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Modifications

Some changes we have made around here. Ergonomics matter. Start earlier than we did...
Subscribe to RSS Feed It’s been interesting around here the last few weeks. Rod has been having problems with his hands for a while now, and on March… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/modifications/

Ya think it's time?

Sometimes it has to be "out with the old, in with the new"...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Neither Rod nor I could be considered to be part of the “use it once and throw it out” contingent in our world. In fact, we tend to go to the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/ya-think-its-time/

Rod's new toy

Adding another small piece of equipment to make life easier...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod saw this in a Lee Valley catalogue a few weeks ago and thought it would be useful in the shop, so when I went to Edmonton early in… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/rods-new-toy/

So ya wanna build saddle trees? part four

Along with the large equipment needed, there are also a number of smaller hand tools used regularly when building trees.
Subscribe to RSS Feed   So once you figure out why you want to build saddle trees, and know that you are the kind of person who will be happy doing this, and have… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/so-ya-wanna-build-saddle-trees-part-four/

So ya wanna build saddle trees? part three

For someone who is serious about wanting to build saddle trees and who has the personal attributes necessary to be a tree maker, a big hurdle is often acquiring the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/so-ya-wanna-build-saddle-trees-part-three/

Cleaning the filters

One of the maintenance jobs that has to be done if we want to continue to breathe well over the years.
Subscribe to RSS Feed A long time ago I wrote a post about the different things we have learned to do for dust control in the shop because we recognize that it is… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/cleaning-the-filters/

Some special marking tools

Some may say that tree making is a "specialized market", but we have found the need for some specialized marking tools to make marking out cantles and forks more precise. Here's what we have come up with - so far...
I marked out the next four trees for Rod today using some special "made to order" tools that we have had for a few years now.  The major part of my job in the shop is to take… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/some-special-marking-tools/

The belt sander

How Rod set up and uses a very practical piece of equipment in the shop.
Subscribe to RSS Feed I have done posts on the jointer/planer and the BIG BAND SAW  (twice!!) but I haven't yet talked about the belt sander.  This is the last major… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-belt-sander/

Five years worth...

It is time for our varnish bench to go back to its original condition - or as close as may be possible...
Subscribe to RSS Feed One of the more boring but very useful items in our shop is the bench we use to varnish the trees.  It is there day after day, just sitting -… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/five-years-worth/

The jointer/surfacer - planer/thicknesser

Another major piece of equipment we use in the shop.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Another major piece of machinery which gets lots of use in our shop is our combination jointer/planer machine.  I (Denise) actually use it more… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-jointer-surfacer-planer-thicknesser/

Of sawbucks, jigs and angles

Getting the angles right is vital to making the cross pieces of a sawbuck pack tree not just set an accurate bar angle, but also fit into the slots on the bars properly, while building a tree with enough twist to fit a horse properly as well.
Subscribe to RSS Feed A couple weeks ago Rod finished and used the new jigs he had been working on.  Cutting the slots in the back of the bars on sawbuck pack trees… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/of-sawbucks-jigs-and-angles/

The BIG BAND SAW (said in a low, deep voice...)

One of the most essential parts of our equipment is also the largest. Here's some information about it and how we use it.
Ours is a 800mm (31 1/2") Centauro brand band saw.  (Centauro is an Italian company which has been building good quality band saws for many decades.)  Why so large?  Well, it… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-big-band-saw-said-in-a-low-deep-voice/

Our new curiosity satisfying (we hope) acquisition

Our new FSA pressure sensor mat has the ability to tell us a whole lot about saddles, trees and how they work on horses, hopefully confirming what we believe to be true but maybe with a few surprises in store. I guess we'll have to see! But by using thi…
Subscribe to RSS Feed Well, after years (literally) of researching, wishing, thinking and saving, a fantastic chance came to get our own pressure sensor mat to be… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/our-new-curiosity-satisfying-we-hope-acquisition/

"It's the dust that kills tree makers."

How to control the wood dust is a big problem that saddle tree makers need to face. Here is a bit of an explanation as to why and how we are dealing with the problem.
Subscribe to RSS Feed That is what we were told when we started up the business.  And it is true.  We know of at least one tree maker who is currently having… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/it-s-the-dust-that-kills-tree-makers/

BIG equipment, careful cuts

Just because the saw is big doesn't mean you have to use it like a big saw. Rod does a lot of careful, free hand cuts to almost start carving the bars with the bandsaw.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Our band saw is BIG.  It stands 8 ½ feet high and has a 32 inch throat.  When we built the shop, Rod modified the rafters to make a box tall enough… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/big-equipment-careful-cuts/

Tools used when rawhiding a saddle tree

Here's the tools Rod uses when he is rawhiding saddle trees.
Here you can see a couple of constantly used tools.  On the back of Rod’s right hand are the straps that hold his palm protector in place.  It is a piece of metal encased in… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/tools-used-when-rawhiding-a-saddle-tree/