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Loudcherokee

How to stiffen/soften leather

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Hey guys, planning a project or 2 and have a question about changing the stiffness of the leather. Is this called the "hand"? I think i read that somewhere. 

Anyways, one of my projects is a journal cover for my wife. I have some nice brown pull up in 4-5 ounce to do this with, and had the idea to add a strip of natural veg tan 8/9 ounce around the middle, and this will be my strap for closure with a buckle. I would sew the strap onto the 4-5 ounce after finishing the edges and oiling with neatsfoot. What I'm wondering, is how to soften the end of the strap part that will go into the buckle so it is more supple and pliable. Flimsy, if you will. Is there a chemical that will do this or would I need to skive it down to make it thinner? 

As far as stiffening, how would I go about the opposite? Another project I would like to try is a paddle holster. I seem to recall seeing a leather paddle holster with an actual leather paddle. There would need to be a slight curve to the paddle and it would need to retain this shape, while also being stiff enough to not let a full size 1911 flop around. Is there a thin type of metal or something to sandwich between two pieces of 10 ounce leather maybe? Same question would apply to stiffening a leather gun belt. Ive seen people mention a "liner" of metal in between two layers of leather. What type of metal is used here? 

LC

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Never hardened anything myself, but this video got me interested. Maybe you'd find it helpful?

 

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Anybody ever tried that "leather hardener"?  Goofy little fella, but that don't mean the product don't work ...

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From the voice of experience . . . paddle holsters are good for S&W shields . . . but a paddle holster for a 1911 is not really a good idea.

My first CCW holster was exactly that . . . from a respected holster maker . . . but just turned out to be not a good investment.

The weight of that size pistol makes it flop around . . . it sits so far out you need a winter coat to disquise the fact that you are wearing it . . . and especially with the 1911, the mag release is prone to being pushed at the wrong time.

Just a few notes from "been there . . . done that"

May God bless,

Dwight

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I figure 2 layers of 10 oz would be plenty on the paddle.  But Dwight is right.  They move around more and don't conceal as well as a pancake, regardless of what you use.  And with a leather paddle I would recommend a loop to attach it to the belt.  The leather paddle will not grab on the belt/pants like a plastic paddle will.  I made one for a Shield.  Worked out well.  Was pretty comfy.  Didn't get any complaints about it.  But a pancake is superior in most ways.  

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Ooops... busy thinking about the hardener that guy was on about and forgot the paddle question.  

The "leather" paddle holsters I've seen and actually cared for had KYDEX cores sewn between layers of leather.  Idea is to keep the contour flat as possible - I mean the curve at the top of the paddle piece - so that it doesn't kick the gun grip OUT.

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Thanks for the replies everybody. Yes, the weight would be a concern for sure. I normally carry IWB, but was looking for a paddle option just for the quick convenience and not necessarily for deep concealment. I do have a smaller 1911, a compact model. Perhaps the paddle may be better suited for that. 

What about softening leather like I mentioned above? Is there a type of oil or something that would make it more supple? Say for a strap or closure? 

LC

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7 minutes ago, Loudcherokee said:

What about softening leather like I mentioned above? Is there a type of oil or something that would make it more supple? Say for a strap or closure? 

 

Some neatsfoot oil will help, leather balm tends to soften things up, gently working it after letting the previous permeate the leather for a day or so, and just general use over time will certainly soften it up to a floppy state.

Experiment on a sample strap to see the levels of oils to add and how much to work it.

YinTx

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30 minutes ago, YinTx said:

Some neatsfoot oil will help, leather balm tends to soften things up, gently working it after letting the previous permeate the leather for a day or so, and just general use over time will certainly soften it up to a floppy state.

Experiment on a sample strap to see the levels of oils to add and how much to work it.

YinTx

Thanks! I will give that a try! Now that I think of it, I wonder if glove conditioner for baseball gloves would also work. 

LC

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If you take beeswax (the real stuff) and neatsfoot oil . . . NOT the compound . . . mix just a tad heavier than 1 to 1 . . . more oil . . . heat it in a jar until it melts . . . pour it into muffin pans . . . you get a soft paste that rubs in easily . . . hit it with a hair dryer or heat gun . . . melts the oil into the pores . . . wax stays on the surface . . . you get a really good piece of leather that with a little bending and flexing about 24 hours later . . . will become relatively soft . . . and the oil will not rub off on other clothing, furniture, etc.  And you can add several treatments if the first does not do what you want.

May God bless,

Dwight

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Here is a link to an actual recipe on how to make a conditioner to soften your leather.

 

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