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Old 07-18-2006, 03:58 AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Holster press

I've seen mention of a press being used in the wet molding of holsters, etc. Are these presses hydraulic, compressed air, or manual ...? How much pressure is applied? Who sells these machines or are they custom made? Is there a website with a photo or demo model somewhere? I did not find this information in the archives, but I may have missed it. I appreciate you guys sharing your tips and techniques on making gun leather.

Regards,

Bill
 
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Old 07-18-2006, 05:50 AM   #2
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You had to ask about presses didnt you....kidding. There are just so many ways to squish leather its a large subject to cover.

First why do they use them? Its simple...there are two stages to boning a holster. The first is getting the leather to the basic shape of the gun or a general forming of the holster...once thats done, then you can use casing/boning tools and add the really cool details to it!

The press is used to get the first step done or a general form of the holster. Many use a clicker press....either hydraulic or pnuematic. They can range in pressure from 2 tons to 40 tons PSI. There are mechanical presses that you pull a lever or an arm down and it creates pressure also....
I use an arbor press....that uses a hydraulic bottle jack and is 12 tons max pressure. Personally, Id say I put up to 5-7 tons of pressure on certain holsters, that would be the max for me.

You must use a softer material to form around the holster without damaging it.....many use gum rubber that is very thick.....1-2" on each side of the leather work. Some use a very dense foam padding....
this gives you the right amount of "crush" without going to far and hurting the leather....also you can form "too much of the gun" into certain holster styles and its actually counter productive.

When I started using my press...It was for the PITA materials to mold...like thicker OWB holsters or Horsehide. Now...I use it to give a general shape to all leather that works in the press, some designs dont allow it. But it does same time and my hands...which already have arthritis.

Many if not all makers use a press of some form or another..the larger makers use the press to cut the holster shapes out also...with holster/leather dyes. Very much the same as large cookie cutters, just to cut leather instead of cookie doe.

Hope this has helped...its a very wide range of information to pass on and I didnt cover everything. Shoot well and god bless
 
Old 07-18-2006, 11:11 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2006
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Holster Press

... and I thought all those holsters were hand made ... lol ... just kidding!

Thanks for the reply Eric. I suspected that a press was used in looking at the consistent markings on certain brands of holsters, but didn't know what or how.

I've seen clickers used in saddle shops and thought that might be an option for that machine, but I was not sure how to pad it for molding. I've messed around with some foam between pieces of plywood in an arbor press and ended up with foam impressions in the leather. I used the wrong kind of foam obviously.

Do you use your press on dummy guns only or on actual guns also?

I assume the holster is sewn at the time you put it in the press, is that correct?

How wet is it, about right for stamping and tooling, i.e. just starting to show a return to it's dry color?

How long is it left in the press?

I'll think of some more dumb questions about the time I cleck "submit" ... lol!

Many thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience.

Best regards,

Bill
 
Old 07-19-2006, 05:57 AM   #4
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Well....they are STILL hand made :wink: and I want to keep them that way..thats why I press the ones I have to...my hands have seen better days..

The rule for pressing and what material to use to transfer the pressure is strictly trial and error...whatever the finish is that is against the leather will be pressed into it. I use Gum Rubber as its smooth and leaves no marks.....others use other materials. You can actually make different finishes by altering the material used in the press......cool! Ive thought about getting a pet alligator just for that purpose.....kidding!

Yes..the holster is stitched, edged and wet when it goes into the press and/or the molding process is started. I use dummy guns, blue guns and real guns in the press....with real guns Im VERY CAREFUL! not to use too much pressure! (With customers guns...its all done by hand. No pressing is done with guns that arent mine to break, just in case! :roll: )

NOTE: Some makers only press their holsters...no boning is done to them after this process. Some makers have a "premier holster and a basic/cheap holster" and if you look...you can see they are just pressed in the latter mention. Lots of the machine made holsters are this way too. I like the way they look with detail molding......just an anal holster maker I guess!

How wet the leather is and how long it stays in are all determined by:: the design of the holster, what material is being used, what gun is being used, the weight/thickness/density of the chosen material and how much molding I really want in the product. Time in the press is very short.....1-10 seconds typically.

It would take a bible sized book to pass on all of the details for just this part of it, because of the variables. You get a good idea of what to do in each situation after you do enough of it. Screw ups are how I learn the fastest and with a press...you learn what not to do in a hurry!

Ive pressed 7-9 oz Horsehide with alot of pressure and had to cut the holster apart to get the dummy gun back out of it. Just one of the many lessons learned.

You dont want the holster to dry in the press...you want it to dry in front of cool/moving air. That way you retain most of the leathers natural oils and have a better product that wont dry out and crack, before its time is up.....

The main time I use my press, which is on every holster I make, is with my Makers Mark. Believe it or not, it takes around 10000 PSI to imprint dry leather with the size and shape of mark that I use. Scarey isnt it!

Hope this helped and ITS MY PLEASURE TO PASS IT ON!


Shoot well and god bless
 
Old 07-19-2006, 11:00 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 11
Holster Press

Many thanks for the tips and info Eric. I sincerely appreciate it. ~Bill
 
Old 07-20-2006, 12:12 PM   #6
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Posts: 311
No worries......you know you could just call me anytime. Id love to help you and its alot faster than this thread stuff is.........
Im glad to help and god bless
 
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