TUtorial - crafting a threepersons holster
Once satisfied, the sixgun is inserted into a plastic bag and back into the holster. We also use a section of scrap 14oz belt material to wet form the belt loop. It’s allowed to dry overnight.
Once dry, we begin again by coloring and burnishing the mainseam edge.
Then another coat of dye is applied to the outside of the holster. It’s allowed to dry overnight.
Through the tanning and building processes, leather loses its natural moisture and that needs to be replenished. There are lots of good products to use, one of the oldest and most traditional is extra virgin olive oil. Its use on leather dates back to ancient Rome and it works as well today as it did then. Quality extra virgin will not spoil. It must be cold pressed extra virgin, as the subsequent pressings involve heat and that changes the PH level of the oil. Like all things, moderation is the key. One or two light applications are plenty to nourish the leather but avoid making it soft. Leather that has been softened by over-oiling has been permanently damaged. As the cells within the material have absorbed more oil than they can hold and burst.
Once the oil has been absorbed, usually overnight, we’re now ready to start the finishing process. We first rub in a material called gum tragacanth (“gum trag” for short). This is a rather viscous, funny-smelling, water soluble gel that has the consistency of snot and is used in the food industry. It’s been used on leather for a very long time and is suitable for a final finish. Here, we use it to start sealing and burnishing the leather. Particularly the edges. It’s applied to the edges and they are “slicked” (burnished) wet. This lays down and seals the fibers for a smooth finish. It’s then applied to the rest of the holster and just as it starts to dry, we burnish either by hand with a piece of scrap denim or on the buffing wheel. This brings the leather to a nice sheen.
Once we’re satisfied with the luster, a clear gloss finish is applied. There are lots of options here. I don’t particularly care for the plastic look of acrylic finishes like Resolene and prefer to use Fiebing’s Bag Kote. It can easily be reapplied without stripping.
After the final finish application, the holster is buffed once again to a fine luster.
Now we’re ready to install the thong. This is a simple piece of 1/8” latigo lace about 14” long. Pulled through the holes with one side about an inch longer than the other, which facilitates the knot we tie once it’s adjusted.
The finished holster, ready for shipment.