Jump to content
wolfe9

What are you using as an internal belt stiffener

Recommended Posts

I need to know what kind of material and how thick & how far you are running the material .

Without going into to many details I need to make some gun belts, 11/4 max wide and the are going to see some heavy duty use .

If you don't want to share on the open forum please PM me 

Thanks a million 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have made thousands of gun belts. My usual method was two layers of 6/7 oz. cemented together flesh-to-flesh and stitched, and these hold up very well (the one I am wearing now is about 10 years old, used daily to carry a full-size 1911 .45 pistol).

At one time I had a bargain deal on a bunch of horsehide that was "cosmetically challenged", lots of surface imperfections that prohibited its use for most purposes. I used it up doing belt linings, for which horsehide is quite good due to its very dense nature and natural moisture resistance. Nice clean horsehide makes excellent belts (especially in two-layer applications), practically indestructible in use, but it is not always readily available and it does not accept carving or tooling very well.

I have made a few using a strip of rawhide between the inner and outer strap. That makes a very rigid belt.

I made a belt for a competition shooter once that utilized a strip of 29-gauge sheet metal between the two belt layers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the rawhide idea , I wanted to avoid metal for environmental reasons , my first thought was some kind of plastic .

Thank you for your input 

I sent you a PM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have never made a gun belt myself. But I have been carrying concealed for almost 40 years and I don't think any stiffener is really required. I have a double layered Desantis belt that is probably 25 years old and is still as strong as the day I bought it. It carried a full sized 1911, 2 magazines, and a small flashlight for the first 22 years of it's life.

Unless you have a customer request it I would not bother with stiffeners. Or you could offer it as an option.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the belts are being purpose built for a specific mission so I wanted to stiffen them up a bit more 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've heard of people using kydex stiffeners sandwiched between 2 layers of leather. However, as Lobo noted I don't personally see any reason for it. I build my gun belts out of 2 layers of 7/8 HO cemented and stitched no additional stiffener is needed. If a person were to use inferior leather or cut their belt blanks from too low on the hide down near the belly maybe they would be helpful. But, if using good leather cut along the back I just don't' see a reason for them. My $0.02 for what it's worth.

All the best, Josh

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use 1" nylon webbing. I have a huge roll of it that I bought years ago, and I don't recall where I bought it (I believe it was from a parachute supply company). If you don't already know, nylon webbing comes in different thicknesses. I would get the thinnest you can find. This is probably a good option:

https://www.strapworks.com/Flat_Nylon_Webbing_p/mfnw1.htm

Edited by particle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Josh Ashman said:

But, if using good leather cut along the back I just don't' see a reason for them

My vote here, so that's 3 for the right :o  

But, I guess you could stick in something if they requested it.  I get people who want weight lifting belts HALF AN INCH thick ... which is WAY overboard, but I'll make 'em if that's what you wanna do :crazy: 

But a weight lifter belt is all about protecting your ABDOMEN WALL.  Tell ya what, if you can put on a 1/8" thick leather belt, then stretch or otherwise alter it with your ab muscles, I'll GIVE you a 1/2" thick belt :rofl:

Likewise, 2 layers of leather plus a "layer" of glue plus a "layer" of thread will hold up 3 pounds of pistol and ammo.  For a L O N G time, if it was built correctly with quality materials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Normally I totally agree , I don't normally put stiffeners in my belts. I am making them out of 1 layer 8/10 and one layer of 7/8 W&C  VEG and I cut them out of the top 1/3 of a side glued and double stitched with 346 bonded nylon  . Yes I know that is a bit thick but they are happy with it .They are going to be asking a lot of a 11/4 belt for and extended amount of time so I was thinking out of the box a bit . I wish I could say more and it would more clear why I was thinking about a stiffener .

I thought about  Kydex but I have seen belts with the Kydex broken inside , it does not seem to like being flexed a lot . HDPE might be a good option but I was hoping someone had used it and had some feed back . 

I hope it doesn't seem like I am being hard headed and I may just let it ride but I felt like for this situation I needed to look at every option to give them the best gear I could. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, wolfe9 said:

I hope it doesn't seem like I am being hard headed

Not at all.  Fella gonna make sumthin' otta make it HIS way ;) 

I was suggesting that I didn't think it's necessary, but certainly was not attempting to try to talk you in to or outta anything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally want my belts to conform to my waist over time without sagging or rolling. Kydex or steel do a good job preventing sagging and rolling, but they won't alter their shape enough to conform to your body, so I don't prefer to use them as a liner if that's important to you.

In the past, whenever someone has required an extra stiff belt that would still conform to their body, we have used a layer of 3/4" wide elk rawhide sewn with a single stitch line to a 7/8 oz. liner (either cowhide or a horsehide butt depending on availability) and topped with 6/7 oz. cowhide or an exotic skin backed with a 3/4 oz. layer. I stop the rawhide just short of the holes on either end of the belt. This has resulted in a belt stiff enough to hold out straight without folding over under it's own weight, but it still conforms to your body shape within a couple of months of daily wear. As an added bonus the belt has a domed appearance similar to a skived dress belt. For belts we run 277 on top and 207 in the bobbin (346 just stood out too much unless you want to run a stitch groover which I tend not to do). We always use Wickett and Craig backs for our belts (besides the rare horsehide liner), but I seem to remember the premium double shoulders from Zack White being very stiff when I was experimenting with them so I suspect they would make a good belt as well.

I have access to a lot of nylon webbing, but I have never gotten around to trying particle's method of reinforcement. I think it would probably allow the belt to conform somewhat as well. If taking the shape of your body isn't important to you/your customer, I don't have any advice you haven't already considered.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thefallguy : thank you for your input , have you had any problems with the rawhide cracking ? I have never used any elk rawhide or even put my hands on any but I am always open to trying something new . 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use quality American tanned leather in correct weights and no need for stiffener,

there are also synthetic pallet banding materials,,, but WHY???

or use lower grade imports and solve a problem with another potential problem ..db

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, wolfe9 said:

thefallguy : thank you for your input , have you had any problems with the rawhide cracking ? I have never used any elk rawhide or even put my hands on any but I am always open to trying something new . 

To my knowledge there has never been a problem with cracking. None of our personal belts have shown any signs of it and we have had no customer complaints after years of use.

When we started doing the rawhide reinforcement we originally used normal rawhide strips like people use for saddle horns but we had to soak and stretch them and try to true them up to look right in the belt and it was a major pain in the posterior. We ended up using elk because it was a consistent thickness and large enough to cut straight straps from. We were happy with how it turned out so we stuck with it.

Share this post


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

Use quality American tanned leather in correct weights and no need for stiffener,

there are also synthetic pallet banding materials,,, but WHY???

or use lower grade imports and solve a problem with another potential problem ..db

It is not my intent to flame or disrespect anyone but on the flip side I don't want someone to read part of this thread and think that I would EVER use subpar materials .

I respectfully ask that people read the entire thread before commenting .

 

Edited by wolfe9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/14/2019 at 11:17 PM, thefallguy said:

I personally want my belts to conform to my waist over time without sagging or rolling. Kydex or steel do a good job preventing sagging and rolling, but they won't alter their shape enough to conform to your body, so I don't prefer to use them as a liner if that's important to you.

In the past, whenever someone has required an extra stiff belt that would still conform to their body, we have used a layer of 3/4" wide elk rawhide sewn with a single stitch line to a 7/8 oz. liner (either cowhide or a horsehide butt depending on availability) and topped with 6/7 oz. cowhide or an exotic skin backed with a 3/4 oz. layer. I stop the rawhide just short of the holes on either end of the belt. This has resulted in a belt stiff enough to hold out straight without folding over under it's own weight, but it still conforms to your body shape within a couple of months of daily wear. As an added bonus the belt has a domed appearance similar to a skived dress belt. For belts we run 277 on top and 207 in the bobbin (346 just stood out too much unless you want to run a stitch groover which I tend not to do). We always use Wickett and Craig backs for our belts (besides the rare horsehide liner), but I seem to remember the premium double shoulders from Zack White being very stiff when I was experimenting with them so I suspect they would make a good belt as well.

I have access to a lot of nylon webbing, but I have never gotten around to trying particle's method of reinforcement. I think it would probably allow the belt to conform somewhat as well. If taking the shape of your body isn't important to you/your customer, I don't have any advice you haven't already considered.  

For personal reference, when you do exotics with the rawhide liner, do you just inlay them into the outer layer, or do you have to thin down the rawhide under the inlay as well?

 

Share this post


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

For personal reference, when you do exotics with the rawhide liner, do you just inlay them into the outer layer, or do you have to thin down the rawhide under the inlay as well?

 

I can't get to any pictures right now but I will try to explain clearly how we make a 1 1/2" full exotic belt -

We start with a 1 1/2" wide 7/8 oz. liner unless the order requires something else for whatever reason (horsehide or 8/9 cowhide, usually). We cut the liner to length (from just past the tip of where the billet end point will be to just inside the fold of the buckle end) and measure where the chicago screw and adjustment holes will be. Then we subtract 3/4" from that measurement and cut the 3/4" wide rawhide strip to that length and round the ends with a round strap end punch. Next we glue the rawhide in place with Lyons or Barge cement and run a single stitch row directly down the center of the rawhide, back stitching the ends and melting the thread ends against the inward side of the newly reinforced liner.

For the top layer we cut a 2" strap out of 3/4 oz. cowhide (unless the exotic in question needs a heavier of lighter weight backing, depending on its thickness) and glue it to the exotic leather flesh side to flesh side. Now we will trim the buckle end to 1 1/2" wide and cut and punch the holes before stitching the buckle end so the stitches will overlap the liner by 3 or 4 stitches [once it is in place], melting the thread ends on the interior side of the belt. Next we will rough the top grain of the inside layer for a better bond with the cement (except for the area that we have already cut to width and sewn).

Now it is time to glue the two layers together trying for a 1/4" overlap of the top layer off either side of the liner. Setting the glue with a small hammer down the middle and then along each edge brings out the domed shape of the belt, being sure to leave the liner side against work surface so the lined side of the belt stays flat. Now we trim the excess exotic material off either side using the liner as a guide, then cut the billet end and punch the holes. This results in a flat area to stitch around the edges of the belt that's around 1/4" wide without having to try to taper or skive any rawhide/leather. After that we sew the top to the liner and finish out the belt with our normal edge finishing processes and treatments. This is a time consuming and expensive method of building exotic belts, but it is by far the best exotic gun belt there is (in my opinion). If you [or anyone reading] decide to build an exotic gun belt with this method all I ask is that you give us credit (just PM me for that info).

Did that answer your question or were you referring to a belt with an exotic inlay that uses the thickness of the rawhide to push the exotic flush with the top layer?

Edited by thefallguy
grammar/spelling and clarity

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/17/2019 at 2:21 AM, thefallguy said:

I have never used any elk rawhide or even put my hands on any but I am always open to trying something new . 

My two cents

I had a pair of moccasins many years ago that had Elk hide soles. I know from experience that properly treated Elk hide is tough enough to turn the point of a tack.

Also Elk hide, and in Europe the word Elk is also used for what we call the Moose, was used for what they called a Buff Leather coat which was worn along with a steel breastplate as horseman's armor. it could turn most blades and tangle up and stop an arrow head if fired from long range. If a lead ball from a musket defeated the steel plate it might be too flattened and slowed down to pass through the coat.

An American Indian tribe, their name escapes me at the moment, used the hide of the American Elk as armor. Two layers of thick Elk hide padded with fur or horse hair was proof against arrows and knives and at long range could stop a musket ball. These guys also wore helmets carved from hardwood , very gung ho rascals.

I don't know what method they used to treat the hides but Plains Indians steamed Buffalo hides to make them thicker as they drew up, resulting in a shield three inches thick which could stop the ball from a Colt 1860 revolver at point blank range.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Professor that is very interesting . It is amazing the skill and knowledge that people all over the world had hundreds of years ago and at the same time its sad that so much of that old world knowledge has been lost (at least  to most people). We think that we have come so far and are so smart but have we really ?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Found a couple pictures of one of our belts with a rawhide stiffener. This one was 7/8 cowhide top and liner with an elephant accent (we double stitched the rawhide on this one to match the accent instead of a single stitch row but you get the idea). In the close-up of the belt you can hopefully see the dome shape I was referring to before. The rawhide ends just before the accent starts. I wish I had taken better pictures of the inside of the belt but this is all I have right now. The next time I build one maybe I'll remember to get some better pictures...:dunno:

 

 

belt1.jpg

belt2.jpg

belt3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thefallguy,

Very nice looking rig.  !!!!!!!! :notworthy:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before I started down the road of leather working I bought a Hank's kydex lined leather belt. It is the best belt I own and when I make my own belts they will be kydex lined. Different than Hank's but lined with same idea

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps bonning that is used in ladies corsets? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know if you are still looking for suggestions but years ago when I was shooting handguns competitively almost all of the gunbelts had a thin strip of spring steel between the layers of leather, only in the area were the holster rode. I don't know if this is still common today but it worked well with competition holsters used back then. If I was making something similar today I would use Titanium instead of steel. It would need to be grade 6AL4V, sometimes called Grade 5.

 

Doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...