Dave Earle (AKA Saddler) from Maryborough in Queensland has been passionate about working with leather for most of his life. He is largely self-taught and is proudly carrying on the less and less common trade. He has worked with leather in a variety of roles and his latest venture is Dave’s Gun Belts and Holsters.
Saddler has been a shooter and SSAA member for a number of years. He was a member of a smallbore club in Maryborough six years ago and continued shooting there until it closed down. More recently, he has been introduced to the Single Action shooting discipline, specifically the pistol events, and he is loving it. His new home branch in Tiaro is where he discovered his new interest in Single Action.
Dave soon realised there was a strong demand from shooters of this unique discipline for quality custom-built leather holsters and other similar products. In addition to choosing a shooting alias, Single Action shooters are encouraged to adopt the clothing and equipment of the pre-colonial era, making leather a go-to material. Combining his lifetime of leatherwork skills with his new passion seemed like a no-brainer.
Armed with a vacuum mould, Dave met with a local gunsmith, obtained as many firearm moulds as he could and has not looked back since. “There can’t be too many other saddlers out there doing this sort of hand-made custom work,” he said.
But Dave’s leather skills don’t stop at holsters; he receives requests for all sorts of products. In fact, his handiwork is building up quite a reputation, so much so that people are willing to travel hours to buy his products. “I’ve got a customer who is driving eight hours to get a saddle I’m making for him,” said Dave. “It’s got to be a good sign that someone is willing to come that far to make sure they get the right product.”
It’s a team effort though, with Dave’s wife Tania (AKA Boss Saddler) running the business side of things, allowing him to focus on the creating. Although it’s still early days for the business, the ‘Saddlers’ recently had a table set up at a competition in Tiaro which was very well received and has started generating lots of interest.
You can see Saddler, Boss Saddler and their family shooting just about every discipline at the club, especially Single Action. “My son shoots everything with us and we have a very strong safety-first policy. That’s really the golden rule for us,” said Dave.
If you would like to order your own hand-made, custom-fit leather products for western holsters, rifles, pistols, saddles or just about anything, take a look at Dave’s Gun Belts and Holsters or talk to the ‘Saddlers’ on 0429 615 289.