Abbot-Downing: Coach and Wagon Makers to the World

The New Hampshire Historical Society has reprinted the Abbott-Downing book and added new information as well. As they state:

This newly released and richly illustrated book presents an overview history of the Abbot-Downing Company and examines the art and science of coach decoration through the work of John Burgum, on of the company’s chief ornamental painters. Also includes a list of surviving Concord coaches that have been identified to date. Contributors to the book are Harry N. Scheiber, professor of history and law at the University of California, Merri Ferrell, past curator of the carriage collection at the Long Island Museum of America, Christopher Augerson, former conservator of paint and gilding at the Chateau of Versailles Coach Museum and William Copeley, librarian at the New Hampshire Historical Society. Edited by Donna-Belle Garvin. Soft cover.

I will have these in stock by July 18, 2011 – price is $10.95
plus $3 book rate $6 priority to US addresses.

Posted in Horse-Drawn Vehicle books | 1 Comment

Fall Girl

There are several books I’d like to add to this blog – the first is this book by Martha Crawford Cantarini.

Fall Girl

Fall Girl is about Martha’s experiences as a stunt woman in the old western movies. Fascinating experiences but it is even more than a memoir it is about her experiences with the horses she trained and used to do the stunts. Horses were willing to do things for Martha that no one else could get them to do.  Martha’s abilities to get her horses to trust her and do anything she asked of them – is inspiring. The price just came down from $35 to $19.99

Read the reviews on or go to Horse talk

I can mail it book rate for $4 or priority for $8.

Martha is writing another book about Frosty – a horse she fell in love with that no one else wanted – and turned him into one of the most beautiful and talented horses in the world.

You will fall in love with Martha and this book! I did!

Posted in Fiction & Non-fiction, New Books | 1 Comment

7 inch wheels

7″ wheels are now available for $20 each plus s/h.

You can order other sizes from 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ with a new option for 1/2 inch sizes too. Let me know what you need and my wheel maker will try to build the size you need.

Posted in Model wheels | 2 Comments

Model wooden wheels

There is a variety of model wheels available but limiting in size and materials. The wheels I have found that look nice can be found on my web site here Model Wheels

But as I learn more about doing this blog – I wanted to show the new model wheels that have recently been added to my web page,

3" to 6" model wheels

These can also be ordered in the smaller sizes as found on the web page above. They look very nice, the spokes are placed in the felloes and glued.

If you want to build your own wheels you may want to order the books by Windy Hill the books have traceable patterns and templates for building a variety of wheel sizes. These are for display only. If you want to build wheels for a real vehicle pulled by horses, I have books for that too. You can go to the Vehicle Books pages on my web site and look for the titles Wheels, Wheels, Wagon and More, Wheelwrighting: a Modern Introduction, Wheelmaking and Wheelwright’s Trade. There is also a DVD/video called The Art of Wheelwrighting. I highly recommend you watch that video – before you start buying special shop tools, equipment, spokes, hubs, rims and felloes – you will see what is involved in building a traditional buggy wheel. If you still want to learn how to build wheels – buy all the books and then find someone who is willing to teach you. There is so much to learn – you will want someone to help you before you make a wrong cut on a spoke. I know two people who teach this trade – one has a web site and one does not. So contact me from my web site Wild Horse Books & Art and I’ll be happy to share the information.

If you want larger wheels and don’t want to make them, there are many people who can and do make them. Call or email me and I’ll share that info too.

Kayo Fraser –

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Stagecoach Convention, Cody, WY Day 1

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Stagecoach conference Cody, WY Day 2

Stagecoach Convention, Cody, WY day 2

Saturday June 12, 2010

I forgot to put the date on day 1 of the Stagecoach Convention in Cody, WY Even though I am posting it in July it was held in June. Deal with it! :-)

Morning of day 2 started with breakfast for me at:

5 cent coffee

It is right next door to one of the most interesting stores with a huge addition on the back with a Miniature Village that took the owner 50 years to finish. It starts with the Indians and their buffalo cliff jumps, to when the settlers came, the army, the railroad and circling back around to the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show – all in miniature. The parimenter of the showroom is an incredible private collection of Indian Artifacts. Maybe one of the best deals in town – it is all free to see. donations are accepted and I left a donation twice. I found this place my first night in Cody. They were about the only place open at night and it was getting late so I went back on Saturday to take some photos. I won’t show all the photos but I have to say – I was impressed!

Trading post

Miniature Village

Miniature Village

Some of the collection of artifacts around the village

Even though I took those picture after the the mornings presentation, it just fit to put these in where I did.

The morning Conference started with an open forum to see where the members were from, what their interest is in the Association and where they would like to see go.

My interest was in recording the information in a book or DVD.

By the way, I did get to set up a small booth for my books and plans for Wild Horse Books and Art

Wild Horse Book Booth

I set up next to the Association’s back drop – just because it had good light and located next to the bathroom. People eventually have to go…. :-) I also took some plans for building a variety of stagecoaches, delivery wagons and Army Escort Wagons and a few stagecoach models. But the books received the most attention. I could not bring them all – but I did have a good representation of the material I provide for people interested in building, restoring, conserving or researching  horse drawn vehicles.

Jeff McManus gave a presentation on the Local Freighting Trails. He was able to find and photograph many of the old routes where the impression in the prairie was still evident from the heavy wagons taking good across Wyoming. After all these years the tracks can still been seen.

Jeff McManus, with Ashlee and Rawhide

I didn’t have a photo of Jeff’s presentation so I am using the one from yesterday.

Ashlee in the middle, is the Ramrod for getting this conference organized. Rawhide Johnson was the next speaker talking about and showingEvolution of Harness and Staging Artifacts.

Rawhide Johnson

It is wonderful that so much knowledge was shared and so many vehicles have been preserved. Now to get the Assoc to do a book!

The morning presentation was over but we were all invited to tour Old Trail Town right next door to the Cody Cattle Company – at a group rate. I wanted to see this and finally got the chance to go over for some photos.  Betty McCoy watched my booth for me. A fella from Texas went on the tour but told me not to tear down my booth until he could come back and shop. I am always willing to let people shop – expecially since we all came from so far.   It saves postage too. And buys gas to get home.

Old Trail Town

Trail Town sign

There is so many vehicles here – I took lots of shots but won’t put them all on.

Trail Town

Trail Town Tour Trail Town tour of the top historic vehicle minds!

Doug Hansen and David Sneed are showing a member things to look for.
Tour of the wagons

There were so many vehicles in all stages of rot and decay – a vehicle lover wants to restore them all. No possible – but at least these are brought together in a place where people can still see them, and where the experts can show how to identify the wagon makers.

So many wagons, so little time to talk about them all.
Trail town, inside the blacksmith shop

Trail Town in a building. Looks like a stagecoach in the back!
Trail Town – in the barn

There were better vehicles in the barn but I don’t think the Tour made it this far.

Trail Town Barn with sleighs and cutters

Trail Town – barn

Trail Town carriage in the barn


In addition to the collection of horse drawn vehicles, Trail Town has moved many old historic buildings to the area.

Trail Town school

Old Store – furnished!

What amazes me is many of the building still have goods on the shelves, beds and furnishings in the cabins and none of it is climate controlled! It is just there to be seen!

Yes, they exhumed Jeremiah Johnson and planted him here in Trail Town. I had to visit his grave and wave at him. One of my favorite movies was about him – played by Robert Redford.

I could show a bunch more photos – but I won’t. Still more to tell about the conventions.

The Saturday evening events took us to The Mountain Trails Gallery. Vic Payne is the owner and sculptor – following in his father’s footsteps and behind him is his son. I can’t find my notes right now, so I can’t give you his name or  a link.

Just let me say – it is worth a visit to this Gallery. The art is extraordinary! All mediums are displayed and by many artists. The bronzes are to drool over. If you are a collector of western art – this is the place. Vic was a warm and interesting man, his wife was wonderful to us and she made some of the best snacks and hors d’oeuvres. Very nice people – with lots of talent!


Gallery Bronze

Traveling west by stage, covered wagon or prairie schooner was a challenge filled with death, danger, hills, swollen rivers, attacks and not to mention weather extremes. This bronze shows some of difficulties and how the women had to help help in any way possible. I don’t know if you can see – but she has a rope tied to the brake on the wagon helping to slow its decent. I am always amazed at the hardships the pioneers endured and admire their determination, strength and dedication to make a better life- west.

The Gallery also had a nice collection of vehicles.

Monida stagecoach

Sheepherder wagon

Chuck Wagon

Stage coach

It was a wonderful evening and a spectacular Conference.

I came home via the Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and through Yellowstone National Park. I’ll save those photos for another blog.  I will end this post here.

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New to blogging – trying to figure it out.

A few of my customers have requested I set up a blog.  I told them that is a lot to teach this old dog…. but I decided I was not so old and I could learn. So here is my attempt at doing this.

When I get new books, plans, kits, parts or other resources – I will mention them here. If anyone wants to keep track of what is new – then subscribe on the left somewhere and when I post something new – you will be notified by email. There won’t be much new to begin with, since I am still scratching my head as I figure this out.


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