Format Film, Video
Contributors Ahlborn, Richard E.
Gastañaga, Linda
Marshall, Howard W.
Stewart, Leslie J.
Dates 1978
Language English
Subjects Artifacts
Ethnography
Horse Gear
Lariats
Motion Pictures
Ninety Six Ranch
Riatas
Title
Trimming Rawhide Strands with a Gauger
Contributor Names
Stewart, Leslie J. (Narrator)
Ahlborn, Richard E. (Narrator)
Gastañaga, Linda (Interviewer)
Marshall, Howard W. (Interviewer)
Created / Published
July 25, 1978
Subject Headings
-  Ninety-Six Ranch
-  Artifacts
-  Riatas
-  Lariats
-  Horse gear
-  Motion Pictures
-  Ethnography
Genre
Motion Pictures
Ethnography
Notes
-  Richard Ahlborn interviews Les Stewart while he demonstrates how to trim rawhide for braiding to make riatas, or lariats, or horse gear.
-  One section of Dick Ahlborn's interview was taken up with techniques for braiding rawhide and a look at some of the gear made from this material. In years past, rawhide was braided to make riatas, or lariats, and more finely crafted horse gear, like the bosal and headstall used in a hackamore. (The standard work on rawhide braiding is Bruce Grant's Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding, 1972.) The exhibition "Buckaroos in Paradise" included a pair of leather-trimming gaugers used to prepare rawhide strands for braiding. It is hard to explain the operation of the gaugers without a moving picture, and we wanted to include a video recording of Les demonstrating one, even if lack of time forced us to truncate it. In the demonstration, Les uses a piece of finished leather instead of rawhide.
-  The process of making rawhide strips begins with the selection of a cowhide. A skin with too many or too deep brands should be avoided or the hide will pull apart. Les said he lays the skin on the ground and cuts a long strip in a spiral from the edge to the center. This long and somewhat irregular strip is finished in the gauger. Les described as "heartbreak" the experience of breaking a nearly finished strip.
-  The strip is then softened in water and the braiding begins. Les said that braiding a riata required considerable strength and that few could accomplish the task at one sitting. When the work was interrupted, the rawhide was stored in a wet sack to keep it pliable.
-  Frank Loveland, a retired Paradise Valley ranch foreman, maintains his rawhide riatas with beef liver. Today, nylon ropes have all but replaced the riata. Great affection for the old ropes remains, however, and Les is not alone in keeping one or two on hand for old time's sake.
Medium
3/4 inch video
Call Number
AFC 1991/021: NV78-VT9
Source Collection
Paradise Valley Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1991/021)
Repository
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/afc96ran.v026


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Credit line

Paradise Valley Folklife Project collection, 1978-1982 (AFC 1991/021), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

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