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dikman   

All of my holsters have been a drop loop style (but not Buscadero, I don't really like them) with the separate securing strap attached to the skirt - except for my Steve McQueen holsters, which have no skirt. I haven't made a Mexican loop yet but am thinking about trying one. I see a problem, however, and need some advice. All my holsters are wet-molded and stained (or stained and wet-molded, I've tried both ways). The staining and wet-molding obviously makes them very stiff - so how do I push the holster through the skirt loop? If I wet the holster again, to soften it, I'm likely to lose some of the stamping definition and also the edge finishing is likely to be affected.

What am I missing here?

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My 2 cents would be to fold the holster back through the loop whenever you wet mold it. Obviously you'd have to dye it first, unless you're dip dyeing, then it's probably OK t fold, mold then dye. If you are already stamping then wet molding afterwords you won't loose any more definition then you already are.

Good luck with your project!

Josh

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I learned how to do Mexican loop holsters via an Al Stohlman book, and worked out my way from there.   

When the time comes to fold the holster over, I first put my Aussie conditioner on the outside, then feed a wet sponge through the inside holster body a couple of time to dampen the leather.   The book advised running water through the holster, but I did that once, and never again.

After sending up a prayer or two to the gods, I bend the leather through the loops.  I then immediately pop the gun into the holster to staighten everything out.

Another coat of conditioner, then remove gun, and leave to dry.   Most time, you get away with it without any marks or loss of definition, and I've used this method with carved holsters.

You can also use a foam shoe spray (whose name escapes me at this time of the morning),    This spray is sold as a leather shoe softener and stretcher.   Just spray the inside of the holster, instead if the water.

Edited by LumpenDoodle2

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dikman   

Thanks for the advice, folks. I forgot about the Stohlman books, I have some of them on pdf's somewhere (if I can find them). Looks like I'll have to experiment with some cardboard templates first, to get the pattern sizing right, be a bit embarrassing if I make one and then can't get the holster through the loop!

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That's the tricky bit, but if you use one of the Stohlman patterns, you will have to add about 4mm all around thr outside edge of the pattern, and widen the loop cuts.   Otherwise your gun takes to look of a 50 year old man trying to squeeze into his 30 year old wedding suit.

 

Edited by LumpenDoodle2

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As for the size of the loop cut my standard practice is to make the holster pattern on vellum printer paper with the pistol centered on a fold line then roll it to the side and trace around the bottom edge. Pretty standard Stohlman holster stuff. I make the edge of the leather 3/4" away from the pistol outline. then when I make the slots for the loop I make them 1/8" wider than the flat paper holster pattern. When I cut the leather out I'll use a 1/8" punch at the ends of the slots and cut an even transition from the hole punch to the slot cut. I've not had a problem getting the holster body tuck back through the slots yet. I typically use 10/11 leather with a single welt. IF you are concerned about the holster being loose in the loop, which really bugs me, then you can tie a thong through the holster body and skirt behind it to keep the holster body from wanting to pull up in the loop whenever the gun is drawn. 

Anyway, that works for me. 

Again, good luck on your project!

Josh

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dikman   

I use 7 1/2" barrelled Remington 1875's. I've made 2 sets of holsters so far and feel it might be time to make what will hopefully be (!) the definitive set that I'll use. I'm sort of moving away from the idea of "fast-draw" holsters (mainly 'cos I've realised I'm no gunfighter!!) and am looking at more traditional styles, hence the interest in Mexican loop designs.

I normally use about 9 oz with a 4-5 oz liner, is that going to be too thick to fold and work through the loops? Would unlined be better? The more I think about this the more questions I think of.

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Oooh, that's a lot of leather to bend without damage.    I've done it, once, but not without more problems than it was worth (and fold marks).    That was with a fairly plain holster, but, IMHO, I'd be tempted to leave a Mexican loop holster unlined.  

Checking out 'Packing Iron', I can't say I can see any lined Mexican loop holsters.   Possibly for a reason.

No doubt someone with more experience will come along with a solution.

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Again, just my 2 cents but a total thickness of 13/14 is fine to be bent and formed, it happens in saddle work all of the time. A person could certainly make a lined loop holster with leather that thick. That said, if it were me I'm not sure I'd want to. I like a thick, hefty holster as much as the next person but a total thickness of 10/11 seems plenty thick to me, especially if it were made up of 2 layers back to back.

Your project so of course you should do as you want. I'd ensure to have it well cased when forming to make it easier to form through the loop. 

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Treed   

This one is for a 7.5 inch barrel, 8-9 oz Herman oak with 2-3 oz liner....... do it all the time

RocknR-Western-0010sm.jpg

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On 6/14/2017 at 8:03 AM, LumpenDoodle2 said:

That's the tricky bit, but if you use one of the Stohlman patterns, you will have to add about 4mm all around thr outside edge of the pattern, and widen the loop cuts.   Otherwise your gun takes to look of a 50 year old man trying to squeeze into his 30 year old wedding suit.

 

You have such a subtle way of putting things :rofl:

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Subtile as a half-brick in a handbag.:devil::)

Edited by LumpenDoodle2

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Good looking holster Bobby! 

Out of curiosity, do you end the liner before you make the loops in the skirt? 

Semper Fi 

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dikman   

Very nice indeed, Treed. That's sort of like I've got in the back of my mind, but without the carving. Your liner is a little thinner than I've used but maybe it works better that way? And yes, does the liner go all the way down the skirt? I'm guessing that the holster pouch itself has to be softened to get it through the loops? Do you have a photo of the back, by any chance? Like I said, more questions.....

I'm also undecided about the colour, as I've made some vinegaroon I'm itching to try, but I tend to like walnut on leather. Decisions, decisions.

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Treed   
17 hours ago, Josh Ashman said:

Good looking holster Bobby! 

Out of curiosity, do you end the liner before you make the loops in the skirt? 

Semper Fi 

cut the base then glue on the liner...... cut the slots in the skirt.....bevel all the edges of the slots and burnish them.....then i sew the liner..... finish the holster and sew it.... not sure what you met by ending the liner.....

Thanks Bobby

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Treed   
12 hours ago, dikman said:

Very nice indeed, Treed. That's sort of like I've got in the back of my mind, but without the carving. Your liner is a little thinner than I've used but maybe it works better that way? And yes, does the liner go all the way down the skirt? I'm guessing that the holster pouch itself has to be softened to get it through the loops? Do you have a photo of the back, by any chance? Like I said, more questions.....

I'm also undecided about the colour, as I've made some vinegaroon I'm itching to try, but I tend to like walnut on leather. Decisions, decisions.

Yes It goes all the way down the back.... I will see if I have any pictures...... The holster when you put it together has to be sloppy wet to make it work and have to be real careful with the tooling..... I don't insert any guns into the holster until after it is inserted into the slots on the skirt. I then use a vacuum bag to mold the holster so as not to distort the tooling......this also allows the slots to shrink up around the gun so the holster fits tight and won't move when drawing the gun.....removes the need for a leg tie......

Bobby

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dikman   

Thanks Bobby, that goes a long way to explaining the process. I have a vacuum tank that I built for stabilising knife handles and fortunately it's big enough to take a holster, I can see where that should remove a lot of the handling in trying to shape it. Looks like I'll have to dust if off. Lots to to think about here.

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dikman   

Anyone have any thoughts/experience on making such a holster from a single piece of 9-10 oz veg, so it is an unlined holster? Pros and cons? I'm guessing this was how old west holsters were made?

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I've made many of this type of holster from a single piece of leather. I generally use 10/11, but 9/10 wouldn't be noticeably different. The pros and cons versus a lined holster with a comparable total thickness are minimal in my opinion. Basically it just comes down to personal preference. Although it is probably fair to say that a veg tan lined holster would be a little more work and would be considered to be better due to the smooth leather against the gun and being more rigid. If you're using good quality leather these will be somewhat minimal as the flesh side will already be fairly smooth and at 10 oz it'll be plenty rigid whether it's one layer or two. Most of the old holsters I've seen are single layer but not all of them. 

One of mine for reference. 

003.thumb.jpg.17b43c9142cb9349e68f61902bdbcfa1.jpg

Good luck on your project.

Josh

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fredk   

oh, my Josh, that is really a beautiful bit of work there  :notworthy:

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Thanks Fred!

I rolled through some old pictures and found a few more examples. Here is one that is a little more "period correct". It's a single layer with a laced mainseam. 

1233441_552995351420239_885608941_n.jpg.9a7d33d8c513a35f4f9832ccd97172db.jpg

Here is one that is lined. As you can see the skirt and loop edges are all sewn. It's been a while since I built this one, but as I recall it was a real PITA to get stuffed through the loop. It didn't help that it was super short and I had the cartridge belt loop so tight. 

735661_621982311188209_135718954_o.thumb.jpg.ebeb3a06a5efb0b8bb773a20e295998a.jpg

You can build them however you like. 

 

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fredk   

dang, those are real beauties...:notworthy:

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dikman   

I've been googling pictures 'till I've gone cross-eyed (!) and I'm liking the Menea style more and more. Beautiful stuff, Josh.

Is there any particular way of determining how long to make the cuts in the skirt for the loops, or is it trial-and error?

 

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I make the slots 1/8" wider than my flattened paper pattern on each side, so 1/4" wider overall. And I make my paper pattern with the top center of the pistol laid on a fold line then "rolled" to one side and the edge of the holster 3/4" from the edge of the pistol. 

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dikman   

Thanks Josh, I'll experiment with some cardboard patterns, your figures give me a starting point. I've decided to go with a single piece of leather (unlined) and will burnish the nap side down first. My guns are well used, so any possible wear from using unlined leather is irrelevant. Unfortunately, my 8-9 oz leather is only 8 oz according to my measurements so I'll go for a ride today and get some thicker stuff.

I found a place called Purdyleather that have a couple of nice examples of the Meanea-style holster.

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