Swell Forks M Z.jpg

We are no longer building saddle trees. We have two saddle fit videos available on our westernsaddlefit.com websiteWestern Saddle Fit - The Basics, aimed at riders, is available either on DVD or streaming on Vimeo while the six hour series Well Beyond the Basics, aimed more for professionals but understandable by anyone, is available by streaming on Vimeo. (We left this website up because we have had many requests to keep the information available.)

Swell Fork Styles M to Z

Print This Page

What the Name Means

As we discuss in our main Swell Forks page, the names of the different forks now really apply to the shape only, although originally these names could have stood for a specific stock thickness, gullet height and width.  The shapes are stretched or squashed a bit depending on the change in these specifications but we try to keep the fork shape, determined by the top slope, side shape and back shape, as consistent as possible.  These are just some examples of the trees we have built.  We can work with you to build any fork style you want.

Horn Specifications

All these styles originated with metal horns, but wood post horns on swell forks are becoming more popular all the time.  This does affect the gullet thickness and therefore the hand hole and gullet height relationship.  (Please see Avoiding the Withers for further explanation.)  All the variations in horn specifications are completely independent of the fork style.

Martha Jose

This less common fork style has little top slope and the undercut on the sides is quite straight.

Martha_Jose_3_3l4_ST_0809118.jpg Martha_Jose_12_1l2_0809118.jpg
  Martha Jose fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   12 1/2" Martha Jose fork


Modified Association

This is the most common swell fork we are asked to make.  The Association tree was originally based on specs set in 1919 by a number of rodeo representatives for bronc riding saddles.  It is “Modified” to fit on a horse in a normal riding position.  It has a moderate amount of top slope and a curved undercut to the sides.  The most common widths are 13” and 14”, though we have made them from 12” to 15” wide.  We’ve even stood the odd one up on request.

Mod_Assoc_3_3l4_ST_0905080.jpg Mod_Assoc_5_ST_0809122.jpg
  Modified Association fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post Modified Association fork, 5" stock
Mod_Assoc_12_0707072.jpg Mod_Assoc_12_1l2_0808106.jpg
  12" Modified Association fork   12 1/2" Modified Association fork
Mod_Assoc_13_0705047.jpg Mod_Assoc_13_WP_0902024.jpg
  13" Modified Association fork   13" wood post Modified Association fork
    13 1/2" wood post Modified Association fork
Mod_Assoc_14_0708094.jpg Mod_Assoc_14_WP__0707078.jpg
  14" Modified Association fork   14" wood post Modified Association fork
  15" Modified Assocation fork  


Old Moose

Usually built 14” wide, this fork has additional backsweep to it as well as having leg cut.

Old_Moose_3_3l4_ST_0904062.jpg Old_Moose_4_1l4_ST_0909119.jpg
  Old Moose fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness
  plus backsweep
  Wood Post Old Moose fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness
  plus backsweep
    13" wood post Old Moose Fork
Old_Moose_14_0904062.jpg Old_Moose_14_WP_0805050.jpg
  14" Old Moose fork   14" wood post Old Moose fork


Olin Young

This fork is very similar to a Buster Welch but was originally designed to be leaned ahead.  It rounds all the way down into the bars without undercut on the sides.

Olin_Young_3_3l4_ST_0903045.jpg Olin_Young_13_0910123.jpg
  Olin Young fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   13" Olin Young fork


OY Calf Roper

Because the Olin Young rounds all the way down to the bar, it can hold its shape while being lowered substantially to fit a calf roper’s style of fork.  Most of the ones we have built have been ordered with the fork stood up.  The one pictured has a 6 ¾” gullet height and a 5 1/8” hand hole height.

OY_Calf_Roper_3_3l4_ST_0702020.jpg OY_Calf_Roper_13_0805048.jpg
  OY Calf Roper fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   13" OY Calf Roper fork



This fork has the same style of undercut on the sides as the Modified Association and the Louellen, but the top slopes off more than either of them.  These are most commonly ordered at 12” wide, but we have made them up to a 14” width.

Packer_3_3l4_ST_0712136.jpg Packer_4_1l4_ST_1003015.jpg
  Packer fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post Packer fork, 4 1/4" stock thickness
Packer_12_0712136.jpg Packer_12_WP_1003015.jpg
  12" Packer fork   12" wood post Packer fork
  12 1/2" Packer fork  
Packer_13_1004034.jpg Packer_13_1l2_WP_0704040.jpg
  13" Packer fork   13 1/2" wood post Packer fork
  14" Packer fork  



This fork, like the Buster Welch and Olin Young, has no undercut on the side but rounds right down into the bars.  However, it has more top slope than these other styles.  Every one we have had ordered has been 12 ½” wide.

Patterson__3_3l4_ST_0703034.jpg Patterson_12_1l2_0707079.jpg
  Patterson fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   12 1/2" Patterson fork


Sid Special

This uncommon fork has a very straight top slope and very straight undercut on the sides.

Sid_Special_3_3l4_ST_0710118.jpg Sid_Special_14_0710118.jpg
  Sid Special fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   14" Sid Special fork


TM Calf Roper

This fork has a low gullet height on a TM style fork, which has more top slope than an OY Calf Roper and also has leg cut.

TM_Calf_Roper_3_3l4_ST_1101006.jpg TM_Calf_Roper_13_1101006.jpg
  TM Calf Roper fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   13" TM Calf Roper fork


Will James

This fork has a moderate amount of top slope but more undercut on the sides compared to a Modified Association.  We have built Will James forks from 12” to 14” wide, but 13” is the most common.  It is often requested with a wood post horn.

Will_James_3_3l4_ST_1001001.jpg Will_James_4_1l2_ST_0711133.jpg
  Will James fork, 3 3/4" stock thickness   Wood Post Will James fork, 4 1/2" stock thickness
    12" wood post Will James fork
Will_James_13_0705049_back.jpg Will_James_13_WP__0902028.jpg
  13" Will James fork   13" wood post Will James fork
Will_James_13_1l2_1010091.jpg Will_James_13_1l2_WP_0711133.jpg
  13 1/2" Will James fork   13 1/2" wood post Will James fork
Will_James_14_1001001.jpg Will_James_14_WP_0610129.jpg
  14" Will James fork   14" wood post Will James fork


Print This Page