Consider this a practical and quick how-to guide on how to make a leather holster. I have trimmed down all the steps to only those necessary to make this a simple and fast weekend project. I’ve written several other tutorials over the years, so if you like this one – you can see the others over here. This is a fairly simple project and you will learn basic template skills, leather cutting, leather finishing, and stitching.
There are many ways to make a leather holster, certainly ones that are quite a bit more precise as what I’m about to show you. However I realized after going through a bunch of those long and detailed posts, it kinda took the fun out of making the holster and made it a bit stressful. So – what I’ve done here is kind of took the key points and made them into an easy to follow guide to setting up your template.
First let’s start with the necessary tools for the job. Now assuming you are putting a gun in this holster…you might want to get your gun first. Mine’s a replica 1873 Cavalry Single Action Revolver, it’s a non-firing type, which makes this projects a bit, um safer perhaps?
Basic tools needed from left to right:
- Poster board for the template
- Rolling blade with a larger diameter
- Sharp Scissors or leather shears
- Metal ruler
- Razor blade
In the image above, I decided later on that you don’t actually need all of these items, so I will note that below:
- Leather glue (not needed)
- Clips (not needed)
- Stitch line creaser
- Stitch wheel (not needed if you have the next tool)
- 4 Pronged diamond punch awl
- Waxed thread
- Two leather needles – these have a blunt tip
- Stitching pony – to hold your piece while stitching
That’s about all that is needed if you want to do a crude job of getting this holster made, but if you want a more refined look, checkout the next set of tools:
- Hole puncher, or hole punch set – helps cut out tight corners with thick leather
- Edge beveler size 2 – rounds the edge of the piece to look more finished
- Drum sander – helps even out uneven cutting
- Cocobolo wood burnisher with a bit of waxed canvas taped on – make burnishing and polishing your edges a breeze
- Weighted mallet – used to hit the stamping tools
- A few random leather stamping design tools – just for looks really
- Swivel knife – carves designs or reference lines into the leather before stamping it
As well you will need some leather. I recommend Full-Grain Vegetable-Tanned leather at about 9 – 10oz. thickness. Leather dye is also optional if you want to darken the leather – though this will also happen naturally over time with sun exposure and exposure to oils and use. Also, get a cup or so of olive oil, or a good leather conditioner. I sell some that I make in the shop, but I only make it in small quantities. As well – a few paper towels and a sponge.
PART 1: The Template
First grab your posterboard paper. Actually…first – empty your gun out and make sure there are no bullets in it or the chamber, etc… My gun happens to be a non-firing replica, so I’m fairly safe there, unless I drop it on my toe. It’s fairly heavy!