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Audio Recording Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 1


About this Item


  • Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 1


  • Johnson, Paula J., 1954- (Collector)
  • Toelken, Barre, 1935- (Collector)
  • Thibault, Dale (Interviewee)
  • Nunn, Lawton (Interviewee)

Created / Published

  • Miles City, Montana, August 11, 1979


  • -  Saddlery
  • -  Western saddles
  • -  Leatherwork
  • -  Ethnography
  • -  Field recordings
  • -  Interviews
  • -  Sound recordings
  • -  United States -- Montana -- Miles City


  • Ethnography
  • Field recordings
  • Interviews
  • Sound recordings


  • -  Index data: Part 1 of a 4-part recording at the Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City MT, the fieldworkers' notes state that each man worked at a separate bench, Leighton Nunn was closer to the microphones (one cardioid, one hypercardioid), Dale Thibault farther away, as he worked on a saddle: sounds of Thibault and Nunn at work, Thibault is hammering while Nunn explains the construction of a saddle tree at the other bench, laying out the layers of materials that will go into the saddle as it progresses; Nunn sharpens his rounded cutting blade; recordist notes that one mike moves closer to Nunn, then closer to Thibault; fragmentary discussion of methods for working leather; Nunn recalls learning from Pete Verbeck, who learned from Furstnow [well known saddle-making family]; Nunn talks about how far his saddles have gone, "Forty miles from Alaska is as close as I ever got"; Nunn glues and tacks a thin piece of leather into the gullet of the saddle; the making and drying time for a complete saddle is about 40 hours; Thibault discusses making the seat, which needs to be put together and fitted about three times; Thibault describing process, discusses putting string leathers all the way through by drilling all the wat through sheepskin and underlining; Nunn comes over behind Thibault and soaks a small piece of leather in water; goes back and resumes work at bench; Thibault discusses different kinds of rings into which the stirrup leathers will fit; Nunn says that people don't ride as far as they used to, due to all these horse trailers and such; Thibault says that when he used to go to work, we left at 6 in the morning and didn't get home until six at night; Thibault shows fieldworker Barre Toelken an old Furstnow saddle that's been brought in for repairs; needs to be wet down and put into a kind of press, some need to be entirely rebuilt; Nunn shows Toelken a saddle he just finished, now waiting for the new owner to pick it up; Thibault drilling holes in saddle; has trouble with the drill; Thibault's friend drives truck past and blows the air horn ("Go on, get on your way to Idaho! "); about the age of saddle patterns, Nunn goes through paper and cardboard patterns hanging on the wall; discusses shape of old-time saddles; about the variations in saddle trees, his own designs are based on the kinds of horses used in this local "country," more than on the personal taste of saddlemaker; "we set our rigs a little farther forward than the other fellows do, to give more stirrup play"; about the other elements he prefers in his saddles; Thibault gets a new drill running.


  • 7-inch reel

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Call number: AFC 1981/005: AFS 20458
  • MBRS shelflist: RXA 0944
  • Field project identifier: MT9-BT-R1

Source Collection

  • Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005)


  • American Folklife Center

Digital Id

Online Format

  • audio

Rights & Access

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Credit line: Montana Folklife Survey collection (AFC 1981/005), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Johnson, Paula J, Barre Toelken, Dale Thibault, and Lawton Nunn. Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 1. Miles City, Montana, 1979. Audio.

APA citation style:

Johnson, P. J., Toelken, B., Thibault, D. & Nunn, L. (1979) Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 1. Miles City, Montana. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Johnson, Paula J, et al. Thibault & Nunn Saddlery, Miles City Montana, interview and sounds of saddle-making, part 1. Miles City, Montana, 1979. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.