never became really popular. We finally had a chance to build a tree with them. This is how we did it.
We just shipped out a tree with our first order for Hamley Hangers in 15 ½ years of building trees.  It is fun to be in a profession where you can still be doing different things… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/hamley-hangers/