Hand Dyeing Leather Holsters at Circle KB
Tips for beginners and professionals. If you have been working with leather long enough you may have your own tricks and tips. At Circle KB Maker Brett Park makes all of the gunleather. He hand cuts everything out of premium grade vegtable tanned cowhide. Probably the most important step. Quality Materials. This summer day video catches Brett taking advantage of a a nice afternoon to do some dye work outside the shop.Take a look behind the scenes as Maker Brett explains what he is doing as he applies a second coat of dye to a holster and gun belt.
Things to Know Before You Start
Start with Premium Vegatable Tanned Cowhide
Experiment on scrap leather first if you are trying a new technique or using a new dye. *Not all dyes are created equal. Use a high quality oil based dye for best results.
Prepare your project to the point at which you are ready to apply color. Some people think they should dye their leather first and then proceed to cut out and assemble their project. This is not the case. Your project should be in the finishing stages before you apply color.
Using a Professional Oil Based Dye and a Wool Bobber apply your first coat using quick strokes to cover the entire surface being careful not to oversaturate in any one spot. For instance, don't leave your bobber on your work and take a quick phone call. You will be disappointed when your come back to your bench.
Let your work dry completely.
Assess whether it needs another coat to deepen or enrich the color. Brett applies two to three coats on his Mahogany and Black rigs.
Q & A
Why not just buy dyed leather to begin with?
If you can hand pick your leather and it fits your needs you should. However, Brett likes to control the quality of the leather by starting from scratch. That way he can get the highest quality hides and avoid tannery dyed leather which is often subpar leather. It just makes sense tanneries dye weak hides to hide blemishes and imperfections in the grade. You can pick out pre-dyed leather holsters because they usually have white or black virgin thread. Sewn after the dye work.
How long should I wait inbetween applications?
Brett waits until it is completely dry. No moistness or tackiness to the touch. It is not something you can hurry. Plan on 24-48 hours at least in between.
Do you sew before you dye?
Can I use a sponge or cotton instead?
Brett uses a Wool dobber you can get at Tandy Leather or Oregon Leather. You should use whatever works best for your application.
What is the hardest part?
Every cowhide is different by it's very nature and takes dye differently so there is no recipe for pure success. Work with it, be patient and remember the leather you are working with has been alive walking around on earth. Work towards uniformity in color and overall finish.