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About RollingThunder

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    Backyard Horseman
  • Birthday 08/10/1970

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  1. Rigging And Girth Questions

    Centerfire puts the girth centered on the saddle, 3/4 a bit ahead, and full is as far forward as the rigging will go. The overgirth you're seeing is typical of an Aussie. Some have them, and some are set to cinch up like a Western saddle, and have western-style fenders. I made a full-Bates rig for mine so that I can use my Smart Cinch instead of a traditional Aussie girth. Be very careful buying Aussie. You can get cheap Indian knock offs, with urine tanned leather, cotton stitching and poor construction, or you can get decently built Aussie saddles. Sid Hill and Toowoomba are good places to start, and Wintec/Bates is always a good name as well. That being said, check out some of the custom western saddles, as many of them have deeper seats, can can be roped from. If you do go Aussie, typically the rigging is in one spot, like an English jump or dressage saddle. One more thing you may or may not have heard. Do not expect to rope off an Aussie, though. The tree is not made for roping like a roping saddle's tree is. You might be able to pull a small weight with a horn on an Aussie saddle, but about the time you attempt to rope a calf and haul it down one of two things will happen. The points will dig into the horse's shoulder and cause a lot of discomfort, because there isn't a broad bar to spread out the load. There's just the two points going to the head plate, a small seat-supporting bar and spring set up. Or, the horn will plain snap off, as it's not deeply embedded into the tree. The horn on an Aussie saddle is there merely for an extra handhold while riding in areas where you might need a little extra security. Mine has a horn, and I've had to hang sideways off my saddle going under a tree and it was nice to have that to hold onto. Other than that, there's not too much use to it, and my Wintec Bates stock saddle has no horn. Hope that helps! My Australian-made Wintec is in this pic.
  2. Worlds Slickest Saddle Help

    Dubbin, beeswax or blackrock on the seat would help you out. Slick, polished and topgrain leathers tend to lose their grip as they age if they aren't treated with a polish that increases the tack (or stickness if you will) of the leather. And while there are lots of products out there that will help you stick to your saddle, (Jack Baumgartner can tell you about a lady he helped stick to her saddle once), natural products are the best. Use Dubbin or Blackrock if you need to condition your leather. I recommend you stay away from the chemical stuff. Others love it, I don't trust it. Just my .02. If your leather is in good shape, and feels as though it has plenty of oil in it, then I would go for a simple application of beeswax. Dubbin or blackrock application - apply a light coat (a little goes a LONG way) on the seat. Top grain leathers will have little to no oil absorption capability due to their being sealed leathers, so it may take a bit for the mix to actually dry. Once it is dry, take a buffing brush and buff the surface. Dubbin and blackrock have a variety of bee and carnauba waxes in them that are left on the surface of leather once the oils and fats in them have soaked into the leather, or evaporated. Buffing the waxes spreads them out evenly. If your saddle has cotton threads on it, instead of nylons or polys, keep it away from the threads. It will discolor and potentially weaken them. Beeswax application - If you have your choice of waxes, I would go with beeswax, because it is more pliable than, say, parrafin, and you can get it to go around edges, and it will buff out of stitching a little better. A word of caution, here, I can't stress enough that less is more. Many coats applied lightly to build up to the necessary grip is much better than a giant wad of wax stuck to your leather. This is one time that "The bigger the glob, the better the job" is NOT necessarily the case. Hope this helps.
  3. Been Awhile Since I've Been On Hc

    The final.
  4. Western Saddle Repair/brand?

    Jack's right about that. And never lay your saddle down on the horn and front skirts. rolls them up fast, and generally does bad things to the front of the horn.
  5. Been doing a fair amount of painting. Here's a work in progress you guys might like.
  6. English Saddle Cleaning Question

    Knee rolls are supposed to be flesh colored, yes. Clean them with a stiff brush to loosen any dirt deep down in the knap, and some folks have used commercial suede cleaners to get them more uniform in color. I've also heard some folks using a light whisking of sandpaper to spruce up the appearance of knee rolls. I wouldn't oil them, as that oil will transfer onto your breeches, leaving you with lovely dark spots on the insides of your knees. ;) It also defeats the purpose of suede knee rolls, which is grip.
  7. How To Start Oiling A New (But Very Dry) Saddle

    Oiling the undersides of your saddle will do a better job than oiling the coated topside will. It will also get the life back into the saddle leather without breaking down the cellular structure of the leather. The sealer that was used on this saddle is on there for a reason, and keeping liquids out (like oils, etc.) is one of them. I'd use Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The only time I typically use Neatsfoot is when I want to color a leather up, actually.
  8. Restoring 30+ Year Old Saddles

    Pure Neatsfoot oil will discolor the leather a little bit, just FYI. It adds a hint of golden red tone. Prime Neatsfoot adds an extremely red tone. All oil will tone leather to some degree, so keep that in mind. I have gotten some of the best results doing the old-school route on these. I picked up a few tricks from Will Ghormley and Chuck Burrows that have yet to fail me. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Yep, the kind you buy at the super market. Just make sure it's EV, or it will turn the leather rancid. Apply it to the underside of the leather, as it's likely you'll have a protective coating of Saddlelac or some form of wax on top that could make oil application uneven. For sealing flat leathers (no tooling or stamping), I use a beeswax/paraffin mix. I'll use this straight up to, and around the edges, to seal those as well. I stay away from commercial conditioners and chemical sealers where I can. For tooled leather, I'll lightly apply Dubbin or Blackrock when there is little to no sealer on the surface, or a carnauba cream (not straight flake). With the Dubbin or Blackrock, I'll let it set for 3-4 days, and then polish and buff it out. I usually use Blackrock on a slick saddle's seat anyway, as it generally gives a bit of grip to the seat. Conditioners and sealers like Dubbin and Blackrock are made up of various animal fats and oils, mixed with a base of natural waxes, usually carnaubas or diluted beeswax mixtures. Seems like there are quite a few varieties of mixes, and most folks keep theirs proprietary. The oils absorb into the leather over a few days time (the warmer, the faster - just don't bake it, ok?), more or less leaving the wax on top, which allows you to buff it out. It looks very nice, and mellow. If you want a leather to really shine, use a bit of water on a polishing rag, dip it in a beeswax/paraffin combo and keep applying until you can't get anymore wax in there. I've been able to get an amazing gloss like patent leather doing this, but it takes a LOT of time and a LOT of rubbing. Rub in circles.
  9. Can Suede Chaps Be Dyed?

    Here you go ... YRMV, however.
  10. Does Boring Forums = Nobody Is Messy In There?

    In the Disney movie, this is where the cantankerous old farmer would come out of the house in his stocking cap and nightshirt and start yelling at the henhouse to settle down. Oh, and his tired, aged bloodhound would wander out with him.
  11. Leather Craft

    If you really want some inspiration (and don't do what I do and let it get you down that you're not as good as these guys), check out the work of guys like Cary Schwarz, Rick Bean and Dale Harwood. It'll give you a shock of what really can be done in leather. Also, check out some silversmiths, as I sometimes get really good ideas from their work, too.
  12. Leather Craft

    Very nicely done. Looks like you have a fantastic start. I personally stay away from the sewing machine for chinks and chaps, as I like using heavier cords for the really heavy-duty items. Typically, I used 3-4 cord waxed poly for that kinda stuff. When it gets into finer stitching, the linens will serve you well. I just find something aesthetically pleasing in the rugged look of 6-stitch/inch leather stitching. Typically, I'll use a multi-punch to speed things up, but using a stitch marker and an awl is far more traditional and when someone is willing to pay for that kind of work, I really enjoy doing it.
  13. Cleaning Metal

    Brasso, and a regular (non-steel) wool pad.
  14. Replacing Billets On An English Saddle

    Any quality tack shop in your area can do this for you, and I would personally recommend leather, actually. If you cannot find anyone and need to ship it, Jack B should easily be able to fix it for you, and I can fix it, too. Jack's much more skilled at this kinda thing that I am.
  15. Is There Something Better Than Neatsfoot Oil?

    Fiebings Deglazer would work. You can get it at Tandy, or online at ... As an aside, you can always use Blackrock or Dubbin as well. Dubbin and Blackrock have heavy oils combined with waxes. You need to let these set in and then buff them. Aside from 100% Pure Neatsfoot, you can also use Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Yep, the same kind you find at the grocery store. Just make sure it's Extra Virgin. To seal it, I would recommend using a beeswax-paraffin combo in 70/30 mix. It's a mix I picked up from Will Ghormley and it works nicely. Bear in mind, it will need to be re-applied every now and then, but it will also keep you from having to chemically strip your leather.