Spontaneity is not an option…

Posted by RodandDenise on December 21, 2013

We are no longer building saddle trees, but we have two videos about how Western saddles fit horses available on our website.


when you are a tree maker.  I’m talking about the Friday morning “lets just go away for the weekend” kind of spontaneity that a lot of people take for granted.  No, when you are a saddle tree maker who rawhides his trees, it is kind of like owning a milk cow – you have to do your chores a couple times a day or you’re going to have problems…


As the trees initially dry, the seams have to be pounded flat a couple times a day.  For a while, it seems like it isn’t making any difference.  But then you hit a time where it makes a massive difference really quickly and after that they stay flat.  If you miss that window, you have lumpy seams.


Setting the nails is another job that you need to keep up on.  Again, sometimes it seems like you are doing nothing but if you miss that critical time, you have rawhide bridging in the concave areas of the tree and you can’t pound it back down again.  It just won’t go. 


So to go away for even a day means planning at least a week in advance to ensure that there are no trees in the stages of drying where regular maintenance is vital.  Here’s the calendar that hangs in the shop.  When Rod rawhides trees, he writes the name of the customer on the calendar.  It makes it handy to check on how long a particular tree has been drying and therefore what stage we expect it to be at.  If it is still too wet or appears to be drying too fast, we can modify how it is handled.  So keeping track on an easy to see calendar makes sense, plus it sure comes in handy when a customer phones and asks when we expect to ship out his trees!

We are planning to go away for a few days to spend Christmas with family, and Rod has arranged his work so that the last trees rawhided will have been drying for at least 10 days before we go.  He has other trees built that normally he would have started rawhiding tomorrow, but they will just have to wait till we get back…

And in the meantime, Merry Christmas everyone!!

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