Introduction: Western Holster
I will take you thru the steps to make a western style holster.
Template (western style)
Utility knife with new blade
Bowl of water
Stitch groove tool
Carving tools (various shapes - your choice)
Dolphin stamp (owners preference)
Acrylic paint (owners preference)
Slicker (used to slicken the edges)
Stitch hole punch - a variety (I used a 5 hole tool and a 2 hole tool)
Leather sewing needle
Edge Koate (black)
Cotton swap applicators
Step 1: Western Holster
First you need the pattern. I did a Google search on western leather holster patterns and clicked on images to find this pattern. Then I saved the image and printed it out on 11x17 inch paper. Took an exacto knife and cut the pattern out. The I had a roll of leather, purchased from Hobby Lobby, and traced the pattern onto the leather. Once that was done I cut it out with a utility knife with a new blade.
Step 2: Western Holster
Here we are checking the fit to my Ruger Single Six 22lr. The owner of this holster has a Heritage Single Six 22lr which is pretty much a clone of my Ruger.
Step 3: Western Holster
In this step we have verified the fit and have done our tooling to the holster body itself. First we wet the leather to be tooled with a clean sponge and water. We let the leather come almost back to its original color and we first put in our stitching groove using the stitching groove tool. The tool cuts a groove into the leather parallel to the edge. The tool has an adjustable guide which follows the edge of the leather. Then we take a set of dividers to trace a light line about a 1/4 inch from the stitch groove. This line is where we will start doing are tool carving design in the leather. The choice of carving tools is totally up to you. I used 4 different tools in this design. I also put my "Handcrafted By" stamp on the lower back corner and punched in my initials. Once the tooling is all done you can dip your finger in the water you have and apply to the edges of the leather to start burnishing the edges with your slicker tool.
Once the leather has dried you can now folder the holster over and line up the edges. After verifying the edges are good, then open the holster and apply rubber cement to both edges, just about a 1/4 inch from the edge, on the flesh side. That is the rough side of the leather. Carefully fold the holster back over and align the edges. Using scrap leather and medium size binder clips, clamp the edges together and let dry.
Once dry you can remove the binder clips and proceed to punching thru both pieces of leather for your stitching with your stitch hole tool. Be sure that you have several stitch hole tools. I used a 5 point, and a 2 point to punch the holes. Since you have a few curves you just can't use one tool. Once that is completed you may begin stitching.
Step 4: Western Holster
Here I have completed my stitching and once again verifying the fit. I have also went to my drill press and sanded the edges along the stitch line so the edges are uniform. I am also using my slicker to burnish the edges again.
Step 5: Western Holster
Here I have applied the saddle oil to the entire holster. The owner didn't want it died, just wanted the worn leather look. I am again burnishing the edges again. You want those edges smooth, almost a plastic look. You can also see how the oil makes the tooling stand out.
Step 6: Western Holster
In this step I practiced on a scrap piece of leather the stamping of the owners initials and the dolphins they wanted placed. This will be done on what is called the band which holds the belt loop part of the holster to the back of the holster. The pictures show how it looks when it is finished.
Step 7: Western Holster
Here I have completed the band. I have painted the dolphins according to the owners wishes. I have also applied the Edge Koate to the edges of the holster using a cotton swab. Here is the completed holster. The final step was to wrap the band around to the back where the belt loop was folded over and I used 4 rivets to secure it to the belt loop.
Step 8: Western Holster
The finished product. The owner is very happy and can't wait to receive it. This took me about about 3 days to make working in the evenings after I got home from work and had dinner.
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