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It's been a rawhide kind of week around here...

Making rawhide takes time, and isn't pretty...
Last Friday, I came back from Grande Prairie with 5 hides which Rod dutifully split, trimmed, and put into barrels... Subscribe to RSS Feed which he then… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/its-been-rawhide-kind-week-around-here/

Flex in a wood/rawhide tree

Do rawhide covered trees flex more than fibreglass covered ones? Should they? Here's our answer to those questions...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Does a rawhided tree flex? Sure. So does a fibreglass covered tree, tall buildings, steel beams and concrete. Everything flexes to some degree,… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/flex-woodrawhide-tree/

Extracurricular activities

Dedication and hard work...
Subscribe to RSS Feed So, what does Rod do when he’s not working? Well, he often works at other things! Over a couple of nights this week he turned this pile of… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/extracurricular-activities/

Spontaneity is not an option…

Building saddle trees means babysitting them as they dry, and that leaves no room for an impulsive style of life.
Subscribe to RSS Feed 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… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/spontaneity-is-not-an-option/

She wasn't a keeper...

Brands and scars on hides have to be worked around and sure making cutting out pieces for trees more difficult.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod was cutting up rawhide again this morning, and this was one of the sides of a cow hide we got. (We use primarily bull hides but do use a… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/she-wasn-t-a-keeper/

It doesn't matter...

Making rawhide again...
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rain... or shine... ya still gotta make rawhide... But that doesn't mean you can't have fun doing it!! https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/it-doesn-t-matter/

Change

Half a day of cutting up rawhide makes a slight visible change...
By 5:58:00 pm, after this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/change/

Before, after and another kind of FULL

Changes in trees and lots of barrels in the shop tonight.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Here's some pictures from the shop tonight, as the look of some trees changed dramatically, and the rawhide room is very full - of large, blue… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/before-after-and-another-kind-of-full/

Cutting lace - a mundane, but important, part of the job

Just one more of the things that are hard to factor into the equation when someone says "how many hours do you put into each tree?"
Subscribe to RSS Feed We use rawhide to lace our trees as we feel it is the best material out there for the job.  And we make our own rawhide, usually out of deer… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/cutting-lace-a-rather-mundane-but-important-job/

We told you it would be good...

A very sad tale of the life, and death, of a saddle tree.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Our saying has always been "We won't say you can't break one of our trees, but we do say we want to hear the story, because it's going to be… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/we-told-you-it-would-be-good/

What Rod did today

Just another day at the Nikkels...
Subscribe to RSS Feed   What I did today.   Mine smelled better... https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-rod-did-today/

Drying calf hide for lace

Not that complicated, but here's what we do...
After making the calf hide into rawhide and rinsing and soaking well for a couple of days, the hide is ready to stretch to dry  Rod starts by making some small holes around… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/drying-calf-hide-for-lace/

Cutting up rawhide

This is a necessary step between making the rawhide and using the rawhide on the trees.
Subscribe to RSS Feed Since the hides have been soaking in barrels of water, they are totally soaked through and dripping wet.  To help them get a little drier prior… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/cutting-up-rawhide/

It's spring!

You know it's spring where...
Subscribe to RSS Feed You know it is spring when Rod can put newly rawhided trees outside to start drying.  This is the norm during the summer - outside just long… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/it-s-spring/

What happens before what happens, happens...

What we have to do before Rod makes the rawhide.
My part of the job starts by calling H and M Meats in Grande Prairie, Alberta sometime during the week to let them know we will be looking for hides that week.  They kill on… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/what-happens-before-what-happens-happens/

Rawhiding - again...

Some tricks Rod uses to get the rawhide looking good on our trees.
One of the things Rod had to learn was where to leave the hide loose and where to stitch it more tightly, because rawhide doesn’t dry evenly.  For example, in the center of… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/rawhiding-again/

Rawhide Soup, anyone?

Subscribe to RSS Feed It's home made!!!  Yes, Rod had another fun day this week making rawhide.  Tomorrow, we return to normal, non-gross programming... https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/rawhide-soup-anyone/

Tools used when rawhiding a saddle tree

Here's the tools Rod uses when he is rawhiding saddle trees.
Here you can see a couple of constantly used tools.  On the back of Rod’s right hand are the straps that hold his palm protector in place.  It is a piece of metal encased in… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/tools-used-when-rawhiding-a-saddle-tree/

Making rawhide isn't fun

But making rawhide has to be done! Here's how it goes inside the shop during the winter.
Subscribe to RSS Feed especially when confined in a small space inside the shop.  But that was the biggest of the jobs for today. To start with, the hide, warm water… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/making-rawhide-isn-t-fun/

Today in the shop

Rod is finishing rawhiding the trees we built before going to Edmonton, and I am gluing up wood for next week. Just a typical kind of day!
Subscribe to RSS Feed Rod is finishing rawhiding the trees he had built before we went to Edmonton to the Artisans Show at the Heritage Ranch Rodeo.  Here he is… https://www.rodnikkel.com/content/saddle-tree-blog-from-shop-and-desk/today-in-the-shop/