Thanks! Very helpful tips...
This is a discussion on More on "how to spot a well-made holster" within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; These pics show how it can be as easy for you, as for a professional, to spot quality stitching; i.e., stitching that is tight and ...
These pics show how it can be as easy for you, as for a professional, to spot quality stitching; i.e., stitching that is tight and strong and won't come undone.
First a pair of pics that show what can be wrong with stitching on BOTH sides of a holster:
Such a holster should not be allowed to leave the shop of a quality maker.
And then a pic of what stitching looks like when it's done well, using a genuine saddle/harness stitching machine:
"Tight is right". Not apparent from the pics, is that a well-made holster seam will be GLUED and then the seam will be hammered before stitching; so that the gluing and stitching complement each other for strength. Check this by squeezing the holster pocket while watching the edges of the holster seam; unglued leather will spread.
Holster designer since 1968
Good Thread Red. <~~~I'm a poet!
Wow. That stitching is just terrible in every way, shape & form on your first example. Was that done on purpose as a teaching sample of all known stitching errors or was that actually sent out to a paying customer?
Galco always had nice stitching done on their holsters. On the many examples I've seen in my lifetime.
Folks wanting to learn to make holsters and cannot invest in a high quality leather stitching machine should learn how to hand saddle stitch. It's not that difficult to do and it requires very little $$$ investment in a stitching horse, needles, stitching awl, etc.
EVEN IF you want to take the less traditional route and carefully pre-drill nicely spaced holes into a stitching groove THAT is far better than using one of these! (below) The Speedy Stitcher. Use one if you don't care about appearence AT ALL.
The make the worst looking stitches that I've ever seen.
They should probably take every one of them and toss them into a huge bonfire.
Well, no...save it in case you want to do an emergency repair on a canvas tent or something like that.
Actually it IS possible to get really nice good looking tight stitches with a Tippmann BOSS if a person does not have BIG bucks to spend on a more expensive machine.
BUT, the leather worker should find a needle and thread size that is suitable and tension everything correctly and stick with that combination because they tend to "mess up" and skip stitches when you start switching needle and thread sizes until you get everything perfectly adjusted all over again.
And they seem to work far better if you use a stitch hole spacing marker and slowly place every stitch individually.
It takes a bit longer but, it's possible to get beautiful, tight, well placed stitches.
Tippmann BOSS Stitches
Stitching horses are not very hard to make. If you have the skill to make a holster you can make a functional horse. One of the best things I've made tool wise. And a tip on hand saddle stitching that I have been using. It's great time wise if you can just whip right through all that stitching. But quality wise, if you can pass the needle through without forcing it your hole is likely too big. That will cause problems down the road. I still pre drill my holes. But I've gone down in bit size so that I have to use a piece of leather to push the needle and a pair of pliers to pull it out the other side. The thread seems to lock down better that way. Takes a lot more time, but the result is well worth it.
I prefer to live dangerously free than safely caged!
"Our houses are protected by the good Lord and a gun. And you might meet 'em both if you show up here not welcome son." Josh Thompson "Way Out Here"
Here's yet another way to recognise a quality holster, this time from the rear only, because that's where the evidence is.
This first pic shows the teeth-marks of the sewing machine's lower feed-dogs; and it is not a harness machine because of this (a harness machine moves the work with the movement of the needle ONLY and does not have feed dogs top or bottom). This holster retails for as much as $600:
This next holster was stitched on a harness machine; note there are no teeth marks in the leather. Instead there are smooth creases along the stitchlines. This holster retails for as little as $60:
A harness machine is best able to handle complex stitching tasks, and won't tear up the backside of the leather while it's doing them. A machine with feed dogs is really not designed for holster work; and is really only suited to Seventrees-style simplistic construction.
If you're not a connoisseur, you could argue that the teeth marks don't matter, because no one else will see them but you. But then again, if you ARE a connoisseur, then you know that the maker just didn't use the right machine for the job.
Holster designer since 1968
I usually hand stitch.. two needles... and synthetic sinew. But it's been ages and ages (>30 years) since I made a holster...
Red, thanks for reminding me of the tells...
It could be worse!
Thanks for the information!!
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Well I guess here in Texas we have a lot going for us and one of them is BOOT and SADDLE makers. I had made a set of saddle bags for my motorcycle and was going to hand stich them when a friend suggested a saddle repair shop in south ft. worth. For a few dollars they did all the sewing on a heavy duty leather sewing machine and did a double stich on top of that, great work.
but for those that want to try their hand at it Tandy leather works out of Ft Worth TX has a web site that sells everything you need. They have locations all over Texas. Check them out, fun stuff leather working
Leathercraft and Leather Craft Supplies - Tandy Leather Factory
No holster is worth 600 dollars unless it is inlaid with some Gold. And even will not make you a better or faster shot
Holster designer since 1968