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Old January 25, 2010, 03:38 PM   #1
Sixer
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Join Date: April 16, 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,891
Working with leather (Holsters)!

Ok, so I decided to try my hand at making a holster over the weekend. I've never really worked with leather so this is all new to me. I found a few good tutorials and step-by-step instructions online that inspired me to give it a shot.

I stopped by the local Hobby & Craft shop where I picked up a bag of scrap leather and a few tools to get me started. The tool selection was pretty slim so I had to make due with what they had. My first two "creations" look like some kind of 3rd grade school project

The last two holsters I made are actually not too shabby for scrap leather. I'm really enjoying my new found hobby and look forward to being able to make decent - nice holsters for myself and friends .

I guess I would just like to hear from some of you that have leathercraft experience before I go spend the money for tools and $100 worth of leather. Any suggestions or tips for the beginner?
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Hopp Custom Leather <------ click for HOLSTER awesomeness!!

-There is no theory of evolution... Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
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Old January 25, 2010, 03:58 PM   #2
swcr
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Join Date: December 31, 2009
Location: Sedro-Woolley, WA
Posts: 64
I've been making holsters for 10-12 years and it really isn't very hard to make nice holsters. It just takes a little practice and some time spent refining your patterns. If you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer them. You may also want to check out this website for all kinds of leather working advice including a subforum specifically for holsters.

http://www.leatherworker.net/forum/

Just a few examples of some of my holsters.

3.5" 1911


Sig P229


Kahr CW9


6.5" Ruger Blackhawk


S&W M&P9c


4" Ruger GP100


Eugene
etoppe@verizon.net

Last edited by swcr; January 27, 2010 at 11:53 AM.
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Old January 25, 2010, 04:27 PM   #3
Sixer
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Join Date: April 16, 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 1,891
swcr,

Very nice work! I definitely have a whole new appreciation for the craftmanship that goes in to quality holsters after trying it myself. If you don't mind I do have a few questions for you...

- what are some of the tools that you use most often?
- where is a good place to buy decent quality leather?
- what kind of stitching methods do you use? (i.e. hole size and spacing, thread types, stitch type, etc.)
- what size or # beveler do you use?
- how do get such clean edges around the outside of the holster?

I could sit here and pick your brain all day I appreciate the help and will definitely check the forum! Thanks again
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Hopp Custom Leather <------ click for HOLSTER awesomeness!!

-There is no theory of evolution... Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
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Old January 25, 2010, 05:18 PM   #4
swcr
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Join Date: December 31, 2009
Location: Sedro-Woolley, WA
Posts: 64
The most often used tools include:
leather cutting shears
scalpel
adjustable stitching groover
freehand stitching groover
#2,3 & 4 edgers - depending on leather thickness
1.5" bag punch
coblers hammer

I machine sew my holsters now. When I used to hand sew I would space my stitches with a #5 overstitch wheel and then drill the holes with a 1/16" drill bit in a dremel tool. I then would saddle stitch with Nyltex thread.
After gluing two or more layers of leather together with contact cement I will use a belt sander to sand the edges smooth and even. A dremel tool with a sanding drum can be used in areas to tight for a belt sander or if you don't have a belt sander. After sanding on the belt sander with a 320 grit belt I will edge the holster gouge a stitch channel and stitch it. I then wet form it, let it dry for 20-24 hours, dye it (I use Fiebings Professional Oil Dye) and let it dry for another 10-12 hours. Then you need to buff off the excess dye that dried on the surface, you can either use a rag or I prefer to use a horsehair shoe shine brush. Then you're ready to burnish the edges to smooth them up. There are many ways to do this, the way I do it is to first rub the leather edge with some wax (50/50 mixture of paraffin and bees wax). I have a wood burnisher that is simply a round hardwood dowel with different size grooves in it that is attached to a motor shaft, some people chuck them up in drill presses. You then press the waxed leather edge into the appropriately sized groove in the burnisher while it spins. In just a few seconds who will have a perfectly smooth and slick edge. Here is a link to a discussion on the different burnishing methods.

http://leatherworker.net/forum/index...howtopic=16609

As far as where to but leather and leather working supplies there are a number of different suppliers that I use. Some of the ones I use the most are listed below. For someone just starting out I would highly recommend calling Springfield Leather and getting some of the Herman Oak leather that they have on special. You will get high quality leather for a very reasonable price. I would generally recommend 8-9oz. leather for most concealed/open carry style holsters. For IWB holsters you can usually get away with using something a little lighter like 6-7oz. All the holsters I make are lined with vegetable tanned leather so I generally use 5-6oz leather for the outside lined with 2-3oz. For western style holsters and field type I will use 6-7 oz. for both the outside and the lining.

Eugene

http://springfieldleather.com/store/

http://www.zackwhite.com/home.php

http://www.macphersonleather.com/
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