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Fantastic work.
 

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Country, I'm wondering how you will make your belt. I have a friend from Alberta who worked in a saddlery shop for several years. He gave me a tip that I had not seen in instructions and guidelines (from places like Tandy Leather). He suggested I cut two belt straps, then split the full grain side from the felt side. After splitting them, you glue the two full grain sides together (full grain sides out) and sew them together. You end up with a much stronger belt. I didn't have a splitter, so I dropped by my local Tandy Leather shop and talked to them. The guy there split them for me for free, and I was set to go. I can tell you that I was sure pleased with the results. I've made two rigs: one in my avatar with bullet loops (i.e. .44 mag); one without bullet loops but with a leather box on the left side that holds a standard CCI plastic .22 LR ammo box. This second one was for my Single Six. Both belts are dual layer full grain leather.

Here they are on another thread: click here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 · (Edited)
Country, I'm wondering how you will make your belt. I have a friend from Alberta who worked in a saddlery shop for several years. He gave me a tip that I had not seen in instructions and guidelines (from places like Tandy Leather). He suggested I cut two belt straps, then split the full grain side from the felt side. After splitting them, you glue the two full grain sides together (full grain sides out) and sew them together. You end up with a much stronger belt. I didn't have a splitter, so I dropped by my local Tandy Leather shop and talked to them. The guy there split them for me for free, and I was set to go. I can tell you that I was sure pleased with the results. I've made two rigs: one in my avatar with bullet loops (i.e. .44 mag); one without bullet loops but with a leather box on the left side that holds a standard CCI plastic .22 LR ammo box. This second one was for my Single Six. Both belts are dual layer full grain leather.

Here they are on another thread: click here.
Tom...I've only done one other belt (pictured below) and I didn't split the leather. The only reason I can think of for splitting would be if you're trying to achieve a certain thickness and the leather you have on hand is too thick to begin with. It sounds to me like he explained the installation of a liner. I keep 6/7 oz. Hermann Oak leather on hand, as I feel this is a good weight as a single layer that I use for my semi-auto holsters, and it is a great weight leather when doubled up for the western rigs as I did when I was building the holster.

So, what I'll do is cut my outer layer out of 6/7 oz, being very exact to the outline. After that I'll flip that over on top of my leather (grain side to grain side) and rough cut the liner out of the same 6/7 oz leather. Once my rough cut is done I'll apply glue to both layers and mate them together flesh (rough) side to flesh side. Once adhered, I'll lay down my stitch groove on the outer layer and stitch. Once stitched I'll trim the excessive liner off. See holster pic below for an example.

Last belt that was built. 2 layers of 6/7 oz. B-grade Hermann Oak, 1 layer as a liner (inside layer) and 1 layer as the outer belt. Both layers are grain (smooth) side out.


Holster with 2 layers of 6/7 oz. B-grade Hermann Oak, 1 layer as a liner (inside layer) and 1 layer as the outer holster. Both layers are grain (smooth) side out.
 

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Hey Country, that is a nice looking belt. And I think you are right, too a degree, about wanting a certain thickness thus splitting the leather. Without splitting it, it will be a WHOLE lot thicker.

But the main reason my saddle maker friend gave me was because the squishy suede side doesn't add any strength. The strength of the leather is in the grain, which of course we all know. It was funny after the guy split mine, the full grain side was still strong, but I could almost pull the suede piece apart with my hands.

So splitting lightens the belt and makes the belt less thick, but you don't loose any strength to speak of. That is the idea, at least.

Looking forward to more photos, Country! Keep up the good, er, excellent work!
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
Hey Country, that is a nice looking belt. And I think you are right, too a degree, about wanting a certain thickness thus splitting the leather. Without splitting it, it will be a WHOLE lot thicker.

But the main reason my saddle maker friend gave me was because the squishy suede side doesn't add any strength. The strength of the leather is in the grain, which of course we all know. It was funny after the guy split mine, the full grain side was still strong, but I could almost pull the suede piece apart with my hands.

So splitting lightens the belt and makes the belt less thick, but you don't loose any strength to speak of. That is the idea, at least.

Looking forward to more photos, Country! Keep up the good, er, excellent work!
That makes sense to me the way you explained it. Like you, I haven't seen it explained in any of the books I have. Probably one of those old trade secrets. Belt pics are coming soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 · (Edited)
Hello again everyone. Sorry it took so long to get more photos up. I decided to go ahead and get the belt finished and post everything up afterwards instead of posting day to day progress. Besides, the belt only took a couple full days to complete. The pics aren't as good as the initial photos. My light box is too small to get the rig in. So, here's the final rig. Thank you all for following this. I'm really honored that this has gotten over 1000 views. To all that have commented, thanks for taking the time to do so. Happy Holidays!








 

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Country. Well, you did it again! It is what I've come to expect. Very nice. Well done.

Where did you learn your leather craft? Are you self-taught? Or did you have a mentor?

Tom
 

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The belt is a great addition to the holster.
Great looking rig, Well done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #51 ·
Country. Well, you did it again! It is what I've come to expect. Very nice. Well done.

Where did you learn your leather craft? Are you self-taught? Or did you have a mentor?

Tom
Thank you Tom. I didn't have a mentor, but there are makers out there that have inspired me. Makers such as John Bianchi, Brigade Gun Leather and Chris Andre to name a few. Everything I know how to do up this point I've either read online or in a book and from Bianchi's DVD set "The Art and Secrets of Western Holster Making".
 

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Wow ! That really looks good Country, glad you put those grips on look great IMO.

Like I said earlier you have a talent with leather bud
 

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Hey Country, the finale looks terrific! ;) :cool: You do very nice work, very professional looking. Looks like a lot of care went into that gun rig.

See ya put new grips on your Vaquero. They look fine with the gun and rig tones...but I'll be honest with ya, I like the black grips a tad better but it's what you like that matters.

I have a pair of Hogue black monogrips on my "blued" NM Blackhawk .45 and they look OK. I put them on to provide a better grip while target shooting as the factory Ruger black plastic grips were slipping under recoil. They wouldn't work to weel in fast draw competitions. However, I'm still in the "do I like these or not" phase with them.

Again, job well done! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Hey Country, the finale looks terrific! ;) :cool: You do very nice work, very professional looking. Looks like a lot of care went into that gun rig.

See ya put new grips on your Vaquero. They look fine with the gun and rig tones...but I'll be honest with ya, I like the black grips a tad better but it's what you like that matters.

I have a pair of Hogue black monogrips on my "blued" NM Blackhawk .45 and they look OK. I put them on to provide a better grip while target shooting as the factory Ruger black plastic grips were slipping under recoil. They wouldn't work to weel in fast draw competitions. However, I'm still in the "do I like these or not" phase with them.

Again, job well done! :)
Thanks JK. I have another pair of grips that I'm eyeballing specifically made for cowboy action shooting. I just gotta pull the trigger. Pun intended. Thanks again JK for the kind words.
 
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