Author Topic: Hickock Holster in the Making  (Read 809 times)

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Hickock Holster in the Making
« on: May 27, 2022, 07:04:46 PM »
Holster construction is not a mystery and most people can do it if they know what to do. This thread will show the way I make holsters. Most of the time, that is, since there are no absolute rules on how to proceed and I stray off my own reservation when the job calls for it. Most photos in this thread show the tools used for that corresponding step. It might take some time between additions to the thread because this will get done as I can put the time into it.

You have to have a plan and know what you want as an end result before you start. For this project, I chose to make a holster like the Wild Bill Hickock one in Packing Iron on page 88. Unlike the original, this one won't be lined.



It’s easier to modify an existing pattern than to draw one from scratch. There’s no sense having to do all the initial design work again if there’s a pattern on hand that already is right. My modified Gallatin pattern was the starting point.



The newly made Hickock pattern is on the right.



I like to use manila folders for patterns because they hold up for quite a few uses and I generally make some change(s) before making too many of the same design as is the case this time.

That pattern then gets transferred to the leather, along with other parts. The toe plug will get cut from one of the scraps. I used a blue fine ball point pen for tracing this because it’s easy to follow and it doesn’t soak into the leather. Any remaining ink on the cut piece will get beveled off later. It's good to make sure you don’t have a leaky pen or it will seriously mess up your project. Blueprint weights come in handy to hold leather flat when tracing.



Before cutting the holster out, I like to punch the tight inside curves on the throat first. Then I cut following the lines.





Now all the pieces are cut out and ready for the decorative work. A scrap is saved to make the toe plug. The leather scrap with jeweler’s rouge on it is for stropping the blade to keep it cutting smoothly.



The decorative part is done. The edges that aren’t going to be stitched are beaded and the simple ¼” border is cut and beveled. Now it dries for the next step. For obvious reasons the photo doesn't include the drill press I used to impress the maker's stamp on it.


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Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2022, 08:24:38 AM »

 :)  Just TOO KOOL!!   ;)

People are still Hazardous to yer Health!!

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2022, 09:00:29 AM »
Thanks, Coffinmaker. It's fun to do, too.

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Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2022, 09:14:51 AM »
There are a few steps to do before dying. The back of the throat edge gets beveled, as does the back of the belt loop. The belt loop is also skived a little thinner (off the top grain) where it stitches on at the upper end. Stitch grooves get cut on both pieces. The square is to keep the straight line running across the belt loop straight. With the stitch grooves cut, the very edge is shaved off with a small bevel to take the sharpness off and any remaining ball point men marks get removed in the process.

For dye, the holster gets a dark brown mix, diluted a little with alcohol. The pieces are then set aside for the dye to dry thoroughly.



And after a second coat of dye since the first didn’t cover quite enough.


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Offline Johnny McCrae

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2022, 12:33:21 PM »
Excellent tutorial! I like how you displayed the tools used to make the Holster. That's a great tip about using a punch for tight radius cutting, I've always had problems cutting tight radii with a knife. A punch makes a perfect cut.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished project.

I took the attached picture at the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody, Wyoming. They say the Pistol and Holster was supposed to be owned by Wild Biil and was raffled off to pay his funeral expenses?
You need to learn to like all the little everday things like a sip of good whiskey, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk,  and a feisty old gentleman like myself

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:29:44 PM »

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2022, 01:46:12 PM »
Thanks, John. Thank you also for posting the photo. That holster is the the right side. It must be the match for the left side one in Packing Iron. But then, he wore them butt forward so that would be the left to match with the right one in PI. ;D  That's one thing I like about Slim Jims. They are suitable for either way of wearing them.

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Offline Capt Quirk

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2022, 05:20:05 AM »
To be honest, I always thought slim Jim's looked funny.

Offline Major 2

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2022, 06:49:41 AM »
IMHO the Slim Jim is the most exquisite holster design ever
Just as I consider the Colt 1860 Army the most elegant revolver ever....

Opinions however may vary
when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Coffinmaker

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2022, 08:31:14 AM »

 :)  Nah.  ;)

But almost Major 2.  Most Elegant Revolver title falls to the 1860 Richards conversion.  Pure artistry in steel.  The modern made over size examples are just poor imitations.  Really poor imitations.  One must start with the correct size frame and barrel assembly.

If one follows the Slim Jim holster as it evolved, you wind up with modern "speed" holsters.  I really like the sewn in toe plugs too.  Righteous KOOL they are.

Seriously!!  People Are Hazardous to Yer Health!!

Offline Rube Burrows

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2022, 09:11:41 AM »
Excellent post. I always enjoy seeing how others do their holsters. I always find out new processes or tools to use. Always interesting. Looking forward to seeing the rest.
"If legal action will not work use lever action and administer the law with Winchesters" ~ Louis L'Amour

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #10 on: Today at 03:29:44 PM »

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2022, 09:21:19 AM »
I prefer Slim Jim holsters for comfort. I find them visually appealing, too, because the design is so clean. No frills, just function. They fit the bill for elegant. Very suitable for the 1860. Over all, I like a stitched toe rather than a sewn in plug but having made a bunch of them both ways, my preference is slight.

The 1860 and the conversions are beautiful but I can't say either is more so. After all, they are both the same pistol, one is just modified. They both are elegant beyond all other pistols.

Excellent post. I always enjoy seeing how others do their holsters. I always find out new processes or tools to use. Always interesting. Looking forward to seeing the rest.
Thanks, Rube. I'm hoping to get on it again today or tomorrow.

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Offline Johnny McCrae

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2022, 10:26:59 AM »
Quote
IMHO the Slim Jim is the most exquisite holster design ever
Quote
I prefer Slim Jim holsters for comfort. I find them visually appealing, too, because the design is so clean. No frills, just function. They fit the bill for elegant.
My sentiments exactly
You need to learn to like all the little everday things like a sip of good whiskey, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk,  and a feisty old gentleman like myself

Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2022, 01:07:02 PM »
I had a few minutes this morning so I did a bit more on it. The edges on the belt loop and the upper curves are burnished with gum tragacanth. For that, I like to use a piece of old cotton fire hose. I have no idea where one would get a piece of that these days. Maybe the new nylon fire hose would also work. I’ve heard canvass works good, too.

The stitches are marked on both ends of the belt loop, down the main seam and across both sides of the toe.


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Offline Rube Burrows

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2022, 09:39:27 AM »
Looking great so far.
"If legal action will not work use lever action and administer the law with Winchesters" ~ Louis L'Amour

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Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2022, 09:41:16 AM »
Thanks, Rube. More coming.

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Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2022, 09:47:30 AM »
To attach the belt loop, I stitch the upper end first. That's right where the cylinder will be. To prevent the cylinder from wearing through the stitching, I hold it securely, punch the corners with an awl then flip it over and cut stitch grooves from corner to corner so the stitching can lie below the surface.





After punching the rivet hole, I wet the belt loop where it will fold over and bring it down to locate where the hole will go through the holster itself. With the rivet hole punched, a brad point drill can be used to recess where the head of the rivet will be so it doesn’t snag the pistol as it goes in or out of the holster.



After that, I set the rivet and stitch the lower end of the belt loop. It helps to wet the spot where the rivet goes so it will pull into the leather a little. The stitch lines are also set in stitch grooves on the inside to prevent future wear. To cut the curved part, I punch all the holes first then freehand the groove along the line of holes. The wire cutters were used to cut the copper rivet to the proper length. I see the photo doesn't include the 2" Vice Grips I used to hold the belt loop while I punched the upper corner holes.



With the belt loop on, I like to punch the holes along the front side of the main seam before assembly. Then I wet the holster where the fold will be and carefully fold it over and catch it with a few ties of thread to hold it until the leather dries. At this point, the only holes through the back are where the ties are. The rest will get punched when it’s stitched.




Since the leather is wet, I also give the proper shape to the toe so I can make a toe plug later on.




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Offline Marshal Will Wingam

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2022, 07:11:00 PM »
I got a little more done today.

To stitch the main seam, I start at the top and back stitch three stitches because the trigger guard area of the holster gets the most stress and if the main seam is going to fail, that’s the place where it will happen first.



At the toe I also back stitch one or two before tying off the stitching. Since this is going to get a toe plug and I am going to use a separate thread for that, this buries the knot away from the end hole, where the second thread will also go through to start stitching the toe plug. This is all subjective and everyone has their own way they like to stitch up a holster with a toe plug. Some just carry the stitch line around the end and do the toe plug without starting a new thread.



To make the toe plug, I trace the toe on a piece of heavy paper.



Then I draw the actual pattern inside that line the thickness of the leather.



To have a double thickness of leather, I glued another piece of leather to the back of the one I dyed and saved aside for the toe plug. Barge cement doesn’t hold the way it used to so I had to glue the pieces together twice then beat the tar out of them with a smooth faced hammer every few minutes until the glue held. I really have to find a replacement for Barge. The stuff just doesn’t hold like it used to. I’m not going to touch it for at least 24 hours so it has time to cure.



On a side note, that hammer is old. My father gave it to me when I was first starting to work with leather. Not only does it do a great job, it was my grandfather's so it it has sentimental value, too.

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Offline Rube Burrows

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2022, 07:10:03 AM »
Awesome heirloom hammer. Great to actually work and use something you know your grandfather used to use also.

Do you cut your Barge? Just asking because I have not had any problems with Barge not holding but I leave mine in the original can and do not cut it with anything. I can't speak for how it is compared to back when because I have only been doing leather work for almost two years but I haven't had any problems.

Holster is looking good by the way.
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Offline Johnny McCrae

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2022, 09:04:31 AM »
One of the best tutorials I've ever seen. The photography is first class professional.

Many thanks for sharing your expertise with us,
You need to learn to like all the little everday things like a sip of good whiskey, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk,  and a feisty old gentleman like myself

Offline Skeeter Lewis

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Re: Hickock Holster in the Making
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2022, 10:03:53 AM »
How do you make sure the stitching is even on the back? Do you use an awl or a punch?

 

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