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About Mongo

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  • Location
    Chattanooga, TN

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    holsters and gun belts
  • Interested in learning about
    all types of leather work
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  1. I make a lot of cowboy action leather and I know what to do with veg-tan leather stuff. My wife handed me her black Michael Kors purse and wants me to put a new finish coat on it to return some of the shine. I'm sure this purse is chrome tan leather. I have no idea how apply a new finish, or if it is even worth trying. I would appreciate any advise from those of you who work on these types of items. Mongo
  2. If I have to hand stitch, I often use my Tippman manual stitching machine as a hole punch, using the sewing needle (the machined sucks as a sewing machine but it is a great $1200 hole punch). I finally broke down and bought a power sewing machine. When using a drill press, I think a stitching needle from leather sewing machine would work great. Tandy is carrying the Tippman again so they should have the needles available.
  3. I line wallets with thin chrome-tan leather and gun belts with suede. With any unlined belts I try to burnish like Halitech described.
  4. If you get your holes a little to big, after you finish stitching your project, wet the stich line and go over it with a boning tool. The holes will "heal" (tighten-up). This technique works better if you wet the stitching line before you dye.
  5. It's sounds like you're on the right track. I had similar problems with mine. Besides the good advise given by others, switching my bobbin thread to 207 with 277 on the top also helped. I must confess, however, that I now use a much better power machine. I still use the Tippmann as a hole punch for the welts on very heavy cowboy action shooting holsters.
  6. We had a local guy who did what TwinOaks recommended on the inside cowboy hat bands. I've had some luck coloring small letters and designs with a very fine Sharpie and then coating the colored area with Neatlac before dyeing. That being said, I have not done anything in gold or bronze.
  7. +2 for burnishing with water and glycerin saddle soap before dyeing. I will also take a small scissors and trim the really long strands and sometime sandpaper helps. Most of the time, I save leather that is "fuzzy" on the back for a project that I'm going to attach a lining to. I try to avoid buying any veg-tan leather that is fuzzy on the back.
  8. I've done the same thing with neatsfoot oil and setting it out in the sun. It's the method used by John Bianchi in his holster making DVDs.
  9. I'm at my full time job right now so I can't send a picture. I took 5-7 1 1/2" wool felt washers that I bought on Amazon and put them on a threaded bolt with steel washer on both ends. I tightened a nut behind the washer at the back end of the bolt and I had a nice couple of inches to burnish with. I don't know why you couldn't make a smaller version that would work on a Dremel. I use a small felt wheel that comes with my Dremel attachments to burnish small areas. My power burnisher is a table top drill press set on its side. It runs at a nice slow speed and works perfectly. I use Fiebing's Glycerine Bar Soap on a similar set-up to wet burnish to cut any friction. I also do all holster welts on the same machine. I just pull the burnishing "bolt" out and replace it with a sanding drum.
  10. Depending on the size of your project, you may want to consider buy double shoulders or a side from Wickett and Craig already dyed. A friend of mine who does a lot of CC holsters and knives sheaths says that this has saved him tons of time and his customers like the results.
  11. I use my arbor press for certain stamps (like letters) and for setting snaps. Tandy has an oversize piece that fits right over the top of their stamps for use with a press (a very inexpensive part). It almost covers the back of the stamp. I simply set the leather on a small piece of granite on the arbor press and set the stamp with the piece on top and I get a perfect impression. It's a much better impression than I ever get using a maul. For snaps I use a Osborne snap jig and it works perfectly with the arbor press. I bought my arbor press on sale from Harbor Freight on sale and they also let me use a coupon.
  12. A mix of 50/50 beeswax and paraffin with a power burnisher has worked well for me. I use wool felt washers that have been stacked together on a bolt for burnishing.
  13. Most of my holsters are lined, but on the backside of a billet of a western gun belt, I coat it with bag-kote and burnish it a little. Some of the cowboy shooters I compete with have some of my leather from 10 years ago and they are having no problems.
  14. My original "book" was Al Stohlman's How to Make Holsters. It's still available from Amazon for 12.99. Also search the Kirkpatrick Leather website and Mernickle Leather for examples. John Bianchi's DVD set was also a big help when I started. CAS City also has a leather section that has lots of examples of good cowboy leather.
  15. Treed and Camano Ridge make excellent points. I did make a curved combination pistol/shotgun shell belt for my wife's cowboy action rig. I made the pattern to fit her shape exactly. She never liked how a straight belt rig fit her. I made the front curved part of the belt 3" wide and then attached 1 1/2" billets that could be changed with Chicago screws (the belt buckles in the back). It's similar to Kirkpatrick brand Tequila Ladies Rig, but has more of "C" shape than Kirkpatrick's "U" shaped belt.
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