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When wet forming a holster, do you leave the gun in until the holster is dry, or form it, take the gun out and then let it dry? Thanks

PS am lettng it dry in the sun.

Edited by SpursNM

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I wrap the gun in saran wrap and leave it in till the holster dries. Just my way of doing it, others may do it differently.

Chief

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I place the wrapped gun or holster mold in the wet holster shape and mold then let the gun sit in place for an hour or so the leather should be set in the shape you molded by that time. I then gently remove the gun or the holster mold so that the inside of the holster can dry as well.

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I place the wrapped gun or holster mold in the wet holster shape and mold then let the gun sit in place for an hour or so the leather should be set in the shape you molded by that time. I then gently remove the gun or the holster mold so that the inside of the holster can dry as well.

Me too:)

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I insert either the renwaxed real gun or blue gun and mold then detail bone and form a curvature depending on the hand of the holster then burnish with lambswool pad. Then I remove the gun and place the holster in the convection oven at 120 to 130 degF for and hour or so.

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I just wipe my gun down with Remington Oil wipes then stuff the unloaded gun in the holster. I also let it sit for an hour or so and then will take it out and feel how stable the holster is. Once I feel the holster is stable enough then I will remove the gun gently and put the holster somewhere safe to dry. Now comes the fun part. I did not wrap my gun so I will now field strip the gun, and make sure everything is clean, oiled and greased as it should be. The outside of the gun is also wiped down with oil like I normally do after a clean.

Edited by vaalpens

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I use holster molds/blue guns and leave the mold in the holster until it is dry

if i have to use a real gun then I lube it up with thick oil and wrap it in a piece

of saran wrap then let the leather completely dry

the holster don't seem to hold the gun as snugly when pulling the gun out before the leather is completely dry.

I will also periodically press the leather against the mold while the leather is still damp to ensure that the holster forms to the shape of the mold or gun as snugly as possible I think it makes for a better looking pancake or paddle holster and friction sheathes that way,but that is just me...

YMMV

Edited by St8LineGunsmith

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Oil the gun a bit and then wet form around the gun....mold and bone it....pull out strait, clean gun and leave holster in front of small fan...done !!

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Lets say we did what we always do. That is burnish, saddle soap, bar glycerin, parafin, burnish, burnish, and burnish. Then I sew. Then I bend a lined and skived holster in place and sew it up. If I take that beautiful smooth shiny edge, even after a few days, and wet it down with the holster, it ain't gonna come out right. I do not wet form. I may spray some water on the liner and slowly work the gun in the holster.

Now a hybrid or a pancake is different. Maybe an Avenger.

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I do almost precisely as Jimbob.

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OK. I use an old vacuum sealer that we used to use for leftovers and such. 5 minutes and I have 98% molded piece of leather. I push and shove on the leather a little bit, then remove the gun.

The difference is that I build "half" pancake holsters and mold the front piece only.

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I also use the blue guns and leave it in until it's dry. If I take it out before, the leather shrinks and makes the fit a little more snug than it should be. Then I have to put the blue gun in a freezer bag (sometimes 2) and let it sit overnight to stretch it back out. The freezer bag has been my friend.

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Then I remove the gun and place the holster in the convection oven at 120 to 130 degF for and hour or so.

This is excellent advice. However, none of the other advice in this or the other posts will give you best results.

Best results: tub of hot water that is hot enough that you can put your hand in. Keep the holster under no more than 5 seconds. Put the wet holster in a sandwich bag for a half hour. Then when you insert your pistol or mould, do your moulding using the "boning" technique (it need not be a bone or antler; I simply use the round end of a plastic paintbrush handle). Then with the pistol or mould removed, dry it in the oven at the temp listed above WITH THE DOOR OPEN until it no longer feels lightly damp the the touch (an hour won't hurt it). You'll know if you go too hot, or if you leave the oven door closed, or in the oven too long: there will be obvious damage to the leather.

Keeping it in the plastic bag is called "casing" and is not unique to holsters. What it does for vegetable leather, is make it more clay-like for moulding; and the grain side of the leather will darken where the tool rubs to give contrast that sharpens the look of the boning. This cannot be accomplished with leather that has been merely wetted.

It's really just that simple. Millions of first-quality holsters have been made this way over the last half century. No, it is not the way the oldies did it, including Heiser, Lawrence, Myers, etc. They used a "blocking" technique and ambient heat. The wet moulding by boning that we know today was given its initial momentum by Chic Gaylord, and successfully adapting it to production lines was done first by John Bianchi and continues at Gallagher's place. The latter two use presses to do the main work, and the boning is detailing only.

You'll always get the very best results using this method.

Edited by Rednichols

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I do not leave the gun or the mold in the holster for drying. After vacuum molding and hand boning, I heat-set the holster in a Nuwave oven for about 5 minutes at around 130°F. Let it cool a few minutes then reinsert the gun/mold for final detailing. I then let it dry completely at room temperature. No less than 24 hours. It takes a firm set with a low risk of cracking from drying too rapid. Afterward. I condition with Bick 4 followed by my usual finishing process depending on what is desired.

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Mine go in the holster, . . . into the vac forming bag, . . . get formed, . . . removed from the bag, . . . checked for correctness, . . . and removed.

Total time in the wet leather is no more than 4 or 5 minutes.

I use the weapon itself if it is available, . . . blue guns when that won't work, . . . and wooden replicas when the back is up against the wall. They are all treated the same, . . .

And thanks for the detailed post, Rednichols.

May God bless,

Dwight

Edited by Dwight

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I'll throw my .02 onto the pile. I form the holster. Then put the leather in my clothes dryer on a shoe rack. Run it on high heat for 30 minutes. The dryer is more of an indirect heat than the oven. And the shoe rack does not have food grease on it like my oven. After getting greasy lines on the leather I looked for another option. The dryer is also constantly circulating the hot air around the leather. I've been very happy with the results.

Red, that's twice I've seen you mention casing a holster. I've got a few coming up and I need to try that out.

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For those of you that take the gun out of the holster prior to being dry.....are you having any issues with the gun being too tight when re-inserting into the now dry holster? How do you remedy this, if so? If not, why is the leather not shrinking? Always looking for a better way.

For drying, I use a converted nightstand, lined with reflective insulation inside, and a heat lamp installed in the top for my little oven. Have wooden dowels placed inside to keep holsters suspended.

Edited by shooter55

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According to all the diversity of the comments made how the individual holster maker wet forms a holster there is no set in stone method in order to achieve the same end result.

one thing that is for sure a necessary part of any wet forming procedure is the leather must be wet, period

Every other step is pretty much at the discretion of the maker.

Edited by St8LineGunsmith

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I'll throw my .02 onto the pile. I form the holster. Then put the leather in my clothes dryer on a shoe rack. Run it on high heat for 30 minutes. The dryer is more of an indirect heat than the oven. And the shoe rack does not have food grease on it like my oven. After getting greasy lines on the leather I looked for another option. The dryer is also constantly circulating the hot air around the leather. I've been very happy with the results.

I've been using my converted filing cabinet for about two years now, basically a hot plate, bathroom fan, and some racks in the top drawer. I love the dryer idea and have an extra dryer at the shop.... Seems like the clothes dryer is better suited to dealing with humidity as well.

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Shooter 55, If your holster drys a little tight take your gun or mold put it in a Ziplock Freezer bag then put the gun or mold and bag into the holster forcing in to the position you want it. Let it sit over night (no wetting of the holster is necassary for this). In the morning remove the gun or mold and reinsert into the holster without the bag, you should have a nice comfortable fit.

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Shooter 55, If your holster drys a little tight take your gun or mold put it in a Ziplock Freezer bag then put the gun or mold and bag into the holster forcing in to the position you want it. Let it sit over night (no wetting of the holster is necassary for this). In the morning remove the gun or mold and reinsert into the holster without the bag, you should have a nice comfortable fit.

Thanks camano,

I posted in an earlier post that I do that and it has helped a lot. Doubling that is sometimes needed for really tight fits. Thought maybe there was something different in the molding process that could be different other than what I have been doing. Thanks for the input.

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For those of you that take the gun out of the holster prior to being dry.....are you having any issues with the gun being too tight when re-inserting into the now dry holster? How do you remedy this, if so? If not, why is the leather not shrinking? Always looking for a better way.

If I find that it's a bit snug, I'll leave the gun/bluegun in it overnight before shipping. The one's I have sent out that were a bit tight have broken in in a day or so with wear. I recommend wearing it a bit to break it in anyway. Wears and conceals better after it's broken in. A broken in holster lays flatter than a new one right out of the box. Probably stating the obvious there, but I've been know to not think of the obvious before.

Seems like the clothes dryer is better suited to dealing with humidity as well.

Yeah, moves the humidity out and replaces it with more warm, dry air. FWIW, with standard holsters you might want more than 30 minutes. My holsters are still in 2 pieces when I dry them. So there is more surface area and it will dry faster. Yes, I do thing different. Yes, it's more work. But I'm gonna keep dancing with what brought me. Getting the moisture out of a glued holster might take longer. Although, my mag holders are glued and seem fine with 30 minutes. I guess you'll just have to tinker with it.

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For those of you that take the gun out of the holster prior to being dry.....are you having any issues with the gun being too tight when re-inserting into the now dry holster? How do you remedy this, if so? If not, why is the leather not shrinking? Always looking for a better way.

For drying, I use a converted nightstand, lined with reflective insulation inside, and a heat lamp installed in the top for my little oven. Have wooden dowels placed inside to keep holsters suspended.

This is exactly what i aim for..that almost to snug feel...from there i will use various forms of plastic/cloth after the holster is dry to get the final retention level...i have yet to have a customer get a new holster and immediately start to prod/push/pull/fold/crush. etc...by letting it dry tight then stretching it to fit the gun, the chances of the customer stretching it out when he is fooling around with it is greatly reduced, as it has been pre streched by me...just my .02 cents

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Some good comments here. I will just add my comments, that there is very seldom a condition of too tight a fit in any thing other than the very immediate. This rare condition should be cleared up by a little education on your part as the maker to the consumer. I have never had a holster that didn't loosen up, some alarminging so. I make them as tight as I can without straining the stitches unnecesarily.

If the leather is of good to excellent quality, and the fit upon completion is anything other than tight as heck it, is probably going to be real sloppy in a few years, therefore not adding anything to your holster making reputation. I should add that I am talking about serious self defense or law enforcement type holsters. Some holsters that are more for looks or historical kind of applications were never designed to be held by the exacting dimensions of the boning and had other methods of retention.

I don't know it all by any means and subject to learning something new, and actually do from time to time, lol. No offense intended to anyone, just my observations.

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I'm old school and use the Saran Wrap and leave the holster to dry with the gun in method. I make my holsters snug to start with and usually have to spend a little extra time working them in when I first start the gun in. All holster will stretch over time. I like a tight fit for two reasons, if it a good snug fit it cuts down wear on the gun finish and the holster, and once it's been used I find they only wear in or stretch to the point of a nice smooth but firm fit.

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