Introducing Harry Mari
Harry is the first person we trained who was serious about building saddle trees for custom saddle makers. He took our course in September 2014 and, after a few hassles in getting the shop up and running (he lives in California, so maybe that explains a few things…) he is now open and taking orders for trees.
Harry’s background is in woodworking. He was a cabinet maker by trade and does fancy wood work for fun, so he took to building trees like a duck to water. He was a good one to have for our first real student. He learned quickly.
He’s a good sport too. We told him before he came that in September he could see weather into the 80’s (F) or below freezing. He got both. And wouldn’t you know it? The day Rod had planned to make rawhide (outside of course) was the day it snowed. But when you start fleshing a hide, you warm up pretty quickly - even if you are from California…
The rawhiding was all new to him, but he did a great job of that as well
as you can see by his finished tree. (It wasn’t totally dry yet - he still had the horn wrapped - but it was getting there.) But Harry since hasn’t been able to get a good source of rawhide, he has arranged for an experienced rawhider to rawhide his trees for him. So his trees should be looking good right off the bat and not go through the new-treemaker-learning-to-make-rawhide-look-pretty stage that we went through. (Every tree maker we have talked to says the rawhide is the hardest and takes the longest to get right.)
So we taught him as much as we could cram into his time here about saddle trees, but also how they related to horses (fitting information), riders, etc. etc. Videos - the good, the bad and the ugly - became standard at meal times. He has a good buddy Mitch who is a custom saddle maker (and who, incidentally, strongly encouraged Harry to get into building trees) so he has good information about that end of the industry as well.
So he went back south - and a bit west - and built a shop. It looks like a really nice shop. Much larger than ours… (I guess you can do that when you don’t have to insulate it for temperatures than can go down to -40 or colder.)
He has a lot more storage room that we do. Maybe if our shop was like his, Rod wouldn’t have gotten in my way so much…
He has his sander and his jointer and his planer, with some wood storage above them.
Even his sharpening station is larger than ours, and he has room for some of his other hobbies as well. (You should see some of his rock work!)
And, in the tradition of bigger is better, Harry has Tiny Tim, his bandsaw. And no, Harry is not exceptionally short. Tiny Tim is just BIG!!!
He even has his shop foreman - Truffle - installed.
He has built practice pieces of trees to get them to where he was happy with them, and has started building customer trees. Note the Australian Lacewood cap. Nice touch…
He even has some bars
and some forks glued up already.
So he’s ready and raring to go, building hand made saddle trees for custom saddle makers. If you want more information or to set up an order, give him a call or shoot him an e-mail or message.
20880 Pleasant Valley Rd.
French Corral, CA 95960
Phone: (530) 277-9627
E-mail - click here
Facebook - Mari Saddle Trees
Oh - and as you can tell from the smiles in the pictures, we had a lot of fun when he was here. (Not sure what Rod was saying, but Harry liked it!) He is a great guy and he’ll be happy to talk with you!