Author Archives: Bob Tippmann

Sam HarrisSam Harris

Featured Tippmann Customer

Name: Sam Harris

Company: Samsco

Nature of Business: Saddle Making and Leather Crafting

Contact Information:

3232 Hwy 29E

Burnet TX 78611

Phone: 512-756-4328

 

How did you get into the leather crafting industry?

In 1970, I retired from the insurance industry to get back to my passion, “Horses”. I soon found that saddles being made did not allow me to sit on a horse in a natural way. I wanted my legs to be in the same position as if I were riding horseback. So, I decided that I would make a saddle like a I wanted. I located a man in Florida who had figured out how to hand the stirrup leathers forward by having the tree maker cut slots in the bars under the pommel. It took 3 trials, but after building the fourth saddle, I was satisfied with my work.

I spent the next 25 years making saddles…mostly for women, as I learned to make a comfortable saddle. At the present time, I have reduced my leather work to making albums, note pads, belts pistol holders.

How did I discover the Tippmann Boss Hand Stitcher?

I was attending a saddle makers trade show, when I first saw the Tippmann Boss. I was fascinated with this machine andoverwhelmed by the simplicity of its operation. I could not believe what I was seeing, this machine sewed just as good a stitch as a Bull or Adler sewing machine. I had used a Bull Sewing machine for many years in my Saddle making business, and it did a wonderful job. As I began to slow down and my work load moved to creating leather albums, leather note pads, leather belts and leather pistol holders, I decided to trade my Bull in for a Tippmann Boss.

Leather crafting advice from Sam Harris:

If one is interested in getting into the leather industry at this time, I suggest that you begin by taking a lesson at your nearest Tandy, to learn the basics. One needs to remember that this trade takes patience and dedication and the willingness to spend the time to learn.

Saddle Making Tip from Sam Harris:

Order the correct TREE.

If you dont start with the right tree, you”ll never have the right saddle. Its the foundation that doesnt change to fit you or your horse. I give a lot of thought to ordering the right tree. One must consider how the saddle will be used, the size of the rider, the type of horses and many other factors. I usually spend time with the customer to get the right specifications. I order the tree to fit the horse then make the saddle to fit the rider.

I have learned that there is a difference in leather. I hand pick the leather I buy, so I get the best that is available.

What has changed in the saddle making industry over the past 20 years?

The wholesale saddle manufacturers have changed the horizon for the independent saddle maker. These companies use imported leather and have ways to cut costs by volume purchasing and assembly line methods. When I started in 1985, conditions were different. Materials cost $500 for a saddle that you were selling for $1000. Though that was not a ton of money, it still allowed for a bit of profit.

Bogg's Handcrafter Leather GoodsBogg’s Leather

 Featured Tippmann Customer

Company:
Bogg’s Leather

Name:
Scott Babb

Website:

http://stores.ebay.com/BOGGS-HANDCRAFTED-LEATHER-GOODS

What is your specialty?

Archery Equipment and other leather items.

“I was a job supervisor for Curtain Wall for 23 years, installing glass on skyscrapers and military installations. I made great money, but I didn’t get to spend as much time with my kids as I wanted. I was involved in Mountain Man Rendezvous, and I bought a black powder ball bag on EBay about 4 years ago. It was junk. After I pitched it, I made my own. It was then I started doing leather work. I had never worked a piece of leather before. Now (4 years later) I work leather full time: from 4 in the morning until 4 or 5 in the afternoon. I work at home in my shop, so I get to spend more time with my two youngest children, Kingston and Jennifer. I also have three older sons.”

“Before I bought my Boss 1-1/2 years ago, I sewed everything by hand. When I bought the Boss, I was a complete novice with a sewing machine. The first night I had it, I was sewing my first piece. After about a week of playing with it, I had it all figured out. It has increased my output and the quality of my work dramatically. The ability to place a stitch exactly where it needs to be on tight corners and odd angles render this stitcher an absolute must in my leather shop. I use this machine every day. I have just about every accessory for the machine, which allows me to work with the thinnest leather to the thickest napped furs and everything in-between. The only accessory I don’t use very much is the Material Guide. I also built my own table for the machine, with a recessed mount on the table.”

Scott has recently had a brush with fame. Through a chance connection, Scott is making a custom quiver for non other than “The Nuge” (Ted Nugent!). Mr. Nugent hunts black coyote every year in Scott’s area, and he is going to stop by personally to pick it up. Scott has named it “Spirit of the Wild,” which is a fitting name for Ted’s quiver.

Scott makes civil war reenactment pieces, and has been an avid black powder hunter since he was very young. He once killed a bear with a .58 caliber Flintlock. He has made quivers out of all different kinds of leathers and materials. A lady from Idaho sent him the rib bones from her first deer, which Scott made into a quiver.

Scott is mechanically minded and good with his hands. He is currently developing a new design for a quiver, but didn’t want to give up his secrets. He calls the new series “Ultimate Hunter,” and should be available soon.

Scott sells most of his wares on EBay. He is amazed at all the different countries he has shipped his quivers. He used to keep a map with thumbtacks, “but now I can’t keep up with them.” He also sells at Mountain Man Rendezvous, sometimes from his front porch. “There is a festival every year in our town, and I can hang my leather goods from the front porch and people stop by. I’m usually sold out by the end of the weekend.”

 

Luke HattleyLuke Hattley

Featured Tippmann Customer:

Name: 

Luke Hattley

 

Major Shop Equipment:

Tippmann Boss Sewing Machine

Sewmo

Adler Long Arm

 

“I’ve got more machines now than I can ever wear out.”

 

About Luke Hattley:

“When I retired from meat cutting 5 years ago, I told my wife I now have 30 years to do what I want to do.”

At 66 years old, he keeps busy with repair work and creating new items. “I’m in the right location for leather repair.” The closest leather repair business to him is about 35 miles away. While Luke operates a leather craft business, it isn’t all about the money. “When I sought out my vocation, leather crafting was at the bottom of the list.” He has seen some of the leather craft industry deteriorate, from production going overseas to shoe repair businesses closing up left and right. “In Memphis, 3 shoe repair shops have closed in the last year.” He feels that while people don’t need their shoes re-soled anymore, there is still a demand for high quality footwear. He makes shoes and moccasins on a custom basis, and enjoys doing it.

Luke uses his Tippmann Boss on a regular basis along with his powered machines. “There are some things it can’t do, and some things it can. I have been very happy with my machine. It took me about 2 weeks to talk my wife into letting me buy it. When I got the machine set up, I had some questions. I talked on the phone with Al (Tippmann Engineer), and he set me right. I really can’t complain about anything with the Tippmann Boss. It is a quality product, and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. There are a couple things that I do with my Boss to help it sew right. I always put a smaller sized thread on the bobbin, which seems to help with the stitch. Sometimes I have a hard time sewing really hard veg tan leather, but all I need is some thread lubricant and it sews just fine. A buddy of mine bought a Boss a couple years ago, and I have helped him out when he had questions. Right now, he is building a saddle which has been done completely on a Boss.”

Luke made a custom stand for his Tippmann Boss. He started with a Singer 29-4 patch machine stand, and built a box that sits on the stand next to the box. The top of the box is flush with the needle plate on the Boss, so that he can rest his material on the box and keep it level while he stitches. “I looked at the flatbed attachment, but I had heard that it was inconvenient to change out your bobbin. So I built this box, which I can just lift out of the way when I don’t need it there.”

Luke sometimes gets some odd requests. Just the other day, he received a phone call from a guy who is restoring a 1900 Fire Engine. It has a leather cover for the steering column gear box, and Luke is making the replacement piece.

Luke also has a passion for motorcycles. “I’ve ridden motorcycles for a good part of my life, and that was one of the things I appreciated about Tippmann Products. They have old restored motorcycles placed in the office of the factory. It’s just my type of company. I grew up on a Cushman Scooter, and when I got a little older I was a cruising fool on my 1967 BSA Spitfire.”

“It’s not about the Dollar– It’s about a job well done and the satisfaction of doing a job well.”
– Luke Hattley

 

RG Ross SaddleryRoss Saddlery

Featured Tippmann Customer

 

Company:

Ross Saddlery

 

Name:

Ron Ross

 

Address: 

6415 SR 1

St. Joe, Indiana 46785

 

Website: www.rosaddlery.com

 

Major Shop Equipment:

Tippmann Boss sewing machine

Tippmann Aerostitch sewing machine

Tippmann Embosser

Landis Three leather stitcher

 

History:

Ross Saddlery was started in June 1959, upon my completion of Active Military Service. Over these years, it has remained a sole proprietorship, and a highly respected maker of quality horse gear and many other leather items. With the advent of the Internet, my sales approach was broadened. Instead of being a local business, we are now an International business.

Our business has broadened to include custom carving for several national manufacturers, one being a major manufacturer of pool cue cases for the professional billiard players. In addition to leather goods, my line of merchandise now includes a series of leather carving pattern books, and, in the near future, patterns for items such as saddles and gun belt and holsters will be released.

 

Training and Experience:

Basically, I am self-educated, but, I have had many mentors. Saddle makers that I became friends with. Leather artists that I came to know and who offered guidance to direct me to where I am today. As a result of that training, I now conduct training sessions at major leather craft and trade shows, as well as have several training programs in effect, conducted here in my shop. Subjects being leather carving, saddle making, and a program where the person can tell me what they want to learn, and, if I am proficient in it, I will teach that person all that I can on that topic.

 

Memberships: 

International Internet Leathercrafters’ Guild (currently in second term as President) and member, Hoosier Leathercraft Guild

 

Awards: 
Inducted into the IILG Hall of Fame, 2005. Ron has also been featured in trade publications such as the Leather Crafters and Saddler’s Journal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graber Harness & SaddleryGraber Harness & Saddlery, LLC

Featured Tippmann Customer

Company:
Graber Harness & Saddlery

 

Name:
Chris Graber

 

Address:

Graber Harness and Saddlery
14301 Cuba Road.
Grabill, IN 46741
Phone: 260-657-3800
Fax: 260-657-3801
Website: www.graberharness.com

 

About Graber Harness and Saddlery:

Graber Harness and Saddlery is a family owned and run leather crafting business, located in a small Amish Community just outside of Fort Wayne, IN. In 1974 E.J. Graber established Graber Harness and Saddlery. The company grew from a Harness and Saddle repair shop to a full
time manufacturing business. Today The Graber family is offering a full line of Leather tool pouches, belts and accessories.  We are pleased to offer a high quality product at a competitive
price to the construction industry.

Feel free to call us with your custom leather crafting needs as we are happy to quote even the most complex job. We are certain that you will not only be pleased with our competitive pricing and timely service, but with the outstanding quality which Graber has offered since 1974.
Graber uses the full line of Tippmann equipment and accessories, ranging from their needles to the Boss Hand Stitcher, Embosser and Clicker 1500.  In conjunction with your manufacturing business, we operate a General Store offering a full range of products.
We invite you to stop by our facility in Grabill Indiana if you are ever in the area.