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Since I've been seeing an increase in demand for kydex holsters, I figured I might need to have some in the display case. So, it was time to experiment.

Now, as many holster makers know, very few things will pull the finish off of a steel frame faster than kydex, so it's something I wanted to avoid. I did a little research and determined that yes, I can bond kydex and leather. Using Dap Weldwood (which I use for just about everything else) I scuffed the plastic well, and glued in a liner made from 3/4 veg tan. It seems to be the best of both worlds- smooth leather against the steel, and the molding/retention properties of kydex. In that aspect, the experiment was a success.

However, my application failed in the design phase. My thoughts were to have a very low profile leather lined kydex IWB that would use the tension of the kydex for retention and reduce or eliminate the need for a retention strap. So, I bonded the two, molded the holster, added the chicago screws and belt loops and promptly donned the holster. Here's where I found my failures of the design phase:

First off, Kydex may cool off quickly, but if you were in a hurry and kept the chicago screws in place.....well, they take a little longer to cool off. Minor first degree burn....nothing serious, but an important thing to remember.

Second - In wanting to make a low profile IWB, I completely left off anything resembling a sweat shield. The following is an excerpt from the conversation:

" See honey, the kydex will hold it tight and it just snaps in like this.....*click*

Oh My God!!!...... What the %@$#%^&$#%$$ !?!?!? It HURTS!!!! Get it off!!! Get it off!!!! Get it off!!!!!"

Lesson: When holstering a steel framed pistol in a hard plastic holster, neither of the two give very much. There should be NOTHING between the two, and certainly nothing as sensitive to pinching as 'love handles'.

It seems that in my enthusiasm, I completely overlooked the VERY important fact that I've gained a little weight, and a small portion of that weight just BARELY pushed over the mouth of the holster. When I nonchalantly holstered the pistol, I managed to grab a piece of skin between the holster and the gun. It felt like I'd used vice grips to check my BMI. I did three complete turns, knocked over two drinks, one chair, and stepped in the pets' water bowl.....all while shrieking like a little girl. My wife was at first speechless as she stared wide at me. Then she was pretty much useless as she fell into uncontrolled hysterical laughter while I had a conniption fit. I finally realized I did this to myself, I jerked the gun from the holster, giving INSTANT relief. I've cleaned up the spilled drinks, picked up the chair, refilled the pets' bowl.....but I think the cat will need professional therapy. It probably wouldn't have hurt as much if I hadn't pinched the same spot I'd just burnt with a 200 degree chicago screw.

So, for anyone else considering using kydex.....

It's the devil's own. Run away from this stuff, stick to the leather we love. If you carefully heat and mold this stuff into a nice holster, it will BITE you at the first chance. Even now, as it's sitting on the counter, I can see it plotting against me, just waiting for another chance to take a plug out of me. Never use this stuff unless you or the customer is built like a twig.

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Good advice! I've been thinking about doing some kydex down the line as well, because I've had a lot people ask for it or tell me they've switched to it exclusively for holsters. Did you wet the leather when you molded the kydex, or did you mold it dry?

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Pictures? (not of the love handles)

I wonder if one constructed it with a sweat shield if that would help or create a rigid irritant that would dig in?

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That's my take on it, so I'll be limiting any future endeavors (with fully enclosed in kydex) to OWB only. I think it was the mag release that got me.

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For the primary molding, where I heated up large sections of the kydex, I sprayed down the leather until it was about half cased. I think it helped preserve the leather, because when I molded to the pistol, I had tremendous moisture transfer to the cooler steel.....which required additional cleaning and oiling.

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YOU, sir, are an outstanding storyteller.......

Took me more than a minute to stop laughing.

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I've made two so far out of Kydex and Leather. Frankly speaking, they worked fine but I do not care to stuff my pistol into Kydex over and over again until it looks like a Duty Issue po-po weapon.

I've been waiting a bit until I catch up on some things and then I will try an IWB. I have planned it out and have a good idea on how I will go about it....

Basically it will be in the style of a Three Persons outer Kydex 0.30 shell with a 2/3 oz veg-tanned Royal Oak liner with some KG silicon leather treatment rubber into it. This treatment makes the leather as slick as Kydex so the weapon will not get friction locked into the Holster. I've located an adhesive which is supposed to bond well with Kydex and not eat the leather. I'll be using some Clip's made out of a Kydex type material attached at the bottom to make it tuck-able, I've found some open end screw posts to use on it also.

I'll post some pic's once done and I'll also post the templates if it all works out as I hope.

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I haven't laughed so hard in months Mike, thanks! ;)

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Now that i'm done laughing, I can ask a question. I have done a bit of kydex and I only laughed because I have done the same thing. It sucks, don't do it. Did you bond the leather and Kydex before u heated the kydex? How did the glue respond to the heating process? Thanks, Tony

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Now that i'm done laughing, I can ask a question. I have done a bit of kydex and I only laughed because I have done the same thing. It sucks, don't do it. Did you bond the leather and Kydex before u heated the kydex? How did the glue respond to the heating process? Thanks, Tony

Yes, I bonded the two before doing any molding. The glue softened up a bit, but remained tacky when heated. As it cooled, it reverted to its 'stuck' status. As mentioned I used Weldwood, and per the directions got a good coat on both pieces. Where I knew I'd be heating large areas of it (initial fold and press), I dampened the leather w/ water in a spray bottle first. Like a lot of good contact cements, if you apply heat to mostly dried cement, it regains it's tackiness. In the forming stage, there wasn't really any lateral shear to move the leather, so as the glue re-set, everything was where it needed to be.

Out of several things I've tried, the Weldwood has held the best so far. It's not a permanent bond, as the leather can be pulled off, but it takes some real effort. At the flat edges, I skived down the leather to reduce the chance of hanging the edge of it on anything. As it sits now, you can peel the leather off, but you have to have an edged tool to work under it. 90 degree corners could be lifted (with a tool), but I advocate radiusing all corners anyway, so I eliminated them. If you take a finger or thumb and try to roll/peel the leather from the flat areas (mouth of holster), all you get is some smudges and a sore spot.

If anyone has a suggestion for a better adhesive, I'd like to hear about it. Despite my little incident, I still see a use for this, and want to make it better.......................just no IWB holsters.

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Thanks for the Sunday morning laugh! The wife had to come see what I was laughing so hard about:rofl:

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OH MY GOSH!!!!!...... Thanks for the laughter! I needed that.

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That was hysterically funny, Mike. I had tears in my eyes by the time I got to the part about the shrieking. Thanks for helping us learn something at your expense, I'm sure the karma fairies will reward you richly.

Kate

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Yes, I bonded the two before doing any molding. The glue softened up a bit, but remained tacky when heated. As it cooled, it reverted to its 'stuck' status. As mentioned I used Weldwood, and per the directions got a good coat on both pieces. Where I knew I'd be heating large areas of it (initial fold and press), I dampened the leather w/ water in a spray bottle first. Like a lot of good contact cements, if you apply heat to mostly dried cement, it regains it's tackiness. In the forming stage, there wasn't really any lateral shear to move the leather, so as the glue re-set, everything was where it needed to be.

Out of several things I've tried, the Weldwood has held the best so far. It's not a permanent bond, as the leather can be pulled off, but it takes some real effort. At the flat edges, I skived down the leather to reduce the chance of hanging the edge of it on anything. As it sits now, you can peel the leather off, but you have to have an edged tool to work under it. 90 degree corners could be lifted (with a tool), but I advocate radiusing all corners anyway, so I eliminated them. If you take a finger or thumb and try to roll/peel the leather from the flat areas (mouth of holster), all you get is some smudges and a sore spot.

If anyone has a suggestion for a better adhesive, I'd like to hear about it. Despite my little incident, I still see a use for this, and want to make it better.......................just no IWB holsters.

I toyed with the idea of doing this type of holster, and decided to try and stick a piece of leather to a piece of kydex. I used Barge and didn't scuff the kydex, it seemed to stick way better than I thought it would. I think I may have to do a holster like this. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Thanks for the laugh, been the best laugh for months. I have a couple of the free sample pieces from Springfield leather and plan on using them as stiffeners for some CAS holsters in the future plus as the mouth stiffener on a pancake. I plan on sandwitching the kydex between two leather pieces much like I have used flashing in the past. I was going to use Barge cement to bond everything and sew the edges just like a lined holster which is what it is plus the stiffener.

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TwinOaks, sorry to hear about your "love pinching", sounds like something I'd do.

I wonder if one constructed it with a sweat shield if that would help or create a rigid irritant that would dig in?

Bladetec IWB holsters have quite the "sweatshield", very well thought out and executed. Incredibly well thought out and executed IMHO, and not an irritant.

Edited by MBOGO

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Yeah, sweat shield / pinch shield.....it's in the plan NOW!!!!

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Not only did I read this twice, I went and got my wife, so I could read it to her as colorful as you are in your story telling abilities, A huge thanks from both of us, and thanks for the glueing tip as well. You rock mister. 

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I'm brand new to this forum (I've lurked in several different types of forums over the years) but honestly even though this is a pretty old post, this is the first post I've seen that made me shoot coffee out my nose....well done. Thanks for a hilarious tale! Now I have to clean up my kitchen table..... 

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