Lisa Weber finds her passion in custom leather work
If you have ever worked in a branding pen, driven cattle across the pasture, or been on the ranch to wean calves, you have seen most cowboys and cowgirls wearing something covering their jeans. Most of them will tell you they won’t leave home without their chinks or chaps. Not only do they protect your legs from weather, but can also cushion a blow from a calf while it’s being branded. Here in the Sandhills, they can also save the cowboy’s skin from the sandburs while they are doctoring cattle or tagging calves.
Lisa Weber is one you will see on a cattle drive, breaking horses and always in the branding pen in the spring. She had a trusty pair of chinks that she wore all the time, but “they were uncomfortable, it was hard to get on my horse.” That is when she decided to make her own chinks, “I’m not going to fight with my leather anymore” she said.
Messing around with leather was always a pass time for Lisa. Making “headstalls, reins, real basic items” before moving onto chinks and chaps. After wearing her own creation, the neighbor asked Lisa to make a pair for her son; she loved them so ordered some for her husband as well. “Then it just started going from there,” Lisa explained. She has been doing custom work for about three years now.
Working on a ranch on the Niobrara River in North Central Nebraska, Lisa paid attention to the gear fellow riders were wearing. “(I would) look at what they were wearing and saw what I liked and what I didn’t like,” when it came to their chaps or chinks. She has ridden enough in her lifetime to “know what fits right and what’s comfortable.” “If you have to be on foot for some reason, you shouldn’t have to pull them up all the time.”
The internet has been a blessing in Lisa’s line of work. She already has orders coming from all over the world. She has shipped orders to Germany and the Netherlands, “I have an order right now from Ireland,” she told me with a grin. That is her favorite part of this job, the people. “You get all the accents.” The neat part for her is to see the different styles in different areas, “down in Texas they like their pockets.” LW Leather has shipped all over the country as well, down south to Texas, and out west to Oregon. She also keeps it close to home with some of her neighbors sporting her custom creations.
“(I) try to do what people come up with,” and Lisa is willing to try anything, to an extent. When she is asked “Can you do this?” her response is usually, “‘Well, let me think about it and get back to you.’ I draw it out or play with it, ‘yeah we can do that.’ So far they’ve all been pretty good results.”
There can be challenges. She just made her first pair of Arizona Bells Chaps. “They came out really nice” Lisa said proudly. She hasn’t had anyone ask for something she hasn’t been able to do yet.
Lisa loves the smell of leather. She is very picky on the leather she uses, “If I don’t like it, I won’t sell it.” You know you are getting a quality, one of a kind product, when you order from her.
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I have been rather preoccupied lately and haven’t been writing my editor’s note. So, for those who have called and emailed to make sure I’m still on this Earth, I’m still here.