Tanner Custom Leather

Heading West - I mean East - To Texas Horse Country By Gene Fowler Christmas morning, 1986, in Wilcox, Arizona. Eight-year-old Adam Tanner tears into his presents. His face lights up at the first glimpse of one particular gift emerging from the Santa-Claus-and-snow-scene wrapping. A Tandy Leathercraft Starter Kit. "My uncle, who had made a little money doing leathercraft part-time while in college, helped me with the seven stamps and

Brandit Franco: Drifting No More 

By Nick Pernokas  Brandit Franco grew up in the heart of Florida’s cowboy country. The family business was starting colts and training ranch horses. Brandit’s father, Sam Franco, took a lot of horses to ride that weren’t making it in someone else’s training program. Sam trained everything from Quarter Horses to wild Mustangs in the Seventies and Eighties. Brandit grew up working cows in southern Florida, around Okeechobee and Kissimmee,
Artisan Saddles/Tack

Don Gonzales: Riding the Wave of Social Media

By Nick Pernokas Many of us, who have been in the leather business for a long time, started out with Al Stohlman books and Tandy Leather tools. Some craftsmen were even able to go to a Tandy store and take lessons. For the young person interested in the leather business now, it’s a brave new world; one unlimited by the brick-and-mortar walls of the nearest leather dealer. Since ShopTalk! last
Accessories Saddles/Tack

Big-Small World of Leathercraft, South African Edition 

WOODENWULF  by Gene Fowler  As I sat wondrously immersed in the universe of the television program Yellowstone during its recently concluded fourth season—the hats, the horses, ranchers, cowboys, pretty women, gorgeous country, and a lone guitar—the notion that folks might have been savoring the same scenery on the other side of the world was the farthest thing from my mind.  The Republic of South Africa, for instance. Like many, if

Contour Saddlery: A New Way of Looking at an Old Art

By Nick Pernokas  The third grader sat on her Grannie’s daybed, reading. Her grandmother’s cottage was in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and the open window allowed in the ocean air and the sounds from an osprey nest in the tree outside. It was a Saturday and the girl and her sisters had just returned from Grannie’s weekly summer pilgrimage to the library. Now Letitia was engrossed in a world created by Walter Farley, in a book titled The Black Stallion.   “I remember thinking


Long-time Australian saddler finds renewed purpose in full-time book authorship   By Lynn Ascrizzi  Rick Allen, who lives in the Levendale area of Tasmania, retired last year after a three-decades-long career in saddlery. “I built my first saddle in 1989; I built my last saddle in 2019,” he said. Reflecting on his many years as a skilled leatherworker, he added, “I’m probably an all-around saddler.”   Tasmania is an island state of Australia. Roughly the size of West Virginia, it is located about 150 miles south of the Australian mainland.  About 45 percent of the rugged mountainous island, with its spectacular coastlines, forests, beaches, bays and lakes, is preserved as World Heritage Sites, national parks and reserves.   “I was born and
Accessories Artisan Saddles/Tack

DND Leather – Where Beauty and Function Come Together

by Liisa Andreassen  When the colts she was riding started breaking her stuff, Dee Dee McGraw took matters into her own hands. She knew that making her own repairs would save her money, but what she didn’t know was that it would eventually lead to a full-time gig. She started out doing patch and repair work, and her mom quickly recognized how much she enjoyed it and offered to buy her a whole hide. That was just the beginning. Not too long after, Dee Dee stopped into Tandy Leather in Montgomery, Alabama, to buy some fancier
Artisan Feature Saddles/Tack

Buster Welch: The Man and the Saddle

By Nick Pernokas  King Ranch’s Peppy San Badger and Buster Welch cutting on some cattle at Norias Division, King Ranch. Tommy and I had roped the night before in Abilene. Now, over breakfast, Tommy said, “Let’s go see Buster.” That was one of those statements that a horseman can only say yes to and after we paid the tab, we loaded up and headed west towards the tiny town of Merkel, Texas. On a dusty road outside of town, we pulled