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Feedback and tips please

Discussion in 'Sheaths & Such' started by JonBishop, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    Hello all. I’ve been trying to get my leather work to the next level as it were. So I have some recent work I would like you all to review. Horsewright has taken the time to help me with posting the pics. I don’t know when he will actually get the time to post them though. There are glaring problems. Stitching and tooling obviously. But one of my main problems is my patterns translating to leather. They turn out too big or small. Too small is the worst of that of course. Anyway, all comments and criticism welcome. Special thanks to Horsewright for posting the pics.

    Jon
     
  2. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Here we are:

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    JJ_Colt45 likes this.
  3. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    Thank you Horsewright. Here’s some context. The first holster was going to be for me but I didn’t like the way the dye turned out. Fiebings light brown is too dark for my liking. I also had to re-sew it because it was too big. The next is a flashlight holder I made for myself. Then a flashlight holder for a coworker. The .45 holster was a prototype I guess. It turned out too small. That’s a government model pictured with it. I’ll re-size the pattern and try this one again. The last is a guitar strap. Dyeing issues messed this up. The letters were supposed to look like the skull and crossbones. I made too many mistakes applying the darker dye and gave up. I’ll revisit this one also. Again any comments, criticism or tips are welcomed.

    Thanks, Jon
     
  4. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Okie dokie. The Loop Holster. I almost won't dye leather. It just doesn't work well. My wife Nichole made this purse.

    [​IMG]

    She recently threw it away. We'd hauled it to a couple of three shows without selling it. Purse was now about a year to a year and half old. When we got back from a show we did last month she was wiping the dust off to hang it back up on the rack here in the office. When she wiped down the strap, black dye came off on the rag. I've often said that not being color fast is one of the biggest problems to dyeing leather. Even if it is sealed and finished very well as was this strap. Ya can still have the dye transfer. When she was making the purse I was trying to get her to use just regular vegtan, not dyed, but that additional color was messing with the mojo, she wanted black, (listen to the old guy). So imagine some gal carrying that on a hot day wearing a white blouse. Yeah could be bad for Horsewright's rep. I almost won't dye leather.

    I really hate dyeing tooled leather. Hard not to get blotchy. Ya spend all that time tooling it and then dyeing it sucks all the life right out of it. This:

    [​IMG]

    Or this:

    [​IMG]

    To my eye no comparison.
    Anyhoo.

    On your tooling the holster doesn't really have a bottom. Continue your border stamp around the bottom too. See how your basket stamp just sort of fades away at the bottom. The 1911 holster also needs a bottom border. On that holster you are using your stitching groover as a creaser and thats cool but do it on the bottom too. I would also inset your camo border a hair in from your stitching line and your crease line. Maybe a 16th to an 1/8th of an inch or so. See in that pic of that oak carved 1911 holster. There is a border between the stitch line and the tooling. you are trying to create the same thing with your camo tool. I don't mark it I just tool it. These spur straps are a good example of what I'm talking about. Just a little space between the camo border tool and the stitching line:

    [​IMG]

    I'll do some more tomorrow and maybe some other folks will jump in and help out too. Also read a lot in these pages here in Sheaths and Such there is lots of info here but a guy kinda needs to dig for it.
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  5. Robber58

    Robber58

    151
    Oct 9, 2008
    I will add a little bit. In my experience, most tooling does not lend itself to extensive forming after it is done. It will get seriously distorted and look pretty funky. There is not really much that can be done to fix it. You can sometimes get away with some minor forming to shape , like your first holster, but molding around a tight contour will flatten it every time. I suggest articles like your flashlight holster may be better served with no tooling or only some border tooling done quite deeply.

    I am personally not a fan of big copper rivets in items like holsters and knife sheaths. They can sometimes be used for a decorative effect but the reality is a properly sewn seam will be more that strong enough for almost any application. If you like they way the look, by all means use them but they are not needed for strength.

    By the way, good on you for asking for input and showing your work. Being open to input can really speed up the learning curve.
    Randy
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  6. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    Excellent feedback. I agree one hundred percent on the dye. Everything I’ve dyed has ended up splotchy. Eco Flo was recommended to me and I like it better. Not much difference in color as far as browns but the high-lighter stain has gotten okay results (the flashlight holder). I had to look up leather creaser. Yeah, I guess that’s what I am using my groover for. Something I’m going to purchase. The full border for sure gives a way better appearance. The “bead” in between the stitching and camo really sets things apart.
    [QUOTE="Robber58,

    I am personally not a fan of big copper rivets in items like holsters and knife sheaths. They can sometimes be used for a decorative effect but the reality is a properly sewn seam will be more that strong enough for almost any application. If you like they way the look, by all means use them but they are not needed for strength. End quote]

    It was more for looks on the flashlight holder. On the holster it was the only means I could think of to attach the belt clip. The other two on the holster were added to keep the stitching from pulling apart. It fits too tight and I added them after. I’ll have to trash it as 1911 holster. A Hi-power might fit though. I also see what you mean about the tooling distortion. It looked a lot better laid out flat. Thanks for the replies. I hope more folks will chime in. Great stuff.

    Thanks, Jon
     
  7. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    " I hope more folks will chime in. Great stuff."
    Did you dye your leather wet, damp or dry? It will look different for each....

    The only way I've managed to get an even coat of dye on larger objects is with my airbrush.
    [​IMG]
    Even then, above, you see 3 different pieces of leather and 3 different shades of the same color dye.

    [​IMG]

    Here the dark strap was intentional for contrast.

    Another option is using Antique on the leather.... wipe it on with a sponge and wipe it right off with a rag. Thin with bag coat to make it lighter.

    [​IMG]

    2nd from the left is black antique which comes out with a decidedly greenish hue. Not recommended. The others are Eco whatever water base brown.
    Pretty easy to use, more even than dye with a dauber. I even used it on this belt. Applied it about a quarter of the belt length at a time.

    [​IMG]
    This is the same brown Eco Antique used on the slip cases above but thinned more with bag coat.

    I really hope this helps.
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  8. Ebbtide

    Ebbtide

    Aug 20, 1999
    Having said all that above.
    Listen to Dave. He's doing this for a living. And probably forgotten more than I know..... I'm just having fun and learning as I go.
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  9. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Here's a little trick on your 1911 holster. If a holster or a sheath is a hair too tight I will often stretch them. This is often done while the leather is still damp. Use a pair of channel lock pliers to open the tight spot up. So in your pic it looks like its tight right where the trigger guard comes up against the rivet. Adjust your pliers accordingly and put them in the holster at the tight spot. Then open the pliers up stretching the leather. I will usually follow this by putting the pliers in the center of the holster and stretching a little front to back too. Done carefully ya save many a project. Too much brutus and well.......

    This is more for anybody else following along as Jon and i have already spoken privately about better leather. Good leather is paramount to upping your game. It is an ABSOLUTE requirement.
     
    Ebbtide and JonBishop like this.
  10. rtmind

    rtmind

    116
    Mar 8, 2013
    Jon, This may just be the sensibility of gov law enforcement folks, but I have polled the guys I work with and we all agree that on an auto, the trigger should have enough leather that you can't get a finger on it. Doubly true if you carry at full cock. Just keep trying and listen to Horsewright, you are on the right track. rtmind/randy
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  11. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    Thanks everyone! Ebbtide that’s an impressive cue holder. As for application I followed the directions on the bottle. It said to dampen the leather. A damp sponge to apply seems to work better than daubers. Seems less splotchy that way. Horsewright, I will try that out on the holster. And as for the leather I’m using it’s all veg tan. Some import and some herrman oak. The guitar strap is herrman oak. The loop holster was import stuff. That being said almost all my leather is grade B or top grade. I get it from springfield leather. The strap is the only thing I’ve made out of the good stuff so far. I have noticed my herrman oak leather has a slight pinkish hue to it when dry. Don’t know if that matters? Rtmind thank you for the feedback. I actually designed it for trigger access. Ha! I do see your point though. I’m going to redesign the 1911 holster with more safety in mind. I’ll tweak my pattern for fit and safety. I know a lot of folks with 1911s. Hoping I might be able to fill a niche with a decent holster. I’ll get some work in in the coming days. Thanks again guys for the tips and feedback. This is helping a lot. When I get this dang picture from an iphone figured out I’ll probably post to this thread.

    Jon
     
    Ebbtide likes this.
  12. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Little design thought on your 1911 holster. Whats its purpose? I've carried a handgun daily for over 40 years, most of the time it was a heavy handgun like a 1911. I think your one point of attachment (the clip) would be uncomfortable, the holster would flop and pull out away from the body. Unless this is a left handed IWB holster? Anyhoo what are your thoughts on its use and maybe I can help out with a design some.
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  13. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    On the 1911 holster my thoughts were back-up weapon to a hunting rifle. Just carrying when you’re in the woods. It’s a right handed holster that can clip on or you can put your belt through the belt loop. I thought two ways to attach was a good idea. I don’t carry a handgun myself. Mine stay in cases until I’m ready to do some target practice. I guess what I’m saying is I really don’t know what would make a good comfortable holster. Would you just use belt loops or slots say about middle of the trigger guard? On both sides of course. Would something like that make it ride too high though? I should’ve gotten advice from someone who carries before I just waded in. I would love some design ideas.

    Thanks, Jon
     
  14. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    I looked over this post again and Horsewright posted two pics of holsters. I was focused on the finish of the leather and not what the item was. I pretty much described his holsters in the previous post. I don’t want to copy his designs. I can see the advantage of that style though. Horsewright, I think I’ll try something similar. You don’t have a patent on that design do you? Is it ok with you if I give it try?

    Thanks, Jon
     
  15. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    No not my invention. That style of holster is called a pancake style holster as they lay flat as a pancake against you and kinda have a pancake shape. They have been around a long time and are made by many holster makers. To me one of the most comfortable and secure ways of carrying a handgun. They are very popular with folks all over. This young lady rides some rough and lonely country and always has that Glock .45 with her.

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    The two belt slots in the holster, (I use a 2" bag punch or oblong punch by Osborne), provide plenty of stability and really help to spread the weight out which is key to comfort. They also draw the holster in close to the body. Most users will do what is called "splitting the belt loop". That is, the belt goes in the first slot in the holster, than through the pants belt loop and then through the second slot on the holster. This helps support the weight of the gun and prevents some sag. These shots of my friend Tyler (on his left hip) shows how tight against the body this style of holster keeps the firearm. This is important when being active. Ya don't want that brick flopping around and getting in the way:

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    I'll carry small guns, medium size guns and large handguns in the same type of holster. So does Nichole my wife:

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    Even very large handguns:

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    They can be made with a thumb break over the top, or with a very little tweaking to the pattern, crossdraw:

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    We sell a bunch of these. Its not unusual for me to have several in the pipeline at any given time. These pics should give ya some ideas. They are constructed similarly to my pancake sheaths but without a welt. I will always use 8/10 oz Wickett and Craig saddle leather for these. You need a "bluegun" or the actual handgun to make these as they are handgun specific. Blueguns (actually a brandname), are plastic/nylon molds of actual guns and are very popular with holster makers. We got 12 hanging on the wall and with the handguns we own or have access to, we can make a holster for most of the popular handguns that are being carried. Heck even some odd ball ones How about a Colt 1903:

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    Or a Savage 1907:

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    duramax likes this.
  16. Robber58

    Robber58

    151
    Oct 9, 2008
    Another popular carry option is called an Askin's Avenger. It does not pull the front of the gun in quite as tightly as Dave's pancakes but they are very secure and stable and seem to fit my body better. Here is one I made to carry my baby Springfield 45. I carry it a lot and really don't notice it being there. I also have one for my full size 1911 and it works equally as well. Proper belt fit is critical though.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  17. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    Beautiful work Randy! Just really, really nice!

    Yeah that second anchoring point is critical. Our second most popular holster we make and sell is called the Rangeflap holster.

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    It uses a similar idea as an Avenger but I changed it from a belt tunnel to a slot and loop system.

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    Like the Avenger not quite as tight a fit against the body but not bad and it does help to spread the weight some. Advantage of the slot and loop idea is that it makes one holster extremely versatile. You can wear strong side, crossdraw at several different angles, behind the back , pretty universal. Also this holster is not gun specific, its frame size specific. so basically I make them in sm, med and large. One holster can fit several different size guns you might have, revolvers and autos doesn't matter.

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    Not half bad at strapping to a saddle either:

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    I tend to wear a Rangeflap on the backside of our ranch where it is extremely rugged, no roads and in some areas crazy brushy. Particularly if I'm going back there to fix or check fence. Here checking feed conditions in Upper Bowl canyon:

    [​IMG]

    But for day in and day out carry I really like a pancake style.
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  18. Robber58

    Robber58

    151
    Oct 9, 2008
    Thanks Dave. I do love your Rangeflaps but don't get into country where it would be beneficial much anymore.

    For the OP, one of the benefits of both the pancake and Avenger designs is that they tend to hold the gun very well due to being pulled tightly around your body. A bit less critical to fit if you don't want retention straps. I did put a means of tightening in the holster above but ended up not needing it.
    Randy
     
    JonBishop likes this.
  19. Horsewright

    Horsewright KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Oct 4, 2011
    I agree 100%. Done right each style will give you great retention. Nichole got bucked off a couple months back. Didn't lose her knife, in a pancake sheath, or her pistol, in a pancake holster. But man that gun was dirty.
     
  20. JonBishop

    JonBishop Gold Member Gold Member

    18
    Oct 30, 2014
    Randy, is that hand stitched? It looks great! Horsewright, I’m waiting on a couple of tools to get in and I’m going to copy one of those pancake holsters. The border on that 1903 holster is great. Where did you purchase that?

    Thanks, Jon
     

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