Recommended Posts

Anybody know how Bucheimer's got the spring steel clamp into the pocket of their early 1911 shoulder holsters?  Was it inserted flat and sewn and then formed around the gun, partially sewn and then slipped in already bent and then hand sewn the rest of the way?  I can't tell from looking at the photos online.

 

Thanks!

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, greystoneleatherllc said:

More than likely sewn in flat then bent ,the, trailing edge sewn and finished,,,,,

 

that's what I do ....db

 

I'll second the above motion ^^^^^^ as IF I DID IT, . . . it would be my process as well.  

Trying to sew around something like that already bent is a process dedicated to a migraine.

May God bless,

Dwight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problems of holster construction utilizing a spring are one thing. The metallurgy involved in spring making is another issue.

For proper function and long service life a steel spring must be formed to final shape, then heated almost to the liquidus, then quenched in water or oil. This process is known as tempering. The result is that the structure of the metal is changed while it is in the heated and malleable state, then "frozen" in final form to provide spring tensioning.

When a tempered spring is bent after forming the stresses within the metal structure result in fracturing (starting at the molecular level, then progressing with continued stress) and this induces metal fatigue. The likelihood of breakage or other failure at the points of forming is very high.

In order to construct a holster body with the typical U-shaped retention spring encased in leather requires that the steel strip be installed in flat condition, then stitched around encasing it between layers of leather, then bent to final shape. If steel of sufficient thickness and inherent resiliency is used there will be a spring-like effect, but it will not be a spring as commonly defined because it has not been tempered. The cold-forming of the metal will necessarily involve some metal fatigue, thus weakness, in the steel. Also, since the metal has not been tempered in final form further bending or contortion of the metal will always be possible. Any force applied to the holster sufficient to contort the steel strip will induce damage that can never be fully corrected; in fact, every attempt to correct the shape will cause further weakening due to additional metal fatigue.

Nothing wrong with pursuing such a design, but understanding what we are doing (specifically the metallurgy involved in tempered spring steel) will help to ensure a more serviceable result.

In years past I have made such holsters, and my experience was that steel sheet metal had to be of 20-gauge or heavier in order to reliably perform and retain shape in long-term use. For comparison, sheet metal used for furnace plenum and ductwork is typically 29-gauge or similar. In sheet metal terminology the term "gauge" usually refers to how many thickness of metal will comprise a full one inch. So 20-gauge sheet metal should be approx. 0.05" thickness, while 29-gauge metal would be about 0.345" thickness. The heavier gauges of sheet metal will seldom be found in common sheet metal shops (HVAC type); I would look for shops specializing in construction applications (metal wall studs, track, bracing, trusses, etc). The heavier metal is much more difficult to cut using common hand tools (sheet metal shears, etc), usually requiring a metal saw and grinding machine to bring to usable shapes. If a production run of many such products is contemplated I would recommend having the steel cut with a punch die, which will add front-end expense but greatly reduce overall labor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Lobo I had never known about the one inch guage rating. I have worked with all sorts of metal materials in my career. Learn something new everyday.

 Thanks for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Lobo said:

The problems of holster construction utilizing a spring are one thing. The metallurgy involved in spring making is another issue.

For proper function and long service life a steel spring must be formed to final shape, then heated almost to the liquidus, then quenched in water or oil. This process is known as tempering. The result is that the structure of the metal is changed while it is in the heated and malleable state, then "frozen" in final form to provide spring tensioning.

When a tempered spring is bent after forming the stresses within the metal structure result in fracturing (starting at the molecular level, then progressing with continued stress) and this induces metal fatigue. The likelihood of breakage or other failure at the points of forming is very high.

In order to construct a holster body with the typical U-shaped retention spring encased in leather requires that the steel strip be installed in flat condition, then stitched around encasing it between layers of leather, then bent to final shape. If steel of sufficient thickness and inherent resiliency is used there will be a spring-like effect, but it will not be a spring as commonly defined because it has not been tempered. The cold-forming of the metal will necessarily involve some metal fatigue, thus weakness, in the steel. Also, since the metal has not been tempered in final form further bending or contortion of the metal will always be possible. Any force applied to the holster sufficient to contort the steel strip will induce damage that can never be fully corrected; in fact, every attempt to correct the shape will cause further weakening due to additional metal fatigue.

Nothing wrong with pursuing such a design, but understanding what we are doing (specifically the metallurgy involved in tempered spring steel) will help to ensure a more serviceable result.

In years past I have made such holsters, and my experience was that steel sheet metal had to be of 20-gauge or heavier in order to reliably perform and retain shape in long-term use. For comparison, sheet metal used for furnace plenum and ductwork is typically 29-gauge or similar. In sheet metal terminology the term "gauge" usually refers to how many thickness of metal will comprise a full one inch. So 20-gauge sheet metal should be approx. 0.05" thickness, while 29-gauge metal would be about 0.345" thickness. The heavier gauges of sheet metal will seldom be found in common sheet metal shops (HVAC type); I would look for shops specializing in construction applications (metal wall studs, track, bracing, trusses, etc). The heavier metal is much more difficult to cut using common hand tools (sheet metal shears, etc), usually requiring a metal saw and grinding machine to bring to usable shapes. If a production run of many such products is contemplated I would recommend having the steel cut with a punch die, which will add front-end expense but greatly reduce overall labor.

So you're saying that these springs are traditionally made from mild steel? I'd have thought that hardened and tempered spring shim would be better long-term. I guess a holster spring is just there to increase the friction provided by the leather and doesn't spring more than a few millimetres so even mild could well stay within its elastic limit. Forming the spring into a curve will I suppose introduce some work hardening, which will increase the "springiness" a tad.

For smallish production runs a CNC laser or waterjet cutter might be a fast and precise way to produce spring flats that need minimal cleanup. Plenty of small shops with them already who will be happy to hire out its use, which minimises startup costs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the few I've used, . . . buy the right size width,  . . . cut to length with hacksaw, . . . round and smooth ends on a belt sander, . . . sew into the leather and forget them.

I do give em a coat of varnish or something though, . . . just to make sure they don't rust away in the first few years in there.

May God bless,

Dwight

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Matt S said:

So you're saying that these springs are traditionally made from mild steel? I'd have thought that hardened and tempered spring shim would be better long-term. I guess a holster spring is just there to increase the friction provided by the leather and doesn't spring more than a few millimetres so even mild could well stay within its elastic limit. Forming the spring into a curve will I suppose introduce some work hardening, which will increase the "springiness" a tad.

For smallish production runs a CNC laser or waterjet cutter might be a fast and precise way to produce spring flats that need minimal cleanup. Plenty of small shops with them already who will be happy to hire out its use, which minimises startup costs.

In order to be cold formed without damage to the structure of the steel it must be mild steel. The result is not, by definition, a spring because it has not been tempered, and tempering prior to bending guarantees damage to the structure of the steel.

I guess the main point I am trying to make is that the word "spring" should not be applied to this type of product; all that is provided is a steel retention clip. That clip will have a certain amount of flexibility (depending on steel composition and thickness) allowing it to perform the intended task, but it cannot properly be called a spring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for taking the time and thought you put into your answers.  I was asked to make one for a friend who specifically wants a "20"s" look to his holster,  Any of the modern designs would have been a lot easier all around, but I figured a bunch of heads was much better than mine in trying to address all of the factors of this build.  I appreciate the input!

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Plinker!  So am I!!!

 

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now