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Can you tell me how I add bucking rolls? Specifically, it looks like I have to "uninstall" the saddle strings and conchas just behind the fork, don't I? Is there a sequence? Pop the concha first, or unbraid the saddle string, etc? Got any hints for getting the concha off in one piece?

R. P.


It's a little hard to tell you how to attach that bucking roll, since there were so many different styles. Some attached to screw conchas, some had rings that were anchored around the saddle strings, others required a new screw attachment into the saddle tree. Since you asked specifically about the conchas and saddle strings, I'll give you an introduction to how they were installed. (To uninstall them, just reverse the procedure.)

A saddle string is essentially just a narrow leather strap that runs through two holes in the saddle leather (and sometimes the tree). The strap has two narrow slits spaced roughly an inch or so from the strap's middle. The usual arrangement has either two leather conchas or a leather concha under a metal one. The conchas each have a couple of slots for the leather laces [See photo 1]. After sliding the conchas snugly against the saddle, the lower part of the strap is then slid through the slit in the upper part [photo 2]. With that firmly in place, the process is repeated -- the new lower part of the strap is slid through the slit in the new upper part [photo 3]. The finished saddle string should look something like photo 4. To undo the saddle strings, you may have to use a screwdriver or an awl to loosen the straps enough to pull them back through the slits.

Attaching a concha - step 1
Photo 1
Attaching a concha - step 2
Photo 2
Attaching a concha - step 3
Photo 3
Attaching a concha - finished
Photo 4

If the conchas don't have saddle strings through them, they are probably of the screw-in variety [photo 5]. Holding the outer edge of the concha usually gives you enough leverage to unscrew the gadget by hand [photo 6].

A screw-in concha
Photo 5
Removing a screw-in concha
Photo 6

Although saddle-making is a real art, the basics of saddle construction aren't all that complicated.

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