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Reason #8 to order a hand made tree - special requests are honored

Getting something a little different or "just what the customer wanted" is why a lot of people look for custom trees. For a true, hand made tree maker, this isn't a problem and is usually pretty fun to do!
Subscribe to RSS Feed When you decide to order a good hand made tree, you should be able to get pretty much what you want.  How companies that make trees primarily by… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/reason-8-to-order-a-hand-made-tree-special-requests-are-honored/

Checking out a flex tree

We were asked to help figure out a saddle fit problem that involved a common brand of flex tree, which gave us a chance to really evaluate the tree itself - as we took it apart to duplicate it with a solid tree to fit the horse properly. Here's what we d…
Subscribe to RSS Feed A while back we were contacted by some (relatively) local people who were concerned that one of their horses had developed white hair under the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/checking-out-a-flex-tree/

It's been metal horn swell fork month

Less than half the trees we build have a metal horn as the majority of our customers go for a wood post horn on either slick or swell forks. But this month has been the opposite.
Subscribe to RSS Feed It is funny how things come in groups.  A few months ago I wrote a post about all the Wades we had on order.  Well, June has been metal horn swell… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/it-s-been-metal-horn-swell-fork-month/

From This to That - Part 2

Rod's work on this walnut saddle tree which will have an exposed fork and cantle.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod started with this. Then he did this... And then he did this... And then he did this... And then he had that...… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/from-this-to-that-part-2/

From This to That - Part 1

Building an exposed wood saddle tree from walnut - step by step.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We started with this... And then I did this... And then I did this... And then I did this... And then we had that...… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/from-this-to-that-part-1/

Working on an exposed wood post horn cap

Some of the steps in finishing an exposed wood post horn cap.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod was working on this exposed wood post horn on a Modified Association tree last week.  The wood is Padauk, which is an African hardwood.  Our… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/working-on-an-exposed-wood-post-horn-cap/

This past week - inside

Pictures from the shop - and more about cantles.
Subscribe to RSS Feed So if you are tired of pictures of snow (I am, especially the one outside my window), here's some pictures from the inside of the shop this week. … https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/this-past-week-inside/

Exposed Padauk wood horn cap

Beautiful wood for an exposed horn cap. This one sure is shiny!
Subscribe to RSS Feed This is a 5", guadalajara shaped horn cap on an 8" wide Wade tree with 5" of stock.  We have used padauk wood before for exposed horns and horn… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/exposed-padauk-wood-horn-cap/

Pack Trees

A look at a sawbuck and a Decker pack tree we have made recently.
Subscribe to RSS Feed The crosspieces are inset into the top of the bars and the grooves under them are routered out deep enough that the extra thick piece… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/pack-trees/

You never know where, or when

We never know where some of our trees will turn up, or when we'll get asked about them.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We never know when or where one of our trees will turn up.  Despite the fact that they are almost all built to order for a specific saddle maker and… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/you-never-know-where-or-when/

The handiest "tool" in the shop

Dead socks... Who'd ever think there was a use for them? But there are many uses for them!
Subscribe to RSS Feed is in the plastic bag in the center of this picture.  That’s right – dead socks…  I wandered around today and took some pictures of all the places… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/the-handiest-tool-in-the-shop/

A stood up Wade fork

While not a common request, we have built a few Wade type forks that are stood up rather than leaned ahead at the normal angle. Besides changing the look of the fork relative to the bars, there are a few other changes that happen when you stand a fork up…
Subscribe to RSS Feed We shipped this one out a little bit ago.  This is a normal Wade fork but rather than being at the normal leaned ahead angle, it is stood up.  We… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/a-stood-up-wade-fork/

Side Saddle Trees

Here are some of the things we have learned by building side saddle trees. They are very different to make than normal Western trees, but working on them has fun and a challenge at the same time.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We shipped out another side saddle tree a few weeks back.  We have been building side saddle trees since the summer of 2009 and this is the tenth… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/side-saddle-trees/

If you have it sitting in the shop…

seems like people are more apt to order it. So we have another order for an itty-bitty kiddies tree.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We build a lot of wood post Packer trees for one particular customer. Why? We think it is because he built his wife a saddle on that style of tree… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/if-you-have-it-sitting-in-the-shop/

Itty Bitty Kiddie tree

"Grandma" wants a saddle for her grandkids to ride, even though the oldest is only three now. Since "son" is a saddle maker, she gets to do it! So here is the smallest riding tree we have built to date.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We have built a few kids’ trees over the years (primarily for saddle maker’s kids, interestingly enough), and quite a few half sized trees for… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/itty-bitty-kiddie-tree/

A special saddle for a special lady

Here are some pictures of the saddle built for a rider whose right leg has been amputated above the knee. She team ropes now, and with this saddle she will be able to barrel race too!
Subscribe to RSS Feed A while back we posted a picture of a special tree for a special lady.  This rider had her right leg amputated above the knee after a car… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/a-special-saddle-for-a-special-lady/

Anyone know who built this tree?

There are markings on the tree we are currently duplicating, but no makers name. This one is built better than most production trees and we are curious as to who might have made it.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We recently received this broken tree to duplicate so the customer can put the old leather back on again.  Although there are some markings on it,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/anyone-know-who-built-this-tree/

Things to see on a broken saddle tree

There are a lot of damaged and broken trees being ridden because the owners can't see the damage and don't know it is here. Here is what a broken tree can look like when you finally get to see under the rawhide.
Subscribe to RSS Feed We picked up a “saddle in a tub” from the Greyhound station this week.  The story on this one was that it was on a young horse that was tied to a… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/things-to-see-on-a-broken-saddle-tree/

A Charro saddle tree

Ealier this fall we worked with a really good customer to build him a Charro saddle tree that looked the way he wanted so he could build the saddle the way he wanted, and would fit modern horses and be comfortable for the rider. This is how it turned out…
Subscribe to RSS Feed Earlier this fall we built a Charro tree, named because this is the style ridden by traditional Mexican horsemen, or Charros.  In our research we… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/a-charro-saddle-tree/

Cantle slots

We occasionally are asked to build a saddle tree with slots in the cantle. Here's some pictures of our latest ones.
We have a couple of trees sitting in the shop at the moment waiting for pick up.  The thing that is different about these two is that they have slots cut as hand holds in the… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/cantle-slots/