Featured Tippmann Customer
LittleJoe Handmade Horse Gear
9572 West 87th St
Overland Park, KS 66212
Elizabeth specializes in hand-crafted horse gear. Read our interview with Elizabeth below:
How did you first get started in leather crafting?
I wanted to make a soft saddle or bareback pad that was more sturdy and stable than other ones on the market. In the process I learned how to make really nice billets to buckle the saddle to the girth, which I stitch with the Boss. Previous to that I had done quite a lot of leather braiding for myself and for friends, but nothing that required stitching.
What are some of your stories on leather crafting?
It was an interesting process, learning how to make a strong, flexible billet strap that would stand up to a lot of wear, dirt and horse sweat. I tried and rejected many different techniques! Through all the experimentation I was able to use the Boss to stitch through the thick leather. The billts I make now last and retain their flexibility for years, even when used every day.
In addition to the regular bareback pad, we also make a hippotherapy version with handles, which is used by several therapeutic riding organizations around the country.
At the same time, I have learned a lot of traditional braiding, which I use to make bridles, reins, romals, and horsehair tassels among other products. Sometimes I use leather, and sometimes I use nylon mountain-climbing rope. I did discover that I’m not very good with rawhide!
How long have you had (a) Tippmann Machine(s)?
About 8-9 years.
What made you decide to purchase the Boss?
I loved the fact that the Boss did not require a power source, and the simplicity of its design. My business is very small (it consists of me and one other person), so I needed something I could learn to repair myself–I cannot afford to be without a machine for days or weeks at a time while it’s out being serviced or repaired. The Boss is very reliable and easy to operate, and with the guidance of the tech staff I’ve been able to make any infrequent repairs and adjustments quickly and easily. Best of all, it produces a professional product with beautiful, even stitches.
Do you recommend any accessories?
I recommend the right and left presser feet and the edge guide.
My best tip is to make good use of the support staff! Ben in particular has been wonderful, walking me through a number of repairs or adjustments. I’m not a mechanic by any means, but he makes it easy for me to understand and is very patient.
What are your plans for the future?
Recently I have learned how to make several kinds of “inside” braids, those that are closed at both ends. I have used the Boss to stitch these braids to leather bridles as a decorative finish, just trying it out (picture enclosed). At some future date I would like to offer them on my webpage.
The pictures below show the bareback pads, a closeup of the billet stitching using the Boss, and a bridle I made using the Boss to stitch leather braids to straps. This is a personal project that I hope to perfect for sale in the future.