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Getting back into leather working. Have made 1/2 dz holsters,even lined one. Also,made countless items when the 4 boys were little,for our archery tackle. Now am gradually assembling a modest collection of tools for leather.

I bought a cheap Bianchi #19 off evilbay to cut down for the new(to me) commander. All went well,put a slight radius on the raw end with one of our big sanders. Then,turned an aluminum burnisher(l think that's the right name?) to hit the now shaped end.

I dyed it black and while the edge was still damp,that's when the burnisher worked very well. Looking at pic shows the stuff. The black leather conditioner is from my boys football days. Who knows where the Kiwi neutral came from.

What top dressing should I be looking for after making and dyeing. Is the Kiwi forbotten? That would be for brown holsters,the one on left is black.

New aluminum burnisher is in the middle,made a narrow and wide slot. Can add more on as needed basis. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.
 

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Go to Tandy and get 'Feibing's Leather Dye' - it comes in a number of shades - they'll also have numerous booklets on leather working and finishing, so pick up a couple.

Brown is nowhere near as forgiving as black, so follow directions.

On natural leather, I'll use olive oil and sunlight.
 

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By top dressing I assume you mean what final finish to use??

Personally I used Fiebing's Resolene.
This is an acrylic final finish that seals the leather so the dye won't rub off, gives it a nice shine and protective finish, and gives it water resistance.

I personally used it full strength out of the bottle and applied it with an airbrush.
Airbrushing it allowed a finish with no brush or dauber streaks, and gives a much smoother, even finish.
After airbrushing on a coat, I force dried it with a hair dryer.
After that, I let it stand over night to fully cure, then applied Johnson's Paste Wax to increase the protection.
I told users to use Johnson's or neutral shoe wax for normal maintenance.

Some people say they use Mop 'N Glow floor finish, but I found that not to be any good for leather holsters, and not nearly as good as Resolene.

You can buy a suitable cheap, simple airbrush from any hobby shop or even cheaper from sources like Harbor Freight.
For air I used an airbrush compressor, but you can use "canned air".
The canned propellant works better if you sit the can in a pan of hot water.

Here's two of my personal holsters with a Resolene top coat. These have seen some use so you can see that the finish is pretty durable.



 

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Discussion Starter #4
We are a Sata and Iwata shop,got the spray equipment. Thank you,I do know how to do that. Can I spray the dye? That's how we shoot cabinets and furniture,done way too much of both of those.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nearest Tandy is 3 hours away in Richmond Va. My #2 son lives there,so can slide by when we go to visit.

Ordered some neutral and black,Resolene off evilbay in the meantime.
 

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Frankly, I never tried to spray leather dye.
I imagine it would work, but you'd probably want a heavier spray of dye to get a sufficient coating for good penetration.

I just used a large wool dauber to apply it, and it works well for Black dye.
For other colors an airbrush might work very well.

I was also unaware that Resolene came in colors.
All I ever saw was clear.
I'm not sure how the colored type would work on a holster.

If you try an airbrush and the colored Resolene please post your results with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm a varmint chaser with cast bullet rifles. Went for the first time with no longarm,just the commander today. Need a cross draw so I can sit down.

Not gonna be out of my comfort zone on patterns or forms. The edge where the tan lining meets the edge of the thicker out pce. has me a little concerned so that's moving my abilities further? And just trying to do everything else a little better. Nothing beats experience,so just running nice easy to stitch edge work. Good solid knots where applicable. Black because it's gonna get wet in the hunting woods.

Could've use it today,haha. Oh and need a twin magazine holder.
 

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Most gunleather makers were 'raised in a bubble' by being self-taught. That means that the advice given is 'works for me' but it doesn't reflect 'best practice' that has evolved from thousands of men and women working side-by-side in big makers that, in turn, trade knowledge with other makers (one way or another). So imagine someone today trying to work out how to burnish edges on holsters, when an operation like A.W. Brill already turned this out 100 years ago -- by the thousands:

brill autos (6).jpg

Or dyeing with daubers or airbrushes; vs. simply vat-dying (but never using water-based dyes). A zillion things to learn but the gunleather industry already knows them all; why reinvent the wheel?
 

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Not trying to "invent" anything. Was just saying I would be more comfortable with a spray gun than a dauber. And going to be hard pressed dipping when buying 4oz of dye at a time.

Still have a cpl more tools coming. There's enough leather to make 4 holsters. So am gonna take the easy button and go no lining on the first. Cross draws and hunting go together and there just isn't that much out there on the subject(1911's for hunting).

Will report back,good or bad with pics.
 

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As a good leg up on holster making, I recommend buying Herman Oak leather from Springfield Leather or wherever you can get it.
Herman Oak is far better then the leather I used to have to buy from Tandy or a leather supply house that sold lower grades.

That was back in the old days before the internet so finding things could be very hard if you lived in a smaller town.
The last few times I bought leather I got Herman Oak "bends". These are large enough for belts and are almost as good as backs or double shoulders.
A $165 bend will make a good number of top quality holsters.
 
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