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About BOOMSTICKHolsters

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    Southern Missouri
  • Interests
    Shooting, building gun leather, you know......that sort of stuff :)

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  • Leatherwork Specialty
    Holsters and Belts

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  1. I am referring directly to the usage of horsehide in regards to modern concealed carry holsters that will undergo heavy usage. I completely agree that horsehide will remain flexible for a longer period than cowhide if it is conditioned properly. I would also agree that it will remain more flexible in an un-altered state (that having been said, after pressing and boning horsehide, I have had it crack on many occasions, and I stand by my earlier statement that I get less overall contact with the pistol when using horsehide). I also agree that it is more abrasion resistant (although that is purely cosmetic). Due to those qualities I prefer horsehide for making belts, however, I have not had much luck obtaining samples of a uniform thickness that are long enough to make belts with, so I rarely use them anymore. Concerning the old holsters, I will maintain that "wear" is relative to the original design, the usage of the holster and the owners requirements for it. Some holsters, like the Roy Baker style pancake holsters, will appear to last a very long time, but they never really had any rigidity or retention to speak of in the first place. Any holster that lasts longer than five years is not being used very hard, in my experience (in fact, I've never had a holster that I couldn't personally wear out in less than two years - mine or any other maker's). There are other holster makers who could back me up on this, but most won't admit it openly (probably because they are afraid it will hurt the perceived value of their products). Concerning the precautions that I take for prepping a black strap that will be flexed - I don't use alcohol for that. I dip dye the strap, and flex it enough that the pores open up and absorb the dye. After drying, I buff the strap with a horsehair brush or a buffing wheel, before applying Bick 4 leather conditioner (or neatsfoot oil, lexol, etc., depending on preferences). Concerning jeans, that is not an apples to apples comparison. There might be all kinds of reasons your jeans are stiff after going through the wash. I don't consider it relevant to what we are discussing so I wouldn't worry too much about it in any case. I really do appreciate the civility with which you have approached this topic, but I am afraid we will just have to agree to disagree where the usage of horsehide for making holsters is concerned. I have given a summary or my experiences, shared my conclusions and attempted to explain the conditions which led to my concIusions. I don't have a vested interest in this matter, and I don't see what there is to gain from continuing further with the current discussion (beyond accidentally offending someone or causing sore feelings), so I will be respectfully withdrawing from further participation from this thread.
  2. I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion on these matters. While Alcohol does remove materials that condition leather, so does pretty much every molding process (my understanding is that this is how a holster retains its stiffness after shaping). I also have to ask if you think using alcohol based dyes are bad for leather as well. As far as materials and a comparison of longevity, I think that is relative to how the holsters are used, and the standards that one holds to a holster to consider it passable for duty or carry usage. When I hear claims of "I've used my holster for 20 years and it's just as good as the day I got it", it turns my stomach. Under a harsh training schedule, no material - horse or cowhide (or for that matter kydex or injection molded plastics) will last too long. If a holster is "just as good" after twenty years of use, it isn't really being used or it was never that good in the first place. I have a friend that started training and practicing hand gun basics with my training group less than a year ago. Last week he told me he was amazed how quickly his horse hide holster wore out once he started using it in our classes. I told him nothing will really hold up too long to that kind of abuse. With that in mind, I find good quality cow hid to be superior in fit and performance vs. the longevity of its service life when compared to horse hide. Others may have differing opinions, but I have to trust my own experience in these matters. Basically, the bottom line for me is this - I have used horse hide from Siegels, Horween, and several other suppliers. I no longer build holsters with it. I am in no way implying that it is not quality, but rather that for my application there are superior products. If you dig around it is possible to find posts from some of the most respected holster manufacturers on the usage of hosehide that support my opinion on this matter. YMMV
  3. Different brands use different sizes for their numbers, which complicates things a little. With the Weaver edgers, I use a #2 for single layers from 6 to 8 oz. and a #4 for double layered areas.
  4. I like it. As for the flaring, I would try using the same pattern, but cutting the slot about half an inch shorter, tapering as you get closer to the portion that wraps around the trigger guard, and see what you get.
  5. The fact is, 9/10 single ply belts do sag and cave in. I cited an example earlier of a 14 oz. belt cut from quality leather that sagged after about 14 months. A single ply belt of the same weight will wear out sooner than a double ply belt of similar quality with the same total weight. A double ply not only has more top grain leather, which means it is stronger, but it also has additional tension between the layers that adds sheer strength, and helps resist rolling or sagging.
  6. I had an acquaintance that swore up and down his single ply 14 oz. Hermann Oak belt was "just as good as" the double thickness belts that I make. He even teased me about it occasionally because he knew that I disagreed. This went on for a little over a year, until his "just as good" belt developed a bit of sag and some wrinkling on the edges. He was still very convinced that it was still serviceable and as good as ever, though. I finally gave him a double layered belt for free and told him to let me know what he thought after a while. He has been using this belt for daily carry for almost three years now, and he recently admitted that the double layer belt has proven far superior in comfort, wear and stability. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know. A single ply belt may be good enough for specific applications, but don't kid yourself; it is not as good as a quality built double ply belt of the same weight. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, all belts will eventually wear out, but a double thickness belt will wear better longer. Physics are physics, and that's the way it is whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
  7. Another good lookin' holster, K-man. I love seeing how every one shapes theirs a little different - we need to do a comparison thread some time just for fun. K-man, is that 7/8 oz. leather?
  8. Good lookin' holster, Shorts! I agree - shape the holster and get a feel for where the lines are, and look at a picture of the gun or another mold if you need to, then chase the molding lines where you feel they should be. No two makers do things exactly the same way. Here is how I boned some M&P holsters:
  9. Design wise, I would leave a little more room between the front strap and the holster, especially on a design like the squeeze cocker where the front strap is so far forward in the de-cocked mode. This will help in establishing a grip for a more positive draw. As far as the craftsmanship goes, here are several tips for the next try: Get a side of the $4.79/ft. Hermann Oak from Springfield Leather; Good leather will make the whole project much easier to do and you will be happier with the end results. Consider using an adjustable stitch groover to establish your stitch lines a consistent distance from the edge. Use a stitch wheel inside the groove to mark the hole placement. Be sure to use a good, sharp awl to make your holes, and wax the tip often to make the process a little easier. Try not to make any abrupt angle changes, but instead radius both the inside and outside corners; the pattern will be easier to cut out, the the finished product will look better, and the corners will be less likely to crack, tear or get "dog eared". Spend some time on scrap leather practicing finishing your edges; there are several methods on here, so try a bunch out until you find one that works for you - I think the easiest one to start out with is a dowel rod in a drill press and a water dampened edge... You will get a more even dye finish if you airbrush your leather before assembly. You don't have to spend a lot of money. A hobby sprayer at harbor freight and some canned air will do the trick for less than $20. The same airbrush can spray on acrylic resolene as a final finish, too. Finally, just keep at it. You will get better with each attempt. It takes experience to learn what works for you and what doesn't. Have fun trying new methods, and the rest will work out with time and practice.
  10. Sew the leather reinforcement over some 20 gauge galvanized sheet steel and bend it by hand over your dummy gun before finishing as you normally would. You may be surprised how rigid this feels between the tension in the leather and the sheet steel. If you aren't satisfied with the sturdiness, experiment with different pattern sizes and sheet steel weights until you get the right results for your application.
  11. Eh? Different strokes for different folks, I guess.... Now assume the position and prepare to take your verbal beating!!!
  12. I personally use 7 oz. leather for my IWB's, or two layers of 3/4 oz. bonded together. You can go lighter if you want to, and it will make the initial shaping a little easier, but it isn't really necessary to use lighter leather for good detail once you learn where the lines are on a given pistol.
  13. If your pattern is not too tall, you can make the same mag holder for the models 17, 17L, 19, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 31, 32, 32, 34, and 35 (and I believe the 37, 38, and 39 as well) off of one dummy mag. Another dummy will be necessary for models 20,21, 21SF, 29, 30, and 30SF. The model 36 will require a dummy mag all its own.
  14. You don't need a press to get clean lines in a holster. Start out with your thumbs to get the lines to show, use a dowel to make the lines crisper and more defined, and once the holster is almost dry, chase the lines with the sharp end of a bone folder. (Springfield Leather Co. keeps real bone folders in stock - call Kevin and order a couple in case you break or chip one). BTW, if I am using Hermann Oak or Wickett & Craig leather, I only dip the holster in for one second before pulling it out and shaking it off. Get the initial shaping done with your knuckles and thumbs while the holster is initially drying (be sure to trim your finger nails first), and do the detail work when the holster appears dry, but still feels damp. A good rule of thumb - If you are squishing water up on the surface with your boning tool, put it down for half an hour and come back to it.
  15. ALL belts stretch or wear out in some fashion, including double thickness belts, nylon belts and even kydex reinforced belts. How long they last has just as much to do with how they are used and maintained as how they are constructed. Subject A might carry a Walther PPS in an IWB holster occasionally during the cool season in Vermont, while Subject B is carrying a full sized Sig 226 with two extra magazines, a flashlight, handcuffs and a radio every day throughout the summer in Arkansas (think high humidity and stifling heat). A single thickness belt is more than adequate for the person with the Walther, but the one with the Sig would probably wear out a single thickness belt in a matter of months, whereas a double thickness belt could last six times as long under those conditions. The over all thickness of the belt is not the biggest determining factor in the belts longevity or strength. Since the top grain has a lot more density and strength than the flesh side, having twice the top grain in a belt makes a big difference in strength and rigidity vs. a single layer belt of the same thickness. That's just reality. Imagine a double thick gun belt of the same thickness made from splits - it wouldn't be nearly as strong or hold its shape as well as a single thickness belt of the same size, just like a double thickness belt would be even stronger still. I'm not saying that the weaker belts won't be adequate to meet the needs of certain individuals, but the stronger belts will still be superior.
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