Saturday, December 31, 2011

File knives

Well, rasps actually. These two were made for my horse shoer, who saves all his worn out rasps for me.

Rasps are a little tricky to make knives out of  sometimes. The steel they use seems to vary a little bit, some will be good high carbon steel, and some will be case hardened, and not suitable for a knife. and it is hard to tell the difference sometimes until you have already done a lot of work. I have kinda figured it out by brands, but even then you can get a dud.
These turned out good, and will serve him well for a long time.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

the veiw

If your not the lead dog, the view never changes.

The boot knife is Kyle's Christmas/birthday present. I feel sure that if we lived any where else, we would all be in prison. Me for aiding and abetting, Kyle on an illegal weapons charge, Kim for assault, and Jessica for trying to sneak us all a file. Joe would get arrested on the way to visitors day because his turn signal didn't work.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

WPRA spurs

These will be given to the rookie of the year barrel racer at the Texas circuit finals in a couple of weeks.

These are nickel damascus, 3/4 inch band, 1 1/4 inch shank, and a 1 inch, six point damascus rowel. The conchos are made from old solid silver quarters with a sterling date.

Got to play with my camera a little more today. Me, an expensive camera, and a 4 year old horse that hasn't been ridden in a month could have been a dangerous thing, but we made it without a wreck.


Curiosity killed the calf.

Corriente cows

Sunday, December 25, 2011

New camera

But first the important stuff. My niece won the big buck of the family this year. She went out by her self, sat patiently, and was rewarded with this
A 12 point is hard to beat any year.

I received a new camera for Christmas. I think Kim is tired of me bugging her for her camera. She probably thinks I'm going to drop it or something.
 I got a Nikon 1, if that means anything to anyone. So far it seems simple, takes a good picture, and they are easy to download. I still need to learn a lot about editing, but I will get there if my patience allows.
These are some I took today trying to figure things out.

They are better than my cell phone any way. I will finish these spurs in a day or two, and post the finished product.
Helpful hints on editing, resizing, etc would be appreciated.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Knives with sheaths did their usual fantastic job on the sheaths for these knives.

I love the look on these inlays. They are classy enough to wear any where, and tough enough to wear everywhere. Alligator, lizard, and snake.

I have one more  delivery to make tomorrow, and Christmas is officially over at the factory (thats the way it has felt lately). I might even take Christmas day off and go ride my horse or something. I'm sure he is feeling a little neglected lately.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

new spurs

These are going to a young lady that just married into the ranch. We can't have her riding around on that feed store stuff. They are one piece spurs, 3/4 inch band, and an 1 1/4 inch, 8 point rowel.

I got this one back from armoralleather and delivered it to the new owner today. It will mark and cut a lot of calves, and skin a lot of deer. An easy life it won't lead.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Stocking stuffers

I try to make up a few things for relatives and friends that pass through at Christmas. If they stay to long they don't get any thing next year.

 These are made from Mexican coins. I knock the middle out, draw a letter or shape on, cut it out with a jewelers saw, and knock it back in. Pretty simple and pretty popular.
 A college student that helps on the ranch during the summers still has family in Mexico, and he saves his change when he goes visiting.
 I have a lot finished and out the door, some knives on the way back from the sheath maker, and 2 sets of spurs to finish. I wished I could show most of it, but I'm scared I will spoil a surprise. I don't think the recipient would mind, but the mamas that ordered some of this  stuff can get pretty mean. I guess it will make good blogging after Christmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


The last minute shoppers have been calling. I attempt to take care of my regulars, and one of them sent me this picture wanting his brand on two like it for his sons. I built this buckle a couple of years ago for one of his buddies.

In all fairness we discussed this project back in September while we were on a big cow penning, and agreed to touch base later, but we both forgot till his wife wanted to know when she could wrap the buckles. I will get them done, but I might have to play santy claws at their house.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

finished 1 piece bit

I finished the 1 piece bit yesterday.

I learned a lot on this one, and glad I built it. It gives me a lot of ideas for using larger diameter steel and will probably build one out of damascus in the near future.
 Starting out simple saves a lot of time in the long run, I now know some things not to do, and some things I should have done. When I need to do a fancy one, I've got a little less chance of adding to my scrap pile.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

1 piece bit

I have been wanting to try one of these for quite a while. It hasn't taken me as long as I thought it would. This is my first one piece bit, I know no one that has made one, but have a neighbor thats father made one when he was a kid, and he says I'm going about it like he did.

The start. I bent the low port mouth piece into a 2ft. long 1/2in. rod. Then split the bar down the middle until it will make a 5 1/4 in. wide mouth piece.

I then split the 4 ends to make my rings, and hammered them to a 90 degree angle. The hardest part of this is keeping things anywhere close to square. there is lots of things pointed in lots of different directions, and they are all hot.

Hammering the rings in. I wished I could have gotten some hot and hammering photos, but I only have 2 hands.
I like this old time looking stuff, and spend a lot of time looking for it on the rare times I venture away from the ranch. Building one of these makes me appreciate what the old timers went through before "lectricty".

Monday, December 5, 2011


I got a late start this morning. It snowed last night, and the electricity was out, so I missed my 4 am to 7 am shift in the shop. Feeding took a while. Everything slows down with just a little bit of inclement weather. I don't think I could survive any further north.
  Things did go well this afternoon, and I managed to finish these.

I took these pictures this morning while feeding.

I'm already ready for summer time again, I can deal with 100 degrees alot better than I can 10.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Action shot

A set of my spurs in action. I think this was taken in Reno this year. They are a pretty good excuse to follow the finals.

I finished these several days ago, but the weather has not been right for picture taking. We finally took the best of all the bad ones, and posted these two. I hope they win lots of barrel races.
 These have a 3/4" band, and an 1 1/4" shank. One inch rowel.

I am whittling on Christmas. I got a set of spurs that was silver-less in a previous post to the new owner's husband last week, these are gone, and I got silver stuck on a set today, they just need polishing and
engraving. I still have a lot to do, and the clock is ticking. Can't believe I quit at 3:30 today.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cell phones

 I didn't want one for a long time, but was finally talked into it. I got a bag phone because I was in and out of several vehicles every day, and didn't want the permanent kind. They were the only choices. It didn't work most places I went, and the wrong people had my number the rare times it did. Service started improving, and once, when I got my pick-up stuck in the mud I was able to call some one to come get me and started liking it a little bit.
 The bag phone went out, and I was informed that they where no longer available, and that I would have to make do with the little hand held kind. These were not as powerful as the bag phone, so I was back without service most of the time, and when I did, the wrong people called. Service improved, and once, while checking yearlings, I discovered fence down and the yearlings gone. I was able to call the calvary, get them back home and not be too late for supper. I started liking it a little more.
 The little hand held went out, and I was told that I was going to be using An Iphone. Now I read the paper, check cattle futures, and play a mean game of solitaire, all on the phone. When yearlings are out or sick I don't call the calvary now, I text message them.
 Shipping cattle this summer, we all made sure we had each others phone number so we could call if we struck cattle or needed help. It just didn't seem right watching some of the best cowboys in this country pushing cattle with a phone stuck to their ear.
  I even took this picture with my phone, then emailed it to myself.
 Ya'll call me some time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I have gotten a lot done the last day or two. I start out finishing on my spurs with a 40 grit belt, then get progressively finer, to a minimum of 400 grit. I will run some on to 800 grit if they are wall hangers. One thing I've learned is belts are cheap. Keeping a sharp belt cuts my time in half and does a lot better job. I'm kinda in production mode until Christmas, and use every time saver I can find.

Cutting the rowel slot. I cut it close with the band saw, then clean it up on the belt grinder.
I'm missing some minor steps in all of this, sometimes because I get busy and forget to take pictures, and sometimes because it's boring. Maybe I should hire a biographer, at least he could document the cuss words that it takes to make a set of spurs.

This set is almost ready for silver.

I road to the sale barn this morning with a neighbor. Lots of rough, thin cattle. You could tell that the hard to catch ones are finally getting caught. Lots of cattle that have never been out of the brush, much less in a pen and took care of. Every body is out of grass and water, and hay is to expensive. So goes a drought. Look out, it's going to last another summer, and there will be lots of broke cowboys by next fall.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

splitting heel bands

These two sets are 1018/nickel damascus. I forged, cleaned up, and sized the billets, and band saw cut to fairly close to final shape. I leave the bottom part of the shank uncut to give me a little more friction in the vice and give me something to grind off after I beat it into the spur shape.

Both of these spurs are ladies size, and this is my ladies size jig.

Heating to bend my bands. I like to use a rosebud tip and oxygen/acetylene on the damascus spurs, I can concentrate my heat where I want it, and I seem to get a lot less failures in my damascus. There is nothing worse than getting this far, only to have the spur pull apart at the welds.

Two sets roughed out. Now on to finishing.