I was wondering if any of you who have made your own holsters could help me out with some advice. I've tried it a few times, but first of all I can't seem to find good leather anywhere. (where is an easy cheap place to get some?) Also, everytime I make a holster it ends up being too small. Whats a good way to measure out the leather? Any tips? Thanx in advance -Sniper
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December 25, 2006, 08:52 PM
There should be plenty of Leather shops in and around Atlanta, I would think. :) Here is a common site to shop at: www.tandyleather.com
As for the tight holsters, that could definately work to your advantage. First, you want your holsters to be tight, second, you can form fit your guns shape to the holster by wrapping the gun in saran wrap and putting it into your wet holster, letting it dry to the form of the gun.
I have made holsters for my cell phones, and sheaths for knives, but have not yet made any holsters from scratch for my firearms. I have, however, fit several to my guns, after purchasing or trading at gunshows. I like the professional finish that the high dollar stitching machines can do, for my holsters.
December 25, 2006, 09:21 PM
I've done a few. As hobbeeman states, the best way to get a really good fit is to wet-mold veggie tan leather to the piece itself. I just fold the wet leather around the arm in question, and draw the seam line then.
Once it's dried enough to hold it's shape, the gun comes out. (I haven't used saran wrap though - just cleaned it real good afterwards. But that's a good idea!)
Anyhow, next step is cutting just outside the seam allowance, punching holes, sewing (Maybe with one more wet-mold to make sure the shape is just right), and finishing.
All that said -- my stuff ain't as professional looking at the stuff you buy in a store, but it works okay. :)
December 25, 2006, 11:00 PM
I have made a few belt and shoulder holsters for my guns, including a shoulder holster for a scoped S&W M629 Classic revolver. I bought and read the holster making book sold by Tandy many years ago as a starting point. For a design I simply use grocery sack paper and fold the paper over the gun in a basic pouch shape. Observation of other holsters and experience has taught me how much space to leave around the edges. I simply cut and trim the paper until I like the shape. You also have to design a portion of leather to wrap around belt or affix to shoulder harness. Then MARK THE OUTSIDE OF THE PAPER PATTERN and use it to buy a suitable piece of 8-10 oz leather from Tandy or other leather supplier. Be sure you place the outside of paper pattern on the outside of leather piece. (Don't ask me what happens when you neglect this simple precaution.) Now use the instructions from Tandy book to:
1. Stamp or carve the leather if desired.
2. Attach/glue lining if desired.
3. Fold the portion of leather to form belt loop and stitch it to holster body or affix to shoulder harness.
4. Fold leather to form holster pouch and stitch or lace securely.
5. Wrap pistol in Saran wrap and insert in moistened holster. Mold leather to the gun using fingers and/or smooth rounded tool shapes.
6. Allow leather to dry thoroughly.
7. Remove pistol and apply desired finish to holster.
8. Let holster dry thoroughly.
9. Use holster with pride or start making a better, improved model. :)
Good shooting and be safe.
ps: I am still using my first holster that I made about 36 years ago. I also buy and use holsters from Lou Alessi and Tony Kanaley because their products are superior to mine. I generally only make specialty holsters that are not readily available from commercial sources.
December 26, 2006, 02:35 PM
Here's how some of mine have turned out. As you can see they could do with some more edge polishing, but they work okay:
1. just a simple wraparound for the snubby smith I CCW. There isn't a retaining strap since the whole thing sits in a pocket in my purse - I just wanted something to cover the trigger. It's form fit and won't let go easy:
2. A simple "slim jim" variety for a Colt Navy clone. Actually, I made it for an 1860 Army model, but it fits the Navy just fine to.
3. A "survival kit" type rig for my woodsy knife. It carries horizontally small of the back. The little case for the tin of goodies can either strap directly to the knife sheath or by itself on a belt.
December 26, 2006, 02:40 PM
Really good work! What kind of thread do you use? Thanx for all your help.
December 26, 2006, 02:54 PM
Thank you. :)
I used this thread:
with these needles (I think that's the size I used anyhow):
I spaced the holes with these punches (though a fork stamped flat will do in a pinch):
You'll also want an awl for opening up stubborn holes:
For smothing the edge you'll first want to round the outside edges with an edge beveler tool:
(you might want another size, I'm not sure)
Then slick 'em up. Tandy suggests a circle-slicker tool (basically a grooved wooden or plastic wheel) but I've found better faster results with just a piece of board.
For finishing, I used a leather dye:
followed by a protective coat:
You can get most of those tools and such in a basic leathercrafting kit such as this one to get started:
May 25, 2008, 10:43 PM
Here is the pocket holster my wife made for me out of some surplus leather.
Another source is WEAVER LEATHER. www.weaverleather.com
May 25, 2008, 11:57 PM
Tandy/The Leather factory sells a book by Al Stohlman that is a very good beginners guide to making holsters.
Unless they have changed practices Weaver while fantastic to buy from is wholesale only.
Ive bought a bunch of leather form these guys but they are local to me. http://www.midcontinentleather.com/
May 26, 2008, 04:38 AM
I made one about forty years ago for my first 1911. They used to sell "Farmer's Packs" of leather at most hardware stores around here. One pound of leather and ten or twelve feet of thong for something like two bucks.
So I made a holster for it. Design goal was to have no metal in it at all. No particular reason, just thought a holster stitched together with thong would be cool.
Came out pretty good, looked good, worked good. All the stitching was with the thong in the kit. All one piece of leather, including the safety strap and the belt loop.
Instead of a metal snap button, the strap was retained by a knotted piece of thong. Don't laugh. Yank on the strap and it came away from the knotted thong and you were ready to go. Had to fuss with the exact length of the slot in the strap to make sure it was both secure and easy to undo from the knotted thong. The strap could go over or under the hammer.
The strap arrangement only looks awkward, but it is actually pretty fast. Pulling the long tab allows the knot to slide through the slit in the strap, and drawing the gun allows the rest of the strap to slip through the slit. Remember, this was long before the days that CCW and Tactical considerations were dominant in holster design for the ordinary citizen.
I did screw up with the belt loop and instead of all one piece, I had to "thong" (as opposed to "sew") a separate belt loop on it. Well, so much for "design goals."
I used that holster (crossdraw) for years in the field, and everyone who happened to notice it remarked favorably on it. It's gotten pretty beat up --has almost as many miles on it as I do.
Apart from that, I've made a couple of holsters using more conventional assembly methods, but I'm most proud of the all-leather one I made --despite my screw-up with the belt loop.
One source of leather for some other holsters I made was women's tall boots from the thrift stores.
May 26, 2008, 06:36 AM
2 year old thread! Wow! Nice work Kaylee!
May 26, 2008, 08:46 AM
I get shoulders from Wickett and Craig, and tooling bellies from Tandy. Most of the tools I use came from Tandy as well.
Examples of the outcome: