Two important aspects are quality and research. The quality starts with the materials. The finest Grade "A" Hermann oak bark tanned leather is used for these goods. This leather is sought out by the finest saddle makers for it's superior quality. The finest quality tools are also part of the process. Many of the stamping tools at today's leathercraft stores bear little resemblance to the ones used in the saddle shops of yesteryear. Jake has done everything possible to make his own tools as well as searching out sources for tools that match the original designs. This is a very difficult and rewarding part of the process. Many of these custom tools precisely duplicate the appearance of early leather goods. Original saddle tools are highly collectible and rare if found.
The patterns and contours are researched from original frontier designs. Compare Jake's work closely to photographs of original gear and you will notice the extra effort. Each piece is a work of art. You will appreciate the function, beauty and lasting quality in each piece. Use it just the way cowboys and gunfighters did over a hundred years ago.
Research is very important in creating an authentic design for your leather goods. Jake has been to several museums handling and photographing original gear. You will notice the styles of J. S. Collins, Moran Brothers, Main & Winchester and F. A. Meanea have provided a great influence on Jake's work. His library is full of books on the subject of early leather goods as well as photographs from many antique leather collections. You will be wearing an authentic reproduction that rivals those produced by the original saddle shops of the American West.
The construction techniques used to create these pieces are done with traditional ttechniques and tools. You will not see any shortcuts here. Superior quality leather tools from the saddle making trade are used to give each item top quality appearance. Look carefully at the creased, beveled and burnished edges on each item. All sewing is done by hand with needles and thread. You will notice a tight, high quality, uniform and precise hand stitch. Unlike machine sewing, hand stitching will not unravel if a thread ever comes loose. Linen thread is used, unlike modern items using polyester or nylon thread.
Many sources have been sought out to locate the finest and most accurate buckles, rivets and conchos. The hardware used on Jake's gear keeps it as authentic as possible. Take a close look and you will appreciate the difference between new and old styles of hardware. These items will be heirlooms to pass on to those who love the west in future generations.