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Climbed the Summit!

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by Horsewright, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Years ago there use to be this little restaurant here in town called The Summit. They were very close to where Hwy 58 crossed the summit of Tehachapi Pass and thus the name. Could easily see it from the ranch. Their claim to fame was they had 58 different beers from around the world. They'd give you a little card and every time you tried a different beer they'd punch the number out on your card for that beer. After you had tried all 58 you had achieved "the summit". They put your name on a plaque on the wall, gave ya a t shirt and a coffee mug proclaiming the same.

    Well Recently I achieved a little different summit. I have finally made all the different types of chaps there are in common usage in the western world. From show chaps to chinks and everything in between. I've made probably over a 1,000 different pair of leggins over the years but I'd never made a pair of "batwings" for an adult. I'd made a couple of pairs for small kids but they were really long chinks with out fringe. As the kid grows I cut fringe on them and they become chinks.

    Anyhoo thought I'd do a pictorial on all the different type of chaps out there as this has come up several times in these pages. Definitely "and such" post.

    Shot Gun Chaps:

    These are called "shotguns" because of the two closed legs the entire length. Think of a double barrel shotgun and ya get the idea. Each leg closes with a zipper and to make them more durable I close the zipper at the top. Use to wear these myself many years ago. This was the first pair I'd ever made. Great protection from brush and weather and really keep ya warm when its cold.

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    Made many other pairs for folks all over.

    Florida.

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    Alaska.

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    New Mexico.

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    Wyoming.

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    This pair is well traveled. Started here in Tehachapi California, went to Oregon, then to Canada and last I heard were in New Zealand.

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    This is the pair that got me away from making shotguns.

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    The problem with shotguns is, outside of the waist there is no adjustment. We'd had several folks provide us with bad measurements. This particular pair was the straw that broke the camels back. This guy gave me an upper thigh measurement of 24". Now this is a common leg measurement so I didn't see any red flags. Made up the chaps and sent them to him and he couldn't get them on. Why? His thigh was really 28"! How do you miss your leg circumference by 4"???? I can't fix that! Especially when you are shy by 4". If you are over by 4, that I could fix but shy by 4, nope. Now shotguns are spendy because there are two sides of leather involved in a pair. Ya always want to cut each leg out of the side right along the back bone. That way they stretch and break in the same and you are away from any belly leather. So he sent them back, I made a new pair. Got the customer happy but we're out a lot of time and money, even though he paid for the new leather cause it was his goof up. Took this pic of Nichole wearing the old pair and put em on the website. Sold them overnight to another lil gal in Florida. So today I only make them under a two conditions. 1) I measure you. or 2) You've got an old pair that fit you well and I can use that for a pattern and you send me your measurements as well. Following these rules I've made them for folks from England to California and lots of places in between. Interesting aside, the gal in Fl that bought that pair is next in line. I've got to build her a new pair as she has worn the first pair out. She sent me the old pair as a pattern and I have her measurements.

    Last pair I made for our friend Stan.

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    Show Chaps:

    Are basically a variation of shotguns. This pair had black and white brindle hair on accent pieces on the sides.

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    Rodeo chaps and some cutting chaps are variations of batwings.

    Stay tuned. I will add a different type of legging to this post each day. As always questions and comments are welcome. Gotta go feed horses and heifers.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
    Ickythump, Jack Black, Shappy and 7 others like this.
  2. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    That’s some really fine work , those all look excellent. Great pics as always :)
     
  3. Maineiac1

    Maineiac1

    181
    May 3, 2017
    Very cool and informational! Always love seeing your posts. You take a lot of time and pride in your business and hobby to place so much time on here helping other folks and with knowledge like this. Being from the north east this is all new to me and I never realized the function of this type of stuff nor how widely it is used. Thank you!
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  4. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks @duramax and @Maineiac1 I'll keep er going.

    Batwings:

    Another type of full length chap, batwings do not fit tight around the leg and fasten in the back with snaps or buckles. They take their name from the swell at the bottom. A lot of these different leggings were regional at first, with shotguns coming from California, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada etc places that followed the Buckaroo traditions. Batwings were from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico etc places that followed more of a Cowboy tradition. Batwings are generally made out of a heavier, stiffer hide, with oiltan predominating. I've made 3 pair over my career. First two were for young kids, one my son. The idea being that as they grew I could cut fringe around the bottom and they could become chinks for them and then mom ain't speending alot of money on leggings for a kid that gonna out grow em in a year or two.

    This pair I made recently for a young man down in Acton Ca. He'd been helping his dad load cattle this day.

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    This pair I made for my son. He'd already grown quite a bit here from when I'd originally made them for him. Ya can see the fringe on the sides which I cut too when I cut the fringe on the bottom. He'd be 5 or 6 here and I originally made them for him when he was 2 when he first started riding by himself.

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    So here is the summit pair. The one type of legging I'd never made before for an adult. These pics are with the customer wearing them.

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    The yokes can be of veggie tan as this pair were and I did his brand and a Carlos border stamp. The brand is read as a quarter circle over a mill iron. He'd ordered two welt type pockets on this pair.

    Arizona Bells or Stepins:

    A variation of batwings, the leg is enclosed and laced together. But unlike shotguns they are loose, ya want about two inches more than the leg measurement around the thigh. Like batwings they are made from a heavier leather and often 8/9 oz boarhide is used. They are put on by stepping through the laced part and then pulling em on, hence their other name Stepins.

    First pair I made was for this young man, two years old. He needed a pair like dad's. Fortunately dad, who manages a huge ranch, had several pairs and so he was able to leave me a pair to sort of reverse engineer off of.

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    This was also the first welt pocket I'd ever done.

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    Regular patch pocket on the left leg. This is because ya don't want the patch pocket getting in the way of your rope on the right leg, so welt on right and patch on left.

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    So folks see this pair on this young man and I get asked for more.

    This pair is out of the 8/9 oz boarhide. Its hard to find but popular with guys that wear these because they say it breathes. I've heard of guys literally buying this stuff by the pallet load when its available. Boarhide brings about a $100-$150 premium over the same chap in a different leather.

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    This pair of Stepins was out of a heavy oiltan. Then for some cool contrast we did the yokes and pockets in roughout with blue accents.

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    This pair was for a young guy that cowboys around here. Ya know the guy, ain't seen him in months and ya have a couple pretty teenage girls show up at your branding and poof there he is.

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    Helping out over on the coast:

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    We've got lots more to cover ye so keep checking in and I'll keep posting over the next few days. As always questions and comments are welcome. Like yesterday time to feed.
     
  5. kossetx

    kossetx

    390
    Apr 11, 2017
    Um...wow! Very nice and well documented.
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  6. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Awesome pics and very informative, I had no idea there was so many variations. Really great work all the chaps look really well done and thought out.
    I can’t even fathom all that leather work. I’m finishing up four knife sheaths and that’s been here and there all week lol. One pair of those would take me a year ! Lol :)
    Thanks for sharing :)
     
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  7. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks guys! @kossetx and @duramax Not counting any tooling, once ya get em figured out they only take a couple three hours to do. But these guys we're covering next. They take longer. A lot longer. We'll get moving on

    Woolies:

    Woolies are a subset or variation of any of the different types of chaps/leggings. I've seen them in all the chap styles and all the shorter styles too which we haven't yet covered. A Wooly can basically be made out of any hair or fur on hide. Angora, sheep, bear buffalo etc have all been used. On a recent stop at the Hide House in Napa I saw some caribou/reindeer hides that had my mind a going.

    Recently I made a pair of shotgun woolies out of a customer supplied buffalo hide. Ya can read about the process here:

    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads/from-the-wild-and-wooly-west.1530593/#post-17579614

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    Here's the customer wearing em.

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    I've also made a pair of wooly chinks. Chinks are a shorter version of a chap and we'll be covering them soon. However thought I'd throw this in here cause they are woolies too. At the time and to this day this pair was the single most complicated project we'd under taken. This pair of woolies was from a customer supplied bear skin. I also did a pictorial on this project.

    https://www.bladeforums.com/threads...ctorial-history-of-a-complex-project.1357634/

    Here our friend Cara, whom we made these for is wearing them.

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    Woolies are an extremely complicated and expensive project so these are the only two pair I've made.
     
  8. kossetx

    kossetx

    390
    Apr 11, 2017
    Um...wow, again! :)
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  9. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks @kossetx. We'll start in on the shorter versions of leggings tomorrow.
     
  10. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Amazing work ! All by hand and all the details. Just truly great work :)
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  11. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks @duramax. We're just gonna keep on plugging along. We'll start in with one of the shorter styles today.

    Armitas:

    Armitas were an early Californio style of legging. The word means little armor. They had some defining characteristics you didn't see on other style of leggings. They have a fringed apron across the waist and a wrap and tie belt. Traditionally they were made from deer or elkhide, so a lighter leather and they didn't have any hardware used so the legs were laced together. The idea behind this was since they were a lighter readily available leather on the ranch, a vaquero would make his own. Since they were very lightweight leather they didn't last very long. Today they aren't made of these lighter leathers anymore and folks will have them made but they are still around. Many times ya hear them called step ins because of the laced legs. If a guy is more of a buckaroo rather than a cowboy when he says step ins these are what he is referring too, not AZ Bells.

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    The only really modification I do to this old traditional design is make the apron two piece and sew it together. This allows the apron to lay down flatter and it looks better. I've made quite a few pair with one piece aprons too but the two piece looks better. Also allows for easier construction as a one piece apron takes up a lot of space on a side of leather. Two pieces allows ya to fit it in here and there.

    There are two long straps one that is sewn to each side under the apron. These are brought around the waist and tied in the front under the apron, instead of a normal belt and buckle.

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    Here is a one piece apron.

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    Most of the pairs of armitas I have made have been in lighter colors too.

    Ran into that pair I'm modeling up above at a branding a couple of years ago. not quite as pristine as they used to be. Good to know they are getting used.

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    They belong to my friend Dave who ranches north of us some.
     
    Ickythump, Shappy and MaverickFZX750 like this.
  12. MaverickFZX750

    MaverickFZX750

    46
    Oct 8, 2014
    Hi Dave! Thanks for the thread and pics. Some of leggings has the big circle ring on it's left back side, that's for what? And why only on certain of them?
     
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  13. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Great pics and info ! I can’t believe there’s so many variations of these.
    That sheath that the lady is sporting 4 pics above. That is really innovative ! Snaps securing it to jeans belt loops, that’s sweet !
     
    Horsewright likes this.
  14. Dusty One

    Dusty One Gold Member Gold Member

    Oct 12, 2004
    Always like looking and reading about your work....Thanks for showing !
     
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  15. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Thanks guys! @MaverickFZX750 @duramax and @Dusty One! @MaverickFZX750 the ring is for tie ropes. It can be put on anystyle of legging but is always on an AZ Bell/stepin, its just one of the characteristics. A tie rope is a light weight piece of rope about 10 ft long. Used for tying cattle down after they have been roped. I carry one on my saddle behind the cantle. When carried on the leggings the center is folded over the center string or belt and then both ends come out through the ring. Its not unusual for a guy to have several tie strings like this on his leggings.

    Bear has one here:

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    Well time to move on to our next style of legging.

    Chinks:

    Chinks are a short style of legging that encloses the upper thigh, usually with buckles and straps and leaves the lower leg free but still covered. I've probably built more pairs of chinks than any other style. They are very popular and you will see more of this type of legging around than any other.

    When we make a pair we try to always take pictures. Most of the time my wife Nichole is our model, although sometimes its me or somebody else, just depends on the size. Here she is fastening the leg straps on this pair before we shoot some pics. We had 4 pair to shoot and ship that day.

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    Three of the four were ordered by cousins and so were really similar with a patch pocket on the left leg, their brand on the yoke and half dollar conchos on the leg plates. Just the colors of the chinks were different.

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    Each leg has three buckles and straps to fasten it around the thigh.

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    I've made hundreds and hundreds of pairs of chinks over the years. One of the first projects I ever made when I first got into leather work was a pair of chinks for myself. Chinks can be pretty simple or pretty ornate just depends on the customer and their taste and budget.

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    A pair under construction.

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    Modeling before shipping:

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    Here is Nichole in a very old pair I made her years ago. My son Logan was 9 there he's 26 now. Styles change and ya don't see many of these rounded bottom chinks anymore.

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    Sometimes we'll make up a pair in advance for stock at a show.

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    Roughout legs and this pair had a rounded bottom per customer request. First rounded ones I'd made in probably a decade.

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    Nichole modeling a pair we made for our daughter in law.

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    We make em small too. This pair was a first birthday present.

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    This pair I made for a friend of my son's that cowboys with him. Photo by his wife Christina Rae.

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    Well that about covers chinks. As always questions and comments are welcome. Tomorrow we'll cover another type of leggings and my singular contribution to the English language.
     
  16. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    @duramax we call that our Beltless Sheath. It was Nichole's idea as she doesn't always wear a belt. It was a tough project to get down, we went through about 8 prototypes before we were happy with it. Different jeans have different belt loop widths and our standard pattern will fit Levi 501s and Wranglers. The sheath has evolved and I now use Sam Browne studs instead of snaps, more secure. Our friend Cara is into pink as you can see. I didn't make her leggings btw but we did make her vest..

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    We also made the knife which is handled in pinkish mammoth tooth and her belt. One of the cool things about the Beltless Sheath is it can be worn over the top of a belt too as Cara is doing here.

    Here is a couple with the studs.

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    Kinda cool to go someplace and see somebody wearing your stuff:

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  17. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Newsflash!

    Just received these pics this morning after I'd already posted. Daughter of a cowboy and gonna be a cowgirl.

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  18. duramax

    duramax KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 29, 2012
    Horsewright,

    Yeah that sheath in snap or stud is soooo cool !!!!!! Really great design you have there :)

    Ahhh she’s already got her chaps !! That’s just awesome :)

    Thanks for sharing the pics :)
     
  19. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    You're welcome and thanks for the kind words @duramax. So we'll move on to our last subset of legging types.

    Charmitas:

    Some years ago I decided I needed a new pair of leggings. Buckaroo/vaquero style stuff was becoming more en vogue. There was even a show called The Californios. I wanted a pair of armitas but not being as spry as I use to be I didn't want to deal with the step ins or the wrap and tie belt. I'd seen a pair here or a pair there were the apron top of the armitas had been combined with the belt and buckle and leg straps of the chinks. So I ran with the idea some. Made myself a pair and a pair for Nichole. So in case ya have never worn a pair of leggings, they can get heavy on your hips. Chinks use to be made out of a thick oiltan and with the heavy tooled veg tan yokes, they could weigh ya down. The yokes just didn't seem to bend right where ya needed em too. It was not uncommon for a person to take them off as soon as they weren't horseback, or they'd undo the legs and walk around with just the waist fastened. Nichole was of the first school. She'd take em off and hang em from the saddle horn. Well we made our first couple of prototype pairs of these leggings. I called em charmitas because they were part armitas and part chink. I was teaching a cow working clinic down by San Diego. It was a 3 day clinic and the sponsor had asked us to bring a table for some of our Horsewright stuff for the participants to shop after the clinic was over. Nichole quit about an hour early and unsaddled her horse and our extra ones and then set up our little table/booth and finished packing up the trailer. I finished the clinic and started visiting with folks, answering questions etc, people started shopping some. She unsaddled my horse, tore down the sound system and packed it all up and got us ready for the drive home. Folks started saying their good byes and we hopped in the truck. Just getting ready to pull out and I asked her if she was gonna take her leggings off first or was she gonna wear em home? There was that much comfort difference between the two styles she'd been wearing them for three hours off the horse and hadn't even realized it. Normally with her chinks, she'd step down take em off and hang em from the horn. The word Charmitas is in relatively common usage now and other makers use it too but to my knowledge I coined it, my contribution to the English language. As of todays writing I probably make 3 to 4 pair of charmitas for every pair of chinks anymore. In my work stream right now I have a pair of shotguns, then a pair of charmitas and then a pair of chinks. Thats pretty normal to have about 3-4 pair of leggings in line.

    A well used pair I'd made my son years ago.

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    Roughout pair, we made the wool vest and wildrag too.

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    For a while we were making Nichole a new pair every 6 months or so it seemed like.

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    This pair went to this young lady in France.

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    Is that more cattle up on Hat Hill?

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    Yep.

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    This red and chocolate pair sold right away at this show.

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    Well gotta go feed. We'll finish up in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  20. Shappy

    Shappy

    32
    Oct 26, 2017
    BEAUTIFUL work Sir!
     
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