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Josh Ashman

Cross draw western rig with progress pics

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Hey folks,

I just finished this simple basket weave cross draw "western" rig. There have been a few conversations lately about cartridge belt curve and bullet loops and since this has both I figured I'd share how I address them. 

The holster, main belt and belt ends are all built from 10/11 HO. The belt keepers are 8 oz HO. The bullet loops are 4/5 HO and the tie down is 4/5 latigo. Finish is Fiebings Hi Liter over a heavy coat of NF oil with a top coat of 50/50 mop & glo/water.

I'll start by saying there are any number of ways to do something. My way is what works for me. I change it up from time to time for any number of reasons, boredom with my old way often being a main driver. I'm generally happy with my processes and results but my work is often flawed and I know for a fact there are different and better ways to do any particular thing. I'm just sharing for fun. If your way is better for you, that's awesome. 

With that out of the way here's some pictures and commentary;

1) Main parts all cut and holster cased for stamping.

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2) Holster basket stamp done and belt started.

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3) Belt basket weave complete. The straight cut belt is nice for a lot of reasons in my opinion. Good for ease of cutting and having less waste and certainly much more fun to put a basket stamp on.

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4) Formed curve into main belt piece to better contour whoever wears it. Simple enough to do with the leather cased and a little pushing.

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5) Here the belt is dry and you can see how much curve it has. FYI, the belt width is 2-1/2" overall so the curve "dip" at center is about 1-1/2".

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6) Pieces and parts before and after oil and dye. I let the oil sit for a day or so then apply the Hi Liter. I put it on with a scrap of shearling then wipe it off with a damp paper towel.

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7) Assembly done. I don't "form" this type of holster like I would a carry holster but I do dunk them then put the pistol in place for a while. I'll turn it this way and that a little and roll out the mouth of the holster to make sure it's about as "tight" as I want it to be. I'll also stick rounds in the cartridge loops to ensure they'll good to go. I mostly do stitched loops these days but for years I used to do "laced" loops in and out through the same slot. And for a good long time before that I did "laced" loops though a slot on each side of the cartridge. Each way has pro's and con's, or maybe better said, things I personally like and things I personally don't like. I don't think any way is "right" or any way is "wrong".

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8) Finished! This has been dipped in my top coat and given a little saddle soap wipe down. 

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I'm sure I've forgotten to mention stuff, but hopefully the pictures help fill in the blanks. Anyway, thanks for looking and hopefully this is helpful to somebody :)

All the best, Josh

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If the customer doesn't like it . . . you won't have much trouble finding one who does.

May God bless,

Dwight

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You got that lookin' purdy sweet for a "just a basket weave" ...  REAL nice!

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Always nice work

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Josh, another beauty - very nicely finished.  And I like the grips on that pistol!

How long do you estimate it takes you to stamp that basket weave on the belt?  I think that would take me at least two hours or more.  I’ve been practicing on small pieces, but don’t feel I have the technique down good enough to ruin a belt yet!  Whose basket weave stamp do you use?  I am wondering if a better quality stamp is easier to use than the Tandy stamp I have?

Gary

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About what I would expect from you, Josh.:specool: That's a LOT of basketweave!:blink:

What are the grips on the revolver? They have a high visual impact!!

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Awesome work as usual Josh!  Did you put a welt in the holster?  Also, how did you measure for fit?  Did you measure buckle end to center hole while straight or after you cured the belt strap?

Tom

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Good morning folks! I appreciate the kind words about this rig!

Gary, 2 hours is about right for the time spent basket stamping that belt. I don't keep very close track of my time but I do work about 2 hours at my leather bench a morning before I head out to do other things. As I recall I stamped the holster body and did the1st row down the belt one morning then finished the belt the next day. A good quality stamp is really nice. I have several basket stamps and ALWAYS use the same one, the others never get used as I don't think they're as nice. The one I use is a Craftool from Tandy, but i was purchased in the 80's and I think they were a little better made then. I like this one because the size is perfect for what I find appealing, it has the vertical center lines and if I do my part right it leaves a crisp clear impression. I've done more than a little basket stamping and much of it has been bad :) The more you do it the better you get, at least that's my experience. I will say that a belt is almost easier to me than something that is wider where it's easier to get your lines off. The BEST tip I have is to give yourself a layout line that runs straight down the center of what you're stamping (or offset from center to make your spacing work, but straight is the key). Then you'll use that to make your first run of stamps which will all be diagonal on your layout line. Go all the way down through then start at the same end you started before and do the next run, Once you have half down flip it around and do the other half. This way your "weave" is square with your project and doesn't continually run off. Hopefully this is helpful! 

Dikman, I really like those grips as well! I picked them up from "Buffalo Brothers", you can find them online by searching Buffalo Brothers Cowboy Store. They're based out of Arizona and as it happens my dad knows the owners of the company. For whatever it's worth he says they're nice people :). Regardless of that they have cool SAA and 1911 grips in a mind blowing number of options for reasonable prices. 

Tom, yes I did put a welt in that holster. I always do for this type of holster. they probably don't need it, I just like the way they look with a welt better. The welt on this one was also cut from 10/11 but sometimes I'll use a thicker welt cut from left over skirting if I have some handy. I do try to use stiff leather from high up on the hide for welts. There's probably no "real" reason for this, just what I do. As for measuring belt length, I do both :) . The initial length is determined by measuring it straight down the center on a straight cut blank. I figure from the tip of where the buckle will be to the 3rd hole of the 7 hole billet end and try to have the billet overhang the main belt blank about 1/2" or so. I've played around with that and had it overhang more or have the billet set farter back and it really just comes down to what you think looks good as long as you don't go to short or long to where it wont' actually work right. Then when I lay out the main belt I just lightly mark where the rivets will hold the billet in place with an awl. This is again measured straight down the center on the straight cut blank. Then I'll do any tooling/stamping if it gets it and then form the belt into a curve. At this point I'll re measure to find the billet rivet holes and I measure down the center of the blank and around the curve. I use a cloth sewing tape and just do little segments to get it close. I mark the holes again and punch them based on this final measurement. A few interesting things to note, the final marks are almost always dang close to the initial marks, like less than 1/4" apart. A basket stamped belt "grows" a lot due to the stamping, same for anything that gets a lot of stamping like the "San Carlos" double border I often do. but, if you let them dry completely they usually shrink back down substantially. The "growing" and "shrinking" from tooling can be a lot, less than 1" but more than 1/2". Because of this I try to make sure I do my layout on leather that's dried so the shrink is out of it. that said, realistically I don't think that even 1" one way or the other makes that much difference but still, you try to get something "just right" then it doesn't work out and it's irritating :) 

Thanks again and have a great day everybody! 

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Thanks for the tips Josh - I am going to start practicing basket weave stamping again!

Gary

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Excellent rig and post. Such a classic style and design. 

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Thanks, Josh, for the reply and explanation.  Makes sense and is very simple.  I have two rigs to do and was wondering what your process was.  Thank you again!

 

Tom

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Good luck on your stamping Gary!

Thanks JWheeler!

You're welcome Tom!

Have a great day everybody! 

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Josh you are an inspiration.  The level of care and craftsmanship is top notch. Thanks for bringing us along & showing your process. 
 

A couple of days ago, ordered a set of Buffalo brothers grips for my Ruger Blackhawk... this will be the second set of grips I’ve ordered for that pistol.  It usually takes be a few tries before I get the balance of looks, grippyness, weight and feel right!   If I like them, I’ll get a matching set for my Pietta. 

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Awesome looking rig.  You really produced an excellent set-up.  Basket weaving is right on.  I'd be proud to own a rig like that.

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Great basket weave stamping there!

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As always, Josh, heirloom craftsmanship, Sir. The tutorial ride-along is also most appreciated...

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Thanks Viking, that's kind of you to say! I'm a fan of the Buffalo Brothers grips, hopefully the ones for your Ruger will be great!

Thanks AZ shooter! Lots of years ago I worked on a road job on Hwy 60 near Grand Ave. I think that's right around your stomping grounds!

Thanks Noob!

I appreciate the kind words Chris! And, I'm happy the ride along was worth the time!

All the best folks, Josh

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Great job Josh, Basket weaving looks good on this kind of rig and yours is outstanding.

Jesse

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Putting a curve in the belt through casing... would never thought of that in a million years!

Still just green with envy of your work. Very well done!!

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Thanks Jesse & Red Bear! Have a great day everybody! 

All the best, Josh

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Beautiful  work Josh !

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