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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is one of my recent dabbles in leather. :wink: I made this for my brother as an exchange for a reloading die. The pistol is a SA. The leather is from a side cut of cowhide. I will probably order some of the water buffalo hide soon. It will be interesting to see how it does. The picture isn't the greatest, but the camera is not the best either.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Lou,

Thank you very much for the accolades, coming from you it means alot. The process I use is fairly simple:

I hand draw each holster and then trace it onto the leather, cut it out and dye the insides and then I use a wood rasp to rough the areas of the "wings" then glue and clamp those areas and let them dry for at least 24 hours

I then trace onto the leather the stitching lines and use a stitching groove tool to cut the stitch lines in the leather

I then use a 4 prong punch to punch the holes and stitch it all by hand with a saddle stitch, and double stitching where the stitching is near the entry points of the holster

I then wet the leather in tap water for about 10 minutes

I wrap the pistol in "saran wrap" or use a plastic bag and then press the pistol into the holster and then bone it to the shape of the pistol

I let it dry for 24 hours or more
I clean up the edges with a dremel, an edging tool and use an edge burnishing compound, I think its gum tragacanth, to smooth everything

I then apply the finishing dye and let it dry for a day or two and then apply shoe polish and buff and it's done.

Probably a little more lengthy answer to your questions, but hey its great to get to chat with a professional such as yourself.

(And I accept any helpful tips) :grin:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ANTQ_COLT_FAN on 2001-08-30 23:45 ]</font>
 

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On 2001-08-30 13:14, ANTQ_COLT_FAN wrote:
Lou,

Thank you very much for the accolades, coming from you it means alot. The process I use is fairly simple:

I hand draw each holster and then trace it onto the leather, cut it out and dye the insides and then I use a wood rasp to rough the areas of the "wings" and clamp those areas and let them dry for at least 24 hours

I then trace onto the leather the stitching lines and use a stitching groove tool to cut the stitch lines in the leather

I then use a 4 prong punch to punch the holes and stitch it all by hand with a saddle stitch, and double stitching where the stitching is near the entry points of the holster

I then wet the leather in tap water for about 10 minutes

I wrap the pistol in "saran wrap" or use a plastic bag and then press the pistol into the holster and then bone it to the shape of the pistol

I let it dry for 24 hours or more
I clean up the edges with a dremel, an edging tool and use an edge burnishing compound, I think its gum tragacanth, to smooth everything

I then apply the finishing dye and let it dry for a day or two and then apply shoe polish and buff and it's done.

Probably a little more lengthy answer to your questions, but hey its great to get to chat with a professional such as yourself.

(And I accept any helpful tips) :grin:
Colt Fan,,You got the process pretty well down pat. You're very welcome for the compliment. You deserve it.. :grin:

Now here's how we do it:
1. Cut the pattern
2. Dye the pattern. We dip dye using 5 gallon
drums.
3. Allow the dye to 'flash off', then edge bevel the inside edges that will not be stitched, like the mouth, and muzzle of the pattern.
4. Crease the edges with a #3 creasing tool, then apply hard wax of appropriate color to edges that will not be stitched, and polish the edges on a buffing wheel.
5. apply the name stamp, and weapon I.D.
6. Apply cement, allow to dry, apply stitch patterns, and perform stitching.
7. Machine trim all stitched edges, dye edges, and wax edges on a hot wax wheel to achieve a hard waxed edge. Buff edges to a gloss.
8. By this time, the dye has lightened up, and the leather is dry. We then re-dip into dye, or (for black) HOT water, for about 20 seconds. Insert mold, or gun, and press the leather around the gun in an arbor press with
40 durometer rubber 2" thick. (Note: 40 durometer is about the hardness of a pencil eraser.)
9. Gun and holster remain in press for aprox 1 minute for molding. Then the holster and gun are removed, and the leather is hand boned to enhance the lines of the weapon, and to insure correct fit, along with allowing a sight track using a 3/8" wood dowel to create a 'tunnel'.
10. holster (with gun still in place) is then buffed on horse hair brushes via machine, and once again the edges are buffed to bring up the wax shine.
11. Gun is removed from holster, and holster is placed into a low heat oven, (aprox 110 degs). Holsters are left to dry slowly overnight.
12. Next morning the holsters are removed from the oven and buffed again to remove any oxidation from the dye.
13. Holster is then sprayed with an acyrillic finish to seal the leather, and provide a shine.
14. back into the oven to dry as the finish is a water based formula. After drying for aprox two hours, they are given a final buff.
15. Holsters are checked for flaws, and then fitted with mostly real guns to determine proper fit, and adjusted as necessary. Snaps, and hardware are applied last.
16. Bagged, and shipped to customer! :grin:

Whew! I'm tired :grin:
Lou
 

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Hey Lou,
I just opened a box with one of your ACP rigs for the M9. This thing is beautiful. I love the cut at the trigger guard. Quick and easy full combat grip without even thinking about it. Snug fit and awsome molding. Now I understand what folks were telling me about your work.
The one I picked up is the burgundy (or somewhere thereabout) color. Do you make a matching belt for this?
Thanks
 

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Doc, Thanks very much for the compliment. Glad you like that holster.
Yes, we sure do make a matching belt that will work with that holster. In fact we are making a bunch of them for Dane right now.
You might want to contact him and have him add one more..I guess one more won't kill me!
:grin: :grin:
Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Lou,

Wow :eek:

I have always wondered how you guys do it and I must say that is an amazing process you go through.

The wax process is interesting. I had tried using wax as a stiffening agent in the first couple of holsters that I made for myself, because I had read about the process of cuirboulli and thought that I might be able to apply it to a holster using wax instead of water. I never quite mastered it to the point that I felt comfortable with it and get a consistent coloring across the leather.

I must say, that must take a good bit of dye to make the leather "give" enough to get the gun to fit into the holster mold for forming.

Lou, I thank you for sharing this information with us that are not in the profession. I have often asked questions of those at gun shows that were selling holsters about how they do some things and they have never been willing to share any information. It has always been my belief that if your good at what you do and are confident, you would not be "threatened" by those that are curious about how you do your work. Again, thank you for sharing your knowledge, it is much appreciated and says alot about your character.

Matt Shafer, aka ANTQ_COLT_FAN
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
By the way, I had to change the photo above, because the site that hosted the original went down, I will return the original when the host is back up, until then the above pic will have to do. (It's alot worse than the original)
 

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Thanks for the rundown, Mr Alessi. I didn't realize there was so much involved in holster making. Now I know why Tony is taking so long with mine. :grin: (Just kidding, I know he's very backlogged)

Anyhoo, you seem to go that extra mile to obtain the VERY BEST product for your customers. That's capitalism at its finest. It is also a dying art. Thanks.

Callahan
 

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Mr Alessi,

I've been looking for a belt that uses a steel (or plastic) insert between the leather layers. So far I've only found one "big name" supplier that does it on special orders. While I like the guy's holsters, I've not really been too impressed with his belts as mine wore out within six months. Maybe its because I didn't have the insert, I don't know. Whatever the case, I don't really want to 'go there' again. I'll still buy his holsters, they're great, but the belts are a different deal altogether. (Out of respect for the dude, he remains nameless in this post).

Do you offer a belt with a thin steel insert? I consider a belt 'worn out' when I lay it flat on the ground and it isn't straight anymore (curves). I also DESPISE a belt that allows the gun/holster combination to rock outward from my body. This is what is happening with my current belt.

Thanks,
Callahan
 

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On 2001-09-01 15:42, Inspector Harry Callahan wrote:
Mr Alessi,

I've been looking for a belt that uses a steel (or plastic) insert between the leather layers. So far I've only found one "big name" supplier that does it on special orders. While I like the guy's holsters, I've not really been too impressed with his belts as mine wore out within six months. Maybe its because I didn't have the insert, I don't know. Whatever the case, I don't really want to 'go there' again. I'll still buy his holsters, they're great, but the belts are a different deal altogether. (Out of respect for the dude, he remains nameless in this post).

Do you offer a belt with a thin steel insert? I consider a belt 'worn out' when I lay it flat on the ground and it isn't straight anymore (curves). I also DESPISE a belt that allows the gun/holster combination to rock outward from my body. This is what is happening with my current belt.

Thanks,
Callahan
Callahan, No we don't make a belt with a steel insert. I do know a few makers who did that at one time, but in some cases the metal banding that they were using would shift inside the layers, and end up cutting the threads in places. If a belt takes a curve, it's adjusting to your body. That usually doesn't mean it's worn out. Of course if the belt softens to the point that it allows the holster to fall away from the body, then it's of no use for gun carry. Most double thickness belts will last for many years before the leather breaks down to that degree. The belt I wear every day is probably eight years old now, and it's nothing special. Just one I made for myself in a batch of other belts for customers. It's still performing very well, with no signs of sagging, or stretching. When I lay it flat, it's got a curve to the shape of my body. In fact it looks like a re-curved bow!
:grin:
Lou
 

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If you mean Tandy's super sheen, Yes that's a good product. It's basically an acryllic finish. We buy a product from Angelus Shoe Polish Co., called acryllic finisher. There is also a product from Feibings called Resoline. They all work pretty much the same way to seal and put a shine on the surface of the leather.
Lou
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mr Alessi,

Thank you once again for the insight you bring to this forum. I think I might try the super shene or resolene.

colt fan
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Mr Alessi,

Here is another pic of another holster I made several months ago. Again the pic isn't that great but it works for now. (The pistol is an original Beretta 92)

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Mr Alessi,

I checked out that Angelus Shoe Polish company and I think I might try some of their acrylic finish, wax stains and dyes. Again, thank you for your comments and assistance.

Colt Fan
 
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