Handmade Bits and Spurs

Handmade Bits and Spurs

Custom Spurs Handmade by Bruce Cheaney

Custom Spurs Handmade by Bruce Cheaney

Custom Spurs handmade from start to finish using the stock removal method. What that means is that the spur shanks are torched out with a cutting torch then profiled on a belt grinder. The belt grinder used for making these custom spurs is shop made and uses a  2″ X 72″ with a 8″ serrated contact wheel for heavy stock removal using a 36 grit blue Norzon Blue {NorZon BlueFire} zirconia sanding belt.

The heel bands are also ground to shape using the belt grinder. The material for the heel bands is an aircraft alloy called 4130 it is the perfect metal for making spurs because it is a weldable material and will not crack when it is welded.  A unique feature of this metal is that is designed to be tough and have a lot of spring to it so it is ideal for spur making and the making of custom cowboy spurs.

This is a look inside the bit and spur making shop showing the bench grinder and belt sander and work area.

This is a look inside the bit and spur making shop showing the bench grinder and belt sander and work area.

This is a view of the work area in my bit and spur making shop in the fore front you will see a Baldor number one fourteen buffer that has been converted to a tool to grind out parts for spurs and bits as well as handmade knives as you can see there is a Bushcraft knife laying on the pedestal that is being profiled with the twelve inch cut off wheel.

The machine right behind this setup is a shop made 2″ X 72″ belt grinder / sander that has many uses for making bits and spurs as well as handmade knives and leather tools a machine like this is a must have to really get any work done in and efficient manner.

On the left side of the picture you will see a Baldor number 410 B buffer with a 10″ sewn cotton buffing wheel the motor is a h 1-2/2 horse 3600 RPM that really has a lot of power for buffing and polishing handmade bits, spurs, buckles and other handmade silver and steel items.

The orange five gallon bucket has water in it for cooling metal as it is being ground to shape as I am grinding and shaping pieces of steel they get hot very quickly so I dip the piece in the water to keep it cool.  The work table at the back of the picture is where I stand to lay out the bit or spurs I am making and this table also serves as my welding table I have a Miller DX 250 Tig Welder that is to the right of this table and easy to reach to turn off and on and adjust if needed.

The work bench to the right is barely visible but it has a 4″ Wilton Shop vise mounted on it as well as a 6″ Wilton vise the steel work bench is 1/2″ thick by 3′ X 4′ and is the work table that I do my siver soldering on.

Handmade Spurs Layout of Patterns

Handmade Spurs Layout of Patterns

The metal pictured above is 1/2″ thick and 3″ wide it is what you call hot rolled steel which is a mild steel with a light crust on the outside but that does not affect anything because it needs to be taken down a little thinner anyway.

A lot of times when I am torching out spur shanks I go ahead and cut out a extra pair so I will have some on hand for the next time I make a pair of spurs like this.

The pattern is made of heavy poster board that I glue to layers together so it would be durable eventually I will transfer the white pattern to a tin pattern so it will last much longer and not deteriorate.

Handmade Spurs Layout of Spur Patterns

Handmade Spurs Layout of Spur Patterns

The two long strips that are chalked out onto the steel are the heel bands for the custom spurs.  This pair of spurs will have an 1 1/4″ width band and the length is 9″ which is slightly over sized from my normal heel band which is usually 8 1/2″ for a regular man’s boot heel.

I use a Victor cutting torch for cutting these pieces out and once they are cut out I knock the slag off of them with my 2 X 72 belt grinder.  The material I use for the spur heel bands is a little tougher material to cut out because of the higher carbon content the metal is an Aircraft alloy called 4130 or Chrome Moly this is the metal that works the best for cowboy spurs that will be used hard everyday because the heel bands will hold their shape due to the springiness of the steel.

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Buckle Making

Spur Making How to Make Custom Spurs with Spur Maker Bruce Cheaney Handmade Start to Finish

Here is a pair of custom made cowboy spurs made by Bruce Cheaney http://www.BitandSpurMaking.com

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Spur Making How to Make Custom Spurs with Spur Maker Bruce Cheaney Handmade Start to Finish

These spurs feature 3" spur rowels that are hand engraved in the Texas Style wheat stalk pattern. All silver is hand cut with a jewelers frame saw using Scies 3/0 piercing blades.

The handmade spurs are made using the stock removal method, the spur heel bands are hand formed around a heel band jig then belt sanded and clean up so the spur shanks can be welded on.

Some of the tools used for spur making are a Miller 250 DX Syncrowave welder and a 2" X 72" belt grinder as well as a Baldor Buffer #114 and a anvil and Victor Acetylene Torch.

Welding Supplies such as Harris Brazing alloy is used to attach the silver mountings to the spurs, the product I use from the Harris Products Group is the 45% Brazing alloy that is 45% silver and is considered a hard solder.

Grinding supplies are by Norton and Klingspor I use Norton Belts for heavy stock removal and Klingspor J-Flex belts for blending the welds and polishing the spurs. These belts can be purchased from Jantz Knifemaking Supplies, Davis, Oklahoma.