Wet mould a holster?

Wet mould a holster?

This is a discussion on Wet mould a holster? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was hoping our resident experts could chime in on this one. I've started to make my own holsters this year and have been experimenting ...

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Thread: Wet mould a holster?

  1. #1
    Member Array HiWayMan's Avatar
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    Wet mould a holster?

    I was hoping our resident experts could chime in on this one. I've started to make my own holsters this year and have been experimenting with different ways to wet mould them. There is the Bill Jordan method requiring a 2-hour soak and a plastic bag. I no longer use this one as it took 2 days to dry and wasn't very tight. The best I have found yet was the Bianchi (sp??) method outlined in "Blue Steel & Gunleather". This requires hot water with a little detergent and about a two minute soak, and bare metal. This has worked the best for me so far. My guns make an resounding "click" when placed in the holster. It even passes the "invert and shake" retention test using heavy N-frames. Is this the method that most use or is there something better?


  2. #2
    Member Array Mark Garrity's Avatar
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    Well, I personally think two minutes is too long and two hours is absurd and unthinkable. I basically use Bianchi's method but rarely soak anything for more than thirty seconds, if that. I'm basically dunking it in the hot water and pulling it out. The only time I find it necessary to leave it soak is if using some really dense horsehide or an exotic skin, some of which tend to repel water. I've never actually timed myself but even then I doubt it's over a minute.
    Just my 2 cents and what works for me.
    "He who makes things with his hands is a laborer, he who makes things with his hands and his head is a craftsman, he who makes things with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist."
    www.garritysgunleather.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Eric Larsen's Avatar
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    I completely agree with Mark. I dunk it in warm water for 5-20 seconds depending on the holster/leather. Horsehide is a completely different animal....dont get me started there.

    Get it wet enough to make it pliable for the holster/gun you have and then mold it..........dry it........mold it.......dry it and so on. If it doesnt dry in front of a fan in less than 3-4 hrs...youve used way to much water.

    Shoot well.........
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..........Rush

  4. #4
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    Remember that the holster needs to dry EMPTY after it has been carefully wet molded.
    The leather will be unable to shrink slightly tighter than the dimensions of firearm if the firearm remains in the holster until the leather is fully dry.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array High Altitude's Avatar
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    If someone wanted to learn about holster making, are there books out on the subject to learn from?

  6. #6
    Member Array HiWayMan's Avatar
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    Oops! I got some of my info buggered in my haste to post. I usually only soak for about 20-30 seconds with the Bianchi Method. My bad.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up Holster Book

    It's outdated as to the full size holster patterns included in the book but, it tells you how to make your own patterns for any style handgun.
    It sure will get you started going down the right road as far as basic construction is concerned though.


    ALSO CLICK HERE FOR BASIC ON LINE LEATHER WORKING INSTRUCTION.
    Click on their LEATHER KNOWLEDGE BASE once you are on that page.
    I hope this information helps get you started.

  8. #8
    Member Array Gary Brommeland's Avatar
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    Howdy!

    When molding un-dyed leather, I do pretty much the same thing that Mark described. Most of what I do nowadays is dyed first. The process is pretty much the same but with very warm, almost hot water and I let it soak about 20-30 seconds. (This is because the dye slightly closes the pores of the leather and the heat and extended time are necessary to allow the leather to absorb the correct amount of moisture)
    If you over-wet it, it will not mold/bone properly and will take you forever.
    I cringe every time I read Bill Jordans "expert" advice.

  9. #9
    Distinguished Member Array jarhead79's Avatar
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    Just to be sure...Dip it in the hot water. Stick the gun in it. Take the gun out??? How long do you leave the gun in??? Do you wrap the gun?? How tight should the gun fit in it while it's wet??? I'd kinda like that "resounding click" Right now, I don't have it. I think it's too lose. It's definitely molded, but not real tight.

    I also read about alcohol moulding. I hear this is bad for the leather, but makes for a real hard holster. Is there a way to treat the outside of the holster after using alcohol to lengthen the life.???
    www.ubgholsters.com short wait times. Use 'defensivecarry' as a coupon code for a discount to your order.

  10. #10
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    Holster Makers Here

    We have some great folks here making their living from making the worlds greatest holsters.
    Me...I'm just a serious hobby crafter.
    The way I learned (hanging out at Tandy Leather Co.) was to dunk the holster in warm water for 30 secs (approx.) depending on the thickness & density of the leather.
    Then "boning" the leather closely to the firearm.
    Then CAREFULLY removing the firearm from the boned holster & allowing the leather to dry naturally.

    I was taught to completely oil the firearm & wrap it tightly with as little plastic wrap as will fully cover it.

    Our top makers probably use molded plastic firearms rather that actual firearms.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array Eric Larsen's Avatar
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    QKShooter.........yep, we use plastic/aluminum and other mold materials. As long as they are the right shape/dimension thats all that matters.
    Shoot well.
    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..........Rush

  12. #12
    Member Array Gary Brommeland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarhead79
    Just to be sure...Dip it in the hot water. Stick the gun in it. Take the gun out??? How long do you leave the gun in??? Do you wrap the gun?? How tight should the gun fit in it while it's wet??? I'd kinda like that "resounding click" Right now, I don't have it. I think it's too lose. It's definitely molded, but not real tight.

    I also read about alcohol moulding. I hear this is bad for the leather, but makes for a real hard holster. Is there a way to treat the outside of the holster after using alcohol to lengthen the life.???
    Howdy Again!

    I leave the firearm (actually, we usually use a dummy gun) in the holster until the boning process is complete. (If an actual firearm is used, it is lightly oiled and wrapped in a thin layer of Saran wrap. When the boning is finished, it is dried and lightly oiled again.)
    At that time, the gun is removed and the holster is put into a dryer at 110 degrees F for about an 45 minutes. Then it is dip finished and returned to the dryer for about 15 minutes. It is then placed in front of a regular window fan overnite. Since you don't have the time constraints of a commercial shop, you can certainly skip the dryer and go straight to the fan. However, heat DEFINATELY makes an acrylic based finish come out nicer (and more consistantly so.)
    The key to a nice firm holster is in the selection of the leather. Using alcohol or ammonia is done by big commercial factories in order to make nice, firm holsters while using substandard leather. The problem with that is twofold: First, since the leather lacks the fiber structure to mold properly in the first place, the holster will loosen up over time (usually pretty dramatically so) ad become a leather bag. Secondly, you have severely overdried the leather and chemically sucked the natural oils out of it. This will more often than not result in the leather cracking or even tearing.
    Good luck with your project. Post a pic when it's all finished!

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array jarhead79's Avatar
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    It's ugly, but finished already, I was just looking for a way to possibly make it look cooler. I think I'll end up dying it black to hide the ugly leather. It's nice and thick, but not the prettiest. I think I may need to tighten it up just a tad. Here's the thread.
    www.ubgholsters.com short wait times. Use 'defensivecarry' as a coupon code for a discount to your order.

  14. #14
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    Thanks Gary!

    That was quite helpful.

  15. #15
    Member Array Gary Brommeland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter
    That was quite helpful.

    You are most welcome, sir!

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