View Full Version : I couldn't find an ROA holster that I liked..

January 17, 2011, 11:39 PM
so I decided to make one..

I've never done any leatherworking before but I figured it might be something I'd enjoy...I was right!

I found there's a Tandy store not too far from me so I went up there, bought some leather and some tools et voila!

a hand-made-from-scratch, calfskin lined, custom fitted field holster for my favorite gun!

The outer layer is 8 ounce oak tanned cowhide, the inside is 2 ounce calf and the holster is hand stitched throughout. From tracing and modifying a template on manila folders to burnishing the edges on the finished holster represents a whole bunch of hours of work but I thoroughly enjoyed the process.

Though there are a few mistakes I'm quite happy with the outcome... especially since it's my first attempt. It's not bad looking at all. It's quite rigid and fits the gun perfectly and I think it'll do the job nicely.

I went a little overboard buying leather so I plan to keep busy making several more holsters this winter. Come spring, maybe I'll have a custom holster for every pistol I own. :D

Here's some pics.


January 17, 2011, 11:51 PM
Give yourself a hearty pat on the back because that is a fine job!

January 18, 2011, 12:24 AM
For a first holster that is phenominal. I make holsters as a retirement business and I am impressed.

January 18, 2011, 07:38 AM
Ya did a very nice job. I would of never known that was your first if you wouldn't of said so. Don't stop now.

January 18, 2011, 10:55 AM
Nice work. I especially like the color you chose. The contrast between the grips, the stainless pistol, and the holster makes for a perfect combination.

January 18, 2011, 11:49 AM
That's a first attempt? Good God, man, that is incredible! The only mistake I see is it was a little wide at the top, but your long backstitch to make it work actually looks like an intentional decorative touch. I know people who have been doing this for forty years, myself included, who certainly couldn't do any better. Congratulations!

January 18, 2011, 11:55 AM
Especially for your first holster ever.


January 18, 2011, 12:27 PM
Thanks Folks!

JBar - that's a good example of a small mistake at the beginning carrying all the way to the end. In this case, apparently I didn't trace the gun outline carefully enough.

OTOH - even with the excess width AND a piece of 10 ounce leather placed in between the front and back there as a filler, there's just enough room for the trigger guard. It pushed the holster apart so much the glue on the filler gave out on the inside edge. The long back stitch was added to hold the filler in place better - and to add strength to the holster at a stress point

Next time - more accuracy in tracing the outline - and more filler at the trigger guard?

January 18, 2011, 12:59 PM
WOW, just WOW, your first one, WOW.

January 18, 2011, 01:06 PM
If you had posted that you had bought a professionally made custom holster I would have believed it without question from looking at the photos. A really fine job regardless of your "mistake". No one would know that if you hadn't told us. :)

January 18, 2011, 01:09 PM
Great job. I wish my first holster had looked anywhere near that good.

January 19, 2011, 11:05 PM
showed it over on a leatherworker's forum and they wanted to see the edge of the main seam.

So I took these pics...

They suggested the holster needed edge burnishing.

All sorts of different methods are recommended there - but I used files, sandpaper, spit, beeswax, a dremel tool with a sanding drum and a felt wheel, an old piece of turned ivory and plenty of elbow grease.

After that the whole holster was lightly sprayed with a sealer (Mop & Glow and water) then lightly waxed with Kiwi neutral and buffed with flannel..

and here's the finished product...


January 19, 2011, 11:28 PM
WOW!!! You did a fantastic job on the holster . . . and you should be very, VERY proud of your final result. She's a nice one! I make holsters and accouterments and I'll tell you, if that is your first holster, you did some excellent craftsmanship on it!

If you haven't already run across it - hit the link below and it will take you to the leatherworking forum over at cascity - lots of good information there.


Now that you've made your first one - I can tell you that it is "habit forming" - just like shooting SA. Once you make a holster for everyone of your shootin' irons . . you'll make another holster and then have to buy another gun to fit it . . . and it just snowballs from there!

Thanks for sharing your story and photos - good luck with the leatherwork - am looking forward to seeing other photos of your work!!! :)

January 19, 2011, 11:29 PM
Very Nice, Very Nice!

January 20, 2011, 09:33 AM
Thanks guys - it did turn out much better than I expected.

I had a notion I was going to like leatherworking so I bought a pile of leather even before I got going on this one. I have plenty leftover to keep me busy and I already have some cool ideas I want to try on my next project.

Fingers McGee
January 20, 2011, 12:14 PM
Beautiful work there BConklin. You should be very proud of the holster.


Dave Cole
January 20, 2011, 10:46 PM
I would have to agree with all the others.I am a holster maker and that is an excellant job even for a seasoned vet.Glad you cleaned up the edge,as it makes a world of difference.Dave:)

Bill Akins
January 20, 2011, 10:56 PM
Beautiful job! You have some nice leather making skills. I would never have guessed that was homemade. It looks factory made. Probably is better since you made it for yourself and took pains with it.

January 21, 2011, 10:25 AM
Thanks again folks!

I was up till 1 this morning laying out the template for my next project - another hunter-style holster for a bull barrel Ruger Mark II