Bunkhouse Built: A Guide to Making Your Own Cowboy Gear
by Leif Videen, Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, Mont., 2009, $15.
Leif Videen may not be a cowboy poet or the next Charlie Russell, but he can sure thread a mean whipstitch and rivet one stout hobble. And in Bunkhouse Built, he shares all he’s learned in his decades as a working cowboy on Wyoming’s Upper Green River. Videen opens his how-to guide with a list of tools— from scissors to saddle soap—you’ll need to make your own cowboy gear, followed by a primer on basic sewing, lacing, rivet-setting, grooving, edging, burnishing and knot-tying. With these tools and techniques, a saddle-savvy reader can follow the step-by-step directions and hand-drawn illustrations to make a bedroll, an antler scarf slide or belt buckle, saddlebags, canvas panniers or chinks (think high-water chaps). Videen explains how to tie and use a lead rope, hitch, halter, headstall and hobbles, as well as how to properly picket a horse and balance a rig. He thoughtfully includes a glossary for greenhorns. (Tip: A “piggin’ string” is a short length of rope and has nothing to do with hogs.)
Originally published in the August 2010 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here.