1.01.2009

Jack Reed

Cowboy. Rodeo Star. Civil Engineer. Bootmaker. Artist. Teacher. Not much I can say about Jack Reed that hasn’t been said better before... the man and his work are legendary.

Jack Reed in his Llano, Texas shop

An intelligent man who enjoyed conversation, Reed learned from the best. Leno Trujillio, Rios of Raymondville, Lucchese, Ray Jones. I don’t think it irrelevant that Reed and Jones were both interested in engineering. And like Ray Jones, Reed was a perfectionist, a man committed to his art.
"Some folks like to play golf or fish, but I enjoy the 372 steps of boot making." - Jack Reed
Mr. Reed made this pair of Cowboy boots boots in the late 1970s, a few years after his decision to "return" to making custom boots. Like the man who made them they are remarkable. The art of the Jack Reed. The art of the boot.
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Bespoke Cowboy Boots by Jack Reed






















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Mr. Reed organized the first Boot, Leather and Saddle Makers Roundup. It was held in Burnet, Texas over twenty years ago. Kathy and Eddie Kimmel carry on the tradition. The 21st Annual Boot and Saddle Makers Roundup will be held October 2nd & 3rd 2009 in Witchita Falls, Texas. Tip of the hat to those good folks.

Reed also taught boot making... a one-week long 40-hour crash course in the finer points of making western style boots. More than thirty students studied under Mr. Reed. Many took to the work, and it is hard work... they continue to make custom boots in the tradition of their teacher.

Jack Reed died in 2004. He was 81 years old and had spent over 40 years making custom boots for cowboys, ranchers, businessmen and celebrities.
"They are a part of our life in Texas. We wear them because our daddies wore them, and everybody around you wears them. They go back to the days of the cattle drives, and they are still used as work boots today." - Jack Reed
Seems to me that the hereafter must be a darn good place to get yourself that pair of custom boots you've always dreamed of...
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Richard Cook was Jack Reeds' last student. He bought the business when Mr. Reed retired in 2000. Cook, a former Texas Ranger and a fine artist, takes pride in his Texas heritage and promotes Reed's belief that when cowboy boots are made right, they are works of art and engineering. His shop, Richard Cook Custom Boots, is in Seguin, Texas.
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Boots: Collection J. Davis
Photo of Jack Reed: Jim Arndt
Photography: J. Davis

6 comments:

  1. Jack was my first teacher, and I was one of his last few students. I worked with him in '99. In fact, I'm wearing the boots I made with him right now! I'm not actively making boots today, but had some success following my introduction to the art by him. Two pair I've made were shown in Jennifer June's recent book "Cowboy Boots, The Art and Sole". Jack was a true master of the craft, but I learned so much more from him than how to make a boot.
    Janet Stoddard-Chicago

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  2. this is a wonderful post about jack reed. i am new learning the craft and finding that there are many commonalities in the master bootmakers. thank you so much for posting such wonderful information and beautiful images of the boots.

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  3. Jack was my grandfather and I am glad that you and so many others keep his memory alive. Although I never learned the art (he said I didn't have the patience), I do have a deep respect for craft and those that continue to make boots. Althought he truly loved "building" boots, I think he ejoyed teaching others even more. Thank you again for keeping his memory alive.

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  4. Jack Reed was the only grandfather that knew. I too appreciate all of the wonderful things you and others have said about him. He loved the art and the craftsmanship, but he loved teaching people and was incredibly proud of his students work and accomplishments. He constantly bragged and displayed his book of the pictures of the boots that his students mailed to him. Thank you for helping to keep his legacy alive. He was only true cowboy that I’ve ever known and we miss him deeply.

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  5. Jack Reed was the only grandfather that knew. I too appreciate all of the wonderful things you and others have said about him. He loved the art and the craftsmanship, but he loved teaching people and was incredibly proud of his students work and accomplishments. He constantly bragged and displayed his book of the pictures of the boots that his students mailed to him. Thank you for helping to keep his legacy alive. He was only true cowboy that I’ve ever known.

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  6. Donovan Wesley ReedJanuary 2, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Jack was my grandfather as well and from all the stories my Aunt Suzanne, Uncle Jim, Uncle Lex, and my Father Ted have told me he was an extraordinary man who was a "real" cowboy and started the family tradition for racing he also built the Oak Hill Raceway in Henderson, Texas long live Paw Reed as i called him.

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