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Old January 4, 1999, 01:41 AM   #1
Jeff Thomas
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Join Date: December 9, 1998
Location: Texas
Posts: 4,753
I was at a gun show sometime back, and a vendor was explaining the process he used to work a leather holster. I've got a cheapo leather holster that I've had for years. Seems well built, but the loops on the belt have gotten too large to reliably hold the rounds, and the holster doesn't really fit the gun well - a Ruger Security Six / .357 / .38.

I'd like to save this rig, and I don't want to ruin the leather. {I'm cheap!) The guy at the show said something about putting the gun in grease and then a plastic bag. Soaking the leather in water until it was saturated. Then, putting the gun (in its plastic bag) in the holster, wrapping it with something, and letting it dry. But, I assume that is not in the sun, or ???

Then, I believe the plan was to work oil into the leather after it had dried around the gun.

I know - why don't I just buy a new belt and holster? Cause it seems like a waste, when, if I knew what I was doing, I could try this myself over a weekend and a couple of football games. Anyone out there know how this is properly done, in detail? Thanks!
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Old January 4, 1999, 08:31 AM   #2
Rosco Benson
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Join Date: October 20, 1998
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Wetting a leather holster and then allowing it to dry around the pistol can help restore some stiffness and "shrink" the holster somewhat. This may be accomplished by greasing and wrapping the pistol in plastic wrap and then placing it into the well-soaked holster. Use your fingers to mold the wet leather closely to the pistol and then set it aside to dry. I've never heard of wrapping the wetted holster with anything.

Never oil a holster. Doing so softens the leather and, to work properly, a holster must be stiff. Milt Sparks sells a carnuba wax dressing ( or appropriately colored wax-type shoe polish can be applied.


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Old January 4, 1999, 05:17 PM   #3
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,342
Bill Jordan mentions what you've described in his book, "No Second Place Winner." I'll quote verbatim:

"If your holster is not preblocked, here's the way to go about it: throw it in the horse trough, or some other vessel of water, and let it soak for about two hours, until the leather feels soft. This will not harm the holster in any way. Shake off the excess water and wipe dry. Carefully insert revolver, which has been lightly oiled all over, inside and out. Be sure that the barrel centers the holster. This you can tell by noting that the ring left by the end of the barrel on the leather plug closing bottom of holster is centered. Work the leather wiith your fingers until it perfectly matches the contours of the gun. At this point, the gun should be removed, wiped thoroughly dry, and re-oiled. Now, put it back in the holster and let it dry overnight. A good trick at this stage is to line the holster with a small piece of the thin plastic bag cleaning companies use to protect clothing. If you do this, be sure that it is not bunched, which might spoil the contours of the holster. The next morning, remove the gun (and plastic if used), cleanit again to be safe, and lay the holster up to dry for at least two additional days.'

'Rubbing alcohol can be substituted for water in the above process. Slightly more costly, it is less likely to cuase rusting if you were careless about oiling your gun...'

'One last comment on the 'water treatment.' In time, the leather, regardless of the quality, will soften from usage. This can be remedied temporarily by soaking and allowing to dry without the gun. Some shrinkage occurs and the leather will be hardened in the process. Naturally, it will not hold its hardness as it did when new.'"

Like Rosco warns, so does Jordan about oiling a holster. He states that it will, like water, cause the leather to stretch. Jordan recommends wax shoe polish for both appearance and protection of your holster.

Please let us know how your holster turns out.

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Old January 6, 1999, 12:50 AM   #4
Jeff Thomas
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Join Date: December 9, 1998
Location: Texas
Posts: 4,753
Rosco and Gary - thanks for the help. I soaked the holster (and belt) this evening for a bit over two hours. Worked the holster as described. My revolver is a <u>stainless steel</u> Ruger Security Six, so I did it in one step - assumed less risk of rust than a blued gun. Used the plastic bag idea - I had a dry cleaning bag available. So far, so good. I'm hoping that soaking the belt and letting it dry will also tighten up the cartridge loops.

Tomorrow am we'll see how it looks. Thanks for pointing out the error of using oil. I'll use the polish approach in a few days.

When I'm through I'll need to avoid cramming the revolver into the holster with the trigger lock installed. That won't make sense after taking the trouble to improve this rig. Perhaps I'll rustle up one of those bedside safes for a better security arrangement anyway.

Thanks again.

[This message has been edited by Jeff Thomas (edited 01-06-99).]
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Old January 8, 1999, 09:15 PM   #5
Ed Brunner
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Join Date: October 11, 1998
Location: Natchez, MS, USA
Posts: 2,562
Ive done the holster fitting bit and I agree but use a ziplock and keep it all at room temperature til its dry.

Mink oil is good. It doesnt harm the leather or soften it.

Better days to be,


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Old January 10, 1999, 06:03 PM   #6
Jeff Thomas
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Join Date: December 9, 1998
Location: Texas
Posts: 4,753
Rosco, Gary, Ed - thanks again for the great tips and direction. The rig looks great. I probably bought it around 20 years ago. At that time it was natural leather (no tint), and very simplistic in design, but strong, thick leather. Now, following your recommended steps, the holster is blocked to fit the gun perfectly. In the process of wetting the leather, and in applying some carnauba dressing, the leather has now taken on a rich, deep sheen. Also, the bullet loops have tightened up so the rounds don't simply flop out of the belt.

Thanks again, very much. I like it so much, I think I'll spend a few more bucks and get a couple speedloaders (looks like HKS is a good / common brand), and some speedloader leather pouches as well (if I can find some - still looking, but all I see are synthetic). Take care.

[This message has been edited by Jeff Thomas (edited 01-10-99).]
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