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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy Boys!

This is the best fit topic for my question so here goes...

I've got a hankerin' to try my hand at leathercraft, especially making goods for my shooting addiction (don't tell the Wife). I'm having trouble finding anything authoritative on the topic and was wondering if any of you are into this. Any pointers on getting started would be much appreciated. What tools are required to make belts, holsters, sheaths, possibles bags, etc? What are good instructional texts? Tooling might become an interest later but first off I'd like to try my hand at some practical stuff.
 

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For leather, hardware, finishes, books, etc. your choices are pretty limited. The Leather Factory and Tandy leather are the only 2 nationwide outfits I know of. They have few retail stores anymore since Tandy closed almost all their outlets several years back. If you are interested, I will try to get their 800 numbers for you so you can get a mail order catalogue. Both sell pattern sets for many different projects with complete instructions and materials lists. Any books by Al Stohlman are excellent. He has a 3 volume series on how to make leather cases. I have it, and it is excellent. They are clear, concise, and even humorous to break the monotony. I have most of his books and many of the patterns and so forth. I have been doing custom leather work as a hobby for almost 30 years and I will be glad to answer any questions and help you get started on your projects. The tools you will need will depend on the project. It takes hours to do a project right. I have found I can make things for myself that I would have to pay hundreds of dollars for someone else to do. I have also found few people are going to pay enough to make it worth your while to resale items, but if you are just making things for yourself, you can learn to make professional projects with few tools that will last a lifetime if properly cared for.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
RollTide,

I found out the hard way that there aren't many sources of materials or information on this topic, at least on the web. The Stohlman name has come up in most places I've looked. Ran across a book on holster making by him the other day. It was only about 38 pages and figured it to be pretty skimpy on detail. Maybe I was wrong. Any idea of whether I should go after this one? Price was $25.

What's a good starter project? Was thinking of a belt, maybe a cartridge belt. Maybe the latter is too ambitious for a beginner. Wallets and keychains don't interest me having done those WAY back in junior high shop class.

Thanks for the response and information. I'll try not to make myself a nuisance.
 

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I have the book you mention. You will be surprised at how comprehensive it is. Many of the pages actually contain full size carving patterns for different guns. That price is way too high. Mine still has the original price tag of $6.95. The 2000 catalog from The Leather Factory lists the book at $9.99. Their number by the way is 1-877-leather. They can give you the 800 number of the store closest to you. I can't find a number for Tandy that still works. You will have to call information in Ft. Worth TX and ask for Tandy Leather Co.. They may be out of business altogether now. Many times you can find these on ebay at reasonable prices (but sometimes not so reasonable, so be careful). I remebered one more place in St. Louis, Mo called S-T Leather. You would have to call St. Louis 411 to get their number though. I would definitely get the afore mentioned book before I tried to make a holster. The Art of Making Leather Cases, Volume One, by Al Stohlman, also has patterns for several cartridge cases, knife sheaths, scope covers, etc. If you do, I think you will surprise yourself at the results you can accomplish.
 

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If you're still looking, Tandy's number is 1-806-352-4851.
Address:
Tandy Leather
1400 Everman Parkway
Fort Worth, Texas 76140

DC
 
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