Author Topic: Weight leather for cartridge money belts  (Read 1216 times)

Offline Ricochet Jose

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Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« on: December 20, 2021, 06:49:16 AM »
Good morning!

First time on the forum with a question that’s probably been asked before…

Milled vegtan leather - what weight do you use for cartridge money belts?

I’ve made a couple money belts out of 4-5oz vegtan, which I think is the preferred weight, but they just don’t have the “pebble grain” look that the ones in packing iron do.  So I’m going to experiment with milled leather since it has the grainy look to it.  However my two options are 3-4oz or 5-6oz (unless someone can direct me to 4-5, the couple I’ve asked get it custom made - I can’t afford that right now!).  Obvious concerns are that 3-4oz would be too flimsy and 5-6oz too thick - but since it’s milled and softer than normal vegtan the 5-6 would work?

Let me know what you all use, thanks in advance!

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2021, 07:45:25 AM »
Actually I like the 5-6 with milled leather or us 4-5 for regular leather not milled. I've had some 4-5 milled before and it's almost too flexible for a money belt once it's milled. I'd like to hear from Buck Stinson or David Carrico or some others experienced with using milled leather on money belts.
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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2021, 08:33:43 AM »
I certainly not in the league of Cliff, David or Buck, I do own products from all three.
However, I will respond, from my own experience.
I was given some hides of 5-6 oz pebble grain milled leather, when a "not known to me" Biker Leather smith closed his doors for good.
My benefactor in the gift was our own "Johnnie McCrae" John Saffran.

Having just the5-6 oz. it was that which I use for my two-money belts, they have served me well for years.
If I were to make one again, 5-6 oz would be my choice.
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2021, 10:39:09 AM »
Although I've never used any milled leather, it sounds like the 5-6 oz is the right choice.

Welcome to the forum. Be sure to post photos of your work when you can. We're photo junkies here.

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Offline DeaconKC

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2021, 04:35:50 PM »
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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #5 on: Today at 07:58:44 PM »

Offline Ten Wolves Fiveshooter

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2021, 09:26:55 PM »
I’ve used 4-5 and  5-6 I had good results with both, I prefer 5-6 for longer casings such as 45-70

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Offline Buck Stinson

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2021, 11:45:03 AM »
I order all of my leather direct from Hermann Oak.  I have several special things done to my leather while in the order process.  I can't get these special requests, when buying from a jobber or retail outlet.  I buy saddle skirting backs only, not full sides.  I have everything leveled to my specs, including cartridge loop material and money belt material.  In the original F. A. Meanea catalogs I have in my collection, he referred to his money belt material as "pebble grain calf skin".  I have this leather done to my specs, most importantly leveling to the weight I like.  Many of my original saddle shop made money cartridge belts from the late 1870 to 1900 period are 4 1/2 to 5 oz in weight, so this is what I order.  I will not compromise on the quality of the leather I use and try very hard to stay as close to the original thicknesses as possible.  Of course, not all "old time" saddle makers used the same leather, but Frank Meanea was a perfectionist and I try to follow his example in my own reproductions.  Having said all this, it is impossible to find leather today that will have the same feel and stiffness as leather tanned back in the "real" cowboy era.  Back in the day, cattle were not slaughtered until they were sometimes over five years old.  At that age, the grain in the leather had time to tighten up, which made it a bit stiffer and more dense.   Today, beef cattle are sometimes processed at less than half that age.  The leather simple hasn't had the time to mature.

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2021, 01:05:09 PM »
How much of a premium does Hermann Oak charge for this custom leveling, etc.?
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Offline Buck Stinson

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2021, 04:22:08 PM »
Hermann Oak charges on average, $5.00 per side to level it for me.  I have all of my saddle skirting leveled.  I do this, simply because it is more cost effective.  If it is an even thickness throughout, I have very little waste.  I can use the small pieces for belt loops on Slim Jim holsters and things like billet and buckle ends for my cartridge belts.  Out of a 21 square foot back, I only end up with around 2 square feet of scrap.  Pattern layout is everything. 

Offline Ricochet Jose

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2021, 01:08:06 PM »
Thanks all for the replies! 

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #10 on: Today at 07:58:44 PM »

Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2021, 09:05:23 AM »
How much of a premium does Hermann Oak charge for this custom leveling, etc.?

The additional cost isn't a great deal but they do like to do orders of at least 10 sides.

It sounds like Bucks methods are similar to mine except I've been getting my skirting leather milled from Wickett and Craig. Rather than full backs I do buy sides and will only get a couple money belt bodys off of the straight side of the back. The rest of the side down towards the belly I use for possibles and shooting bags and those sorts of projects where the milled leather fits the bill. The full backs is definitely the way to go if planning to just use for belts because otherwise over half of what you buy is not suitable for the belts.
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Offline Buck Stinson

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2021, 10:40:41 PM »
When I order my money belt leather, I always ask for the full sides to be at least 86"s long.  That way, I can cut the belts end to end the full length of the side.  I don't have any of my leather milled.  In my opinion, it takes all of the body out of the leather and makes it  too  soft and flexable.  My idea of a quality holster, is one that holds its shape, without being stiff as a board.   You don't need heavy leather to accomplish this.

Offline CraigC

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2022, 02:06:00 PM »
Are you guys using anything to reinforce the area with the cartridge loops? I've made exactly one money belt out of 4-5oz and the loops are all but unusable because the belt is not stiff enough to support the loops. These are woven, which  may make the difference. I thought about using a strip of 8-9oz, if not 12-14oz in between the two layers of 4-5oz just to stiffen it where the loops are woven through it.
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Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2022, 02:19:43 PM »
Are you guys using anything to reinforce the area with the cartridge loops? I've made exactly one money belt out of 4-5oz and the loops are all but unusable because the belt is not stiff enough to support the loops. These are woven, which  may make the difference. I thought about using a strip of 8-9oz, if not 12-14oz in between the two layers of 4-5oz just to stiffen it where the loops are woven through it.

I almost always sew the loops on money belts. Money belts are typically too thin for full woven loops. I've made exactly one that I recall and used 6-7oz leather on that belt. I have done quite a few semi-woven loops money belts and that works pretty good. 99% though have sewn loops.

Edit to add. I think you could get by adding a strip to the back of the front side to thicken it up. I was looking at an original Al Furstnow money belt I have and it has the front side of the belt doubled up. The belt appears to be made with about 4oz leather.
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Offline CraigC

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2022, 10:51:44 AM »
That's kinda what I figured, that stitched loops would work better. I think I may try one with some extra material on the inside to shore it up a bit. I'd rather smack myself with a hammer than do stitched loops.  ;D
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Offline Cliff Fendley

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2022, 05:11:35 PM »
I machine stitch most loops but hand stitched isn't a terrible job once you get the hang of it. I can generally sit and stitch a set of 35 loops in the time I'm watching a good western movie.
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Offline Buck Stinson

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2022, 11:08:56 PM »
I always hand sew the cartridge loops on all the belts I make.  As far as vintage saddle shop made belts are concerned, I can't think of any that had woven loops.  Even the least expensive catalog house belts, had sewn loops.  I hand wax my linen thread and I can usually sew 32 loops in 25 minutes.

Offline Skeeter Lewis

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2022, 11:17:36 AM »
Buck, that is incredibly fast. I must be doing something wrong . . .

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2022, 12:08:04 PM »
I'm not that fast, either. He's just a wizard. ;D

When I worked at the saddle shop, Charlie was quick like that. It takes a lot of practice.

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Offline Buck Stinson

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Re: Weight leather for cartridge money belts
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2022, 09:58:55 PM »
Actually, 43 years of practice.  It's funny how repetition can make the work either fun or boring.   Amazing after all these years,  my time in the shop is seldom boring.

 

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