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DIY leather holster?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Ukraine Train, Apr 5, 2005.

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  1. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    I was checking out Eric's work and thought it would be cool to try it out myself since he's the only one that makes custom fit holsters for an Arcus, but it's out of range of my college budget. I'm handy enough with a needle and my parents even have a sewing machine I could use. Are there any good leatherworking sites? I think the thing that stumps me the most is how to get the leather to mold in the shape of the gun.
     
  2. Joey2

    Joey2 member

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    About 10 yrs. ago I bought leather and all the necessary needles and thread to make a holster from Tandy Leather.

    Sorry I don't have an address. Do a Google, if they are still in business.
     
  3. Joey2

    Joey2 member

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  4. theCZ

    theCZ Member

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    Here's mine that I made at a friend's saddle shop:
    [​IMG]
    I made it for USPSA pistol (production class) since I didn't feel like shelling out 75 bucks for a lefty holster that was nice.
     
  5. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Member

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    Ukraine Train -- Tandy is a good source for leather, and also for info on holster making. They have a holster making book by Al Stohlman, although I generally just pattern my holsters on other designs.

    Lay out your weapon on the leather and draw a line 1/2" outside the outline of the weapon. That's where you'll need to sew. BTW, you'll need leather sewing materials -- no cloth sewing machine will hack it. They're available from Tandy also.

    To get your weapon to fit, soak the leather in water until it's thoroughly pliable. Oil your weapon thoroughly, then put it in a plastic bag (such as a bread wrapper) and mould the leather around it. Allow it to air dry overnight, then remove the weapon and clean/oil it again. Allow the holster to thoroughly air dry.

    Good luck! :)
     
  6. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    When you sew the two halves together do you first need to make holes with an awl or will the right needle go through the leather?
     
  7. theCZ

    theCZ Member

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    If you have access to a leather sewing machine like I did, then you don't need to make holes, otherwise you do.
     
  8. rms/pa

    rms/pa Member

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    all good stuff,
    keep in mind. leathter has a rough and a smooth side. if you want a finished look all over. use half weight leather and sew/glue it rough to rough ,rubber contact cement works.
    also look in the yellow pages for leather shops tandy is good but often a franchise so your milage may vary.
    there is a great tool for hand sewing, looks like a fork with chisel tips punches four holes at once with a mallet hit.

    get a roll of artifical sniew if you can, wears like iron and your thread never rots.

    make patterns with plastic milk bottle sides for cutting out. (cheap to free) if leather expense is mindful make a tryout out of milk jug material. molding as before but put tinfoil over your gun and use a heat gun.

    skiving your edges makes a much more finished look also.

    have fun show us some pictures of the trials and finished result.

    rms/pa
     
  9. azrael

    azrael Member

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    Dude a nail punch thingy works well for making nice holes in leather...Learn to love Saddle stitching...Lock stitching is best left for machines..

    +1 on the Stohlman book...mostly old school but still a valuable resource...

    +1 rms/pa

    Tandy is a bit high, but they have pretty good stuff...instead of an "edger" you can get by nicely with a decent belt sander..

    Holla if ya got any questions...I started out the same way seveal years ago, and now I make HUNDREDS of dollers a year making holsters :D
     
  10. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    Lo and behold I found a leather shop only a few miles away and took a trip down. The guy makes gun holsters so he was pretty helpful. I ended up with a roll of 5/6 oz rawhide to make about 8 holsters, dye, carnuaba, some stuff to put on the inside of the holster to protect it (can't remember what it's called), sheepskin to buff it, a needle, one of those four prong diamond punches, a single punch, couple different saddlemaker's groovers, and wax thread. I've already started on a pancake holster. Pretty cool to be doing things the same way they have for hundreds of years.
     
  11. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    A few progress pics... I just finished forming the leather and it's now drying overnight. Aside from a few cosmetic imperfections I think it's coming out pretty well. I was afraid it would be too tight when the gun wouldn't fit after I finished sewing but after soaking, the leather became much more pliable and it's now a good fit.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  12. rms/pa

    rms/pa Member

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    EXCELLENT,
    keep up the good work. leather work is very satisfying.
    like any hand work project the point you have reached is 1/2 of the job.
    keep looking at your work with a question in your mind. "what can/could i do better?"
    just like an essay, review, edit, revise, repeat.

    take joy in your work.

    rms/pa
     
  13. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    Almost finished. I got dark brown dye and when I put it on it went from light brown to really dark pretty quick, it came out a little darker than I wanted. Hopefully it'll lighten up as it dries. Now I just need to buff it with some carnauba after it dries and she'll be good to go. The fit and retention came out great.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. sheepdip

    sheepdip Member

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    If this is your first try you have done a great job !!
    Did you "bone" the wet leather around the gun for the tight fit ?
    I think the dark looks better that the lighter color.

    I'm impressed.
     
  15. Ukraine Train

    Ukraine Train Member

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    Yep, first time, thanks for the compliment. I used the handle of a butter knife for the "boning."
     
  16. stealthmode

    stealthmode Member

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    i like the bag trick when you formed the leather to your gun. good work i would like to give that a try one day.
     
  17. K-Man

    K-Man Member

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    Nice job, Ukraine. If you're not careful, it'll be addicting. Before you know it, you'll be buying this tool, then that tool, and that tool over there. :) I've always said that the neat thing about doing leathercraft/holster-making is you're only limited by your own imagination.
     
  18. ulflyer

    ulflyer Member

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    Great job...looks really good.

    I live in N.C. and theres a large leather supply house in Ramseur not far from Asheboro. Called Zack's Leather. they sell leather and all the stuff that goes with it. Once or twice a year I ride over just to walk around, look, feel, and smell the wonderful smell of leather. Haven't tried my hand at holster making, but have made some moc's and other small items. May have to give it a try.
    I don't think they do internet, but haven't looked.
     
  19. Shorts

    Shorts Member

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    UT, that's a great job on that holster :) What size needle did you go with?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2005
  20. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer Member

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    UT, I do leather crafting myself, mostly for the cowboy action shooting crowd http://www.eightbitsleather.com . When I was doing my sewing by hand, I used an overstitch wheel to mark where the stitches should go in the groove, then used a Dremel tool with a 1/6" bit to drill the holes. Then, just run your stitches through the holes. As the leather absorbes moisture it will swell and close off the holes and make your stitches tight. Great work on that holster! BTW, my carry holster for my Para P-10 is very similar to what you created. Now that you've got the knack, you'll be making all kinds of variations for your pistols.
     
  21. Wingshooter

    Wingshooter Member

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    If you think you're addicted now, wait until you make the jump into carving leather. An initially frustrating hobby that quickly becomes pleasing as you improve.

    Here's a bible cover I did for my wife a couple of years ago:



    [​IMG]

    One of my first big projects at leather carving. I've been hooked ever since.
     

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  22. K-Man

    K-Man Member

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    That's awesome work, Wingshooter. I love to tool a design also. There's not much demand in the holster-making aspect, except in the cowboy action shooting forum. Here's some of my favorites that I've done though:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And a little bit of laser combined with tooling:

    [​IMG]
     
  23. azrael

    azrael Member

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    ulflyer,
    Zack Whites is prolly 7-8 minutes from my house...Good people to deal with and there prices arent bad either...

    K-man....you da man bro


    UT that is some sweet work...I wish I could say that my first holster looked that good
     
  24. Parke1

    Parke1 Member

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    UT,

    Where is the leather shop? I live in BG (I actually was in your CCW class, I believe. I was the one Jeff kept referring to as Dirty Harry.), and I've been wanting to get some supplies for this sort of thing.

    I can only hope that mine turn out that nicely!

    Thanks,
    -Parke1
     
  25. Backwoods

    Backwoods Member

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    Just a short note.

    When wetting out a holster to prepare it for fitting/boning, if you use rubbing alcohol instead of water, it dries quicker. That way you don't need the bag to stave off any rust problems stemming from the gun being in the watersoaked holster.

    Plus, with it drying quicker, you get to play with it sooner(Nearly always a GOOD thing) :)
     
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