Category Archives: Newsletter

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

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

Bogg’s Leather

Scott Babb


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:


Luke Hattley


Major Shop Equipment:

Tippmann Boss Sewing Machine


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



Ross Saddlery



Ron Ross



6415 SR 1

St. Joe, Indiana 46785




Major Shop Equipment:

Tippmann Boss sewing machine

Tippmann Aerostitch sewing machine

Tippmann Embosser

Landis Three leather stitcher



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.



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


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

Graber Harness & Saddlery


Chris Graber



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


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.

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