Western Leathercraft

Our Heritage

Unique to our western heritage is a foundation built from the art and craft of rawhide braiding and leatherwork. Though Horse of the Sun Ranch has always offered these clinics, we did not have a dedicated space to explore this rarely taught union of form and function.

The Shop

In 2018 Horse of the Sun Ranch developed an underutilized shop space to provide ample lighting, professional workbenches and comfortable seating for our Leathercraft Clinics. Add to this environment the right tools, materials and great instructors and you have a world-class space where San Diego’s youth and our nations veterans can learn both classic Vaquero and modern leatherwork techniques.

The Projects

After a project has been selected, the rawhide or leather is prepared for use. Casing the rawhide with water to attain the proper amount of moisture, allows for ease of cutting. The hide is then cut into “sogas” or bands about ¾” thick for most projects. From there the sogas are cut into thin laces then edge beveled for braiding. Some of the rawhide projects include rope hondas, hat-bands and bracelets.

The leather is also cased to allow the tooling process to more deeply impact the leather producing a fine sculptured look. Once a pattern has been selected or custom made, the leather is tooled then hand-stitched or laced during final assembly. Some of the projects include canteens, roping cuffs, 3-leg stools, bracelets, belts and leather-bound journals.

Our Leathercraft shop and clinics were paid for by generous donations from Rob and Sharon Paulin, the County Employees’ Charitable Organization – San Diego County (CECO), the Tandy Corporation, our board members and many individual donors.