Page 1

May 2014

The Leather Retailers’ and Manufacturers’ Journal

Shop Talk! with Boot & shoe news

Wild Bill Niemcyzch The Artistry of Wild Bill Precision Saddle Tree Rebuilds

A Trip to Bowman Harness

Up & Coming in June: Big Free Flea!!! 5 Specials, Sales & Closeouts 5 Big Summer Book Sale 5 Report on Chupp Auction 5

Don Butler 1946 - 2014

Inside: Laugh Lines | Hide Report | News, Notes & Queries | Classifieds Since 1984


Introducing the New and Improved

Cowboy Model CB-4S00 Heavy Duty Harness Stitcher $2695.00 Complete • 16 1/2 " inch arm length • 1-1/16" presser foot lift - highest foot lift in its class

Factory Incentive Pricing for a Very Limited Time Only. The Most Comprehensive packa~~ Offered Anywhere in the CountrJ'

• Will sew %" in thick leather with ease • Stitch length from 3-22 stitches per inch • Compound feed mechanism (triple feed) • Stitches perfectly matched in forward and reverse • Sews as light as 6 oz. To %" with minimal adjustment • Solid stainless steel presser feet and needle plates - a Cowboy Exclusive!!! • Sews leather, saddle pads, webbing, bioplastic, rubber, and canvas • Thread Wax/Lube pot included at no extra charge • Fully height adjustable power stand • Heavy duty ball bearing speed reducer • Fully adjustable DC Servo motor

$1058.00 in FREE Accessories and Upgrades

Regular Price


This offer is for a limited time only. Wax/ Lube pot Blanket foot set Stainless steel double foot Stainless steel right foot Stainless steel left foot Stainless steel slotted needle plate Stainless steel holster plate Stainless steel stirrup plate Material guide Flat table work platform 2 packs needles 2 cones thread

$95.00 $100.00 $80.00 $75.00 $75.00 $85.00 $156.00 $156.00 $95.00 $85.00 $20.00 $36.00





0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

• High intensity long neck halogen light


Cowboy Sewing Machine is a leader in innovation.


manufacturer of machinery in the country to offer you SOLID STAINLESS STEEL presser feet and needle plates. The strength and durability of our plates and presser feet are unmatched in the industry. This machine, along with all other models of Cowboy Sewing products, include lifetime limited warranty against manufacturers defects & workmanship. We also include FREE LIFETIME Technical support.


Shop Talk!|

The Leather Retailers’ and Manufacturers’ Journal

with Boot & shoe news

April 2014

The Leather Retailers’ and Manufacturers’ Journal

Shop Talk! with Boot & Shoe News

Laugh Lines 6 Hide Report 12 Boot & Shoe News 19 News, Notes & Queries 50

TexBRobin ootmaker

International Sheepskin & Leather

RF Welding:



Inside: Laugh Lines | Hide Report | Goods & Services | Reading Matters | News, Notes & Queries | Classifieds Since 1984


Read Shop Talk! Online with links to advertisers and online information ShopTalkLeatherMagazine

Classifieds 58 Cartoon 60

page 32

Western Leather & Equipment Trade Show & Auction ........................... 9 Schwarz's Custom Boots ................28 Bill Niemczyk .............................32 Precision Saddle Tree ...................38 Bowman Harness .........................58 Shop Talk!

published by Proleptic, Inc. P.O. Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816 Ph (828) 505-8474 | Fax (828) 505-8476

page 38

Shop Talk! is published monthly (ISSN 1547-0121) by Proleptic, Inc. Subscription rates are $36 annually, $39 (US) for Canada and Mexico, and $54 (US) for all other countries. Shop Talk! is the official monthly publication of the Saddle, Harness, and Allied Trades Association (SHATA). SHATA members receive a $4 discount on annual subscriptions. For more information on subscriptions, advertising rates, or SHATA membership, contact us at (828) 505-8474 or

Ensure you are using the highest-quality harness material the U.S. has to offer: BioThane® Coated Webbing BioThane®coated webbing is the only proven coated webbing on the market that is durable, cleanable and waterproof. Choose BioThane®for your harness and tack and experience these benefits: • Maintenance-free

• Withstands extreme weather

Lightweight, waterproof and easy-to-clean, BioThane®Camo gives your collar a unique look that's built for wear and tear. Abrasion resistant, hygienic and odorless. Now available in green, pink and orange!

• Abrasion-resistant

Custom printing available! Call us for details.

BioThane® Coated Webbing has been proudly manufactured in the U.S. for over 35 years.

Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


Laugh g Lines This One’s For the Birds! One day a man went to an auction in Shipshewana, Indiana, and, while there, he bid on an exotic parrot. He really wanted this bird so he got caught up in the bidding and the auctioneer kept egging him on. You know how auctioneers can be. Anyhow, he kept bidding but was always outbid so he kept on going higher and higher and higher!


He shined his flashlight around, looking for valuables. When he picked up a laptop computer to put in his sack of loot, a strange voice spoke out of the dark and said, “Mr. Cuddles is watching you.” The thief nearly jumped out of his skin, quickly clicked his flashlight off, and froze in place. When he heard nothing else after a bit, he breathed a huge sigh of relief and then clicked his light on again and began searching for more valuables. Just as he pulled a fancy CD player off a shelf to unplug it, he heard, “Mr. Cuddles is watching you.” Fearing for his life and in a terrible panic, the thief shone his light around frantically, looking for the person who was speaking, and the beam of his flashlight came to rest on a parrot. “Did you say that,” the thief whispered at the bird.

Finally, after he bid way more than he intended (sound familiar?), he won the bid - that fine bird was finally his! As he was paying for the parrot, he said to the auctioneer, “I sure hope this parrot can talk! I’d hate to pay this much for it only to find out that he can’t talk!” “Don’t worry,” said the auctioneer. “He can talk alright. Who do you think kept bidding against you?”

“Yep,” the parrot confessed then squawked, “I’m just trying to warn you!” The burglar relaxed slightly. “Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you anyway?” “Teddy Roosevelt,” replied the bird. “Teddy Roosevelt!” laughed the burglar. “What kind of person would name a silly bird ‘Teddy Roosevelt’?” “The kind of people who would name a Rottweiler ‘Mr. Cuddles’!” the parrot replied.

Q: What is another name for a clever duck? A: A wise quacker! 6 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

A man in a movie theater noticed what looked like an eagle sitting next to him and asked, “Are you an eagle?”

And the eagle replied, “Yes. Yes, I am.” “What are doing at the movies?” the man asked, incredulously. “Well, I liked the book,” replied the eagle.

Q: What does a cat call a hummingbird?

A: Fast food. 26th Annual

Custom Boot � Saddle Makers Roundup

THERE WAS A DUCK who walked into a store and asked, “Got any candy?” To which the owner replied, “No, we don’t.” The next day, the duck went into the same store and asked the same thing and got the same answer. The duck kept coming back every day for a week and asked the same thing and kept getting the same answer until the store keeper got so angry he said, “If you come in here and ask that again, I’m going to hit you on the head with a hammer!” The next day, the duck walks into the store and asks, “Got a hammer?” To which the store keeper said, “No.” Then the duck asked, “Got any candy?” to b $5 Sa e aw ,00 tur ard 0 da ed y. M th in C us roug ash tb P e p hout rize res th s en e d t to ay wi on n.

Friday, Oct. 3 • 9 am - 6 pm Saturday, Oct. • 4 • 9 am - 6 pm MPED • 1000 5th St • Wichita Falls, TX Shop Talk!

For Information Contact: Eddie & Kathy Kimmel, Kimmel Boot • 2080 CR 304, Comanche, TX 76442 Email: • Phone: (325) 356-3197 • Fax: (325) 356-2490 May 2014 |



here was a little old woman of a religious bent who was suffering from a degenerative eye condition that had left her nearly blind. She had three sons, and each wanted to prove that he loved her more than the others. Her first son bought her an expensive Mercedes with a chauffeur included, thinking that this would win her approval. Her second son bought her a fifteen room mansion, thinking this would surely be the

Q: What’s the difference

best gift that any of her sons could give her. Her third son decided that he had to do something even better so he decided to give her his most prized possession, a parrot that he had been training for fifteen years to memorize the entire Bible. You could name any verse and the parrot could quote it word for word. What a gift that would be! Well, the old lady went to the first son and said, “Son, the car is beautiful. It has everything you could ever want on it, but I don’t

between bird flu and swine flu?

8 |

May 2014

like to go out anymore and the chauffeur is a nuisance so please return the car but thank you anyway.” The she surprised her second son by saying, “Son, the house is just gorgeous but it’s too much for me. I only live in one room, and it’s too large to clean and take care of. I don’t really need it the house but thank you anyway.” Finally, she went to her third son and said, “Son, I just want to thank you for such a thoughtful gift. The chicken was delicious.”

A: If you have bird flu, you need tweetment. If you have swine flu, you need oink-ment.

Shop Talk!

Western Leather & Equipment TRADESHOW



know—whoever heard of French Lick, IN? Well, if you ever needed a good dose of Pluto Water for the relief from occasional embarrassing constipation, then you, like millions of people during the first half of the 20th century, may have used a product made in French Lick, a very early French trading settlement. No doubt close by there was a salt lick where some industrious Frenchman set up a small evaporating operation. It was also the home of basketball great Larry Bird—the “hick from French Lick.” What a terrific player! The sulfur springs there attracted visitors as early as 1840, and then the casinos started drawing crowds in the early 20th century. It was a resort with a national reputation. This is present day French Lick Resort and Casino which features 100’s of rooms and suites,

Shop Talk!

at least ten restaurants, several pools, conference rooms of all sizes, and is an important entertainment venue for southern Indiana—the resort draws a lot of big names and big crowds. That’s where the very first Western Leather & Equipment Show took place this past March 21, followed by a two-day trade show. Quite an ambitious undertaking by Jim Cox at Moser Leather and not a bad first effort at all! You’ve got to start somewhere. While the gathering was modest, the auction and trade show were attended by a number of important names in our industry like Lee Rottmann from Hermann Oak, Mose Miller, Eli Schlabaugh, and Greg

May 2014 |


That’s Nick O-Sew’s big trailer to the right. Nick was unloading sewing machines to display at the trade show.

Sartor of Silver Creek Leather. Most of all the other big leather suppliers were there like the boys from American Leather Direct and Mark from Thoroughbred Leather—hey, Mark! He’s kind of a new face and is learning the trade from Jeff Ballard. I can only imagine! And what would an auction be without the King of the Hillbillies!

Lasting Quality and Style Matte Finishes Many Colors

Easy Cleaning Easy Sewing Durable, Flexible

It was nice to see so many old friends in French Lick—Aaron Bauman, Nick Pittman from Nick O-Sew, Southern Indiana Collar, and inveterate auction attendee and all around wheeler-dealer Roy Peakes. According to Roy, “For a first time auction I’d say it was a pretty good start.” Another new face at the trade show were the folks from Hoffman Bros., the company that now handles all of the sewing machines once made by FERDCO. Plus they do a whole lot more! Hoffman handles 100’s of different types of sewing machines plus other leather related equipment. If you were in the market for leather then you would have loved the auction—there was way


P.O. Box 593, Columbia Station, OH 44028 Voice: 800-357-5070 Fax 440-243-5326 Email Website

more leather than people so it was a buyer’s market for sure. Lots of deer and chrome in many weights, colors, and finishes. Lots of great buys. The high point of the auction was 10 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

History books record that Stalin had Trotsky assassinated in 1940 while Trotsky was living in Mexico—or was he? These pictures strongly suggest that Trotsky may still be alive; furthermore, without an inspection of his gravesite, can anyone unequivocally claim that Mexico is the final resting place of that Russian leader? There so many unanswered questions surrounding this mysterious figure.

seeing this man— As we all know, Leon Trotsky, along with Lenin, led the Bolshevik revolution against the czarist government in Russia. Later, under Lenin, he was the head of the Red Army, serving as the People’s Commissar of Army and Navy Affairs. He also served as the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs. Had things had gone differently, Trotsky would have succeeded Lenin and then perhaps the history of the USSR may not have been so deeply blood stained.

We’d like to ask all of our readers to post these pictures on their Facebook sites and ask if anyone else has seen this man and can they identify him. So it’s hats off to Jim Cox for a good first effort! Jim also mentioned that he’s considering having another auction/trade show this fall in sunny Florida! For all the details about future events, please contact Jim at Moser Leather, 1405 Boyle Rd., Hamilton, OH 45013, (513) 889-0500, e-mail:

We stock over 1,000 types & colors of leather!

New & Improved Full Color Catalog Upon Request

FeatURINg: Chap Leather (125 colors available),

embossed Cow Sides, garment & Hair-On Hides, genuine Buffalo, genuine Salz Latigo, Harness Leather, Metallic Cow Sides, Patent Leather, Skirting, Strap & Upholstery Leathers Complete line of decorative accessories & full line of leather crafting tools.

Become a Preferred Customer:

Benefits of becoming a preferred customer: Very best pricing for the leathers you use the most. Receive immediate notification of leathers going on sale. Added luxury of choosing only leathers that interest you, thus eliminating unwanted emails. Notification of new products and services as they become available ensures the personal service you deserve. Logon to

l Monroe St., Napa, CA 94559

800-4LEATHR (800-453-2847) Fax: 800-255-6160

Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


THe HiDe rePOrT

tHe insiDe scoop on HigH leatHer prices

Please Note: The following information was dated around the last of March 2014 so by the time you read this it will be outdated. However, be that as it may, the information is still useful in that it gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in the leather industry around the world. These items have been extracted from reports that appeared on Enjoy! Mexican Tanners Process 2 Million More Hides Than Abattoirs The Mexican leather industry association CICUR has confirmed that buyers from the automotive industry are capturing a larger proportion than before of the finished leather produced in the state of Guanajuato, but that previous estimates of 60% are exaggerated.

“This is a situation that has been building up for the last two years,” he said. He added that this was affecting revenues in the tanning sector because automotive leather is shipped to companies in Mexico whereas other articles are exported overseas, attracting higher prices.

CICUR president, Fabian Collazo, who is chief operating officer of Leon-based tanning group Lefarc, winner of the Highly Commended Award for the Americas in the third program of Tannery of the Year, said in recent comments to the media that automotive buyers are having a bigger say.

The fact that Mexico’s tanners have to import raw material from the US makes the economic impact even greater, Fabian Collazo explained. “Mexico’s tanning industry processes more hides then the country produces,” he said. “According to government statistics, Mexico’s slaughter level in 2012 was 8.9 million head which is two million fewer hides than our tanners are processing.”

Mr. Collazo said statistics suggest that Mexico’s tanneries process a combined total of 50,000 hides per day, with 42,000 of those passing through tanners in Guanajuato. He said he estimates that 50% of Guanajuato’s total leather production may now be going to automotive, with 30% going to footwear and the remaining 20% to leather goods and furniture.

[Editor’s Note: Over the past several months the same sorts of reports have appeared regarding hide availability in both the US and Argentina. The US, for example, is exporting or using more hides than the number of cattle being slaughtered. The same situation has been reported in Argentina which leads one to ask, “Is there presently or will there be in the fu-

Custom made


We make custom show stall curtains with decorations Also tack box covers, table covers, etc.

• Horse blankets & sheets, shipping boots, harness bags, hay bags, & related items • Reflective bands • Carriage covers 4285 Township Road 628 Millersburg, oh 44654

phone: 330-674-0879

12 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

ture a scarcity of raw materials?” This question is not meant to generate or fabricate any sort of fake panic; however, when one hears about the lack of availability of hides in a variety of countries, you have to ask yourself if we are seeing a trend and, if so, when will this apparent lack of hides cause wide spread problems in the tanning industry with the demand for hides remaining unmet?]

All our halters are made with a heavy double bar buckle and extra heavy squares. The snaps are all stainless steel. Nylon & Leather • Wholesale • Halters • Manufacturer • • Custom Sales • Call for Price List.

Price Hikes Continue to Loom Over Leather Industry

0715N 900W• Shipshewana, IN 46565 260-768-3080 ext 2

Fernando Bello of CICB [Centre for the Brazilian tanning industry], Don Ohsman of Hidenet.Com. and Michael Redod of Leather Naturally spoke at a press conference opening APLF [Asian Pacific Leather Fair] in Hong King recently. An ongoing surge in the hide and leather prices as global demand continues to outstrip supply is putting pressure on clothing, footwear, and accessories brands. And the industry is being warned there is no end in sight.

Champion Halters

New Both Sides Vinyl in 8 Colors

t“Incredible,” “off the charts,” “all-time record,” are just some of the comments being used to describe the unprecedented hike in the price of hides and leather that has been seen over the past 18 months. Leather industry executives a year ago admitted they were perplexed by rising hide and skin prices and warned potential shortages of the raw material. But the upward trajectory since then has shown no signs of slowing down, with the highest hide prices in history being reached in the first three months of 2014, according to executives speaking at the opening of the APLF—Materials, Manufacturing & Technology show in Hong Kong.

Champion Ha

“Where’s the top of market? We don’t know. The top of the market is not in sight yet,” according to Don Ohsman, president of Hidenet. In the US, he explains, the price of American Texas Steer (the most predominant hide) jumped 17.4% between 2012 and 2013— and so far this year, in just three months, has soared another 9.7%. While leather prices have also gone up as tanners try to bridge the gap, this has not been in line with the raw material. For example, the average price of shoe upper leather rose 8.6% last year and has jumped another 6.4% since the beginning of 2014…. The trend is being attributed to a number of factors, one of which is the basic economics of supply and demand. On the supply side, consumers in countries like China, India, and even the EU are eating more meat— hides are, of course, a by-product of the meat indusShop Talk!

May 2014 |


try—yet there is a finite supply of the raw material. Cattle populations remain steady in the largest producer markets which include India, Brazil, and China. And in countries like the US, competition for grazing and from other crops also means cattle numbers are not rising. Added to this, demand for leather is still strong in items such as footwear which accounts for around 50-55% of global leather use. But there is also increasing competition for the raw materials from other sectors such as automotive makers (who currently use 12% of the world’s leather) and other products like gloves, garments, wallets, purses, belts, and upholstery (38%)….

e l b n o C tz Collar


MAnUFActUReRS OF: All kinds of horse collars for work, pleasure, and show.

Also your source for quality

waisT beLTs made with USA leather.

Made & Sold Here!

Please call or write for a free catalog.

Coblentz Collar L.T.D.

3348 US Route 62 • Millersburg, Ohio 44654 Ph.: 330-893-3858 • Fax: 330-893-1166 Visa-Mastercard Accepted

14 |

May 2014

Custom Made Collars

Shop Talk!


Weight (lbs.) 60-62



February $105-106


Heavy Texas Steers (Hvy)





Branded Steers






Branded Steers (Hvy)






Colorado Steers






Butt Branded Steers






Butt Branded Steers (Hvy)






Heavy Native Steers (Hvy)






Heavy Native Heifers






Branded Heifers






Heavy Native Cows






Branded Cows






Spready Dairy Cows











Heavy Texas Steers

Native Bulls

Shop Talk!


Price Last March $97-99


May 2014 |


Nickle Prices surge

DemanD for stainless steel metals & proDucts keep increasing

[Editor’s Note: It was my hope to find an article which gave a global review of the stainless steel market and why prices keep rising. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that but, during my reading, I did pick up bits and pieces which might help readers better understand why stainless keeps costing more. The simple answer is this: the demand for stainless steel metals and products keep increasing. True, the price of nickel keeps rising but the amount of the metal used in the manufacture of stainless, depending on the grade, is relatively small, and the price of chromium, a larger component in the formula, has actually been dropping. However, as economies have grown worldwide, there has been a corresponding growth in demand for products made out of stainless steel, everything from an increased demand for flatware (forks, spoons, and knives) and household products such as small kitchen appliances (toasters, mixers, etc.), stoves, washing machines, dryers, air-conditioners, and refrigerators There are also a growing number of industrial uses for stainless. As populations grow and as per capita income

increases (as it is doing in huge countries such as China, India, and Brazil) more hospitals are being built as well as food processing plants, power plants, plants making heavy equipment, textile plants, refineries (sugar, oil), water plants, sewage treatment—you name it, there’s hardly a manufacturing facility that doesn’t use stainless steel somewhere in its design. So, next time you order stainless steel bits or hardware and there’s been a price jump, you’ll know why. Most likely it’s not a matter of someone trying to gouge you; rather, there’s just a growing demand for the product—with no foreseeable respite.]

Why Nickel Prices Are surgiNg [The following article appeared in The Hindu Business Line on April 3, 2014. If nothing else, the piece should give you some idea the role that geo-politics plays in something as mundane as the price of nickel ore.]

MANUFACTURING W Farm & Buggy Collars

W Adjustable Top Collars W All Purpose Collars

W Show Collars W Heavy Logging Collars W No-Choke Pulling Collars W Collar Clock & Mirror Large Inventory in Stock for prompt shipment!

Design ©The Draft Horse Journal

16 |

May 2014

We also stock No Wrinkle Vinyl Healing Pads Harness Parts CALL OR WRITE FOR A FREE WHOLESALE CATALOG.

Answering service 515-830-2596 17607 200th St. | Bloomfield, Iowa 52537

Shop Talk!

Nickel prices have surged nearly seven per cent in the past month [March] with fears over supplies from Russia adding to Indonesian curbs on shipments of unprocessed ores.

be disrupted, pushing the market further higher. Last year, Russia shipped out 2.83 lakh tonnes (a lakh tonne is an Indian measurement referring to 100,000 tonnes = 1 lakh tonne) of nickel, down about 5% from 2012.

Among base metals, nickel has been the best performer in the March quarter, gaining nearly 15%. The rise is the most in the last four years.

MArket’s reActiON

On Thursday, nickel ruled near 11-month of $16,115 a tonne (1,000 kg.) for May contracts. In the domestic futures market, too, nickel has gained nearly 10%…. That nickel was expected to surge this year was no doubt, given the problems of supplies from Indonesia [see below].

POliticAl teNsiON The unexpected factor that has aided the rise is Russia’s dispute with Ukraine over Crimea. A part of Ukraine until a few weeks ago, Crimea has voted to separate from Ukraine with Russia actively supporting the move….

A Bloombery survey showed that China, which makes up for 44% of the nearly 1.6 million tones annual demand for nickel, has inventories that can last five months. Analysts at Commerzbank AG say the nickel market still appears to assume that the Crimean crisis will escalate and that further-reaching sanctions will be imposed. While the Indonesia curbs with its Government banning exports of any mineral ore from

While extending support to Crimea’s secession from Ukraine, Russia has also turned aggressive by deploying its troops in the region, angering mainly countries that form the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) block. NATO, led by the US, has come up with sanctions against Russia, which along with the Philippines and Indonesia is the largest producer of nickel. These sanctions, restricted to individuals till now, have led fears that Russian export of nickel could




Conchos Saddle Trim Hand Engraved Silver Products “For those who want the very best”

209-847-7390 Marie, Tim & Kelleigh Hansen Shop Talk!

800-970-7391 Oakdale, CA 95361 May 2014 |


Buggy Builder’s Bulletin

Bi-monthly trade publication for Carriage & Wagon Makers $25/year in U.S. ~ $30 (US funds only) in Canada

Buggy Builder’s Bulletin 795 Mason St.., Dayton, VA 22821

(540) 879-9260

January 12 this year, analysts at BNP Paribas said nickel had bottomed out in July last year. Indonesia’s curb on ore exports is aimed at deriving more value from its mineral resources in the face of a weakening commodities market. Indonesia accounts for a fifth of the global nickel supply with exports in ore from about four lakh tonnes. China is the major buyer of Indonesia ore to feed its stainless steel and nickel pig iron units. The ban resulted in China nearly doubling its purchases from Indonesia in January to 6.22 million tonnes.

OutPut/Price FOrecAst Barclays [Bank] has forecasted that the Indonesia ban would result in nickel ore output plunging to 3.5 million tonnes this year. This will result in the market surplus shrinking to 40,000 tonnes from 1.81 lakh tonnes last year. Next year, it seems the nickel market will be facing a 36,000 tonne deficit. As a result, prices could top $20,000, the bank said in a presentation early in January….

18 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

BOOT & sHOe NeWs

people and PRODUCTS and PLACES

Goods & Services If you’re east of the Big Muddy and in need of some wild looking python, then you had better contact the folks at International Sheepskin & Leather at their new East Coast warehouse, the address for which is 5100 Umbria St., Philadelphia, PA 19128, (215) 278-6200. Yes, they are the largest tanner of sheepskin in the US (their seconds make great rugs, car cushions, and throws). Yes, they have miles and miles of hair-on hides including angora plus 1,000’s of sq. ft. of chrome and veg tanned leathers. Give them a call! Here’s a thought—get about 10 of their second shearlings, put them in our shop, and see them fly out the door! Your customers will simply love them! A great source for cotton webbing in all sorts of widths and colors is Nutex Industries at 127 W. Rodney French Blvd., New Bedford, MA 02744, (508) 9932501. They sell the stuff that some people use as pulls inside the boot. Of course, if you’re only needing just a little then you had better call Eddie Kimmel at Kimmel Boot, 2080 County Road 304, Comanche, TX 76442, (325) 356-3197. Eddie has started stocking more and more different items, including pig and horse leather, for Shop Talk!

the custom boot maker including special equipment that he has built so he’s become a good wholesale source for a number of products which are hard to find. Got a product that you think would make our readers pick up the phone and give you call? Contact us! Shop Talk!, PO Box 17817, Classes & Symposium hosted by PFA Hands-on Approach to Footwear Modifications—Covers relasting and upper modifications. See dozens of common and complex modifications demonstrated. Class limited to 20. Mostly hands-on work. June 2729, Milwaukee, WI. Worth 19.25 Category 1 Scientific Credits.

foot orthoses to treat complicated pathologies. August 29-31. Milwaukee, WI. Worth 18.25 Category 1 Scientific Credits. PFA’s 55th Annual Symposium & Exposition—October 24-26, at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Walt Disney World Park, (800) 782-4414. Contact the Pedorthic Footwear Association at (800) 673-8447, e-mail:

Print 3-D Shoes? Will shoe shopping become a thing of the past? [Silly question?] It might if consumers opt to get their footwear 3-D printed. Feetz, a San Diego-based startup, is working to make it possible for people to purchase customized footwear by 3-D printing shoes based on customers’ specifications. A customer would snap three pictures from different angles of each foot then send the images to Feetz.

Custom Foot Orthosis Fabrication—Covers the manufacture of foot orthoses, casting techniques, custom modifications, material selection, and forming as well as finishing, trimming, and final fitting. Lectures and hands-on. July 25-27. Milwaukee, WI. Worth 18.25 Category 1 Scientific Credits. Pedorthic Extremes: Managing Difficult and Challenging Feet—Review different diseases and complications that result in severe deformities, biomechanical deficiencies, etc. Demonstrations of how to use appropriate shoes, shoe modifications, and May 2014 |


The company would then use specialized software to convert the images from which a pair of shoes could be printed off and sent to the customer in about seven days. Shoe manufacturing is a perfect fit for 3-D printing techniques because feet are unique, and printing shoes allows for extreme customization, said Lucy Beard, the founder and CEO of Feetz, at the Inside 3-D Print Conference in New York. “So many people have feet problems because one foot is bigger than the other or the shoes just don’t fit their feet right,” Beard said. “But if you print a shoe just for that foot, it’s going to be so comfortable, you’re not going to want to take it off.”

Beard said that in the short-term her target consumers are those who have orthopedic problems because customizing shoes could benefit them the most, initially.... So far, in the consumer market, 3-D printing has been used to create mostly things like small trinkets, phone cases, and jewelry. But as printers are increasingly able to use more materials, the machines can print a wider variety of products.... Nike uses the technology to create the cleat for its Nike FlyKnit shoes, which rolled out in early 2013. Adidas has also used the technology and there are a few smaller companies that are also printing parts of shoes. But to print a whole shoe is a different ballgame, according to Beard....

Beard said that she expects her company to begin taking orders by the end of this year, but the materials the shoes can be made with will be limited to a rubberlike substance. In the next two years she expects there to be more material options which will help her offer more shoe designs. (Taken from 2/24/2014) Are You Staying Busy? Dana Huval, C. Ped., Huval’s Boot & Shoe Repair, Crowley, LA

Every November my shop starts getting busier for the holiday season with both repairs and retail. However, so far this year business just has not seemed to slow down. My biggest challenge is getting all the day’s work finished on time. And to top it all, I

am having more and more new customers! Sometimes they will leave their work in the car just to make sure we do the type of repair work they need. Or they might come in and just look around and see what’s available. I wish I knew exactly why new faces keep coming in; hopefully, all the things I do throughout the year help generate new customers. Here are a few things that I do to help attract new business: Facebook: it is free and easy to use. If you’re not the computer type, ask someone who you have a lot of contact with to set you up a page for your shop. Just write down the log-in and password in case you need it later. Facebook allows people/customers to “like” (which means


INDUSTRIAL SEWING SERVICES 1718 N. 1ST. STREET ** MILWAUKEE, WI. 53212 Serving the needle trades 90 years. POLYPROPYLENE WEBBING Firsts & Seconds. 28 colors on Firsts 59/60” NYLON FABRICS Firsts & Seconds Urethane Coated. 60 colors on 1000-Denier & many other fabrics. HOOK & LOOP Sew on 1/4” to 6”, some widths in 35 colors. P. S. (Stick on) 5/8”-5” Rubber & Acrylic. SPECIAL Hook/Loop. Call for prices ELASTICS Woven H D 1” thru 3” & Ex H D, also knitted & braided types. PLASTIC & METAL HARDWARE for webbing & miscellaneous items Grommets Washers 3 colors & Snaps 39 cap colors.

Firewood Bundle Webbing Handles Automated Hot/Sear Cutting on webbing, Elastics and Hook & Loop. For no-fray ends use Hot cutting on webbing for belt tip ends. 2-1/4” Electric Webbing & Rope Cutters for cut it yourself. Self-Locking Nylon Ties (Cable Ties) 4” thru 15”. BIAS or STRAIGHT CUT fabric binding tape slitting SINGLE & DOUBLE folded Bias Tapes * 200+ colors. CORD EDGE PIPING 200+ colors & Asst. Cord Fillers for horse blankets.

Up to 200 Catalog color pages available. Save paper order as needed from our catalog index pages and the latest changes by e-mail in the same day to (or USPS mail takes longer) TOLL FREE NATION WIDE 1-800-425-4747 • FAX 1-414-265-5353


20 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

they join your page and will see what you post) your business page that displays your address and shop hours. You can post pictures of repair, give helpful hints, holiday greetings, post hours for holidays, and anything else you can think of. A lot of people are always looking up information so why not take advantage of Facebook and promote your shop? Advertising: it is not always cheap, but I think it is important to remind people about my shop and the services I offer that will keep their leather possessions in good shape. I advertise year around on a local AM station and mix in a few different FM stations here and there. One thing I do differently is I record my radio spots

myself. I’m not saying that DJ’s do a bad job, but their voices are heard over and over, and I want my spot to be very simple and done in my own voice. You could always ask a friend to record your ad if you’re not comfortable with doing it yourself. Newspaper is another medium I use regularly. I run an ad bi-weekly in a free paper that is put in a rack outside of 100’s of businesses and restaurants in about fifteen cities in my area. Posters: I have around twenty posters that rotate every week in the front window and display three at a time. I know they work because, when I have the lock laces and bamboo socks, my sales that week are higher and

customers come in asking where the socks (or laces) are located. I do not put these two posters out the same week. I add more posters as I get new products or repairs. I get these posters made up at local print/copy shops and it’s pretty easy and certainly pays off. Answering Machine: If you are not using one, get one. In my message I include the name of my shop, address, directions, and ask them to leave a message if I have not picked up the phone because I could be waiting on a customer or working on a repair job. It is a long message but it saves me from answering the phone on super busy days. Usually when they leave a message,

they leave the whole story or they are just calling to find out if their repairs are ready. This makes it a much easier return phone call because I already know why they called. With the Arblesoft “Shoe Max” computer I have, I will email their answer, if I have their e-mail address, which is much quicker than a phone call. Point of Sale System: I know it is a huge investment, but it is so helpful. No more writing tickets. My hand writing gets difficult to read sometimes, so a printed receipt is much easier for me and my customers. My computer also keeps track of the work for the day. In the morning, I know how many jobs are due for the day, and the number goes down



NEW AND IMPROVED Hame Bender • Adjustable blocks on top bar • Bends all hames from Buggy Hames to Stainless Steel Pulling Hames with ease A must for fitting your hames to the collar For more information and a complete catalog on hames and harness hardware, write to: Chupp Blacksmith Shop Ltd. 9107 Township Road 609 Fredericksburg, Ohio 44627

Shop Talk!

85263 Chupp ad 3.5x4.75 1

May 2014 |


6/19/13 9:42 AM

as I input the jobs that are ready into the computer. Then the computer automatically generates an e-mail to the customer letting them know that their work is ready to pick-up. It’s very efficient. Cost of Repair Materials: I prefer using higher quality material for a longer lasting job compared to offering cheaper repairs that do not last. Gluing thermoplastic soles for example. It makes a huge difference if you use the specific glues made for these types of materials rather than your basic shop glue. If you’re not using a press in your shop, chances of these soles holding properly are very slim. These special glues, primers, and presses cost more and take more

time, too. The super glue method is fine and necessary on some soles, but you need to consider that super glues can crack and, if it cracks, you may have a bonding problem again. Full soles were the main work I offered five or so years ago. Now I do more half soles and heels. The arch area and heel bases that some boot companies are using now are not the quality of materials that can easily be worked with. Consequently, the chance of saving a heel base on many boots today can be very small. So, half soles and new heels are 99% of what I will do on cowboy boots. If the customer insists on full soles their cost is much higher due to the extra time and heel bases that many need to be used.

The hardest days for me are when I am just swamped with work then a customer comes in and needs my attention; knowing I need to get back to the work but not trying to rush the customer in and out can be a challenge. They are giving us business which we work hard to get and appreciate. After all—they’re the reason we’re able to stay in business. Keeping it a pleasant experience for them so they feel comfortable and appreciated is essential if we want to continue to be the shop they bring their work to be repaired. [Editor’s Note: Great advice, Dana! No wonder you have such a busy, successful business! You really work at it and are doing all the right things!]

I Hate My Laces: Revisited


1-866-415-8223 828.665.7060 828.665.7067 fax 1.877.665.7060 order line

BUCKLE BARN USA 145 Vanderbilt Terrace Asheville, NC 28806

22 |

May 2014

Friends—are you all asleep at the wheel? The only almost helpful respond I got to my whining and complaining about my worthless shoelaces was from Montana —and they wanted Leather Co.—and to SELL me something! Give me a break! I want help with the ones I have. Montana Leather sells a product called “Stay Ty Lac-

es”—ha!!! They are advertised as waxed and come in 54” and 72”, black, brown/black, rawhide, and rattlesnake. Sorry—I remain an unbeliever! I’m thinking about dipping my laces into boiling tar. What’d you think? To date, the laces which hold the best are cheap, flat, cotton laces which came with a $280 pair of shoes. I don’t like the shoes that much but bought them for their laces which are great. There is some consolation in this sad, tragic story. Apparently, those of us who suffer from insufferable shoelaces are not alone. There follows a delightfully sardonic article sent to use by Dan Freeman at Dan Freeman’s Custom Leatherworks at 2 Park St., Middlebury, VT 05753, (802) 388-2515. Dan makes “bespoke” shoes, boots, and saddles for dress, fashion, work, and hiking. He’s good! Thank you, Dan! There follows an article that was published in The Wall Street Journal—Wednesday, January 28, 1998. It could have been written 15 minutes ago! And the sad thing is that nothing has


A huge assortment of styles and designs by USA Manufacturers ●

Licensed Buckles ● Sport Buckles ● Western Buckles ● ● Belt Strips ● Heel Bar & Centerbar Buckles ●



changed in the intervening 15 years! Shame on you, Mr. Shoe Maker! Unfit to Be Tied: Round Laces Unfit to Be Tied: It Really Isn’t You, It’s Your Shoelaces Once They were Flat, Cotton and Worked Just Fine, But Round Polyester Slips [Which why it makes a good sewing thread but doesn’t give a really tight stitch like linen—Editor’s Note]

By Jeff Bailey, Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

come undone. Making matters worse, cotton is now being supplanted by polyester and other slippery synthetics. “We never worried about the lace staying tied,” concedes Joel Singer, chief of research and development at Etonic, in Chicopee, Mass., a company that is big in golf shoes. “Most laces are picked for cosmetic reasons.” Steven W. Keating, president of Mitchellace Inc., a Portsmouth, Ohio, lace maker, chimes in: “It’s strictly economics. Polyester is a lot cheaper than cotton.”

It’s time to acknowledge it: The nation can’t keep its shoes tied.


Shoemakers all over have been switching from flat laces, which stay tied but look twisted, to round ones that look cool but

Many shoe-wearers blame themselves, wondering whether their shoe-tying technique, the first major socialization skill chil-

Shop Talk!

dren learn after toilet training, is somehow deficient. “I thought it was my fault,” says Mary Schuneman, a 30-year-old San Diegan, with eyes cast toward her white Jack Purcell Converse sneakers, which she says are constantly coming untied. Not even the pros are immune. Running last November in the New York Marathon, Kenyan John Kagwe had the laces on his Nike Air Streak Vengeance runningshoes came untied three times. Twice, he stopped to retie, and then went into a sprint to catch up to the leaders. The third time, he just kept running, with one lace flapping, and he won the race. But Mr. Kagew missed setting a New York record by 11 seconds.

His Nike laces were round nylon. “Did we screw up?” Kirk Richardson, running-shoe chief at the Beaverton, Ore., sneaker giant, asks himself. “Yes, we did.” Nike Inc. decided to give Mr. Kagwe, who is paid to wear the brand, the extra $10,000 he was to receive if he broke the record. Lace and shoe people mostly agree: Casual shoes in the 1990s has been slowly shifting to round laces. It was a fashion thing. And about three years ago, says Glendon M. Elliot, president and owner of lace maker Rhode Island Textile in Pawtucket, Nike abruptly switched many of its sneaker styles to round laces. This is a matter of some interest to those sneaker wearers who don’t deliberately leave their shoes untied.

May 2014 |


Nike says the new round laces can be tugged harder, especially through the company’s increasingly weird eyelets. Nike’s move set off a stampede across shoe styles. “Overnight, every lace changed to round,” Mr. Elliot says. His company’s flat cotton white athletic laces, long a big seller, became an immediate “also ran.” GOOD-FAITH EFFORT

Shoe executives would rather talk about their waterproof uppers and lightweight soles than about their laces. “I’m sick and tired of hearing about it,” says Angel Martinez, president and chief executive officer of Rockport Co. in Marlboro, Mass., a unit of Reebok International Ltd.

24 |

May 2014

The company does a lot of tinkering, always looking for laces that look good and stay tied, he says. “We always think we have it handled. Then the problem pops up again.” “Other shoe bosses are in deep denial. “I’ve been wearing dress shoes for 36 years,” says L. David Sanguinetti, chief operating officer of Florsheim Group Inc. in Chicago. “Shoes don’t come untied any more than they ever did,” he says. “I’ve never had a lace come untied,” insists John J. Stollenwerk, president and owner of AllendEdmonds Shoe Corp. in Port Washington, Wis. If your laces come loose, he says, “you’re tying them wrong.”

Have shoe-tying skills declined? “No,” says Janet Sessler, for 32 years a Chicago kindergarten teacher. “I’ve tied a million shoes. What drives kids crazy is the little round shoelaces. They can’t keep them tied.” . . . LACE LORE

Laces are as old as shoes themselves. In ancient times, rawhide strips held together crude leather wraparounds—the forerunner of the Sperry Top-Sider. Still in use, leather laces break easily. Cotton laces dominated for most of this century [20th], even as most shoe and shoelace manufacturing moved to Asia and Europe in search of cheaper labor. Velcro, zippers and other fastener systems periodically try

to push laces aside. But nothing seems to match the lace’s ability to help shoe conform to foot—a little tighter here, a little looser there. The rise of the expensive and fashionable sneaker—about 80% of them are purchased as casual shoes, not for sports, has had a huge impact on shie and lace design. One would think that Nike, particularly, thought deeply about the switch. “Shoelaces, huh?” says Mary Ellen Smith, Nike’s director of advanced materials research and the person Nike chose to speak for the company about shoelaces. “I know they’re important to some people. But we don’t think about them a lot in advanced materials

Shop Talk!

Over 125



on Juki LS-341

Specifically set up for leather • Sew up to 3/8” thick • T40 up to T138 size thread • Special Leather Feet • Large Bobbin • Flip Up Roller Edge Guide • Dual Speed Reducer • NKS-5500 3/4Hp Servo Motor • Reverse Feed in Same Hole



Visit us at Western Leather & Equipment Show March 21st-23rd

New Location Now Open in Missouri Nick-O Sewing Machine, LLC

7745 Hwy 76 S. • Stanton, TN 38069 Toll Free: 1-800-526-4256 Ph (731) 779-9963 • Fx (731) 779-9965

Shop Talk!

Nick-O Sewing Machine, Inc. Mid-West Division

124 Point West Blvd. • St. Charles, MO 63301 Toll Free: 1-800-648-7485 Ph 636-724-3800 • Fax 636-724-3804 May 2014 |


research. It’s like, yeah, we’ll put a lace in the shoe.” In other words: Buyer, beware. “You can double- and triple-knot them all the way up to the end of the lace and they still come loose,” says J. D. Denton, who owns a Davis, Calif., athleticshoe store and writes the “Shoe Guy” column in Running Times magazine. Mr. Denton’s store offers a free pair of flat cottom laces—the antidote—with every pair of shoes. MAKING THE SWITCH

Such lace-switching is quietly spreading, fashion be damned. “I’ll slip a [flat] cotton lace into a wingtip unashamedly,” says Fowler Low, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnston &

26 |

May 2014

Murphy, a high-end dress shoemaker in Nashville and a unit of Genesco Inc. “They don’t look as good,” he adds. “But cotton laces stay tied.” Not all laces are crummy, of course. Oval, a new compromise shape hitting the market, seems promising. A little wax can help. And even round laces—a two-part construction of soft inner core and equally soft outer sheath seems crucial—can stay nicely tied. Good laces are so nice—if you’re lucky enough to have good laces—that when they finally fray and break, you would love to have another pair just like them. Don’t count on it. There is no guarantee that the same lace will even be available.

So why don’t shoe companies include extra pairs of original laces? Karen Haskell, a spokeswoman in Yarmouth, Mass., for Cole-Haan, a dress shoe unit of Nike, contends that her company’s laces last as long as its shoes do, however long that is. Suppose a customer calls asking for another pair of laces? “I’m not sure how we’d handle a call like that,” she says, asking a reporter, please don’t publish ColeHaan’s 800-number. Rockport, at 1-800-Rockport, will gladly send extra laces. 2014 SSIA Convention This year’s SSIA convention will be held on July 19-20 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel (Valley Forge), 301 W. DeKalb Pike,

King of Prussia, PA 19406, (610) 337-1200. The SSIA has secured a special room rate of $99 single/ double. To make reservations please call (800) 879-8372. Use the group code SSI to get the discounted rate. The SSIA rate will be honored until June 28, 2014 or until the room block sells out. Please make your reservations early. HERE’S THE CONVENTION SCHEDULE:

Saturday—July 19 8 am. Machinery Tune-up. Blasé Knabl from Shoe Systems Plus will be on hand to answer all your machinery questions. Bring the make and model of the machine or machines with which you’re having problems as well as samples if possible. Helpful tips and maintenance guides will be handed out.

Shop Talk!

8 am. Point of Sale Computer System ShoeMax. Learn the benefits of how using a POS system can help you manage your time, inventory, purchasing, etc.

Trust Using Social Media. How to increase your visibility. Use social media to answer questions about your products and services.

11 am. Identifying Materials to be Bonded.

9 am. What the Silver Cup Contest Can Do For You. Grand Silver Cup winner Jim McFarland will lead a panel of Silver Cup winners in a discussion of the finer points of shoe repair that make the difference between quality work and award winning work. They will also discuss the benefits of participating in the Silver Cup Contest and how success in the contest can translate into profit for your business.

11 am. Gaining Customers Thro ugh the Internet. This seminar will provide information for increasing your visibility on the Internet, understanding how customers find your business, and step-by-step instructions on how to create and maintain an Google Places listing free. An instruction packet will be given out for easy future reference. 12 noon. Exposition Hall opens. Sunday—July 20 8 am. Gaining Your Customers’

Shop Talk!

9 am. How to Grow Your Sales and Profits. 10 am. Exposition Hall opens.

Your Source For All Things Leather

Request a copy of our 2014 BUYER’S GUIDE @ TLF_STAD_1013

May 2014 |



by Nick Pernokas, Senior Feature Writer

Custom Boots a little piece of atomic 79


riving south from Butte, MT, the copper mountains on the Continental Divide began to give way to the plains. The scenery was beautiful, but there was a lot of it, and, by the time I got to the town of Dillon, I was looking for a cup of coffee. As I pulled off the exit, I noticed the life size bronze statue of a cowboy and his horse.

Dan and Julia Schwarz, along with their daughter, Keni Crane, are all boot makers. They are also partners in their small family-run boot business. Fifteen years ago they had a small boot repair shop. Then Dan and Keni decided that they wanted to build custom boots so Keni went to Billings, MT, to study with boot maker Mike Ives.

An attractive Western style building was nestled behind it with a sign on the front that said, "Schwarz's Boot Shop.� "Now this looks like a good story," I thought as I got my camera out of the rental car. As if to reaffi rm that I was in the right place at the right time, a long gooseneck trailer went by with a load of saddled horses. Slickers and ropes were tied to all of the saddles. Two cow dogs skeptically eyed me from the fl at bed of the pickup as if to say, "You ain't from around here, are you?"

Ives was 80 at the time and told Keni that she couldn't do it because she was a girl. "She proved him wrong!" laughs Julia. In 2000, Dan and Keni went to Carl Chappell's shop in Saint Jo, TX, and the internationally famous boot maker helped them tremendously. They returned to Dillon with three pairs of boots that they'd built. Their confidence high, the Schwarzs began building custom boots in their shop. When things slowed down in 2008, they moved the shop home to their garage and began going to shows. In March of 2013, they opened

Schwarz boots original location reflected Dillon , Montana's Western heritage.

28 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

PRECISION SADDLE TREETM WE HAVE ATREE REPAIR SERVICE o Broken tree is repaired to the original fit

t against . e warran Y land j\ ufetf'tn 'tb norma tl akage wt . laced on a bre ded use tS p air trees. inten ..forced rep J{e vlar retnJ'

We remove the old rawhide and repair the tree to the original fit.

@ As strong or stronger than the original


Tree is reinforced with Kevlar@ , which is literally five-times stronger than steel, and overs prayed with DURAhide™ to seal out moisture.


o Leather fits back with greater ease Broken tree as received in a box . . In seven pieces

@ Same familiar fit to horse and rider

Tree fully repaired Shown with Kevlar® Clear Coat

For morn information or a FREE catalog) call 877-916-TREE or visit Shop Talk!

Courtesy of Gary's Boots &Saddles in Junction, Texas

. @ ~ .





0\0 ~~ 'j;






May 2014 |


Schwarz Custom Boots recently moved to a larger, renovated building in downtown Dillon. Their new name is Atomic 79, and they have a great logo to go with it.

the shop in Dillon which I visited that fall day. Business was good, and today they are in a completely new, larger building in Dillon. The name on the sign has been changed to "Atomic 79" which is the atomic number for gold, gold having played a large part

Dan and Julia Schwarz live boots 24 hours a day.

This pair of boots was an Art of the Cowboy Makers’ award winner.

in the history of that area of Montana. They also took on a partner, John Cielowski.

pair of white, black, and red traditional boots which were patterned after an old Blucher style. The third year Dan and Keni entered a pair with butterflies, roses, and ostrich wing tips that won second place. In 2012, they entered a pair of kid’s boots with steer heads in burnt orange and turquoise which won second place.

In addition to repairing and making custom boots, they are also retailing production boots. "We eat, breathe, and love boots," laughs Julia. "Our life is about boots." This love of "everything boots" has made the Schwarzs a fixture at the Art of the Cowboy Makers Association shows. For several years in a row they created boots especially for the show. The first year they won third in The People's Choice Award category with a pair of burgundy and cognac kangaroo boots. The second year they won The People's Choice Award with a

Art of the Boot

by Tyler Beard, photographs by Jim Arndt: soft cover, 160 pp. Elegant presentation throughout. Intense focus on the boot makers’ craft. Lots of great background notes on the different boot makers included. $24.95 +S/H

"Most of the show boots have been made on Dan's lasts because he says he has the prettiest feet in the shop," says Julia," but I think it's because he wants the fanciest boots." Each pair of boots is made one boot at a time and is based on nine measurements. They take on average around forty hours

Cowboy Boots

by Tyler Beard with photos by Jim Arndt: paperback, 320 pp. By the same duo that did the original Cowboy Boot Book and then Art of the Boot. This effort is every bit as good. A must for boot collectors & boot lovers. Note: This book measures 6” x 6”. 500 color photos. $15.95 +S/H

Proleptic, Inc. • PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC • 28816

(828) 505-8474 • • 30 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

This pair of boots won The People’s Choice Award at the Art of the Cowboy Makers’ Show.

The Schwarzs like to incorporate different designs and colors into their boots to give them a unique look.

The workshop for Atomic 79 looks like most boot shops.

to make. Single samples are made for display because rarely do custom boots stick around very long after they're finished. The wait time for a customer is about a year and a half. The base price for a pair of custom boots is $1,550.

Occasionally, Dan and Julia will build other leather items such as belts and holsters, and Dan has even fixed the door panel on a Mercedes.

the Schwarz's six children carry on their dad's love of horses.

The Schwarzs have also been putting on boot making schools for the last ten years. They run twelve hours a day for two weeks. Students range from those who want to make boots for a living to boot aficionados who want to know more about boot construction. The course covers everything from leather selection and pattern making to final finishing. The tuition for this intensive class is $4,000.

"We have a hard time saying no," says Julia. Dan, a former cattleman, has a background as a cowboy, beginning at the age of six. By thirteen, he was spending the summers in ranch bunkhouses. Today, with less time for riding, he has developed a fondness for motorcycles. His cowboy background stands out in the bike saddlebags that he made which sport Angora hair lids. His bike chaps started out in life as turquoise riding chaps. Some of

The Art of The Western Saddle



Proleptic, Inc.

Shop Talk!



3-4oz Pig Skin Splits Great for Boots! Average Skin is 6ft · 10 colors

SAVE 30%

PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 • (828) 505-8474 •

To learn more about Schwarz Custom Boots and Atomic 79, call 406-988-0221 or check out .


by Bill Reynolds: hard cover, 160 pp. Highlights the work of great traditional and contemporary saddle makers. Many fine examples of silver and gold overlay. Over 300 photos. Reg $52 SALE PRICE: $36.40

Dillon's appeal goes beyond its Western history. The quaint town is being restored and revitalized, and the nearby Beaverhead River attracts tourists for hunting and fishing. The Schwarzs have sold boots to folks who were just passing through and wanted a piece of real Americana. Recently, a pair of fly fishermen stopped in town for supplies and ended up taking some Schwarz boots home to France.

Heel Counters & Toe Boxes

2080 CR 304 Comanche, TX 76442

(325) 356-3197 fax (325) 356-2490

3/4” Leather Welts No splices 5 colors

May 2014 |



question Bill Niemczyk doesn’t like to answer is: How long does it take you to build a pair of boots?

“Oh, God, I hate this question,” he says, hemming and hawing, gently redirecting the conversation in a Southern awe-shucks way, though he’s from Connecticut and speaks with an eastern accent. A Yankee bootmaker, he is. His running joke is that there’s not another boot maker in the Northeast within a hundred mile radius of him. Probably farther. “I always had been thinking about doing boots,” he says. “Dumb thing for someone in Connecticut.” Niemczyk is the man behind Wm. Julian Design, a high-end, fashion oriented leather goods company that has been associated with names such as Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Coach. His success is related to his proximity to New York City, and, foremost, to the caliber of his creations – finely constructed and tooled handmade belts, briefcases, billfolds, bags, and, since the mid-1990s, Western boots. It’s not unusual for a pair of his boots to need an exorbitant number of pieces (say, 40) for one pattern. Same goes for his boot pulls.

Bill Niemczyk AKA Wm. Julian Design On a Quest for Perfection

by Jennifer Fulford, West Coast Bureau Chief

32 |

May 2014

“I kind of invented my own boot pull. Probably been done before, but no one showed me,” he says by phone. “That was the only thing that bothered me about boots--that the pulls looked like afterthoughts.” His are feathered into the sides. “I actually made a sheet with the pattern pieces and offered it to boot makers at the boot Roundup (in Witchita Falls each fall). I’ve only had one guy try to make them, though. Because they look at that sheet and all the pieces, there’s like 10 pieces to one pull, and they say ‘No, thank you. I don’t really want to go that far.’ I’m not afraid of a lot work.” He relishes the details. Another example of his proclivity for the intricate is a recent boot that he inlaid with a bald eagle, wings spread, landing on a crest next to a three-dimensional American flag. Phew. “An American flag is a lot of pieces, and, if it is furled, there were in excess of 40 pieces in one flag with the most wrinkles. Kind of hard to explain how I made that, but it was pretty involved.” Shop Talk!

Niemczyk makes a cartoon drawing then a pattern for every new design. Each piece in the leather design must be thinned out, he says, so that everything lays flat. Consequently, his work involves a lot of hand skiving, paring down layer after layer. “That’s my favorite part. I feel like when I have the pattern all made, I can make the boot because I have everything I need to do the work.” He has tools, knowledge, and patience. On average, he’ll make only five pairs of boots a year. Granted, he’s making other leather products, too, but the boots are time consuming and pricey—they start at $4,000 and can go as high as $9,000. Several of his clients have multiple pairs. One client with five or six pairs of his boots displays them with 50 or so others on an eyelevel shelf in his office. Trophies.

the sewing machine. He makes a pair for fitting before he even starts the real thing.

Working solo in Granby, CT, Niemczyk, 62, shares his basement workshop with his wife, Nancy, who is also an entrepreneur, a graphic designer. Niemczyk, who is a member of the Honourable Cordwainers’ Company, a group which studies and uses historical shoemaking techniques, tends to favor the old ways of building his boots. He prefers wooden pegs over nails. He shuns

“I sew my soles on by hand,” he adds. “Those machines that they use for stitching on soles, they’re a little intimidating. I’ve seen them go right through the sole where the arch curves in, right through the vamp because it is a big curved deal, about 2” long. You hold it a little too close, you can go right

Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


through the vamp. But I never thought it looked that good either, a machine stitched sole, and I know it holds differently, not as strong as two serpentine stitches. A hand stitch is a totally different stitch, and I can put more stitches in there. And it looks nicer. I can put nine or ten to an inch instead of six…I look at every detail.”

czyk’s life centered around music. He played in several rock’n’roll bands. His one claim to fame was opening for a Young Rascals concert in 1967. His bands were even more obscure and not worth googling, he says. But that’s when the fashion bug bit. His mom worked at Lord and Taylor, the ritzy department store chain based in the Northeast, where men’s and women’s fashions outdid those of Sears and Roebuck. His love of fine clothes and accessories grew because of his mother who would clothe her family from Lord and Taylor’s lines, albeit at a discount.

One of his favorite clients, who passed away recently, was a violin aficionado. The client affectionately referred to Niemczyk as the Stradivarius of boot makers.

“I got to appreciate what the good stuff was, not that she paid full price for it. She got the employee discount, but I got to learn what good stuff was,” he recalls.

“What I am putting out is my best. I’ve really never settled for anything but absolute close to perfect. Perfection is burden,” he says, half joking.

Music First, Leather Second From the time he was a teenager until about 24, Niem-

Back in the ‘60s, fringed leather outfits were in, so he got inspired to make a fringed vest for playing onstage (he played keyboard). He found a local leather shop, bought two suede skins and started sewing his own vest. He still has it in his mother’s cedar closet. He says he looked like Sly Stone (there’s an image of Stone in a fringed leather vest on the Internet). “I took it down to the local head shop, the leather shop. They sold a lot of leather, heavy duty wristbands, watchbands, so

Are You a Large Manufacturer? Need To Outsource?

 Got a Small Production Run To Do?

Got Parts You Need Made?  Need Prototypes?


Shop Talk! • Free Leads • Give Us a Call


email: 34 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

I showed them can Craft Council shows ( He that vest and I worked the circuit for years, traveling to major cities immediately had and putting in long hours of production time to build ina job.” Which ventory for the week-long events. Women’s handbags he worked for constituted a large portion of his sales and helped him two years, makbreak into the New York City fashion industry. ing leather pants and some fullThe Fashion Boom and Bust length leather His first customer in New York City was a dress handbag designer whom he’d never heard coats with double breasted lapels. “I was of. Although the outfit wasn’t a name brand, What I am good at looking at how things were made the work was serious. “They wanted me to and taking them apart and putting them toputting out is make a certain bag that they had in mind from gether again.” sketches, a triple gusset accordion handbag, He also made a lot of guitar straps and instrument cases, but, as he approached 30, he decided to pursue leather work full time. He rented a studio space in an artists’ warehouse, the Farmington Valley Arts Center in Avon, CT, and started to sell work on the craft fair circuit. He applied to the best craft shows he could and got his first break when his work was accepted for the Ameri-





 LE






G 150 YE A TIN



my best. I’ve really never settled for anything but absolute close to perfect.

and she had two sample makers already try to make it. And she showed me their samples, and I just had to top them.” He got the job. His second call came from Calvin Klein. “It was a really small industry. Everybody knows everybody. They passed names around,” he says of becoming a sample maker. “I didn’t know they were

Leather  Laces  Custom Manufacturing Embossing  Flash Cutting  Die Cutting Slitting Stripping Trims  Skiving Component Parts & Footwear

Global Manufacturer Crafting Innovative Solutions Call Us Today With Your Leather Needs 800-635-0617 Auburn Leather Company

PO Box 338 125 Caldwell Street Auburn, KY 42206 Ph: 270-542-4116 • Fx: 270-542-7107 Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


pretty rare. I was actually working at Anne Klein in the factory, and one of the sample maker was 80 years old. And he was still putting out nice stuff everyday.” The work was good for about ten years, and he made samples for all the top names: Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Armani, and Banana Republic, and then the industry packed up for Asia. The move to off-shore was brutal and swift, he says. “Every large company, everyone who is on my resume, just abandoned us,” he says. “It was kinda cold.”

Enter Bootmaking Niemczyk had been interested in boots, but it wasn’t until around 1995 that he started a pair. As is the case today, he took his time getting the first pair finished, using D.W. Frommer’s instructional book, Western Bootmaking: An American Tradition. “It took me two years to make a pair of boots from the book,” he says, admitting he trudged along. “I’d say I was going a little slow. That’s because I couldn’t find those tools. Eventually a friend of mine who was in the antique business showed up in my studio one day and had four boxes of boot and shoemaking tools, and he had practically everything I needed there. It cost me $100 a box, so for $400 I had almost all the hand tools I needed.”

36 |

May 2014

Good fortune shined upon him again when writer and artist Tyler Beard saw a pair of his boots in a museum show out west and decided to put him in his book, Art of the Boot. At that time, Niemczyk had only made about five pairs, but oh, what style. “All were over the top. None of them were plain.” He branched out from Wm. Julian Design to establish Wild Bill Boots. It’s part of the big picture, which is to make the best products in leather that he can. “I’m always trying to get better. If I’m not trying to get better, I’m stagnant,” he says. A night owl, Niemczyk says he’s been working outside of the New York scene which hasn’t rebounded. He makes a stitchless alligator dress belt with a creased edge in collaboration with Mark Kielty, a buckle maker in the Seattle area whose work is also upscale. (see belt picture above.) “They start about $300 and go up from there. He’s even made some 18-karat gold buckles for a new guy; those were like $18,000. It’s hard to believe people put this kind of stuff on their waist, but I’m happy to make it for them,” he says. And the boots he’s working on in his shop? Well, he still won’t say how long it will take him to finish them. Guess you’d have to buy a pair to find out.

Shop Talk!

To reach Bill Niemczyk, contact him at 20 Lakeside Drive, Granby, CT,

06035. Call (860) 844-8440 or email See his work at or at

Long 7 ¹/2" head allows you to work in narrow spaces and makes tacking up easier. Weighs approx. 8 oz. 11 ¹/2" hickory handle. Made in the USA!


 Custom Shops • Saddle Makers • Harness Makers  Tired of bulky hammers that obscure your work and mash your fingers? No More! The Pro-Saddler is slim, elegant, and perfect for professional leatherworkers.

Wholesale Pricing Available

$4250 +

S/ H

New Handle De sign Better Fit!

Proleptic, Inc.

PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 | Ph. 828.505.8474 • Fx. 828.505.8476 •

Shop Talk! May 2014 |


After The Fire

by Lynn Ascrizzi, Staff Writer

Precision Saddle Tree Is Back Up And Running


t was a late Sunday afternoon in early October, and Thomas Stevenson, general manager of Precision Saddle Tree, Inc., was driving back to Yoakum, TX. He had just spent two stimulating days at the 24th Annual Boot & Saddle Makers’ Trade Show in Wichita Falls (Oct. 4-5, 2013). And now, during the relaxing monotony of the 390-mile ride home, his head was percolating with all kinds of creative ideas for the company. “I thought we had good saddle trees. I took a lot of orders at the show. I thought our trees looked better than they ever had. On the way home, I was thinking of all the cool, new products we were going to offer,” he said. Stevenson, who has been with Precision Saddle Tree since 2008, was feeling pretty good about the Yoakum-based company’s precisely made saddle trees of white pine, built by a team of skilled, local craftsmen using three-dimensional, computer aided design (CAD) software and computerized cutting equipment or CNC (computer numerical control) machines. He arrived home early that evening. But, on Monday, at 4:30 a.m., a sudden phone call jolted him out of a sound sleep. The Precision work site was on fire. “The business

38 |

May 2014

was only five minutes from my home. I live in Yoakum. You can be anywhere in Yoakum in five minutes,” he said, of the small, South Central Texas town. At first, he wasn’t too worried. A nightshift employee was still on duty. And the shop had experienced a few small fires before such as those sparked during a cutting operation. “We had procedures for dealing with that. We’ve had fires in the dust-collection system and have dealt with those, too,” Stevenson said, in his soft-spoken, Tennessean accent. But this fire had a mind all its own. By the time he arrived, fire trucks and firefighters already were on the scene, battling flames surging in the back section of the 10,000 square foot, 1910 brick building. Suddenly, the fire flared to the front. In moments, the entire place was up in flames. Four thousand gallons of water a minute were poured on the fire for about two hours before it subsided into charred and smoldering ruins, according to a local news report. Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire.

Firemen poured 4,000 gallons of water a minute for two hours to quench the early morning fire that completely destroyed Precision Saddle Tree in Yoakum, TX, on Oct. 7, 2013. Photo/ Michael S. McCracken, Yoakum Herald Times.

How did it start? At the time, Precision was running its operation twentyfour hours a day, four to five days per week, Shop Talk!

“Everything was damaged. Everything was lost. A propane gas tank attached to the fork lift exploded by the back door and split the fork lift in two,” Stevenson said. By everything, he meant just that — everything — including two CNC machines, all the assembly jigs, round seat molds and roughly $300,000 worth of inventory in the form of raw materials and finished goods.

The smoldering remains of the former site of Precision Saddle Tree.

Stevenson explained. The single employee on duty that night had been working on cutting operations. “The fire started at the back end of the building, on the other side of a thick, brick wall, away from where he was working,” he said. By spring 2014, Precision was set up again for business in a new location at Airport Business Part in Yoakum. Photo/Michael S. McCracken, Yoakum Herald Times.

The Good News

Amazingly, only a handful of months after the devastating fire, Precision Saddle Tree is back up and running. The company is now based in a 15,000 square foot facility on the other side of Yoakum — only five "Everything minutes away from its former site. Today, the company is set up better than ever — new equipment, a more efficient work site, and a more extensive fire prevention system. “Probably, 80 to 90% of our equipment is up and in place. We’re still waiting on new equipment,” Stevenson said, this past spring.

was damaged. Everything was lost."

Ironically, the employee had checked out the drying room roughly thirty minutes before the fire started. “He was just performing normal duties. While in the dry room, he counted the pallets. Everything looked OK, so he closed the door and went about his business,” said Stevenson.

The drying room, he added, was equipped with a heater to keep temperatures at 110 to 120 degrees F. It also had lights, a dehumidifier, fans, and fifteen pallets of white pine used in the manufacture of saddle trees. “We have to get the wood down to 7% moisture content before we cut it, so the wood holds its shape well,” he explained. Then, about a half hour later, the employee thought he smelled smoke and went back to check the dry room. To his horror, the room was completely on fire, with flames rolling up to the ceiling. He called 911. While doing so, someone banged on the front door. It was a police officer, ordering him out of the building. Shop Talk!

“We had adequate fire inspections annually. We had backup procedures for common incidents around cutting machines where we previously had fires. But this was an old building. We’re guessing the fire was electrical,” Stevenson said.

New orders are flowing in and being filled, he added. “We’re up to 60 percent of our former output. I hope to break even in March 2014. And I expect Precision to be fully operational by the end of 2014.”

Now Back in Print

The Leatherworking Handbook by Valerie Michael: paperback, 120 pp. Great for most any leatherworker. Total of 10 projects from simple to advanced complete with instructions and patterns. Also gives some background and theory of leatherworking and discusses tools, techniques & construction methods.

$19.95+ S&H Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 • 828-505-8474 • fx 828-505-8476 Proleptic, Inc. •

May 2014 |


Setting up the new workshop was a daunting task. “You have to set up all your different processes to get back to work,” he explained. “There was the saw to cut wood when it comes in, a dry room to dry the wood, a sanding room, and new CNC machines (ordered from Legacy Woodworking Machinery in Springville, UT). They don’t come off the shelf at Wal-Mart. You order it and get it three-to-six months later,” he said. “On top of that, the setup included vacuum units, assembly stations, jigs, places to put [saddle] horns, and an air-ventilation system. New rooms to store Fiberglas® and coverings on the saddletrees, also had to be built.” He hopes that a 2014 catalog will be printed by the second half of the year. “All my catalogs burned up, and I have to reprint all those,” he noted. The company’s biggest constraint is the time it takes to reprogram all the new computers so all the patterns and parts can be cut. “There are roughly 1,000 patterns for bars, swells. and cantles, and each pattern takes three to four hours to recapture. Some are completely lost, and those we will have to recreate from scratch. I’ve got two guys who do nothing but troubleshoot the new CNC machines and reprogram all the programs to run the new machines.” By early spring, the company was making its most popular products first—the saddletrees included in their in-stock tree program. “Usually, we only make a tree when someone orders one. In-stock trees are normally some of our most in-demand products, and we make those in advertised sizes. We try to keep those in stock so customers can call and have a tree shipped within a day or two,” explained the general manager. Overall, things are looking up. “We’re not quite able to make all the patterns we want to make, yet. But many of these trees should be available within the next month or two,” he said. For more information: Precision Saddle Tree, 202 Industrial Loop, Airport Business Park, Yoakum, TX, 1-877-916-TREE (8733); Fax: 361-293-3028; tstevenson@precisionsaddletree. com;; 40 |

May 2014

LESSONS LEARNED FROM A TRIAL BY FIRE Precision Saddle Tree’s remarkable rise out of the ashes after undergoing a destructive fire in the fall of 2013, was accomplished in a matter of months. Now, the company is back in the saddle again in a new workshop in Yoakum, TX. Here’s what helped the business survive its ordeal and what was learned: • Dependable fire insurance: Fortunately, Precision was fully insured. “We had very good insurance with the Hartford Co. They are a good insurance company, and they helped us out, really well,” said company general manager, Thomas Stevenson. “We didn’t have business interruption insurance, but we did have replacement values on contents and equipment. The building wasn’t ours; it was a rental,” he said, of the former business location. • Off-site back-up files: Having critical business data stored in more than one off-site location was a lifesaver for Precision. “All our customers’ names, order, and vendor information was stored up in a ‘cloud’ on a server. We also saved most of our patterns. We have lost a few, but have most, ” he said. He was referring to “cloud storage,” a method of saving data to a remote database. In this backup system, the Internet is the link between your computer and the database, according to Cloud storage offers an alternative to storing information to your computer's hard drive or other local storage device. If something catastrophic happens to your computer or in-house backup system, you can access your information off-site with another computer. Hundreds of cloud storage data centers are listed on the Internet.

SADDLES by Russel H. Beatie, hard cover, 391 pp. An eclectic & interesting collection of information about saddles of all types, past and present. The history and development of each part of the saddle is discussed. Evolution of saddles is traced from prehistoric times to present. Sidesaddles also featured along with English saddles and American Cavalry saddle. Photos are generally poor quality but are plentiful & depict some very interesting & unique historical saddles and other riding

SAVE 30%

accessories. Reg: $75

SALE PRICE: $52.50

Proleptic, Inc. • PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 • 828.505.8474 •

Shop Talk!

Precision made use of other off-site backups, too. “We had a lot of data, such as patterns for the swells, cantles, and bars backed up on external hard drives in different locations. We put one in an employee’s home and also used a safe deposit box at a local bank,” he said. • Regular backups: “Make sure you have all your info and data backed up as much as possible,” he advised. “That was one good thing we had. We could have done better. We had gotten lazy, backing up data. We were not backed up as recent as we should have been. Now, we’re backing up weekly again. We have both hard drive backups and data physically taken to a separate location.” • Team effort: When brought down by a fire, a business needs competent, loyal workers to help pick it up by the bootstraps. Stevenson praised his team for their “dedication and perseverance — for sticking through a traumatic type event and not getting a little nervous and flying the coop.” The company was able to keep 16 out of 19 employees. In particular, he was grateful to employee David Vinklarek of Shiner, TX, who was just about to retire when the fire struck. “That guy is real handy, and he has pretty much helped set the company up from scratch in 2 ½ months before he retired. He’s gone to punching cows now. He helped get the new place laid out for us.” • Fire safety and suppression systems: “In the old building, we had sprinklers, but they were only in the area where we had experienced fires before. We had covered our high threat area. Had the fire started there, we would have been fine. What we’re doing in this new building is installing a fire suppression system

Neoprene Sheets •Webbing •Elastic •Buckles •Zippers

Hook & Loop Fasteners •TPU Laminated Fabrics •Hot Melt Adhesive Film •Tricot Fabrics •Mesh Fabrics

SALES REP WANTED IN SOME TERRITORIES 5351 Oceanus Drive, Huntington Beach, CA 92649 T: 714-898-5989 • F: 714-894-8018 E-mail: •

Shop Talk!

throughout the entire building. The city of Yoakum is helping us with a grant to help purchase an $80,000 fire suppression system. Part of the overall project is automatic alarms that go right to the fire department,” he said. • Keep on the sunny side: Stevenson learned that a light shines in the darkest hour and puts things in perspective. “The same year the fire happened, there was flooding up in Illinois…and the Philippines were hit by a typhoon. Yes, we had a terrible occurrence. We lost our business and everything in it. We didn’t even have a place to meet. So we met at the local H&H Café, trying to figure out what we’re going to do, how we were going to operate, and how to develop contingency plans. But nobody was hurt. We were all still here. We were all breathing. We had good clean air and lived in a wonderful country. And God is good. We are all in His hand. And He is going to take care of us.” — Lynn Ascrizzi

Custom Boot & Saddle Makers Roundup in $250 Gift Vouchers Given Away All Day

000 Saturday, October 4, 2014 , 5 $ Must spend at Show with exhibitors • Must be present to win

This year we will still have a large display area for display of boots and saddles! No contest will be held. Anyone who wishes to display their boot or saddle will be able to, so all those attending can enjoy seeing your work! We will still have LOTS of chairs in the same location for folks to sit and visit, by the display. Just bring your product with you to the register desk, fill out a display card to go along with your boot/saddle, & sign a waiver showing you are solely responsible for your product at the show. Thanks, see ya there!

W • phone (325) 356-3197

Custommade Knives & Tools for Leatherworkers

■ New Handles DANNY Repair ■◉Sharpen Round Knives ◉ Stitch Groovers MARLIN ◉ Custommade Tools KNIVES ◉ Bench Knives

(254) 842- 5405

◉ Stock Tools ◉ Old Blades Reshaped

1550 County Road 207 ■ Blanket, TX 76432 May 2014 |


8149 Twp. Rd. 662 | Dundee, OH 44624 Ph: 330-359-0147 | Fax: 330-359-0196

complete line of eveners and neck yokes in stock

We ship UPS. | Call or write for a FREE Price Sheet

42 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

A Visit to Bowman Harness, Millersburg, OH


hen you land in Holmes Co., OH, you’ve stepped in something good if you have anything at all to do with horses or horse related accoutrements. In Mt. Hope there’s the big horse auction, one of the biggest in the country. Lots of big mules, draft horses, and driving horses. Just down the street is Lehman’s Hardware which is always a treat to visit. A few minutes away there’s Coblentz Collar for great collars and Coblentz Supply for blankets and pads. Of course, there’s Chupp Blacksmith if you need hames or harness hardware, and N &A Harness for synthetic harness, harness parts, supplies, and a huge selection of equipment made for fabricating synthetic materials. And let’s not forget Fairview Country Sales for BioThane, harness, carts, and wheels! Of course, there are all sorts of buggy shops and wheel shops and furniture shops and places that sell delicious cheeses and baked goods. Yum. To put it simply, Holmes Co. is a destination for 100’s upon 100’s of the horse owning public as well as quite a few retail shop owners and

by Dan Preston, Editor

manufacturers. If you haven’t been, you need to go. Beautiful rolling farm land all around you that’s easy on the eye. Now right down the road from the horse auction in Mt. Hope is Bowman Harness which employees around nineteen men and women and occupies around 10,000 sq. ft. That’s where we are heading. You’ll enjoy this. If he could only see them now, old Joe Bowman would be mighty proud of his boys, John, Joe Jr., and Dan, and the success they’ve made of the business they inherited. According to Joe

Jr., the early lessons Joe Sr., taught his boys about the importance of being honest and producing a quality product have paid off. The brothers agree that, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” And they mean it. If you’re at all familiar with their work, you’ll have to admit that any product you buy from Bowman Harness is always going to be first rate. Always great materials matched by uncompromising workmanship. But my, my, my how things have changed since Joe Sr., took over the business in 1958 from his father, Harvey Bowman, who started the shop in 1920.

468 CANAL ST., STE. 201, LAWRENCE, MA 01840

Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


While their guiding principles have remained the same for nearly a century, the way they do business and what they manufacture have changed markedly since the shop first opened. In fact, a lot of changes have taken place at Bowman Harness. One of the main reasons for their continued success, for example, is the diversification which has characterized the business from its beginnings. At one time in its early days Bowman made harness as well as did shoe repair. Joe and John remember their Dad selling stoves in the shop, used buggies, and 100’s of pounds of nuts! He even sold house paint. And this was all to the good since it taught his kids a valuable lesson: if you want to survive you need to diversify. And they have. Probably more than any of us will ever guess!

44 |

May 2014

“When I was a boy a guy in the shop said that one of these days there won’t be any leather— just Biothane. I thought it was a big joke but we’re a lot closer than we thought we were.” This might shock you but Bowman Harness is not primarily a harness manufacturer anymore. Oh, no. According to Joe and John, “If it were just harness, we’d be struggling.” Presently, there are about three major segments to their business: their retail store, custom and contract manufacturing, and harness. Roughly speaking, the harness and harness parts portion represents about 30-40% of their total business. Now

their harness and harness parts segment is broken into products made with leather and products made with BioThane. Only about 15-20% is made out of leather with the majority being made out of Bio. That’s one of the big changes that Joe, 44, and John, 46, have seen over the years, the switch from leather to Bio. Joe remembers, “When I was a boy a guy in the shop said that one of these days there won’t be any leather—just Biothane. I thought it was a big joke but we’re a lot closer than we thought we were.” The Bowmans explain that there are four reasons for the rise in popularity of Bio: 1) cost 2) weight 3) upkeep 4) appearance. The difference in cost of a single leather driving harness compared with one made out of Bio is around

Shop Talk!

$135. The difference for a set of draft harness is around $650. Of course, Bio harness is lighter than leather which makes harnessing up easier for some. And since it’s synthetic, there is no need to clean or oil the harness. They also make the comment that the popularity of Bio has increased as the appearance and quality of Bio parts have improved. However, even though they make more Bio harness and harness parts, they use more leather overall in the many other products they make. And the only leather they use is from Hermann Oak. “We’re very picky

Bowman Harness makes a variety of saddles out of both leather and BioThane.

about our leather,” says Joe who runs the production side while his brother John runs the sales and business end. They make a pretty good team.

This is an improvement in BioThane traces. The slots are reinforced with a hard plastic layer to prevent tearing.

Beiler’s Mfg. & Supply MANUFACTURING ADDRESS 290 S. Groffdale Rd. Leola, PA 17540 (717) 656-2179

MAIN OFFICE & WAREHOUSE 3025 Irishtown Rd. Ronks, PA 17540 (717) 768-0174

Manufacturers of Leather, Nylon or Biothane Products like Halters, Harnesses or other Equine or Pet Related items. Distributors of Harness & Saddlery Hardware. Leather, Leather Oils, Biothane & Nylon Webbing plus other Equine Products. Call us for any custom made Harness or Saddlery Hardware item you may need.

Buena Vista Blankets New Item

It’s Awesom

5 Split Collar Pad 5

All Types of Horse Blankets Custom Made Harness Pads S-L-O-W Feed Hay Bags Give us a call: (717) 442-0164

5857 Buena Vista Rd. • Gap, PA 17527 Shop Talk!


Another big change that the boys have seen is how they make and sell harness. Years ago it took several months to fill a customer’s order then it got to the point that Bowman be-

SHELTON-REYNOLDS, INC. 11516 N Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI 53092

First Quality & Closeouts

G Nylon Halter, Harness & Collar Webbing

G Nylon Sling and Tie-down Web G Urethane & Vinyl Coated Webbing G Seatbelt Webbing Seconds G Polypropylene Webbing G Hook & Loop – Sew-on & Pressure Sensitive G Derby Rope, Shock Cord G Vinyl Fabrics - Laminates & Coated G Sewing Thread - Nylon & Polyester - all sizes G 100% Acrylic Marine Fabrics G Truck Tie-down Web 1"- 2" - 3" - 4" G Clear Vinyl Tent & Boat Window G Rope - Nylon & Polyester G 1/8" Nylon Parachute Cord for Braiding

G Canvas - All Styles & Weights, Natural,

Flame Retardant, Water & Mildew Resistant

Call Toll Free ~ Nationwide


Fax (262) 478-9226 SHIPMENT WITHIN 24 HOURS May 2014 |


an increasing number of gan to keep most everything people coming to them to in stock. Now so much of the do custom work for new harness they make, leather Internet ventures they’ve as well as Bio, is custom set up. As a result, business built. People do not want to was good even during the buy stock harness; rather, recent recession, including they want it built especially sales in their retail store to fit their horses. So there is which continue to grow. a whole lot of customization They also point to the fact involved now. that the prices for horses This is also true in another remained strong during segment of their business: Lots of harness—both new and used—in stock. Everything the downturn as well as to custom and contract manu- from pleasure driving to draft harness. And all the parts and pieces you might need. an increase in business for facturing which seems to vie providers of horse drawn for more and more of their farm equipment such as harness and harness parts. Joe says, time. For example, they make waist belts for other companies. They “We’re about at the point we can only Pioneer. In short, business has been have a contract for holster parts and do so much and are running behind and remains strong for Bowman Harness, partly owning to their willone for making English saddle parts. making our own products.” It’s still true, isn’t it? When you need ingness to branch out into different This is in addition to the other prodniches. As John says, “Today you ucts they aim to keep in stock such something done, ask a busy man! It may sound odd, but over the have to do that.” as halters, horse blankets, pads, and Now not much has been said of Joe more. Plus they have numerous and past few years the Bowman brothers large wholesale accounts for their have seen a surge in business with and John’s brother, Dan, the three

Milton Sokol & Co. Inc. ~ Demar Leather Company Established 1927

Russet Vegetable Tanned Leathers:

-Double Backs -Double Butts -Tooling Sides -Bellies -Shoulders -Sole Bends

Call Toll Free 1-888-765-6526 “Just ask for Jesse”

*Premium South American Skirting, Bridle & Harness *Large assortment of Oil Tanned and Chap Sides *Full color range of Upholstery and Garment Leathers

127-25 Metropolitan Avenue  Kew Gardens, NY 11415 Ph: (718) 441-2226  Fx: (718) 441-2299  email: 46 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

The harness, harness parts, and other products listed in the Bowman Harness catalog are in stock and ready to be shipped.

and riding as well as carries many styles with different options in stock which are available from Dan at his business, Bowman Leather, another success story. However, if truth be told, and while nothing can be taken away from John and Joe’s efforts and marketing ingenuity, maybe the real secret of their success lies with some of the excellent help they have in the shop, one man in particular. That would have to be Abe of whom formed a partnership with their Dad in 1996. Eventually, Dan set out on his own and started making fine show harness and now also makes fine custom bits as well. According to Joe, “Dan makes custom bits and a lot of them.” He makes custom show bits for both driving

Bowman’s monster crupper mold which they bought from Mast Harness Hdw.

Bowman is famous for the excellent quality cruppers they make which are stuffed with flax seed.

The American Donkey & Mule Society Established 1967—Serving Longears and their owners for over 40 years.

World’s Largest Single Source of Information and Services for all sizes of Donkeys, Mules & Zebra Hybrids. Home of the BRAYER magazine, The Original All-Breed Longear Publication 112 pages bi-Monthly. $23 US, $30 Canada, $35 overseas Ck, MO, Paypal, MC/Visa ADMS, PO Box 1210, Lewisville TX 75067 (972) 219-0781 Email **

Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


the belief that the quality of leather should be measured by performance. "

Specialty Tanners Since 1867 OrderDirect 1- 800 -.n.l. TrA ~TNERY No Minimums ~

Ph 814-236-2220 • Fx 814-236-3333 120 Cooper Road, Curwensville, PA 16833 48 |

May 2014

In Canada call The Tannery Warehouse Inc. To1l866-232-2081 • Ph 416-849-9045 email: Shop Talk!

Joe and John carry a big selection of their brother Dan’s bits in stock.

Miller, recently turned 71. While still a young squirt, Abe worked for Joe Bowman, Sr., for four years before opening up Jelloway Harness and later Countryside Harness. Then after selling his business to his son, Abe returned to the fold where he’s been working happily for the past few years. The Bowman boys should count themselves doubly blessed with it comes to having Abe work for them. Not only is he a skillful craftsman,

Shop Talk!

there’s not much Abe doesn’t know about Champion harness stitchers which is good since that’s what most of all the shop’s fine leather work is sewn on—a Wide Throat Champion! Can you believe it! They have three in the shop, one with a set-up presser foot that makes just a beautiful stitch. Finally, here’s a real treat that Joe Sr., bought years ago from someone passing through and stopped by his shop—

That’s a big folding chest full of lots and lots of old tools, including a number of Gomph strap punches in very good condition and very uncommon. The writer was informed in no uncertain terms that the chest and its tools were NOT for sale! Give Joe and John a shout—who knows, you might have better luck! You may contact Bowman Harness at 6928 County Road 77, Millersburg, OH 44654-9181, (330) 893-4151, fax (330) 89-0093.

May 2014 |


NeWs, NOTes & Queries

Business and upDates and Happenings

New Canadian Distributor for Hermann Oak Hermann Oak Leather Co. recently announced the addition of Buckskin Fur & Leather Co. of Calgary, Alberta, to their list of Canadian distributors. You may contact Michael Schluessel, Felix Endres, and Amanda King at (403) 25-3459 or toll free at (888) 723-0806. Their e-mail is Possible Market? You never know until you try! We came across the other day for a company called Basic Farm & Home Supply at 2188 S US Hwy 27, Berne, IN 46711, (866) 444-2666, which sells

a whole lot of “old-fashion” products—farm tools, horse products, lanterns, wood fired water heaters, oil stoves, etc. You never know, you may be making something that they’d like to stock or could make something that they’ve been needing a source for—leather belts, for example. Knife sheaths, carpenter belts, wallets, bells, etc. It never hurts to ask. The same goes for other similar catalogs that cater to the nostalgic as well as folks who live a simpler, more rural life. Catalogs like Lehman’s, for example. So maybe do a little resource and see what other possible markets might be out there just waiting to be discovered!

Try our NEW Vinyl in 8 Colors Both sides vinyl. Better than marine vinyl. For longer wear-Wash them clean & keep inside dry.

• Collar pads • Breast pads • Show pads • Split Breast pads • Back pads • Breeching pads

 Write For Free Catalog  Sweat Pad Shop 183 Stoneyhill Road, Quarryville, PA 17566

50 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

WOW! WOW! WOW! New Auction! Wow! These hardworking guys at Chupp Bros. Wholesale are hosting a Harness-Maker’s Consignment Auction this coming May 23, 2014, at their nice location in downtown Shipshewana, IN 46565. Great news! Plan now to consign and attend. Contact: Devon Chupp, 890 S. Van Buren St., Shipshewana, IN 46565, (260) 499-0525, fax (260) 768-4846. Be there!

Shop Talk!, P O Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, fax (828) 505-8476, e-mail: What a deal! On the Move • The new address for International Sheepskin & Leather’s East Coast warehouse is 5100 Umbria St., Philadelphia, PA 19128, (215) 278-6200.

Free Flea! You still got a little time left to send in your list of odds and ends that you’d like to have published in the June issue—free! We’re talking equipment, hdw., leather, webbing, old stock— anything that you’re tired of having around. But do not delay another second! Contact:

Hermann Oaks Sm Text Ad_BW03_12_Layout 1 3/4/13 8:13 AM Page 1

Skirting • Harness • Latigo • Bridle • Holster • Belting • Rawhide • Tooling



THIS IS HERMANN OAK LEATHER! Our leathers are tanned in the United States using only the finest North American Hides. For wholesale service, contact us at 1 (800) 325-7950 or fax us at (314) 421-6152 Or contact the nearest distributor listed below: El Paso, TX, Bowden Leather Company 915-877-1557 Ventura, CA, Goliger Leather Company 800-423-2329 Napa, CA, Hide & Leather House 707-255-6160 Billings, MT, Montana Leather Company 406-245-1660 Portland, OR, Oregon Leather Company 503-228-4105 Amarillo, TX, Panhandle Leather Company 806-373-0535 Sheridan, WY, Sheridan Leather Outfitters 888-803-3030 Mt Hope, OH, Weaver Leather, Inc 800-WEAVER-1

Shop Talk!

Springfield, MO, Springfield Leather Company 800-668-8518 Calgary, AB, Canada, Caledon Sales Ltd 403-252-0232 Botany, NSW, Australia, Birdsall Leather 011-612-9316-6299 Toowoomba, Qsld, Australia, Toowoomba Saddlery 011-617-4633-1855 Suginami-ku, Tokyo, Japan, Craft & Company Ltd. 011-81-3-5698-5511 Taito-Ku, Tokyo, Japan, Kyoshin Elle & Co., LTD 011-81-3-3866-3221 Maniwa, Japan, Star Trading Company 011-81-8-6742-8004 What Firminy, France, Logis de Cordes 33-04-61-19-16

St. Louis, MO Since 1881

Legends Are Made Of.

May 2014 |


• The new address for Yoder’s Pad Shop is 1237 Township Road 1106, Ashland, OH 44805. • The new phone number for Champion Halters is (260) 768-9123. • Yonie’s Harness Shop in Honey Brook, PA, now has its own web site—www.yonies. com. Give it a look! Yonie’s has about four catalogs that include everything from fi ne harness to leather gift items. You may also call (610) 273-7370.

Bogle Greenwell Machinery Corp. Since 1953

3100 E. Main, Grand Prairie, TX 75050 (972) 262-8652 or (972) 262-3101 Fax (972) 262-3251 Leather Machinery, Dies & Supplies Representatives & Distributors for:

Indusco Acme Staple Co. Adler America Inc. Chandler Machine Co. Manufacturers Supplies Co. Campbell Bosworth Machinery Co.

Consolidated Sewing Machine Corp. Hudson Machine Co. Randall Leather Machine Corp. Western Supplies Co. Quick Roll Leaf Mfg. Co., Inc. Schaefer Machine Company, Inc. Fortuna Machine Co. Ferd, Schmetz Needle Corp. Jado Machine Co. New England Needles Inc. Juki AmericaSinger Machine Co. Pfaff Pegasus of USA, Inc. & many more

Sale or Lease of New & Used Machinery

52 |

May 2014

Carriage Makers’ Get-Together No doubt you’ll remember the fiasco we reported on last summer with the Editor of the Buggy Builders Bulletin getting caught up in a public brawl as he attempted to separate the different parties who had resorted to fi sticuffs in order to resolve their brotherly differences. Unseemly behavior to say the least and so foreign from anything that might take place at a meeting of, let’s say, harness and saddle makers where pacific goodwill and neighborliness are always so evident. We are happy to report that, after everyone recovered from their wounds, the fraternity of Carriage Makers once again decided to get together this year on July 11 (the second Friday of July) near Elkton, KY—details to follow or you may call (540) 879-9260 or write: 795 Mason St., Dayton, VA 22821. The local sheriff and rescue squad will be in attendance. Unfortunately, press passes are not being issued for this event.

Need Show Pads? Try Our All Vinyl In Colors! :





Manufacturer of ∙ Collar ∙ Show ∙ Back ∙ Breast ∙ Breeching pads Write for Catalog

Stainless Steel Clips & Plates

∙ David & Edna Yoder ∙ 1237 Township Rd 1106 ∙ Ashland, OH 44805 ∙

Shop Talk!

Save the Carriage Horses Our friend Barbara Stork in New York City has been involved for a number of years with the carriage driving industry through the US— those folks who transport sightseers via horse and carriage. She’s been working hard to help to promote and protect the work that carriage drivers do and recently created a petition entitled “Save the Carriage Horses”. The more support she can get the better so she’s asking folks to please read and sign the petition which may be seen at: www.credomobilize. com/petitions/save-the-carriage-horses. Please share this link with your friends. You may reach Barbara directly at fl Seller: Beware? Friends, there follows a letter we received from Jonathan at Yonie’s Harness in Honey Brook which we are going to share with you; however, we do so without any collateral proof

Shop Talk!

and therefore cannot attest to its accuracy: “He is at it again!!! A fellow by the name of Real Casey from Canada is placing orders and the people that are shipping without payment—are not getting paid—It happened to me—Yonie— in 2011. Now Countryside Harness in Narvon, PA also got called. This Real [sic] Cassey is also calling other fellows in Lancaster Co. trying to order stuff—his address from 2011 was 6 Rt. Sullivan, Shigawake, Quebec G0C 3E0. “His address from 2014 is 85 Rt. 132. Same city etc. He also goes by R. C. Livestock Enterprises—“ You may reach Jonathan at (610) 273-7370. Have any other readers had similar problems? Please contact us if you have and thanks. Let’s Get Behind The Pendleton Show! That’s a show with so much potential for growth and it’s in just an ideal location to draw folks from all over the Northwest as well as California and Nevada. If you haven’t attended as a vendor or visitor, please make plans to do that this

May 2014 |


October. The Pendleton Show is hosted by the folks at Sheridan Leather in Sheridan Wyoming. Contact: (888) 803-3030, e-mail:

Australian Leather Workers? Based on the lack of pictorial evidence from Down Under, this publication recently made formal application to the Commonwealth of Australia for the establishment of a museum for Extinct Leather Workers of the Sub-Continent. Admittedly, we have received two e-mails from questionable sources stating that leather workers still exist in parts of the Out Back; however, to date, we have received no actual pictures of even one leather worker and can only assume that the trade has died out completely. RIP—dear Australian craftspeople! Attention All Sheath Makers! Wow—we had incredible response to our call for pictures from holster makers which we published in the December issue. Thanks to everyone who sent us something! All those great samples

of custom made holsters really made for an handsome issue. Now let’s do one on sheathes! Any kind of sheath or cover—knives, swords, weapons, hatchets, etc. Let’s see what you can do! Please contact: Shop Talk!, P O Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, e-mail:

My Buyer’s Guide! Is On Its Way! TM

If you haven’t already, in the next couple days you should be receiving this year’s edition of our annual buyer’s guide and it’s a dandy! We’ve been working on it for the past nine months to make it as accurate as possible— we’ve cut out a lot of dead wood, taken out businesses that are no longer in business, updated addresses and contact information, and then added several dozen new suppliers. Our hope is that you’ll find the directory a useful, easy-to-use reference tool throughout the year for the products you need. There really is NOTHING like it for the professional leather worker in the US and Canada.

Whip Manufacturing

50”, 60”, 66”, 72” in stock  Colors  Custom Orders

Leather, BioPlastic & Brahma Webb Harnesses

N aLL sizes N

Available for Large & Small Production Runs  Private Labeling  On Time Delivery 


Center Square HarneSS

246 Forest Hill Rd., Leola, PA 17540 • (717) 656-3381

Nylon Webbing


 Medium and Heavy weight webbing ¾″- 1 ½″   Color matched nylon bonded thread 92-346 

9415 W 300 S • Topeka, IN 46571• 260•593•0044

54 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

Harness-Maker's Consignment Auction LOCATED: 1 mile south of Shipshewana, IN on State Rd 5 to the Chupp Auction Center ADDRESS: 890 S Van Buren St, Shipshewana, IN 46565

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014 •

* **

Thursday: A FREE SUPPER will be served Thursday, May 22. Preview auction items and browse through vendor booths .


Friday: Auction begins at 9:00 am



1508 Juki flatbed sewing machine (nice); Pfaft 546; crank lace cutter made in Germany; standard rivet spot setter; brass emboss wheels; die for rigging dee part on saddle; slopper strap die (good condition); cross die (like new); die for bridle face piece; large heart die (like new); 36 pc 3/8" stamping set; misc. small tools; hand edgers; Osborne English punches size 5/8", %", 7/8", 1" & 1-1/8" (very good); Osborne 4" steel draw gauge; Osborne 5" draw gauge with brass handle & wood inlay; 6" lap end shiver; Osborne slot punches sizes 5/8", 1-1/8" & 1W'; American St Louis end shiver; hand stamping tools; 5W' Landis hand crank leather splitter; 10" leather splitter; 8" leather splitter; (2) Atlas 8" strap cutters; automatic hollow braid rope maker; Consew 226 walking foot sewing machine; Brother OB2-B755 industrial sewing machine; Artisan skiving machine; (2) double head Schwabe clickers; (1) single head Schwabe clicker; 16"x5' traveling head clicker; Judson Thomas automatic riveter; automatic standard rivet spotter; Maxam heat stamper; grinding wheel with electric motor; Randall Union lock stitch machine; Pfaff %"x%" adjustable box stitcher; Pfaff %"x2" adjustable box stitcher with X; Pfaff 5/8"x5/8" adjustable box stitcher with X; cutoff machine model L #4802; (3) Singer walking foot sewing machines with stands; (2) Pfaff adjustable bar tacker; air powered spike setter; foot powered spike setter; (2) Union special surgers; Singer walking foot post sewing machine; (3) Eastman material cutters (class 156); (2) automatic riveters with caps (TL Thompson); glue machine; 12" Fortuna band skiver; hydraulic press with gauges; power hammer model C #779; Pexto heavy duty steel shear; sewing machine stands;

• HARDWARE • INVENTORY • TACK MISC. • Lots of nickel-plated, stainless steel, brass & brass-plated hardware; thread; 100+ collar pads; breast pads; gig pads; breeching pads; spools of rope from Troyer Rope Co.; 1OO's of leads; nylon webbing; polypropylene webbing; rolls of fleece; lots of tack misc.; bridle & breast collar sets; Brahman nose bands & halter bridles; 6%" Brahman reins; spur straps; fake fur; imitation sheep wool; rivets; hardware; nylon;

Reserve your rooms today! Don't miss this event! Lodging:

Ask for Chupp Auction rate

Blue Gate Garden Inn .. .. .... 260-768-7688 Super 8 Motel .... ..... ....... .. .. 260-768-4004 Der Ruhe Blatz .............. .. .. 260-768-7750 Farmstead Inn ................... 260-768-4595 Van Buren Hotel ...... .. .... .. .. 260-768-7780

• Leather of all kinds • Exotic snakeskin leather pieces •

QUALITY CONSIGNMENTS STILL BEING ACCEPTED Tools • Leather • Bio • Machinery • Rope • Etc. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

13~ ~ ~~ &. +.~

SP":v>l P,,-n,.,

n .O~

n. ,

,~.MIAAI\J~ l-\Jn.,(te, ~OIN/~ neJt£,.


Reserve a 10'xlO'

Booth for $200! Call or fax today with your consignment list or to reserve a booth. Devon Chupp Phone: (260) 499-0525 Fax: (260) 768-4846

Shop Talk!



5 0/0 Off Cash & Carry Orders! Place your order by May 16 and pick-up and pay by May 22 to receive a 5% discount on your order.

May 2014 |


Which is why the number of companies that advertise with us keeps growing! In addition to the print version, the directory is also online and completely searchable at www. Silver Screen Legend XVII Benefit This year’s Silver Screen Legend XVII gun rig is dedicated to legendary silversmith and leather craftsman Edward Bohlin who was born in Sweden and came to this country as a young man to be a Cowboy. He worked on ranches in Montana and Wyoming, learning to rope and ride. He also learned to repair saddle, bridles, and other leather goods. Eventually, he started building saddles and related gear and learned silversmithing to decorate the saddles and bridles he made. As demand for his product grew, he opened a saddle shop in Cody, WY. Cowboy star Tom Mix saw his work and invited him to relocate to Hollywood. Two of the first saddles he made in his new shop were for Hollywood Cowboy star, Buck Jones and his wife Odelle. Those saddles are now on display

Chap, Saddle & Tooling Leather! The best grades from the best tanneries! Hermann Oak #1, or A & B grades only! Skirting, Harness, Strap, tooling, etc. Large clean sides of chap leather! Same types and colors always in stock! Work, Rodeo and Show!

in the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation is proud to honor Ed Bohlin this year with a replica of an outfit made by Bohlin in 1955 for a parade rider. This s the 17th year the foundation, through the generosity of Colt’s Manufacturing Co., has used specially made guns and holsters to raise money for abused children. Conrad Anderson did the engraving on the pistols as well as provided the silver spots, conchos, and buckle sets for the belt and holsters. The ivory for the grips was donated by David Warther II and carved by Bob Leskovec of Precision Pro Grips. Jim Lockwood of Legends in Leather carved the double holster rig. This unique collectible will be raffled off on December 13, 2014. Tickets cost $10 each or eleven tickets for $100. The winner will be notified by phone. You need not be present. You may order tickets by calling (855) 788-4440 or online at You may write Happy Trails Children’s Foundation at 10755 Apple Valley Rd., Apple Valley, CA 92308.

Kamali Leather W

Distributor & wholesaler of all types of whole hide/side leather/suedes from top quality South American cow hides serving all US Manufacturers

seating, chaps, handbags, all trades 44 Hillside Ave • Manhasset, NY 11030 • Ph: 516-627-6505 • Fx: 516-626-6501 |

Outstanding service! Real leather sample cards available!

Goliger Leather Company 800 423-2329 Fax 805 650-1742 email: Visit our website:

56 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

Don Butler Passes Don Butler, the founder and owner of Custom Cowboy Shop in Sheridan, WY, passed away Sunday, April 27 after suffering a stroke on about April 14. Don leaves behind his wife, Kitty, three children, and a legacy of saddle making. Shop Talk! learned of his passing an hour or so before going to press, so details are few at this time: a full length feature on his life and contributions is forthcoming. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. Custom Cowboy Shop is located at 1286 Sheridan Avenue Cody, WY 82414 and may be reached at (800) 487-2692. Landis 1 Looking For Home Several months ago t wrote that he has a Landis 1 along with the original paperwork from 1901. The machine is on a treadle stand and he’d like to find a new home for it! Please call Mr. Russell at (919) 942-8902 or e-mail:

son discusses the very practical things he did to avoid a major tragedy as well as the new things he plans to do in the future to even better protect his company’s financial records, business records, and numerous assets. Again, this sort of informed, practical advice is absolutely invaluable. Mark Your Calendar!  May 23: Harness-Maker’s Consignment Auction, Shipshewana, IN. Hosted by Chupp Bros. Call: (260) 499-0525.  June 18-19: Weaver Leather annual consignment auction, Mt. Hope, OH. (800) WEAVER-1.  July 17-18: Harness Makers’ Get-Together and Consignment Auction. Hosted by Chupp Blacksmith Shop, 9107 Township Road 609, Fredericksburg, OH 44625.  September 5-7: WESA, Denver, CO. Call: (800) 295-1041,  October 3-4: 26th Annual Custom Boot & Saddle Makers Roundup, Wichita Falls, TX. Contact: Eddie and Kathy Kimmel at (325) 356-3197, e-mail:,

Things You Need To Read! Friends, there are two very handy, very useful articles in this issue that you really need to read! Dana Huval has a piece in “Boot & Shoe News” that discusses what she does to make sure she stays busy year round. It is both practical and excellent advice which—if you do what she says—will help your business! There is also an article on the recent fire at Precision Saddle Tree in which Thom Stephen-

Why Aren’t You Here?? TM

My Buyer’s Guide! 2015 Leaves no oily residue

Shop Talk!

Call today

(828) 505-8474 May 2014 |




Classified ad rates are $26.50 for the first 20 words and $.65 cents for each additional word. Words (or groups of letters) fewer than three characters are not counted when calculating the cost of the ad. Street addresses are counted as one word. City, state, country, and zip or postal code are combined and counted as one word. Enclose payment when submitting ads. Ads received without payment will be held until payment is made. Ads must be received no later than the fifth of the month prior to the month you wish the ad to run (e.g. ads for the February issue must be in our office by January 5). Typed or neatly printed ads are preferred. We are not responsible for mistakes due to handwriting. Faxed ads must be typed and are accepted with MasterCard, VISA or Discover only.

Looking for a wholesale outlet for leather belts and leather crafts. Call (717) 656-9838


Custom manufacturing available for leather or synthetic products serving the equine, pet, and related industries. Quality and personal service for your project. Contact: Mud Creek Leather, 9415 W 300 S Topeka, IN 46571, (260) 593-0044. (R&B)

Wanted: New subscribers from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Canada. Now is the time to renew! Give us a call at (828) 505-8474, e-mail: or visit www. Wanted: Complete tool collections. Contact: Shop Talk!, P O Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, e-mail: Wanted: Bench equipment. Any condition. Skivers, splitters, pressers, spotters, etc. Also parts and pieces—bolts, frames, springs, blades. We pay shipping. Contact Shop Talk!, P.O. Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, e-mail: Wanted: Books and artwork related to saddle making, harness making, boot making, leather working, etc. Contact: Shop Talk!, P O Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 5058474,

58 |

May 2014

Wanted: Clicker pad. 20” x 80”. Prefer 2” thick. Contact: N. Ryceville Harness Shop, 13900 Stoltzfus Ln., Mechanicsville, MD 20659.

FoR sALe Install and remove Chicago screws quickly and easily in the shop or on the trail. $16.95 + $4 S&H. Call for wholesale pricing. Contact: JP’s Brige & Equine Too, 26266 E. County Road 700 N., Easton, IL 62633. (309) 562-7266. E-mail:,

Liquidating Entire Inventory. Seven heavy duty sewing machines—Cobra, Artisan, Juki. Two embossing machines. 12” USMC splitter. 12” Aperture band knife. Two creasers. Singer 112 dbl. needle. 14” strap cutter. Three Standard spot machines. 5-hole nylon burner. Two chap machines. Five cargo trailers. Container load of saddles, bridles, halters, leads, etc. No reasonable offer refused. Contact: Ben Day, Western Specialties, 3106 Cedar Dale Rd., Mt. Vernon, WA 98274, phone (360) 708-4201, fax (360) 428-2037. Landis 1 stitcher. Still works. Pedal movement. Free if someone could pickup or pay shipping. Call (435) 258-3768. For all your leather needs. Call Moser Leather (800) 874-1167 or (513) 889-0500. You can visit our website at (R&B)

Shop Talk!

For Sale: The Pro-Concho Turner: The only one in the U.S. Makes removal of decorative conchos a snap! Used with electric drill. Take the fuss and bother out of a difficult job with the Pro-Concho Turner! Saves time, makes money! Rubber gripper protects the concho and makes removal or installation easy. Only $29.00 plus $3.95 S&H, 6-inch steel shank, and rubber gripper. Ready to use! Contact: Proleptic, Inc., P.O. Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, e-mail: Wholesale Harness & Supplies. Hdw., Brahma web, dull and shiney PVC sheeting, nylon webbing, nylon thread, harness parts, etc. Try out our new all synthetic blinds and winker stays with wire! As for your FREE catalog today. Contact: Countryside Mfg., 504 S. Humbert St., Milton, IA 52570. For Sale: “Making Harness: A Step-by-Step Guide”, $58 plus $5.50 S&H. Specs and instructions on how to make and repair six styles of harness from pony to draft, driving, team wagon and mule. Contact: Proleptic, Inc., P.O. Box 17817, Asheville, NC 28816, (828) 505-8474, e-mail:, For Sale: Pricing Guide: “How to Establish Prices for the Saddle

Maker and Leather Worker.” Only $39.95 plus $4.50 S&H. Contact: (828) 505-8474. (12/12) For Sale: New and used Adler, Brother, Consew, Juki, Pfaff, Singer machines for sewing bio-plastic, canvas, leather and nylon. Available in single or double needles, standard, long arm, flatbed, postbed, cylinder arm. Contact: Bob Kovar, Toledo Industrial Sewing Machine, 3631 Marine Rd., Toledo, OH 43609, (866) 362-7397 or (419) 380-8540. (11/10) For Sale: Tools for the Professional—Ol’ Smoothie swivel knives, blades, stamping tools, and more. Contact: Chuck Smith Tools, Smith & Co., P O Box 2647, Valley Center, CA 92082. (760) 749-5755. Fax (760) 749-5355. E-mail: (R&B) for all your leather, tool, and supply

The “Word of the Day” is rebarbative.

14 12

Only FOR New Subscribers Must Mention THE May Issue of PRICE OF Serving Professional Leather Workers & Manufacturers Since 1984

• Shoe & Boot Repair • Saddle Makers • Harness Makers • Holster Makers • Custom Leather Goods

• Auctions • Wholesale Sources • Classifieds • Industry News • Monthly Specials PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 (828) 505-8474 • Fax (828) 505-8476 • (Not available to current or former subscribers.) Shop Talk!

May 2014 |


needs. Friendly, helpful staff at (507) 932-3795. (R&B) For Sale: Turnkey saddle store/shop. In southwest Colorado. 2,000 sq. ft. including very nice 3 bed, 2 bath home. Also 10 ac. fenced with ¼ mile highway frontage. In the heart of ranching, farming, and tourist country. Contact: Jerry or Barb at (970) 8821570 or cell (951) 966-4284.

boot & shoe For Sale: Butte’s Boots & Shoe Repair, 1629 Harrison Ave., Butte, MT 59701. Complete with all equipment, hand tools, over 250 lasts, and inventory. Call (406) 782-6071.


New Item

Rope/Webbing Cutter with 2 5/16" blade

Works with: • Nylon • Polypro • Coated Webbings Replacement Blades





Proleptic, Inc | PO Box 17817 | Asheville, NC 28816 | 828.505.8474 |

60 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!

 Custom Shops • Saddle Makers • Harness Makers 

Pro-Saddler Hammer Long 7 ¹/2" head allows you to work in narrow spaces and makes tacking up easier. 11 ¹/2” hickory handle • Approx. 8 oz.

Wholesale Pricing Available

Made in the USA!


S/ H

Pro-Concho Turners

Remove & Install Decorative Conchos Quickly!


for Conchos 1 1/8" & Larger

S/ H

for electric drills only

Sizes: 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" $36+50

S/ H


Pro-Concho Turner

English & Round Punches 7

/8", 1", 1 1/8", 1 1/4" $4150 +

S/ H


1 1/2", 1 3/4", 2"

Individually Handcrafted & Polished

S/ H

5% Discount on Complete 22-Piece Set

Pro-Concho Turner II for Conchos 1" & Smaller

$2600 + S/ H

Extra Grippers Lg: $265 Sm: $235

Proleptic, Inc. Shop Talk!

PO Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 | Ph. 828.505.8474 • Fx. 828.505.8476 •

May 2014 |


American Leather Direct ......................33 Artisan Sewing....................... back cover Auburn Leather ....................................35 Beachy Blacksmith ..............................42 Beiler’s Mfg. & Supply .........................45 BioThane Coated Webbing ...................5 Bogle Greenwell Machinery Corp ........52 Bowden Saddle Tree ...........................49 Brayer ..................................................47 Brodhead Collar Shop .........................16 Buckeye Blanket ..................................12 Buckeye Engraving..............................52 Buckle Barn USA .................................22 Buena Vista Blankets ..........................45 Buggy Builder’s Bulletin .......................18 Campbell-Randall ................................26 Center Square .....................................54 Champion Halters ................................13 Charles Hardtke...................................18 Chuck Smith Tools ...............................58 Chupp Blacksmith Shop ......................21 Chupp Brothers Wholesale..................55 Coblentz Collar ....................................14 Coblentz Supply ....................................9 Corriente Tree......................................44 Cut Rite Dies .......................................42 Danny Marlin Knives............................41 E. C. Leather .......................................60 Fairview Country Sales........................42 Fine Tool Journal .................................20

ADVERTISERS INDEX Foam-Tex.............................................15 Gfeller Casemakers, Inc ......................14 Goliger Leather Co., Inc. .....................56 Hadlock & Fox Mfg. Co........................23 Hand Plait Leather ...............................16 Hansen Western Gear .........................17 Hastilow ...............................................50 Hermann Oak ......................................51 Hide House .......................................... 11 Hillside Harness Hardware, Ltd.back cover International Sheepskin .......................21 JM Saddler ..........................................19 Kalico Products....................................57 Kamali Leather ....................................56 Kimmel Boot ....................................7, 31 Landis Sales & Service........................56 Leather Crafters & Saddlers ................34 Leather Machine Co., Inc., The ...........63 Lewis Sales Co ....................................43 Maker’s Leather Supply .......................10 Milton Sokol .........................................46 Mud Creek ...........................................54 Mules and More, Inc. ...........................52 N & A Harness Shop ............................14 Nick-O Sew..........................................25 Ohio Plastics Belting Co.. ....................10 Ohio Travel Bag ...................................44 Perfectex Plus LLC ..............................41 Precision Saddle Tree .........................29

Classified Ads

20 words or less $26.50 Additional words (each) $ .65

Display Ads


Proleptic .8, 30 31, 34, 37, 39, 40, 60, 61 Raphael Sewing Machine/TechSew . 22,50 RJF Leather .........................................20 RM Williams Distributing........................9 Ron's Tools ..........................................12 Rural Heritage .....................................47 Sew What! ...........................................43 Shelton-Reynolds, Inc .........................45 Sheridan Leather .................................53 Shetler’s Collar Shop ...........................15 Shoe Service Inst. of America .............27 ShoTan ................................................53 Small Farmer’s Journal........................52 Smoke & Fire Co. ................................60 Springfield Leather ..............................24 Steel Stamps .......................................17 Sugar Valley Collar Shop.....................18 Sun Bias, Inc. ......................................20 Sweat Pad Shop ............................13, 50 Tandy Leather ......................................27 TechSew/Raphael Sewing Machine 22, 50 Texas Custom Die ............................... 11 Texas Leather Trim ..............................54 Thoroughbred Leather ...........................2 Toledo Sewing .......................................3 Wayne Jueschke .................................47 Western Mule ......................................54 Yoder Pad Shop ..................................52 Y-Knot Lace .........................................51

$45 each additional page. Event flyers must be inserted 60 days in advance. All inserts must be shipped directly to printer.

Full Page $485.00 Half Page $271.00 Reduce - Reuse - Recycle Quarter Page $147.00 Recycling old magazines, catalogs, and Eighth Page $78.00 newspapers is one of the (Color and guaranteed placement addi- easiest ways to help the tional) environment. To increase the supply of recoverable Setup Charge wood fiber and to reduce the demand $60 per hour with a $18 minimum. Line art on regional landfills, Shop Talk! urges may be inserted at no additional charge. $10 its readers to support recycling efforts in per photo. their communities.

Deadline for advertising copy is the 5th of the month prior to the month of publication. Invoices are due upon receipt. SHATA members who display the SHATA logo in their advertisement receive a 5% discount on display ads. 6 or Inserts Shop Talk! is printed only with inks 12-month prepaid advertising contracts $399 for one page— made from vegetable oil. receive a 5% discount. Discounts may not Maximum trim size: 8-1/4” X 10-3/4” be combined (advertisers may receive Shop Talk! • published by Proleptic, Inc.• P.O. Box 17817 either a SHATA discount or a prepaid Asheville, NC 28816 • email: contract discount).

62 |

May 2014

Shop Talk!


Variable Speed (2000 - 3450RPM)

Reversible Motor

(3 Year Warranty on Motor)

LEATHER MACHINE CO., INC. 2141 E. Philadelphia St., Unit "U", Ontario, CA 91761


Shop Talk!*

May 2014 |


Shop Talk!

with Boot & Shoe News

P.O. Box 17817 • Asheville, NC 28816 (828) 505-8474 • FAX (828) 505-8476

May 2014 12 Monthly Issues $36 Canada & Mexico $39US Other Countries $54US SHATA Members deduct $4


Check your due date today!

Distributors of Quality Hardware & Supplies for the Harness, Tack, Saddlery, and Pet Industries

New Items

• Teal Beta • American Flag Bio • Blue Winter Camo Bio • Blue Beta • Gray Beta olor Leather New C

  Coffehebred from Thoroug

4205 Township Road 629 Millersburg, OH 44654 Large enough to serve you, small enough to need you.

Shop Talk! May 2014  
Shop Talk! May 2014