Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rayguns: Holster for Model 81

After the raygun was finished, I started designing the leather holster. I began by studying existing holsters online. I knew that a traditional technique was to wet form vegetable tanned leather around the gun, which has the effect of stretching the leather a bit and creating a custom fit. After sketching out the basic idea I wrapped a paper towel around the gun and marked out the rough shape.

I then made a pattern using heavy cardstock. By stapling the pattern together I was able to carefully fit the gun into the paper holster and make corrections as I saw them. This picture shows the four different patterns I made, starting at the left and working to the right. I decided to make some decorative cut-outs in the leather. I chose diamonds as a larger version of the pattern on the grip, and the zig zags, which reflect the shape of the dorsal fin on the gun.

The final pattern fit to my liking, so I then cut it out of the 5-6 oz leather. Designing the pattern in cardstock is a whole lot cheaper than experimenting directly with the leather. Cardstock is stiffer than leather, so it doesn’t behave exactly the same, but it worked out well enough.

The previous photo shows the raw leather pieces cut out, with holes punched for rivets and snaps. Next I dyed the leather black, and began attaching the pieces together, both by sewing and riveting.

Once that was all finished, I soaked the leather holster in warm water. I dried it off as much as possible, then inserted the raygun into it, stretching the leather just a bit to create a snug fit. I left it overnight in a warm place to dry out. Next day I sprayed the holster with an acrylic sealer to maintain its shape.