Archive for January 2013 | Monthly archive page

The Big Headstall

Jan
2013
23

The ultimate browband headstall

This browband headstall was made for a dear friend and customer. I just love doing this kind of work…it is challenging and rewarding at the same time. It is entirely hand sewn with waxed linen at eight stitches per inch. I finished the edges with a hot beeswax technique that has become a standard for me. Dave Alderson fabricated the silver…he asked me to design it, and I thought he did a great job replicating my carving in leather. The antique finish rounds out a one-of-a-kind piece that will be used regularly.

Cheek Detail

Cheek Detail

Floral Carved Wade

Jan
2013
04

Floral Carved Wade

It’s not often you make a saddle like this one for a ranch manager to use, but as a saddlemaker, this is as good as it gets. This saddle is at the height of what I do in my vocation: Artistic expression blended with the best functional aspects I can muster as well. There is Scott Hardy silver on this one to boot.

Hot Waxed Edges

Jan
2013
01

Finishing the edges of another Schwarz saddle

I spent a bit of time in France in 2009 learning from a professional leatherworker/saddlemaker in Saumur. Jean Luc Parisot is a great craftsman and a generous friend who works for the French military furnishing a variety of leather goods for their horse program. He does work for the world famous Cadre Noir in Saumur as well. He taught me many things, one of which I’ve begun using recently. Using a tool called an edge iron, beeswax is softened, then caked onto the edge of the leather. The edge iron is then heated with a small propane torch and the wax is melted into the edges with this specially shaped tool. I have two edge irons, one made in England and this one that I had specially made by a machinist in order to accommodate the thicker leathers we have in the western saddlery trade. This process seals off the edges and helps prevent them from fuzzing back up over time and use. It also gives the edge a burnished look and color that is attractive. This is another example of spending a bit more time to ensure that my work has that blend of function and art that is important to all work of high quality.

Articles