"Custom saddle making is a dying art. If you find that you have a real interest in this field, you should learn as much as possible and pass this knowledge on to others. " - Pete Harry
Are you fascinated with the Old West and interested in learning the craft of saddle-making? Do you intend to make it your career or a skilled hobby? Then, you came to the right place.
This school is generally taught on a one-to-one basis; I never take more than two students at a time. It lasts for four weeks with my instruction given Monday through Friday. In that time period, you will have as much hands-on training as you can handle, as I do not limit myself to eight-hour working days. You will build one saddle, for which I will teach you basic border tooling if you desire. At the end of the school, you will have a saddle that you can take out and ride and enjoy. You do need to realize that you will not become an expert in four weeks, but this course will provide you with a foundation which cannot be found in books or DVD courses.
Watch the video below to get a sense of what the saddle making school is about and to get a feel of the environment where you as a student will spent time learning the craft if you choose to do so. (If your browser does not display the video, you can access it from YouTube following the link Saddle Making School.)
Our students have utilized several sources of funding to help with tuition costs. One is a Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program -for military veterans--and the second is through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The WIA is accessed through State Employment Agencies. It helps with training for people that have lost jobs or been laid off from work. Read the story of one of my student veteran.A third source is state Vocational Rehabilitation programs. Lastly, students who are eligible for the GI Bills may receive GI Bill benefits while attending the school.
Also, check out the Photo Gallery of our graduates.
You will start by preparing the saddletree. This is the framework on which your saddle will be built.
You will learn how to select the materials for your saddle and the difference in quality. Basic tools used in saddle making, caring for those tools and where to purchase them will be discussed.
You will learn how to develop patterns and how to make your own patterns. Then you will learn about cutting leather and applying it to your tree.
You will learn what constitutes a good saddle; not only one that is pleasing to the eye, but one that is structurally sound.
You will learn the differences between types of saddles.
I will teach you many practical tips that I have developed over the years so you will know what works and what does not and why.
Last but not least, I will teach you how to start up a saddlery, promote your product and establish a customer base.
By the end of the month, you will have much hands-on experience. To help you retain as much as possible, you need to bring a notebook and camera. Once you have completed the course, you can contact me at anytime to help you with whatever problem might arise.
Custom saddle making is a dying art. If you find that you have a real interest in this field, you should learn as much as possible and pass this knowledge on to others. Don’t let it end with you. The fee for this school is $4,500.00 due at the beginning of the course and non-refundable. As this is a working shop with many customers, I need to book your class thirty days in advance, please.
If your are uncertain whether you possess the necessary abilities to succeed in this career, read the article, Becoming a Saddle Maker, I have written it to help you better understand the custom saddle making business. Hopefully, by the end of the article you will be able to answer the question: "Is this right for me? Do I see myself as a saddle maker?"
Check out the video about my worktable:
Check the page describing details about student accommmodations.
I teach other courses on leather tooling and carving, making saddle accessories, silver working, bit and spur making and woodworking. For these courses, you need to contact me so we can determine exactly what your interests and skill levels are. Then a class would be tailored to your needs.
Once you learn the leather working process, you can make other decisions. You can do very general work or very specialized—such as work with leather garments or accessories for motorcycles, black powder shooters or shooters in general—gun cases and sleeves, pouches, thermos holders, canteen covers, etc. Your imagination is the only limit!