Handmade Things Like Bits and Spurs, Custom Saddles and Leathercraft Items

Article and Video by Bruce Cheaney

You can pretty much make what ever you put your mind to. If you have a strong enough will and patience and are willing to put the time into studying and research and have the right hand tools you can make some beautiful handmade items, I call then Handmade Things.

This video shows you some handmade items that I have made like custom made saddles, handmade bushcraft knives and even handmade buckle sets plus much more. Each time I make something by hand I analyze the piece and see how I can improve on the next handmade piece I make.

I like working with leather and tooling and carving it as well as shaping and forming it. Leathercraft is a way of life for me and that is where I started out. Then as time went by I got interested in metal working like making Bits and Spurs, knives and silversmithing.

You can pretty much pick out a niche and get going with it and do very well and when it is time to learn something new go for it.

Saddles, Bits and Spurs, Knives and Axes handmade by Bruce Cheaney Gainesville Texas. Custom made saddles handmade start to finish all hand cut and fitted using the best materials available. Each custom saddle is made one at a time by myself, custom orders only made to the customers specifications.

To keep things exciting I do metal work like horse bits and cowboy spurs as well as a few knives and bushcraft axes.

Bruce Cheaney Google+

Handcrafted spurs in the making with Bruce Cheaney spur maker

Article by Bruce Cheaney

Handcrafted spurs made from steel and heated and formed and ground into shape using a belt grinder and a variety of sanding belts to blend the welds.  The first step is to shape the heel bands of the spurs then pair up a pair of Handcrafted Spursspur shanks using a pattern of the desired shape onto the steel and scratch it in so it can be ground down using a 2″ X 72″ belt grinder/sander.  Once the spurs shanks are profiled they are welded to the formed heel bands.

The welder I use is a Miller Tig Welder Syncrowave 250DX and it make a very nice bead and is very strong.  After the shanks are tig welded on it is time to blend the welds and that is done by using and abrasive wheel to reach in the tight spot around the shank of the spur and once the weld is smoothed up it is time to use J-Flex belts from Klingspor to further smooth the heel bands and spurs shanks up to a point where you cannot even tell the shanks are welded onto the spurs.

The picture to the right shows the handcrafted spurs in the middle of the blending process next the spurs will be sanded with the J-Flex belts and the grits are 80, 120 and 320 and that will clean up any scratches and blemishes so I can go onto the next step which is cutting the slots for the hangers and loops.

The loops that the hangers go on are actually peened with a ball peen hammer while they are hot so they flare out and fill the chamfered hole and will stay put.

Here is a spur making video clip that will bring you up to date on the progress of these handcrafted spurs.

YouTube Preview Image

Bruce Cheaney Google+         Handcrafted Spurs

Silversmithing – How to Make Custom Buckles

Article by Bruce Cheaney

This is the first video in a series of four on buckle making.  The metal that I will be using is 16 Gauge mild steel that I purchased at Tractor Supply.

This will be the base metal and nickle silver mounting will be hard soldered on using Harris Products a brazing alloy and Stay-Silv white paste flux.

First off the buckle blanks need to be cut out of the sheet metal and I start by marking the buckle pattern onto the metal with a scratch awl.

The set up I use for cutting out the buckles is actually a Baldor #114 buffer motor that I modified with a pedestal so the metal can be ripped and rough out.

Once the buckle blanks are roughed out it is time to go to the belt sander to grind down to the line that was scratch on to the metal.  I use a 2 X 72 but a 1 X 42 will work just fine.

The center of the buckle needs to be removed and one way of doing that is to drill 1/8 inch holes around the marked out square in the center then knock out the center and hand file the center until it is square and beveled.

There are easier ways to make buckles like having your pattern water jet or laser cut if you plan on making a bunch of the same pattern that would be a real time saver but if it is a one of a kind pattern that you are just going to make one set this method is perfectly fine.

YouTube Preview Image

How to make Custom Buckles part 1 – Buckle Making

Home made dapping blocks for shaping metal

Silversmithing How to Make Custom Buckles with Bruce Cheaney Bit, Spur and Saddle Maker from Gainesville Texas.