New Wood for some old Leather

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Project by HeirloomWoodworking posted 04-08-2010 02:00 AM 2158 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At my regular job, I was in a customer’s office making a service call, when I was approached by the owner. He had heard that I “did some woodworking”, and asked if I would be interested in making him something.

Of course without asking what he wanted made, I instinctively said “Sure I’d love to”. He then explained that he had his fathers boyhood saddle, and that it was a real family treasure, and he wanted a means to display it in his home. I don’t know how old the saddle is, but it is a unique piece of Americana, I love it.

I remember thinking…”you want me to make a what? This is a new one!”.

He had a picture of the basic idea of what he wanted, but wanted the work to be a piece of furniture that would conform to the nice things that he had in his entertainment room.

For advice and a starting point I sent a message to our friend Thos. Angle. One of the many valuable suggestions he shared with me, was to get the saddle and make a prototype that conformed to the shape of it. Great idea!

Creating the “ribs” and getting the curves to fit nicely to the saddles underbelly took a lot of time and perseverance, but in the end the customer and I liked the beginning design.

As mentioned, the finished product called for quality lumber, and after a morning trip to my fellow Lumberjock friend Rastus, and his custom mill Native Lumber and Sawmill, I had the wood that I needed. After some re-sawing, planning, and jointing I had the 6/4×20” x 36” walnut planks created for the ends. I worked around the bad void areas in the wood, but was able to incorporate many of the gorgeous grain patterns that this lumber possessed.

If you look carefully at the front, you will see a large black streak in the walnut. Careful inspection (with my planer) revealed that this was actually a piece of barbed wire that had grown into the tree. The wire had created a wonderful color pattern in the wood, and I left the wire in the work, as it adds a great little bit of character.

The ribs are mortised 1/2” into the ends. I did not trust the glue joints to last over time, (and rambunctious grandchildren riding the “horse”), so I also installed some long strong screws to keep the work stable.

To hide the screw heads, I created an inlay sunset pattern from bloodwood. This was really my first attempt at inlay work, and I am pretty happy with the results.

Lots and lots of sanding, lots and lots of 100% tung oil (6 coats), and a couple of coats of wax.

I am going to deliver the piece tonight. The new owner has not seen any of the work since the prototype was made. I hope he likes it.

Thanks for letting me share.

-- Trevor Premer Head Termite and Servant to the Queen - Heirloom Woodworking

11 comments so far

View chrisl's profile


17 posts in 3918 days

#1 posted 04-08-2010 03:02 AM

Very nice! Great work and design!

-- Chris L from Beatrice, NE

View blackcherry's profile


3338 posts in 4021 days

#2 posted 04-08-2010 03:10 AM

That is so cool, I’ll have to show this to a friends of mine, she going to want one for sure. Thanks for posting and the saddle is well taken care of by the way…BC

View clieb91's profile


3521 posts in 4133 days

#3 posted 04-08-2010 03:36 AM

Nicely done. A great display piece, sure to hold that saddle through many years to come.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View dan abalos's profile

dan abalos

106 posts in 3181 days

#4 posted 04-08-2010 04:12 AM

WOW! Great work Trevor! I love that there’s a piece of barbed wire in the wood, that is so cool. Kind of blends with the early rider days when there were no fences on the range. You couldn’t ask for a better piece of wood for this design piece. The design is great and I’m sure he will love it.

-- Beer is the reason I exist on this earth, that and my family! (Aurora, IL) my blog:

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3216 days

#5 posted 04-08-2010 05:07 AM

Awesome piece of work and I love the fact that it had barbed wire in the wood to hold the saddle. Perfect complement! I can guarantee that the client will love this. If he doesn’t something is wrong with him! Please post again when you get back from delivering this beautiful project.

Erwin Jacksonville, Fl

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4161 days

#6 posted 04-08-2010 05:12 AM

Well done my friend. That oughta do ‘er.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18388 posts in 3874 days

#7 posted 04-08-2010 05:51 AM

Looks great! A lot better than my dad’s milk cans ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View jayjay's profile


639 posts in 3244 days

#8 posted 04-08-2010 02:11 PM

Very nice work.

-- ~Jason~ , Albuquerque NM

View HeirloomWoodworking's profile


238 posts in 3938 days

#9 posted 04-08-2010 03:42 PM

Thank you all for the kind words!

The new owner was elated, and we both loved how it looked in his entertainment room.

He took the time to tell me the saddles history and its value to him as a family heirloom. It gave me a great deal of satisfaction to see the look on this man’s face as he told me stories surrounding the saddle, and I am sure that he will be just as emotional as he tells those same stories to future guests of his home.

The outcome has made this one of my favorite builds.


-- Trevor Premer Head Termite and Servant to the Queen - Heirloom Woodworking

View JimNEB's profile


239 posts in 3266 days

#10 posted 04-08-2010 04:01 PM

Nice job on that. Now he not only has an heirloom saddle but a heirloom stand to put it on.

-- Jim, Nebraska

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4284 days

#11 posted 04-09-2010 03:52 AM

That has to be the fanciest saddle tree I have ever seen. What a nice way to display a family heirloom.


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