Amazing the difference ten days makes
We are no longer building saddle trees. We have two saddle fit videos available on our westernsaddlefit.com website. Western 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.)
When I did the post on December 11th of pictures taken around the shop that night, there were a lot of extra trees hanging around (sometimes literally). While we don't usually have that many finished trees waiting to be shipped, such was the case last week. But things have changed...
There used to be seven trees on these flat, marble slabs - four freshly rawhided and three waiting for payment. Today there are six trees in the same spot. Three are freshly rawhided - different trees, obviously! The tree with a duct taped protected exposed wood horn cap which used to be in the back room is still waiting for its silver horn cap to come, and the tree with the sock on its exposed wood horn cap is now for sale. The other tree in this picture was still drying in the December 11th pictures. It has now been varnished and is ready to go, but is waiting on a partner in crime to go in the same box next month. With the holidays, the saddle maker isn't in a huge hurry to get it and shipping two at a time really cuts down the cost compared to shipping two singly.
There were two finished trees in this spot on December 11th. They are both shipped out now. This one has just received its last coat of varnish on the wood, and Rod will rawhide it tomorrow. Then it will join the other trees on the marble slabs in the intial drying area under our lumber storage. (Notice the flat-ish varnish bench now too!!)
Of the five trees in the picture of this spot last time, three have been shipped. This is our secondary drying area where we put the trees for their second week of drying. It also has flat marble slabs, and you can see the black painted solid metal weights we use to hold the trees square as they dry. The four that are drying here now are the ones that were freshly rawhided in the last set of pictures, and the one in front was one of the ones still drying in this area last time. It is the duplicate of the bent horned tree, and is ready to go whenever we can get together with the (relatively - only an hour drive each way!) local customer. The last tree of the original five you have already seen, waiting on the marble slabs under the wood for a second tree to ship with.
The three trees drying on the bench on December 11th (seen in the first picture in this post) have all been shipped in the last ten days, and the back room hangers are empty now too. Of the four trees that were here, two have been shipped, the silver capped one has moved onto the marble slabs under the lumber and the bent horned cracked tree has shifted homes as well.
By the way, it is not a good practice to keep trees hanging high on a wall for any length of time because that is where the heat and humidity change the most. Wood and rawhide are natural materials and they will move. Storing them flat on a true, level surface, weighted if possible, is always best to keep them square until they are built on. We try to do that as much as possible, until, of course, we have too many hanging around...
So, lets do the math:
How many trees were pictured in the December 11th post: 7 + 2 + 5 + 3 + 4 = 21 trees
Add 4 trees built in the meantime: 21 + 4 = 25
In the shop this afternoon: 6 + 1 + 5 = 12 trees
How many have I shipped in the last 10 days: 2 Thursday + 1 Friday + 6 Wednesday + 3 today = 12 trees.
One broken tree moved into the "posterity zone": 12 + 12 + 1 = 25
25 = 25 Whew!! I didn't lose any!! And there is a LOT more room on the work benches in the shop now too...