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The saddlers gathered at Rick’s place in Star, Idaho last week. We spent two days talking saddles and leatherwork. A good bit of the time was spent critiquing one another’s work and discussing ideas for the future. Discussion circled around saddles, trees, ground seats, leather, tools, techniques, history, and a bunch of other related stuff. It was a great time!

Throughout 2013, the TCAA had ongoing talks with Mr. Shep Hermann of Hermann Oak Leather regarding maintenance of saddles and leather products. As a result of these exchanges, Mr. Hermann became interested in the TCAA and its goals. While attending Cowboy Crossings last October at the National Cowboy Museum, he invited the TCAA saddle makers to St.Louis for a tour and talks with key tannery workers.

Those invited included Rick Bean, Pedro Pedrini, Cary Schwarz, Chuck Stormes, John Willemsma, Steve Mason (Tcaa Fellowship 2014) and Don Reeves, National Cowboy Museum Curator.

On March 31st and April 1st, 2014 we met at the Hermann Oak Tannery for a complete tour, including a series of lively, informative discussions centered on the details of tanning and using traditional vegetable tanned leathers.

 I believe leather to be the first chemically-produced product in the history of mankind, because it can be produced by accident and is one of the most useful articles throughout history. – Shep Hermann

This may well represent the first time discussions at that level have taken place between experienced saddle makers and a leading tanner of saddle skirting.

The TCAA extends its sincere thanks to Shep Hermann and the entire staff of Hermann Oak Leather for organizing this historic meeting.

Please enjoy the accompanying video which provides a window into the operation of one of America’s most celebrated tanneries.

For further information please visit their website

clinic 2013

Cary Schwarz conducted a clinic at his shop near Salmon, Idaho June 10-14. Three attendees watched and listened as Cary built most of a halfbreed saddle. The important principles of saddlemaking were discussed at length: trees, riggings, ground seats, fork cover, seat, skirts, cantle binding, as well as business issues and practice.