Slick Fork Saddle Shop
The Shop is located here in western Montana known as " Big Sky Country". I am the one who actually builds these western saddles, saddle trees, and western tack, from the saddle tree on up. I try to buy the best materials I can find to build what I make, especially the western saddles. I do build a little mule tack, mostly a nice headstall built for mules, and a breast collar if I can still find the pattern I had.. I have built a few saddles for mules also, but mostly horse tack and horse supplies. Everything I make is western saddlery and western tack.
You can find information about the saddle trees that are built on site in the Saddle Tree Pages. There I will have some pictures and explanation about how the measurements work, what rocker and twist is, things related to saddle trees. Actually quite a bit of information. Everything is still a work in progress as far as the site and mercantile go.
You may have noticed that I have the Online Mercantile Which is Slick fork Saddle Shop’s online store. I already have some nice stirrups, reins, headstalls, leather care products, things for your saddle, and a lot more to be added as it is being built up. Mostly you will find western saddles and western tack and horse supplies I build in there. Its still a work in progress right now, but if you check back every so often you will find something that is new, updated, or just added.
Mostly the saddles I build are good ranch type saddles. So everything I make is built to rope and doctor cattle out of. Its little harder for me to build cutting, reining, or barrel saddles so I don’t build much of that stuff. I think it more of the ranch saddles are what I like doing, than I can't do the other types of saddles
I use a stitcher to sew my work on. They were invented back in the 1800's and can be kind of "difficult" sometimes. Especially when you need to get something done, they seem to have this "special detector" in them that knows when it is the worst time to act up. Come to find out the more you cuss and threaten one, the more they act up. However they make a really nice stitch that is tight and pulled down into the leather when I have sweet talked it and it is properly adjusted, oiled and happy. The stitching is more wear resistant and the stitching is even. So its worth it to me to put up with a little "adjusting" once in awhile because it does a great job and that's the most important thing to me, not speed. In fact, I like to stitch slower anyway, I can keep the stitching straight better that way. I think a stitcher like mine does the best job when its slowed down, for me anyway. I have to tie off the stitches by hand, just like something that is hand sewn. That takes more time, but is a better way of doing it. A stitcher has both an awl and a needle, and is more like hand stitching. The needle only sewing machines also need adjustment to keep them sewing well and I like the way mine stitches better than the way they sew. A sewing machine just has a needle, a stitcher has both a needle and an awl. The needle for a stitcher looks nothing like a needle your use to, more like a hook and it comes up from the bottom. The awl comes down from the top and makes the hole, and the needle comes up thru the hole from the bottom side of the leather. It’s the closest to hand stitching I think.
I am still building saddles, tack, and doing repair work here in my little shop that I started out in when I first opened up on my own. I may build a new one in the future, but have decided to fix up the old one some when I have the time and resources to do it. I can do it in stages as I have time and the money to do it that way. I did some of it last fall, and hope to do some more next year. I still do repair work if your here in Montana . If you have any questions get in touch with me or to just say hello. After I get my shop all fixed up I may even have a coffee pot going and a fire in my old cook stove if its in the winter. That’s if I get my building addition built on to the front so I have a place for the stove! The furnace will have to do until them .
Have a look around the site and Mercantile. If you have any questions you cant find the answer to feel free to email me from the contact page. A good page to check out is the Facts and Questions Page if you can't find the info you looking for on one of the main pages.. You may also call but I can't always pick up my phone, so be sure to leave me a message and I can get back to you ASAP.