The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Gear and Accessories

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old May 18, 2010, 08:42 AM   #51
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
At one time it was popular,,,

I sure saw a lot of felt lined holsters when I was a kid,,,
They were all older ones so I guessing 30's-40's maybe.

It will not be any easier lining a holster with felt,,,
Than it would be to line with pig or calf,,,
The process would be the same.

You would still need to stitch around all of the edges,,,
And burnishing the edges would be problematic.

I think the only advantage to felt lining would be to the manufacturer,,,
When new, the lining would look very nice indeed,,,
And would be cheap to manufacture,,,
felt being cheaper than leather.

One problem with holster lining material is,,,
The rougher it is the more it collects dirt and grit,,,
Lining with smooth leather makes a non-abrasive surface.

People think because suede leather is soft to the touch that it would be good lining material,,,
Forget the fact that it is chrome tanned leather and can attack the blue finish if wet,,,
It's fuzzy nap collects dirt and grit that is like sandpaper to a gun's finish,,,
This is my opinion and agreed to by most holster makers,,,
Unlined is better than suede lined.

I have seen holsters lined with shearling sheepskin,,,
The hair was trimmed to about 3/4 inch long,,,
I'm not sure what purpose it served,,,
Most had a full cover flap.

Lining a holster with thin calf or pig isn't difficult,,,
It just means a lot more stitching is all.

The How to Make Holsters book shows the steps to line a holster in great detail.

Buy the book!
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 18, 2010, 08:56 AM   #52
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
Thanks... I'll buy the books ( at least 3 of them so far )
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 18, 2010, 09:44 AM   #53
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
Essential books to learn how to make holsters,,,

Hello gentlemen,,,

I do not mind answering questions,,,
In fact if anything, I get a huge kick out of it,,,
My undergrad and graduate degrees are in occupational education.

However there are a few books that will explain everything,,,
And they have big pretty pictures to illustrate the tasks.

So if you really want to learn leathercraft and holster making,,,
Please consider buying these three books.

The grand total of $35.97 is cheap at twice the cost.

1) How to Make Holsters.
This book is by Al Stohlman, the Patron Saint of Tandy Leather.
At $12.99 this book is a must have.

It will show you:
How to create your own holster patterns,,,
How to make cross-draw holsters,,,
How to make lined holsters,,,
How to sew a toe plug,,,
How to do it all.

2) The Art of Hand Sewing Leather.
Another book by Al Stohlman,,,
At $12.99 this book is also in the must have category.

Unless you can afford over $1,000.00 for a leather sewing machine,,,
You absolutely must learn and master this skill

It will show you absolutely everything you need to know about hand stitching leather the correct way.
It shows you how to do a true saddle-stitch using two needles and one piece of thread,,,
Instead of the inferior lock stitch using a sewing awl.

Absolutely everything you will ever need to know how to do is in this excellent book,,,
Lots of well done illustrations make learning this essential skill very easy.

3) Leathercraft Tools.
One more book by Al Stohlman,,,
At $9.99 this book is the third in the must have category.

This book shows you just about every hand tool there is for leather craft.

It shows you:
How to use the tool properly,,,
How to keep them sharp,,,
What they are used for,,,
When to use a tool,,,
Why it is used.

This is not a project book,,,
There are no craft patterns in these pages,,,
They contain essential techniques on using the tools.

So, if you are serious about learning how to create your own holsters and gun-belts,,,
Make this $35.97 investment before you buy one tool or scrap of leather,,,
Take the time to read the pages and look at the pretty pictures,,,
I guarantee you will be better off for doing it.

There will be more books later on for specific things,,,
Someday you will want to learn how to do fancy lacing techniques,,,
You will want to learn how to make saddle-bags and other leather items.

There are books for those other types of projects as well,,,
But they are for you to buy and read later on,,,
It's holster making for now.

Buy The Books!,,,
Aarond
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 18, 2010, 10:44 AM   #54
Dave Cole
Member
 
Join Date: August 16, 2009
Location: Satellite Beach,Fl.
Posts: 55
I again agree with Aarond, stick with a smooth pigskin or regular veg-tan lining.They will stand the test of time and do less damage to your guns or knives.I haven't heard the term "Gummed" leather before but think they have taken a poor quality fuzzy flesh side and used Gum Tragacanth on it and are charging more for it, just hype is my guess.Buy the good stuff and it will be cheaper and better in the long run.Dave
Dave Cole is offline  
Old May 18, 2010, 11:11 AM   #55
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
Here is that KeySlinger pattern,,,

The pattern is in Adobe .PDF format,,,
There should be no problem opening it.

Have fun,,,
Aarond H. Graham
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)

Last edited by aarondhgraham; September 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM.
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 18, 2010, 11:43 AM   #56
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
thank you sir... I'll put them in with my ( new & small ) leather file...
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 21, 2010, 10:46 AM   #57
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
Here's a crazy-looking, race-inspired wingtipped holster that I made to fit a 686:


Here's a great little subcompact glock high-rise belt holster. The girl who commissioned it requested the purple glitter:


Orange sunburst pancake for my wife's snubby:


This is probably my favorite to date. It's an all-leather, fully-lined racer for a 627 Pro:


Here's one of my newer models, a convertible pocket/tuckable IWB for subcompacts. One in black stingray and the other in plain unfinished shoulder:


And, yes. I also do basic black. Here's a 4-inch 629 in a kidney-position pancake that I made for a woods holster:


Needless to say, I like making holsters for women because they typically want to wear something other than brown or black.
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 21, 2010, 10:53 AM   #58
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
nice looking rigs...

I got my shoulder & my 3/4" strap today, along with a punch for that old Heiser snap, a couple of buck stitch lacing punches, & some boston screws today...

the weather is drizzely today & supposed to be that way tomorrow as well... so I might get a chance to play with the couple projects I have started... wish I could find MRS Magnum's old leather tooling set...
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 07:43 AM   #59
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
got my strap cut & the hole punched for the old Heiser snap, for my resto project... there was a piece that was roughly 12" X 12" that stuck out of the rolled up shoulder ( BTW... I got the gummed, & the flesh side is nearly as smooth as the hide side ) so I didn't even untie the roll of hide... I cut that 12" square in half for the custom belt band that I'm doing for the 2 heavy weight holsters I'm modifying for my Dan Wesson 44 mag & Ruger 454 Casull snubbies...
I'm wanting to fold over the outer edges of the new leather that stick out on the sides past the holster body so that it's 2 layers thick & have already rough cut it to match the outline of the holster on each side... I thought I'd stitch the edge to mirror the stitching in the holster body, & glue that doubled over portion of the new leather... I'm thinking if I glue those portions 1st putting them in a vice or clamping them while drying, then punching & stiching after dry it might be easier to punch the holes & stitch... or is it better to stitch before gluing ??? the new leather will be laced all the way across the top where the new leather is 2 layers thick, & across the top of the old holster to blend them together... on one of the holsters I've ripped the original side stiching, so I can more easily stitch the canted belt slide through area, then will re-stitch the holster body after the new & old leathers are joined

what do you guys like to use for glue... I see everything from what looks like wood glue, to what looks like rubber or contact cement for sale on the leather sites
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 08:17 AM   #60
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
I do use contact cement quite a bit, and I do sew through the stuff - both by hand and by machine. I can't really offer any advice on any other adhesives. You know, when you find one that works why mess with it?
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 11:03 AM   #61
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
On glues and cements,,,

The white stuff that looks like good old Elmer's glue is for crafters,,,
Cub scouts and the like who are glueing splits and such,,,
It's not good for holster making purposes.

I use rubber cement (and I thin it down a bit) for cementing linings,,,
It really is a bit more flexible than contact cement.

I use contact cement for joining the back seams,,,
And any other thing that really needs a good strong hold.

I can't think of one place where it would be possible to stitch then cement,,,
So I'm not sure if I understood your question properly.

Even if it's only a couple of stitches,,,
Cement everything you are going to stitch,,,
The cement keeps the leather piece from "wiggling",,,
If the leather wiggles then the stitches will eventually pull loose.

You said that the "gummed" shoulder has a very smooth flesh side?,,,
I was correct in that it has been polished with gum tragacanth,,,
It's best use is for items that you don't want to line,,,
Ladies purses, belts and such things,,,
It won't dye well either.

But for a holster I think it would not be ideal leather,,,
I would surely line any holsters I made using it,,,
I'd bet the hardness would wear on blueing.

Rough up that smoothed side before you apply the contact or rubber cement,,,
The cement needs to penetrate into the leather a bit to make a good bond.

I buy rubber cement and contact cement by the quart rather than by the gallon,,,
I also buy a quart of cement thinner to go with them.

I use it up fairly fast but I almost always need to thin it down by the time I have used half of the quart,,,
I also keep a smaller 4 ounce can (with brush) and refill it from the quart can,,,
That makes the cement last longer without needing to be thinned.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 11:10 AM   #62
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
Nice work Evyl Robot,,,

Where are you at in Oklahoma?,,,
I haunt the Stillwater area myself.

I like your wingtip holster,,,
At first glance I thought it was made for a Charter Arms Lavender Lady.

There is a whole new area opening up for holsters,,,
That's the market for people who want something "flashy".

There is a lady I see at my range every now and then,,,
She makes purses out of old boot tops she finds at second hand stores.

She used one very ornate boot top to make a rig for her revolver,,,
She used the decorative stitched part of the upper.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 11:13 AM   #63
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
I think this leather will work OK for the part of the holster I'm using it on, & they claim its perfect for tooling... what makes you think it won't take dye ???
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 11:17 AM   #64
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
I meant the back (flesh) side of the leather,,,

Because it has been polished with something,,,
My suspicion being gum tragacanth,,,
It might not absorb the dye.

The tooling side of the leather (grain side) will be fine,,,
It's just the flesh side I think might not absorb well.

Only one way to be sure though,,,
Try dyeing the flesh side of a scrap piece.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 24, 2010, 04:44 PM   #65
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
Thanks, Aaron!

Quote:
Where are you at in Oklahoma?,,,
I haunt the Stillwater area myself.
I'm in the North Okc area. (Edmond, just don't tell anybody.) I make it to the Stillwater area once in a great while. I've seen the boot-top bags, but hadn't seen a rig put together that way before. I'm not sure I could personally butcher a pair of leather boots without shedding tears though. I've got to branch out and do something to increase volume. But, I do have to say that Mrs. Robot is very patient and encouraging.

To Aaron and you other guys doing barbecue rigs, would you have any tips for a guy like me to branch into such things - as a guy making CCW and race-style holsters? If not, I may dive right in and ruin some leather!
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 06:48 AM   #66
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
as an FYI... the gummed back leather took my oil based dye very well... no difference in obsorbsion between either side

I think you could say I "made" my 1st holster last night ( er... well re-made... sorta ) I had an old Bauer holster in my box of holsters I chopped it up shortened it, narrowed it & removed the strap that went around the body of the holster... since I'm not hand sewin yet, I expiriemented with lacing, using up a few scraps of lacing left over from my Heiser resto project... I had been looking for something that would fit a custom S&W # 1.5 spur trigger in 38 S&W... this took me all of 15 minutes at the end of the night, last night to put together, & unfortunately it shows ... but, I'm going to do several more changes to it yet... 1st, I'm going to round the bottom, & chisel slots for lacing there, & re-lace the body of the holster to include the bottom as well... the holster fits the gun perfectly though... 2nd though it's use-able right now, I'm going to sew a canted line across the belt slot to make the holster ride higher, & cant forward slightly... 3rd... I think I'm going to replace the strap which is pretty rough, & the only part of the original holster still in use, other than the original leather... I spent most of my evening prior, practicing burnishing the edges on some leather, & relocating the straps on my 44 mag 454 Casull projects, & touch up dyeing a few pieces... for burnishing, I was getting pretty good results with a fine polishing stone in my dremel, & using wax, water & leather conditioner... sounds like there are several ways that work for different people, so I'll find something that work well for me... one thing I need to do, is get a variable speed Dremel... I used to have one, & burnt up the variable speed switch on my last one, & replaced it with a single speed model... I think if I'm going to continue to do this I'm going to want one that can run at a slower speed...

BTW... as far as attaching straps... I'm currently using Chicago screws, but all my old junky holsters in the box, all used rivets... aside from the rivets being cheaper, is there any reason not to use the Chicago screws... I figure I could use lock tite if I'm having any issues with them loosening ???

anyway... a couple pics of my 1st rig, as I'm wearing it today... still in need of the changes I listed earlier... don't beat me up too bad... it is my 1st & BTW the gun shoots & functions perfectly, but was ugly enough, that I thought it OK to chop the barrel... if it continues to be one of my favorites ( & finding a holster for it, goes a long way to helping that ), it'll either get a quality nickel job, or a master re-blue... still trying to decide on that... I feel kinda putting up these pics, after all you guys have posted the awesome work you've done... but I guess I have to start somewhere



Attached Images
File Type: jpg Guns 335.jpg (56.0 KB, 504 views)
File Type: jpg Guns 336.jpg (63.6 KB, 1096 views)
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...

Last edited by Magnum Wheel Man; May 25, 2010 at 07:40 AM.
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 08:37 AM   #67
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
Quote:
but I guess I have to start somewhere
It looks good. It honestly looks about a million times better than my first holster turned out. Very few people have had the opportunity to see that piece of leather. I keep it locked away in the hall of horrors! But you did a nice job.
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 10:57 AM   #68
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
so... sew... thread... I want something strong & durable wha are you guys using ???
this is what I'm looking at right now, but haven't ordered anything yet...

http://www.zackwhite.com/product.php...cat=563&page=1

hard to tell if it's too heavy, too light, or just right ???
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 11:14 AM   #69
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
Here's what I use,,,

I use this thread,,,

and these needles (Size 0-small),,,

I think the thread I use might be a bit thinner than your thread,,,
I'm saying that because mine lists 25 lb breaking point and yours says 35 lb,,,
I think I have seen your thread in tandy (judging by the shape and look of the roll),,,
it's much thicker than mine and will not thread into a size 0-small harness needle,,,
You will probably (might?) need the size 000-large harness needle.

In actuality I like the waxed linen thread much better than the nylon,,,
But it's heavier and Tandy wants way too much for it,,,
Even at my 40% discount it's more than the nylon.

Waxed linen is more period to the old west but is more difficult to sew with,,,
You need to re-wax the thread every 15-20 stitches or it will fray,,,
Nylon is easier to sew with and doesn't fray at all,,,
Functionally nylon is way better than linen,,,
But I still think linen is prettier.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 11:43 AM   #70
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
Hey Evyl Robot,,,

I'm not sure I have any advice for you as to how to market your stuff,,,
I am strictly word of mouth because I keep it as a hobby,,,
Just enough extra income to support the craft,,,
And be able to afford gifts for friends,,,
And occasionally some ammo.

~sigh~

When I did try and make money I hit all the cowboy action shoots,,,
I didn't even try to do IPSC matches or anything modern,,,
I always donated something to the prize pool,,,
Never anything big or expensive,,,
Just for name recognition.

My KeySlinger holsters worked very nicely for that,,,
I sold a lot of them as well for $20.00 each,,,
Or $35.00 for a set of two.




I took many samples of my work and always one or two works in progress to show the shooters,,,
It's amazing how many people will stop to watch a person sitting on a stitching horse,,,
As they are hand sewing the seam of a holster or the lining of a belt.

For common cowboy guns I would often rough cut the leather,,,
Then I would rubber cement it to a piece of heavy masonite board,,,
I would go ahead and do the tooling and sometimes the dye work as well,,,
I would also do the buckle billets and a 6-8 inch "sample" of the cartridge belt.

Then if someone liked what they saw I would measure them for the belt size,,,
Peel the holster off the board and sew in the lining and the back seam,,,
Attach the billets to the finished belt,,,
And ship it to them.

That was a quick way to get a lot of semi-finished samples out to see,,,
Without the time and expense of completing the holster,,,
And completing a belt that wouldn't fit them.

I almost never sold anything except novelty items at the event,,,
They always had the wrong gun for the holster I had,,,
Or I had the wrong size belt for that shooter,,,
Or everything fit but not the color,,,
You see the problem.

But I took a lot of orders for later delivery,,,
And I always got a non-refundable deposit,,,
To at least cover the cost of my materials and a reasonable bit of labor.

That's the Aarond Graham method of marketing,,,
It worked well enough for a season or two,,,
Ya hafta get stuff in front of people,,,
You must be visible to them.

That's how I did it,,,
Your mileage may vary,,,
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 12:46 PM   #71
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
MWM - The stuff I stitch with has a 75-150 pound break strength depending on what I'm putting together, and whether I'm hand or machine stitching. But, it is Kevlar. If you are going for a classic or period look, I'm afraid that this particular aramid fiber would not work. For a long time, I was simply using the nylon stuff that they sell at Tandy. I'm sure with a little shopping around you can find the same stuff for cheaper though. I agree with Aarond though. For a traditional holster, the linen comes out authentic and beautiful. I wonder how a heavy hemp thread would do for such an application... It would be stronger than the linen, but it would have more of the right look...

Aarond - I missed the 'd' before. Sorry about that. Your key slingers are really cool! I downloaded the .pdf that you posted and showed it to my wife. I may just have to try my hand at some of those.
On western rigs - are there places I should visit or literature I should invest in to tell me what is appropriate or sought after on a barbecue rig? My sister-in-law wants one for her S&W 686 in black with pink skulls tooled into it. (I know, I know. The girl is unique.) I've had other people ask whether I even do that type of work. Until recently, I've simply told them no. I'm thinking that I should change that.
Really, my opinion is that in business you have to specialize and expand simultaneously to make it. I like making wild CCW's and racers, but if that's all I'm ever willing to do, business will get really thin really fast. I need to be willing and able to do some classic detective-style basket weave rigs, barbecue rigs, and possibly branch out of holsters altogether.
There are a lot of people out there that have a lot of appreciation for a quality leather product that will probably never own a gun, much less don a holster. I'm going to try to work with materials other than leather as well *shudder*. I've had many people tell me that they would buy my stuff if it weren't leather - straight up. It seems like some people refuse to wear one or the other. I can't say I blame them. I don't want my gun in plastic.

Anyway, sorry for hijacking the thread.
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 02:12 PM   #72
aarondhgraham
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Location: Stillwater, OKlahoma
Posts: 7,229
It wasn't hijacking,,,

I think the topic of this thread will wander all over the landscape,,,
It ain't no big deal as far as I am concerned.

There's a great book out called Packing Iron,,,
It was published in the early 90's and is still the definitive work on authentic gun-leather.

I have copied (made patterns for) a lot of the holsters pictured there,,,
I also haunt the stores for books showing the 1930's-40's cowboy movie stars,,,
That is what I call "The West That Never Was" but man did they have some fancy gun-leather.

I guess my question to you is, are you trying to make a full-time living from leather work?

If you are, I don't have a lot of good advice for you,,,
I've always had a day job and just used this as a supplement.

The people I do know who are successful in this racket do one of two things,,,
They either go commercial, buy clickers and dies, and standardize their mainstream products,,,
Or they go the totally custom route and charge outrageous prices for completely unique products.

I've never seen anyone do both ways and succeed,,,
That doesn't mean someone can't do it,,,
I've just never seen it succeed.

One way depends on volume to bring in enough money to live on,,,
The other depends on salesmanship and marketing skills.

The most successful leather person I know of is a Mr. Dusty Johnson,,,
Dusty used to run the Pleasant Valley School of Saddle Making.

He is a good leather worker and saddle maker,,,
Not great mind you, but good enough.

What he excels in is marketing and salesmanship.

Dusty goes to all the trade shows,,,
He markets his products and his school well enough,,,
But where he really puts the effort in is marketing himself as someone you want to buy from.

He created one double gun rig,,,
There was no tooling or stamping,,,
Very sleek nickel studded buscadero rig,,,
I accused him of copying the Lone Ranger rig,,,
He just chuckled and said, "No one patented the design."

He advertised in all back of all the gun magazines,,,
Just a small classified ad with one picture,,,
And all the Western Themed mags.

He dumped the ones that didn't give him at least one order a month,,,
He never went bigger than that one small advertisement.

It came with two fake cowboy pistols,,,
The kind suitable for twirling,,,
And he twirled them as well.

Those cowboy rigs sold for $595.00 each,,,
He would ship 10 to 14 a month,,,
They took one day to make,,
$400.00 profit per day.

It was a mediocre gunbelt,,,
Nothing truly special about it at all,,,
But his marketing of it was very well executed.

He got into some magazine for rich Japanese men,,,
They bought 3-4 rigs a month,,,
Go figure.

The moral of this story is,,,
It's all marketing.

Make the best product available and maybe starve to death,,,
Make a mediocre product but market it well and get steenkin' rich.
__________________
Caje: The coward dies a thousand times, the brave only once.
Kirby: That's about all it takes, ain't it?
Combat: "A Silent Cry"
Aarond is good,,, Aarond is wise,,, Always trust Aarond! (most of the time)
aarondhgraham is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 04:08 PM   #73
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
Quote:
I guess my question to you is, are you trying to make a full-time living from leather work?
I'm currently doing this full-time. Now, I'm trying to make it make money for me.

Quote:
Make the best product available and maybe starve to death,,,
Make a mediocre product but market it well and get steenkin' rich.
You may be right that it's either this way or that, but I believe there has got to be a happy medium in there somewhere. It used to take me a good eight to twelve hours of labor to turn out a great holster. I've been tooling up to speed the process. Now, I have a sewing machine that will sew right through my bones if I'm not careful at 1800 stitches per minute (I heard horror stories from the retailer). I've put money into shears and buffing wheels and punches and cutters and all kinds of goodies. I haven't yet gone to a clicker or hydraulic press, but I know that I've sped up my production in there somewhere with all these gizmos.

When I make a new one, I've been running it all over town for people to put their hands on. I've even sent stuff to work with my wife. I've gotten a couple of orders that way. I know that if I can get more stuff out there, I'll get more orders. I've gotten some exposure, but it takes special kinds of exposure to really name a brand. There are a lot of big companies that are using the internet in ways that I wouldn't have thought of. They make commercials and post them on Youtube - videos that are fun to watch so people will go watch them on purpose instead of tuning them out during the interruption in their show. Apparently, this has been wildly successful for some. Maybe I ought to think in that direction. It wouldn't be an investment of much more than time.

So, you ever make it in the Okc direction?
Evyl Robot is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 04:47 PM   #74
Magnum Wheel Man
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Southern Minnesota
Posts: 8,552
can't help much in the way of sales, but sounds like you need to find a few guys like me, who are looking for not your everyday kind of holster, who have more than one gun to fit, who hang with several other gun crazy people ( hmm... sounds like Aaronds suggestion ) ... one hook up like that could keep you busy for 6 months anyways...

... unfortunately I'm really a cheap ars, & want to learn to make my own... not that I ever dream of the artistic creations displayed here, but I do love to design things, & once I've got a good feel for working with the leather, maybe there is an artsy guy in there somwhere... but right now he's too busy with life to worry about tooling leather... but I aint dead yet... so maybe some day ???

keep on keeping on...
__________________
In life you either make dust or eat dust...
Magnum Wheel Man is offline  
Old May 25, 2010, 05:50 PM   #75
Evyl Robot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 11, 2008
Location: OOOOOOOOOOO-Klahoma!
Posts: 403
Quote:
... unfortunately I'm really a cheap ars, & want to learn to make my own...
Quote:
but I do love to design things
LOL! How do you think I GOT INTO this mess? Truthfully, I knew that my days of working for somebody else were numbered. It runs in the blood. My dad, my dad's dad, and his dad were all self-employed. When I became unemployed in January, and then went on a 90-day contract a month later, it just became obviously clear that I personally will never be happy working for somebody else. Mrs. Robot was so funny. She was downright excited when I quit the last gig. She said that she'd rather be poor than have me such a zombie in the evenings.

Quote:
sounds like you need to find a few guys like me, who are looking for not your everyday kind of holster, who have more than one gun to fit, who hang with several other gun crazy people ( hmm... sounds like Aaronds suggestion )
This is exactly what I've been relying on so far. I know that it will eventually snowball, but I'm currently trying to find a creative way to accelerate that. Most of the time it's been lefties looking for an N-frame holster or holsters to fit guns with lasers, or other unique situations. Thank God Galco doesn't cater to every possible option!

Right now, I'm trying very hard not to get discouraged when I don't have 'work' to do. Frankly, time spent like this - just chatting with a couple of guys on a gun forum, this makes the sales to a large degree. If either of you ran across somebody that was looking for something really unique that you didn't want to touch, you might think of me. If I found out that my friend in Stillwater had a friend that wanted a good Western rig, I'd probably refer them to Aarond. Maybe not, but if I have ten chats like this, the likelihood of it causing a sale increases significantly.

If I could figure out a way to get enough jobs to stay busy with the hands-on work for a solid 5-6 hours per day, I think I could make that work. The reason I only say 5-6 hours is because I still need to account for design time, marketing time, cruising for supplies, etc. I would really like to make this thing inclusively an eight hour x five day gig. But as they say, you can want in one hand and defecate in the other and see which one fills up faster.
Evyl Robot is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:15 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.16248 seconds with 8 queries