Author Topic: How do you mold the leather  (Read 20195 times)

MikeBjerum

  • Top Forum Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10435
  • DRTV Ranger
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 358
How do you mold the leather
« on: November 19, 2011, 10:18:40 PM »
This may be a very very basic question:

How do you mold the leather to the gun or other object you are making a holster or sheath for?
If I appear taller than other men it is because I am standing on the shoulders of others.

denster

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 11:16:57 PM »
This is not the only way to do it but it is the way I do it. Once the holster has been glued up and sewen I open it a bit with a forming stick. Then I give it a quick dunk in a sink of warm water with a few drops of dish washing liquid to break the surface tension. When I say quick dunk I mean leather that is under 8oz it's just a quick in out maybe one second. with 8 to 10Oz it gets two seconds and with drum dyed leather four seconds. I then set it aside for about five minutes untill the natural color starts to come back.
Next I open the holster with the forming stick paying particular attention to areas that are going to be tight when I insert the gun. Once this is done I insert the gun or a dummy making sure it is centered in the holster. Once it is in I use my thumbs to start the leather around the major features basically getting going the direction I want it to go.
Now here is where I differ from a lot of guys. I insert the gun and holster face side up in a vacuum bag and close it and use a vacuum pump to establish a vacuum. This brings the bag and the leather very close to the form of the gun it also exposes most of the details I want to bone into the holster. I bone these detail right through the bag using mostly a deer antler tine and a bent end real bone folder.
Once this is done I release the vacuum open the bag and turn the gun and holster over and repeat the process on the back side.
Once that is accomplished I take it out of the bag and touch up any detail I couldn't get to such as forming the belt loop if it has that feature and precountouring the holster. Next I burnish the surface of the leather with a sheepskin pad. This gives it a really nice sheen.
Then I remove the gun and place the holster in a convection oven set at between 125 and 135 degreesF for at least thirty minutes. The combination of heat and moisture releases collagens in the leather (think liquid hide glue here) which migrates through the fibers of the leather and makes for a very firm holster that will hold it's shape. When it is completely dry it's ready to burnish the edges and finish.
Many guys use a press with two 1 inch 40 durometer gum rubber pads to form the holster and expose the details for boning. I used one for some time and it works just not as well or quickly for me as the Vacuum press.

outrider

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 07:30:47 AM »
Denster,

I use the exact same process up until you get to the vacuum bag....

Dalton this should go onto the FAQ thread as soon as you have time to set it up
Proprietor:  Outrider Gun Leather
Outrider (Formerly "Dusty Dick" out of PA)
SASS #2353
BOLD 895
Custom Leathersmith

denster

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2011, 08:42:32 AM »
Denster,

I use the exact same process up until you get to the vacuum bag....

Dalton this should go onto the FAQ thread as soon as you have time to set it up

Outrider

Do you use a press of any sort or just your hands? I'm curious because you get some really nice results.

outrider

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 81
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 11:38:59 AM »
Just done by hand...I am considering a 12 ton hydraulic bench press from Weaver..but have not ordered it yet
Proprietor:  Outrider Gun Leather
Outrider (Formerly "Dusty Dick" out of PA)
SASS #2353
BOLD 895
Custom Leathersmith

Sponsor

  • Guest
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #5 on: Today at 08:44:46 AM »

Sparky

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
    • Midwest Leather Works
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 05:47:20 PM »
I second the vacuum pump, Denster, I actually followed yours and Particle's process of building one from Leatherworker and it works great.

denster

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2011, 06:26:33 PM »
Hey Sparkey how ya doin. Glad it's working out for you. I came up with a new platenen for mine. I still had and occasional time when the bag would seal around the air outlet before it pulled down all the way around the holster. Made it out of one of the plastic ammo trays that 9mm comes in. I drilled a few holes around the edges into the individual slots. Works great with a complete pull down each time.

denster

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2011, 07:17:58 PM »
Just to give you all an idea of the detail you can get by using the vacuum bag and boning through the bag. This is for a Browning Hi Power made out of 8oz Hermann Oak drum dyed leather.

denster

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 69
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 04:55:21 PM »
I received a couple of inquiries regarding using a vacuum press to mold holsters. Thought it best to post a few pics since I had to mold a few this afternoon. The first pic is of the bag set up on my work table along with the tools I use to bone the detail. The second is of the vacuum pump. The third is of the gun in the holster, in this case a P7PSP, where I have started the leather going in the direction I want it to go. The fourth is with the gun in the bag and under vacuum. The last is after the gun comes out of the bag. One of the big advantages is that it takes very little pressure to bone the details through the bag and as you do the bag conforms and holds the details.

Sparky

  • Active Forum Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 53
    • Midwest Leather Works
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 0
Re: How do you mold the leather
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2011, 05:26:21 PM »
If anyone is interested in cost I just built one about a month ago and I picked up the vacuum pump at Harbor Freight on sale for about $80, the bag was from Veneer Supply for around $80 and the parts kit I think was around $89.  I have a short memory though but I think thats about right.

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk