Author Archives: rachel-fogarty

pitchforklogo (1)Pitchfork Saddlery

Featured Tippmann Customer

Name: Franklin D. Hollar

Company: Pitchfork Saddlery

Address:  529 Winchester Drive, West Plains,Missouri 65775

What is your specialty?

Pitchfork Saddlery is a custom saddle shop.  We also focus on other items such as chaps, gunbelts, holsters and buckskins.

What were you looking for in a sewing machine?

When we started looking at leather crafting machines, we had several things we were concerned about. The most important factor was the simplicity.  I wanted a machine that was easy to use, but yet had enough strength to do what I needed it to do.  I wanted a manually operated machine, so that I could control every stitch and have the ability to sew at a desired speed. I needed a machine that offered the ability to sew through various weights of material, ranging from clothing weight leather all the way up to saddle skirting.

What type of machine were you using before your Tippmann Boss?

I had been using an Adler Flat Bed Model 104.

Comments on the Tippmann Boss:

I have been using “The Boss” for 15 years and it has sewn all leather weights and it does and excellent job of placing the bobbin thread at the center of all leathers.  Due to the “Boss’s” manual operation, it is very easy to control, and offers very simple stitch length adjustment.  The “Boss” is very versatile, and allows you to sew very thin leathers with light thread, all the way up to heavy weight saddle leather and thread.  The “Boss” has the extra attachments needed to turn out a professional looking project.  As far as customer service and support are concerned, Tippmann is top drawer.

I have included several images along with this interview. One piece that deserves special attention is the piece which my parade saddle which I created for Howard Maxwell.  This saddle is valued at over $55,000.  It took over 7 years to complete, and all of the required machine work was done with  a Tippmann “Boss” Hand Stitcher.

The Silver Dollar Saddle is a carved saddle, mounted with 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar Theme.  This saddle is valued at $9,500   The carving on this saddle was completed by Howard Maxwell, Ocala, Florida and silversmith D.L. Moss, West Plains, Missouri.





Featured Tippmann Customer


U-N-I Games


Buddy Gilbert and Dale Bloomer



2716 4th Place NW

Birmingham, AL 35215


Product being covered:

POW — Prisoner of War multi person board game

We have a very unique expandable game board. The game board expands to the size needed depending on the number of players, eliminating wasted time traveling over unoccupied territory. The characteristics of the game board require precise and consistent cuts, which the Tippmann Clicker Die Press was able to offer.


Object of Game:

To be the first player to move his or her troops around the playable game board from their camp to  their own colored headquarters.

What led you to the Tippmann press as a solution for your die cutting needs?

At first we had planned to have another company build the games, right down to the shrink wrap and we would just sell the product. Because we wanted to start with a small number of games (500 Games) the per game cost would be very expensive even though they would be made in China.

Because we live in the greatest country in the world, it didn’t make sense why we couldn’t make them here in the United States. After researching local manufacturing we realized to keep the games affordable we would have to make the games ourselves.

U-N-I Games has gone to great lengths to use American Products. We looked for companies based in the USA. What has impressed me the most about doing business with the US companies is the attitude of the people. I have found that doing business with companies that have sound principles, like Tippmann, opens doors to other companies with the same attitudes.

Dale found Tippmann through a web search. I was familiar with the quality of Tippmann paint ball markers and was glad to see they made a press. We contacted Bob Tippmann who worked with U-N-I Games to pick out an affordable, high quality US made Die Press that perfectly fit our needs. Because we needed a more complex die than Tippmann manufactured, Bob told us about Steel Rule Diemaster (Menominee Falls, Wisconsin). They crafted the two steel rule dies needed to make the expandable game board for the P.O.W. Game.


How we cut our material prior to using the Tippmann Press:

We used a manual cutter. I was the man and I had a cutter (X-acto knife). The first two sets of prototype game boards where made by Dale and myself. It took us around 40 hours one weekend. That included a couple of trips to the hobby store, printing, gluing and hand cutting the foam board with an X-acto knife. The Tippmann press increased our production from two games in a weekend to 100 games in a weekend.



Talks with Animals LogoTalks with Animals

Featured Tippmann Customer

Customer Name: Talks With Animals

Address: 37 Sesame Street, Keene, NH 03431

Company: Onzaamidoon Wiijayaaw Awakaanag (OWA) (translates to Talks With Animals)

Years in the leather industry: 55 +

How did you get started in the leather industry?

We were poor and I had to learn to make things I wanted and needed. I trapped Muskrats and Beavers and tanned the skins to make things.

What aspect(s) of the leather industry you are involved in?

This is from my business plan:

Onzaamidoon Wiijayaaw Awakaanag, hereafter know as OWA, is a sole proprietor company owned by Talks With Animals. OWA creates and sells handcrafted custom products made of leather and wood and creates glass etchings. Most items are created as custom products according to customer requirements. Some finished products are on hand to demonstrate the types of products that OWA creates. The owner, Talks With Animals, has been designing and creating both leather and wood products for over 55 years. Currently the business is operated at 37 Sesame Street in Keene, NH, 03431, a private residence. However, it is the intent of Talks With Animals to own a building in southern NH that would serve as a manufacturing facility as well as a retail store for OWA. In addition to the retail store, OWA plans to operate a website to promote the business and where orders are processed. The target market includes Aboriginal Peoples and people who prefer hand crafted leather and wood products and hand etched glass items. OWA considers doing repairs on leather products on a case-by-case basis. OWA uses top of the line raw materials to create the custom products. All products sold by OWA are handcrafted by Talks With Animals. OWA does not resell products from other sources.

How did you originally hear about Tippmann?

Through The Leather Crafters & Saddle Journal. I have dreamed of owning one for a long time.

What types of machines did you use before Tippmann and if you had used any other Tippmann Machines?

I have used an old electric industrial heavy duty machine used to sew rugs together. I have also used, and still do, an electric sewing machine to sew light leather materials such as pocketbooks. I have never used any other Tippmann products.

Pros to the Tippmann versus other machines?

I love the Boss. The Boss is an excellent machine for the type of custom work I do. An electric machine just does not work well for what I make. It took me about 8 hours to sew on one wear sole by hand for one moccasin. With the Boss it takes me 5-10 minutes.  How is that for increasing production?!

Cons to the Tippmann versus other machines?

Sometimes I find it difficult to hold a piece and hold the threads when starting the sewing process.

Suggestions to others who are looking to get started in a leather craft.

Get some professional help to develop and document a business plan. The business plan will determine if you should go into the business or not. Do not just start a business without doing a business plan.

What has changed in the leather crafting industry since you first started?

Too many things to mention here. From the leather tanning and sewing machine industries to the computer industries to what customers want, there are many, many things that have changed over the past 55 years. The world is flat. Things can be bought, sold, and be seen in seconds now around the globe. That did not happen 55 years ago.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing to remember before beginning a new piece.

Have a plan and a pattern, even if you have to take apart an existing piece to make the pattern.


To make your own puckertoe moccasins, Talks with Animals was kind enough to put together a complete guide showing step by step how to make them with the Tippmann Boss. Here is a link to the pdf

SteveBSteveB Leatherworks

SteveB Leatherworks

Steve Berner


POB 3414
Stamford, CT 06905

Who likes my work?:

Motorcycle enthusiasts and people who like heavy duty, all-purpose leather goods with a custom touch seem to connect with my work. I do work for a wide range of enthusiasts: from MC clubs to the lone wolf, from folks in the Military who are overseas to LEO’s.
I fabricate wallets, belts, sheaths/cases (for knives, multi tools and cell phones and other daily carry items) from heavy weight vegetable tanned cowhide. I decorate most all my work with a combination of carving and stamping techniques and dye.
Wallets can be decorated front and back with all sorts of artwork and stamping patterns. The interiors of my wallets are always multi-colored – it’s a trademark of mine and a bit unexpected.. Every piece I make is unique – I don’t use templates, I draw freehand so my customers can be sure they’ve got a one of a kind original.
I sew using hand operated, treadle or electric sewing machines or I saddle stitch by hand depending on the job. I own 2 Tippmann Bosses, a newer aluminum framed model and an older cast iron unit. Additionally I have a Tippmann embosser. The Boss is my every day sewing machine. The control the machine gives me is key for ease of use. For a reference point 99% of the thread I use is 277.

About Me:

I’m a long time, dedicated motorcycle enthusiast who for the most part maintains his own aging fleet of air cooled, high-mileage machines, I place a high value on simple, durable, utilitarian things: two cylinders in a 45 degree V-Twin configuration, quality tools that fit the hand, a bike that starts when I reach down and push the button, a substantial belt to keep my droopy drawers up, to hang a knife on, a wallet that’s “mine”, a special sheath for a special blade, a case that will carry as well as protect my phone and so on – you get the idea – nothing super fancy pants or hi-hooha style – but utilitarian, well crafted things.
My interest in leathercraft came out of my own desire for these goods and the ensuing frustration of not being above to find a craftsperson to make them, all the while wrestling a burning desire to satisfy my creative energies.
I love this always-humbling art form and learn a lesson every time I sit at the bench. I really do feel fortunate to have found “my” craft and I am certainly most thankful that people like my work. The highest tribute I am paid, is that my customers most always come back for more. How cool is that?
If you want to talk about having me make something for you, call or write.

Chisholm's TrailChisholm’s Trail

Featured Tippmann Customer


Chisholm’s Trail Leather


Alan Soellner


Movie Credits:

  • 3:10 to Yuma, with Russell Crowe, Christian Bale (some holsters & gun belts)
  • The Assignation of Jesse James, with Brad Pitt (input into some design detail of gun rigs)
  • The Four Horsemen, by producer Michael Back (the four main gun rigs of the horsemen)

Major Shop Equipment:

Tippmann Boss Sewing Machine

Tippmann 15 ton Clicker

Adler 205 sewing machine

Standard rivet machine

Baldor edge burnisher


Company Focus:

Here at Chisholm’s Trail Old West Leather we produce all of our cowboy leather gear from original examples or period patterns. Many items we make are similar to examples found in the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, The Gene Autry Museum , Cody Museum and other great collections. Others are from the pages of the landmark book “Packing Iron,” by Richard Rattenbury, “Tombstone-The Guns & Gear,” photographs from the movie, and other collections of the American Cowboy.


Here at Chisholm’s Trail Old West Leather we produce all of our cowboy leather gear from original examples or period patterns. Many items we make are similar to examples found in the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, The Gene Autry Museum , Cody Museum and other great collections. Others are from the pages of the landmark book “Packing Iron,” by Richard Rattenbury, “Tombstone-The Guns & Gear,” photographs from the movie, and other collections of the American Cowboy.

Training and Experience:

Alan & Donna have traveled extensively in the old west visiting locations such as the National Cowboy Museum where they were able to examine originals by hand. Recording thickness, construction details, color, tooling, stamping, sewing, and patterns. Alan learned his basic leather working skills from John O’Rourke of Alabama, one of the best leather crafters extant. Sheridan carving skills were learned from K.C. Krueger of Oklahoma City. Volumes of valuable advice and techniques were shared by Will Ghormley of Iowa, who has produced leather for most of the recent westerns in Hollywood.


Single Action Shooting Society (SASS), National Rifle Assoc., Kentucky Long rifle Assoc, S.A.R.


Chisholm’s Trail is ready and able to take on volume work including all Western movie leather. We do offer discounts for volume work.

Chisholms Trail Pics

Update on Chisholm’s Trail

Here is the update of things going on at Chisholm’s Trail. As you know we were privileged to produce several holsters and cartridge belts for last year’s great western movie “3:10 to Yuma,” with Russell Crowe. As a result of our quality, we got the nod to make Val Kilmer’s holster for the new “Doc Holliday” movie to be filmed sometime this year. He now has three rigs of ours, including a new design for a shoulder holster that is very comfortable to wear and one a pistol can be drawn from without the rig moving.

Our leather was featured for the first time in the Winter 09 issue of the magazine “Guns of the Old West.” In this tribute to the classic westerns “Lonesome Dove” and “Comanche Moon,” our Colt Patterson holster holds a prominent position on the cover. We will also have an article in the Spring 09 issue of the same magazine as well as on the cover. This focus will be on the recent western “Appaloosa,” starring Ed Harris and Vigo Mortensen.

The folks from “Gunfighter Gulch” flew out from California and video taped authentic cowboy gun leather being constructed in our shop. They intend to weave it into a documentary on cowboy fast draw for a TV program later in the year.

A reality program in Arizona wanting authentic cowboy holsters and belts will be using all Chisholm’s Trail gun leather for their contestants, allowing our gear to receive first time television visibility. It seems that our focus is becoming increasingly angled toward movies and historical reproductions.

Lately we have been disappointed that many of the leather and hardware companies continue to “discontinue” nice buckles and conchos. As a result we have added a “Buckle and Jewelry” button to our web site and are now having our own authentic buckles “hand cast” from solid brass and white bronze.

Last year we took a couple of weeks to complete some research out west. This resulted in a 6,000 mile trip, entering fourteen states, viewing over 24 major historical museums and historical locations, and took over 1,200 photographs of cowboy leather. Some of our new rigs that came about as a result are authentic reproductions of the holsters and gun belts of Wild Bill Hickock, Billy the Kid, Johnny Ringo, Doc Holliday, Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp, Pat Garrett, and Sitting Bull.

Exciting gun leather projects to come are Geronimo, Quanah Parker, Shane, John Wesley Hardin, and of course more Doc Holliday gear.

Quality goes in before the name goes on. As always Chisholm’s Trail gear is constructed using Tippmann sewing machines only.

We feel we owe our growing success from four corporate objectives:

“Honor God, Help People Develop, Pursue Excellence, & Grow Profitably.”

*NEW* Chisholm’s Trail Pics 7/2009


Note from Bob Tippmann:

I would like to personally thank Alan Soellner for graciously allowing us to use his beautiful knife sheath in our magazine advertising. Currently, we are using it in a Blade Magazine ad. The first run of the ad we did not credit Alan’s work, but I would like everyone to know that it is Alan’s sheath in the advertisement, and I will make sure we give credit where credit is due.

Bob Tippmann