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Caped Crusader
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Making a Leather Holster for a Grap Gun


This question is for the leatherworkers here.

I've been trying to think about how to design a holster for the Begins grap gun I'm building (let me clarify, I'm *intentionally* parting from movie accuracy because this is not for a movie suit). I want to build a leather one for use with my ultimates holster belt. I have no idea how to mold leather into a holster that follows the contours of the gun.

Is it just done by soaking the leather like before and stretching it? How long will it hold its shape afterwards? Do I need to harden it with anything? What could I harden it with? Any tips or instructions you could offer for making a holster designed to fit the gun would be much appreciated. :p

I'm hoping to design the holster in such way that the gun points straight down, so the contours of the barrell rest squarely against the leg (and the holster in the pic appears to point straight down also).

Ideally I would also be able to secure the gun in the holster with a strap and snap behind the barrel like a modern pistol holster, so one could be able to do, you know, Batman-like things, without the gun coming out unintentionally (and breaking into a thousand little resin hunks).

I know the Begins grap gun as used in the movie doesn't use a belt holster (its attached by magnets), but the ultimates suit (which this holster is for) as seen in the pic I've provided a few times does appear to have a gun holster of some kind, though we can't see what exactly the gun looks like. So I'm taking some artistic liberty by incorporating the Begins grap gun into my suit.

Any leather molding tips would be appreciated. emoticon

Last edited by Deadly Lemur, 5/9/2006, 11:35 pm


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

PatrickJ wrote:

Is it just done by soaking the leather like before and stretching it? How long will it hold its shape afterwards? Do I need to harden it with anything(what could I harden it with)?



Hey pat – great idea (wish I’d thought of it) – I may not like the begins suit that much but I do go for the grapple gun design.

I did have a beginners leather 101 tutorial that I’ve put together up on my site – but it’s down for renovations ATM, I’ll email it to you if you like.

Nutshell - If you soak leather in hot water it will hold a shape – but it has to be untreated vege tanned leather : The processing that “normal” leather goes through means it wont stay in any shape you give it. Go to a leather supplier and they should be able to get you some.

It will keep the shape unless you put it in water HOTTER than the temp you used initially – so the hotter the better (but you do get shrinkage – the hotter the water the more shrink you get.) Test small sections before hand.

Depending on how your grapple is painted you could cover it with a cloth and mold the leather straight over it. But you would have to be sure the heat wouldn’t affect the gun….

If you want sharp curves in the leather the main issue is holding the leather tight to the underlying shape. I started off by making fibreglass molds but have recently taken to using polymorph.

It’s a polymer plastic that you can make malleable by immersing in hot water (from the tap) or with a hairdryer – and when it cools it goes rock hard. Best of all it’s re-useable.

Put a layer of thick cloth or leather over the grapple and then push the polymorph over that – it will hold it in place while the leather cools and give you a nice defined shape.

Here’s some pics of the process (which only took about 5 mins, its fast and easy and clean) to give you an idea what I’m talking about – if you need anything else, drop me a line.


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2/18/2006, 7:36 am Link to this post Send Email to GoldenAge   Send PM to GoldenAge
 
thuth Profile
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Great post, GA!
2/18/2006, 11:05 am Link to this post Send Email to thuth   Send PM to thuth
 
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


All the leather holsters I've seen are stitched but I think I'd use rivets.

[sign in to see URL]

I've been searching for a double buckle like I used to have on my saddles girthstrap but nobody makes them anymore. The one in the link above is right but wouldnt be wide enough for the look you want.

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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Can you get that polymorph around here? (the U.S.)
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

jokerscrowbar wrote:

I've been searching for a double buckle like I used to have on my saddles girthstrap



You mean a double prong buckle? Who needs one? I have two laying around here someplace gathering dust...
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

stampedemag wrote:

Can you get that polymorph around here? (the U.S.)



I don't know 'bout that - but lots of people seem to sell it on ebay(.[sign in to see URL]) If you can't find anyone to ship it out I'd be happy to post some to you - let me know.

It's been a real find - speeded up my process no end. Not that you'd notice.
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Patrick wanted to see one to see if it was worth modifying his design to be more like the Ultimates pic.
The only ones I could find are all too small,too narrow or unavailable.



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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Wow, thanks, I'll have to try that Polymorph stuff if I can find it.

Paul(artsee) seems to think a resin grap gun wouldn't survive a leather molding process or be suitable for use with a costume unless it were molded in one piece. :huh I dont know what glue he used on his, but mine's pretty freakin' solid. However I wouldnt mind getting an all metal grap gun.

I think I found a form of polymorph sold over here in the U.S.:
[sign in to see URL]

Do you have pictures of those buckles GA? I'm thinking of upgrading to a 2" wide belt for my utility belt if I can find a double prong *center-bar* buckle that matches the pic(the only ones I have ever found are too narrow, like on Sam Brown belts).

Last edited by PatrickJ, 2/18/2006, 3:59 pm


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Not sure if we have Polymorph here in the states, but what he's showing is thermoform plastic. I've used Friendly Plastic before, and it's the same thing.

Here's a Google search to take you to all kinds of Polymorph/Friendly Plastic goodness:

[url=[sign in to see URL]
-Brin


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


So are you saying, I would stretch leather soaked in hot water over the gun, and then mold this polymorph to shape over it and let it sit and hold the leather in place while it cools?

Last edited by PatrickJ, 2/18/2006, 4:25 pm


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

PatrickJ wrote:

So are you saying, I would stretch leather soaked in hot water over the gun, and then mold this polymorph to shape over it and let it sit and hold the leather in place while it cools?



Exactly - with maybe a layer of cloth between the gun and the leather so you have some wiggle room in the holster once the leather has formed. (and to protect the gun from the mold process - )

I'll see if I can't find the buckles tomorrow and snap a pic.
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Looking at the the Batman pic I think thats an ammo pouch hanging on the extra belt like on CA here.

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can you make a wooden form to form the holster around?

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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Ammo for what? Batman doesnt use guns. I'm thinking its a gun holster of some kind, and since he doesn't use guns its got to be a grapple gun holster(It just looks somehow like the top of a gun to me). I'm thinking what better place to holster a grapple gun than on the extra belt. That way the gun's holster can be secured to the thigh with its own strap as well as the extra belt section, to prevent the holster from flopping on the belt section. Also, that way Bats could just reach down and free the gun from his belt in a single fluid motion, just like a cop should be able to unholster his gun in a single motion with one hand.

Making a wooden form would be nice, but getting it to the right shape and size would be more trouble than its worth I'm afraid. Unless more people here are interested in leather holsters for their Begins grap guns. It would probably be easier in that case to just cast a copy of the gun(at least the holstered section) than build a form for it. Great idea though, given that you're talking to birchman. :p

Thanks GA! I appreciate all the advice. What weight of leather should I use for this holster?

Last edited by PatrickJ, 2/18/2006, 5:33 pm


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


making a generic wood form wouldn't be too hard would it? I don't have one of those guns yet :cussing so I can't say for sure.

As for the low rider holsters, they rock and look very cool imho.

Have you tried looking for a holster that'll fit it yet? Might fit something out there and save you headache. Been to a few gun shows and seen old holsters for next to nothing on more then one occasion. I've had a few people email about resin castings to make holsters on, never done it myself, so don't know how hard it is.

Just throwing this out since the friendly plastic thing was tossed out, they do have some stuff that's fairly heavy and comes in sheets, think it's impregnated into a felt type fabric. If you got some of that, you could use it to make a form to stretch the leather over maybe? or maybe use it to make a mold, then cast something solid to stretch over. Sure you could probably get your $ back on ebay

"birchman batman leather grappling gun holster co." :wink

Tom

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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

clevelandfx wrote:

"birchman batman leather grappling gun holster co." :wink

Tom



I like the sound of that. :p

I quess it wouldnt be too hard to make some kind of form for it, at least a very generic looking form with no detail to it, just the very basic form.

I guess one could be sculpted in sculpey or something, baked, and sanded to shape. Or use some polymorph to make one.

I have tried looking for one that will fit. I read a tutorial somewhere on the internet where someone took a leather drill holster and molded it to fit his paintball gun. With that holster though the gun wasn't pointing straight down, parallel with the leg, like Im looking for. Otherwise, the Begins grap is so oddly shaped I cant even begin to think of where to look for another holster that has a chance of fitting it. Maybe if they made holsters for sawed-off shotguns, that might fit it. :p

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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


Quote:

PatrickJ wrote:
Thanks GA! I appreciate all the advice. What weight of leather should I use for this holster?



Tough question,thicker doesn't give detail and thinner is - well - thin!

I'd say around 1mm to [sign in to see URL] (metric) or so if you can get it.
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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


One of the guys over at BTM thinks vegetable tanned leather won't mold very well by boiling it and clamp sandwiching the gun(or form) between.

He suggested vacuforming vinyl, which I dont have the means to do. But I DO have a lot of sintra laying around, which I could heat with a heat gun and mold around the grap gun.

Just throwing that out there to see what you guys think of it. I'm going to try the leather first and if that fails then I'll try the sintra.

Last edited by PatrickJ, 2/19/2006, 3:25 am


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Re: Leather holster for Begins grap gun


You could form some sintra around the grap, fill it with plaster, then mold your leather around that.
That would probably save any damage to your resin grap gun.


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