Monday, March 2, 2015

Brandon Makes a Leather Gun Holster

What's a person to do when the snow is hip high on a corgi, and still falling?  The best thing to do is to make only brief forays into the winter landscape and be sure to have lots of steamy hot beverages and in-door projects, right?  And Netflix too, of course.  

Even the wildlife doesn't want to be outside in this kind of weather.  I found this starling trying to escape the snow by hiding in the garage.  The cats thought this was great fun, but I took pity on the bird and released him into back into the snowy day.  I was trained by my ornithology teacher to hate starlings for the greedy way this introduced species uses nesting sites, but I can't help but admire the lovely colors of their feathers and beak when viewed up close.    

It was so cold outside that I found an egg in the nest box that was frozen solid and cracked with the cold.  This was definitely a day to play inside. 

Brandon decided to tackle a gun holster project while I sorted through my vegetable seed collection and pestered him by taking pictures while he was trying to work.  He started by finding a picture of a holster on the inter-web for inspiration, then he laid the gun on a piece of paper and used a pencil to trace it's shape, and then sketched the holster over the gun tracing.  So that's how you make sure it's the right size!  I was impressed.  

Then, he cut out the holster shape he drew, and used pieces of tape to create a mock up of the holster in paper.  He made some alterations to his design once he saw how it would fit together with the gun inside.  Do you think he would be offended if I compared it to playing paper dolls?  

Once he had the paper version the way he like it, he traced the paper cut out onto a piece of cow leather.  

He used a knife to cut the leather, and made a front piece and a back piece.  

The leather has a slick side, which will face out, and softer textured side, that will face to the inside, against the gun.  

By the way, does it bother anyone to see pictures of a gun?  When I was in high school a friend of mine drew a very accurate still life of his dad's gun for a home work assignment in our art class.  It was a very detailed and labored drawing, but our art teacher was disturbed by it and my friend had to have several meetings with the guidance councilor and the principal, and I think his parents were called.  Most of us students were baffled since we weren't used to considering the content and context of our art, and were focused on learning technical skills.  He had excellent drawing skills and really captured the complexity of the gun form, which is an interesting object, especially to a teenager.  Later, when I asked the teacher what the problem with the drawing was, she told me that because the gun was shown with bullets, she was concerned about him.  At the time, I thought she was concerned that he shouldn't have access to a loaded gun since he might have an accident, but looking back, I realize that she was concerned that his drawing was about violence. I don't remember thinking the drawing was violent, but maybe I was naive.    Maybe seeing a gun and not thinking of violence isn't possible, which is the reason they are interesting objects, and why posting pictures of a project like this, that involves a gun, seems like it could bother someone.    

This holster is meant to attach to a belt, which holds it firmly against the hip.  Brandon cut slots on each side of the holster for the belt.

He clamped the front and back pieces together, and used the belt sander to sand away the irregularities, and make them a perfect match along the edges.  I never realized you could do that!

He did some touch ups to the edge with a sander bit on his dremel tool.  

Then it was time to do some work with leather hand tools.   

These are pretty tools with wood handles.  I'm not sure what these tools are called, but I know that some of them are gouges, for carving grooves in the leather, and I believe the one in the front has a little wheel that marks where the stitches go.  

Brandon used these tools to make a nice clean edge on the leather, and to create a groove for the stitches.  

He used his dremel tool to drill tiny holes for the stitching.  

And then used a fat leather sewing needle and special thread to sew the pieces together.  

When I asked him what the paper clip was for he said it was his very own inovention (inovation + invention = inovention?).  I think he also inovented that word!  I can't remember what the paper clip does now, but he was quite proud of it, so it must be a critical part of his process.  

He can sew!  

He also attached a loop of leather with a snap, which goes over the gun hammer so the wearer doesn't have to worry about snagging it and shooting their leg.  Brandon has a set of letter and number stamps, which he can hammer into the leather and imprint the shape of the stamp into the leather.  Apparently it's easy to reverse the number three!    

To shape the holster to the gun, he made the leather wet, wrapped the gun in plastic, and formed the wet leather to the gun.  Now that the holster is dry, it holds the shape of the gun perfectly.  How neat is that!  The final step is to stain the leather.  I may have to wait until we have another snow day before I can show you the final product.  


MA said...

Why Payne 32?

rain said...

The gun belonged to Brandon's great uncle, who's last name was Payne, and the gun uses a 32 caliber bullet.

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