Next Project/Flip Saddle: 14" Rusty Andrews Barrel Saddle - The Horse Forum
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: SE Oklahoma
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Next Project/Flip Saddle: 14" Rusty Andrews Barrel Saddle

My profit margin may or may not get a little tight on this one, but I love the tooling in the pictures. I can't find much on Rusty Andrews (Windom, TX) and apparently neither can many other people from the amount of hits on threads across the Googleverse.


I've found a few for sale - prices are pretty decent, range from 750-950.


This one is 200 bucks... because. Well. It's gonna need some serious turd polishing. And that's right up my alley.


This one will be the first one I ever try sanding the rough out. I've been a huge chicken in the past, but for 200.00 I can afford to play with it a little. May or may not have the fleece replaced and I'm going to have to figure out something about that braided rawhide horn wrap. Might trim it back and use mule tape to cover it. IDK.


I pick it up this evening.
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"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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Old 01-28-2020, 12:56 PM
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That's a really nice looking saddle, even in rough shape as it is.
I like the tooling but with actual seat, jockey flap and fenders are plain so for those who sit close no irritation to soft tissue of inner thigh.
Take really detailed pictures of the sanding project, I'm intrigued.... a lot!


Just cleaning it without anything else done it would increase value...
Fixing, repairs and enhancements...value definitely goes up.
...
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
That's a really nice looking saddle, even in rough shape as it is.
I like the tooling but with actual seat, jockey flap and fenders are plain so for those who sit close no irritation to soft tissue of inner thigh.
Take really detailed pictures of the sanding project, I'm intrigued.... a lot!


Just cleaning it without anything else done it would increase value...
Fixing, repairs and enhancements...value definitely goes up.
...

Yeah, the leather looks like good quality. I note a little curling on the flaps that cover the Ds, but all the stitching looks tight. Owner says left stirrup leather isn't stretched or damaged (typical for barrel saddles) and the fenders aren't tearing at the stress points (also typical of barrel saddles).



I like that it's double stitched too. A lot of saddles just have the one row of stitching around the skirts and in the seat. Downside: It costs more to have it refleeced because all the stitching has to be picked out. If I have it refleeced, I'll probably tear it down myself so Art doesn't have to... save a little on the labor.


The last saddle I bought in this condition was an original Billy Cook Maker saddle - made by Billy in Greenville before he went to prison and then moved his operation to Oklahoma. Refurbed and refleeced, I made triple my money on it, so it made me feel braver about buying older saddles in rough shape.



While the name isn't well known on this one, I suspect it's like the 13" Charles Crawley/Double C saddle I accidentally ended up with. Phenomenal quality made by a small saddle shop and the owner is either a senior citizen now or passed on.


Looks like Rusty Andrews is still alive - but he's 76 from a search for his name. I LIKE saddles made by people of that age. They tend to know their stuff.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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Old 01-28-2020, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Here's a few more pictures the owner sent me. The fleece side will need some attention, and that's why I low balled her and that's why she sold it to me for that - because it is in rough condition.

It looks to have the original flank strap and flank billets too, btw.

ETA: It's even tooled up under the gullet. You don't see that in a lot of newer, mass produced saddles.


ETA2: The leather string lacing at the back of the skirts also appears tight and original work. That stuff is expensive to pay someone else to do and complicated to learn the real fancy lacing... and like Art told me once... if you miss a step... you gotta undo a bunch of it or start over... which makes him want to pull his own hair out. LOL. That's on my to do list - to practice that kind of lacing and learn to do it myself.
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"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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Old 01-28-2020, 02:20 PM
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Wow, what a fun project! I've done only a little saddle repair work........just enough to be dangerous! Like I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable putting a saddle back together but I do know how to hand sew. If you could take it apart and pick the stitching, Art could glue on new fleece and if you knew how and had the time, you could hand stitch all of that and have Art reassemble it.

Hand stitching leather is one of the best things I've ever learned. I have made my own breast collars and put wear-leathers on all my wool blankets, repair things that need repairing, it's great! If you haven't already learned that, it's honestly not that hard. If Art would be kind enough to show you or you can find tutorials on You-tube. It does take some time, but that could save you money in the labor department. I did that once with a saddle maker, they took it apart for me (because I was totally green, I could probably safely do that now) and glued on the new fleece (must go a certain direction) and I did all the sewing and they reassembled it for me.

Anyway, these kinds of projects are my idea of fun! I admittedly haven't done saddle projects much because I never seem to find cheap saddles. And if I'm going to pay $500 or more, I will just get one in near-new condition. But I love working on tack.

The fleece condition wouldn't scare me as someone who would ride in that saddle. But from a resale point of view, everyone will see that as a "issue" to lower the price. Of course fleece is expensive and the labor to replace it is expensive, so you will have to decide if the cost and effort is worth it. Just cleaning and conditioning would be a lot for improving it's appearance.

I don't know how to do the braiding on the back either. I've seen it done and it was complicated just watching it. The guy I saw working on it was a saddle maker and even he said he had to pull out a book to make sure it was right.

Anyway, have fun!


PS. AtokaGhosthorse, were you the one would got some mohair blend cinches a while back for like $15 a piece and were wondering if they were any good? How did those work out for you?

One of our local stores has some mohair blends on clearance for $22 a piece and I am thinking of buying some because the price is right. I usually buy pure mohair. But for the price, I don't see how I can go wrong. Just wondering what you thought of them? (If I am even asking the right person......I don't remember who it was, but thought it was you?) I don't know what these are blended with, but they are nice and soft and a thicker cord and still have a bit of a mohair feel to them.
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Old 01-28-2020, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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@trailhorserider - Not gonna lie. I ended up reselling them on saddles to sweeten the pot. Ended up making quite a bit of cash by doing that. I'll be kicking myself later, when it's time to replace cinches at home. LOL


Oh! Let me add. I do know the basics of hand sewing leather. I bought a Coriente ranch roper once to resell. Got it home, was cleaning it between the skirts and jockeys and found out the cotton thread that looked solid was actually rotten. It was the thread on the part that actually covered the tree and held it in place. I ended up taking a crash course on the two needles going at one time method, had to make a 'thimble' thick enough to push the needles through the already existing holes, and had to run down the right gauge thread and upholstery needles. Lord, that was a project.


That saddle is why I made a cross buck from 2x4 scrap lumber... I have a blue plastic barrel I put in the top of the X. That puts the back of a saddle at chest high for me... takes a LOT of the back breaking work out of cleaning a saddle or repairing one.


Also handy for wetting one down that's been stood on it's nose too often... then letting it dry on a 'horse' shaped plastic barrel for a few days. I can wet one down that's curling up, clamp the jockeys to the skirts or ratchet strap it down and let it dry like that.... and voila! It's all nice and reshaped when it's through drying out.


That said... I'd rather not do the hand stitching ever again! Forget that! Art can run the skirts around on his sewing machine in a fraction of time it takes for me to hand sew all that stitching back into place. That's for the birds! I'll repair short places where threads are pulled or stitches are loose, but bull corn if I ever do that much ever again. That Coriente nearly killed me.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 01-28-2020 at 04:42 PM.
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Old 01-28-2020, 04:47 PM
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That's a barrel saddle with that horn? I'd have thought cutting or roping by that tall skinny thing.

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Old 01-28-2020, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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@Dreamcatcher Arabians Oh yeah. And I've seen some that are a couple of inches longer than that one. Like... a two-hander! I've seen them on cutters too.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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Old 01-29-2020, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
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Okay! Update. Picked up last night. She has another identical too it she'll sell for the same money. Her daughters are now in sports, she's chasing ball games, no one has time for horses, she's selling out because we all know what happens to saddles and wool pads left sitting in the barn or tack room.

She also has a handful of 1" Tod Sloan wool pads... and I rank those up there with a 5 Star Pad in terms of quality and cost... but they are a little more stiff.

Anyway, she's gathering up a tack room buyout list for me and I may be picking it all up tomorrow evening.

Back to the saddle - it's a looker. It obviously needs some work. This saddle is a prime example of how a saddle with a maker who's name is not easily googled may be a chance of a lifetime if you're willing to take a look at it and understand the little details that are the hallmark of excellence. I may be waxing poetic here, or as my husband says: using ten dollar words in a 2 dollar conversation, but I'd go so far as to say this was lovingly made and made with attention to detail and craftsmanship.

I like everything about it.... and despite being a 14" in the listing, from my elbow to my fist, it measures a solid 15 from seat to swells. I put in on my couch arm last night, climbed aboard... it fits me like my Connie Combs does... but the position of the seat seems far more comfortable. I may keep this one, IDK.

The conchos are old Montana Silversmith or similar quality. The one on the back left is missing. I have a very old concho JUST like them in my 'take offs worth keeping' concho collection.

It needs a new horn wrap and horn cap - but seeing the horn half naked... it's wood. The tree is all one piece, the horn isn't a steel bolt on job. The wood is a rich golden/dark oak color and just beautiful where it's exposed. Smooth as glass and polished from many a run.

The stirrup leathers are original... not one sign of stretching on the left side, not a trace of dry rot or cracking anywhere on this saddle, including the fenders and leathers.... a lot of barrel saddle fenders will start to tear at the stress points, starting on the left side.

Fleece is real sheepskin, but worn out just under the swells on one side and tearing. Fleece is shedding out... she said it wasn't like that until they had to abandon it (Benign neglect) in the barn for a few years. I got a guy that replace that.

All stitches are tight, thread is in good shape, no sign of rotting.

Original flank billets and flank strap are still on it. Tooled to match.

It is indeed tooled out the wazoo... even under the swells. It was hand tooled - I can find the little imperfections here and there that give it away.

Tree shows no sign of warping and it's rock solid. Weight is good, I'd put it between 25 and 30 lbs.... not too light, not too heavy.

It's dirty... barn dust caked in the tooling, but not so bad it looks like a soak job. I know just how to clean it.... Leather CPR, a saddle sponge, and a toothbrush, followed up with several light coats of Lexol (I don't know that I'd oil this one unless I can find a type of oil that won't darken it even more... Might use light coats of coconut oil on this one... it doesn't go rancid unless you over oil or seal in moisture. If it solidifies in the tooling - whip out a hair dryer!)

I will be attempting to sand the rough out - I need to research what grit to use. Pretty sure it's a fine grit.

Information on Rusty Andrew. I found him on FACEBOOK last night. We have mutual friends! Alicia Teskey, Travis Teskey, and Mario Barrientos (he runs the Aubrey TX Teskey's). He accepted my friend request - I hope to ask him some questions about it in the near future. I figure he's about Robert Teskey's age (Mr. Teskey himself - super enthusiastic and sweet guy). Google shows him to be 76.

Seller of saddle said she met him personally... he supposedly told her had to retire both due to age, and his tree maker retired.... and he didn't want to use just any old tree on the market. It was time to quit.

Supposedly Allen Ranch in Tulsa told the seller refurbed, this is a $900.00 saddle and I don't doubt it. That's a number I see in the few and far between listings for Rusty Andrew M&R saddles.

Apparently, if you have one, you're probably not going to turn loose of it. I will update with pictures this weekend. I'm going to do the glow up before I take it to Art to have the horn re-wrapped and the fleece redone.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 01-29-2020 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:28 PM
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Nice find! Are you planning on replacing with real fleece? It is so much nicer that the fake stuff.

Have never heard of sanding the suede, we always just used wire brushes to fix the nap. But an older, quality saddle might have thick enough seat leather to sand it...


But I am certainly no expert!!
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