Last summer my family visited Ireland and the UK. It was a great trip. Seriously stunning. Like go there now. amazing. The picture at the top of this blog is of the Cliffs of Moher on the western coast of Ireland. Anyway, while in Scotland, we stopped in Edinburgh for a day. We had enough time to walk up and down the Royal Mile and my father and I picked out some amazing kilts. Its was not from a little trinket shop either. These are 9 yard heavy weight wool kilts that were hand made to our measurements. Needless to say, they weren’t cheap. So having spent all of our money on the kilts we held of on the accessories.

When we got home, I got hard to work on a sporran for my father. A sporran is the little belt purse that a scotsman  wears. Its effectively your pockets when in a traditional kilt. Problem is that the mass produced sporrans are even in the 85-100 dollar range. So its time for handmade to win.

I started with a from scratch pattern that I made up based on a previous sporran that I had. (yes, I owned kilts before I went to the UK).

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This sporran was built for my father, It was made to match the sgain dubh that he bought there and the belt buckle. Note that I didn’t make the belt in that picture. It is just a cheap mass produced thing.


One of the first things that happens the second you get good enough at leather, everyone wants a holster.  So here’s going to be a collective post on several of the holsters that I’ve done.

First up; Colt Government Pocketlite .380


This little gun is a shrunk down series 70 1911. Unlike the newer Colt Mustang its built like a 1911 in function. Its quite nice. I carried it for a little bit and decided I needed a personalized holster for it. This was an early holster for me. very simple design. The gun sits low and it all hangs low on the belt. The inscription reads “Malo Mori Quam Foedari” Latin for Death before dishonor – roughly.

This was a quick afternoon build. I don’t carry it any more. The gun is too precious to carry. Its also not the most secure in the world. The holster was only about 6oz leather. Not strong enough to really grip.


Next up ; Colt 1871 Navy Revolvers


My father wanted a “Slim Jim” style holster for his longer barrel Colt Navy. I patterned and worked in 10oz veg tanned leather.

This was of my first real tooling projects.


Then it became the first suede lined project I’d done too.
IMG_20150407_233337 The whole thing was hand stitched with a very fine thread. It probably took twice as long as patterning, cutting, tooling, and dying combined.


At this point, he liked what I was doing so he wanted a cross draw version for his shorter barrel…

So again, patterning.


Cutting the layoutIMG_20150413_195514016

Tooling the new holster to matchIMG_20150413_224605227_HDRGluing the lining in place


Finally, the finished product. A matched holster set.


And my very happy father sporting the cross draw.



Next up, a more recent build. Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm

Probably one of the more comfortable carry pistols out there right now. I picked up a shield on sale and well, I just had to design a new pancake style holster for it!


The rough tooling cut in.IMG_20150816_115649

Its half way stitched, I’m wet forming it here so it fits snugly.


Finally, you can see my ever willing father modeling for me. I ended up making him one of these as well. the problem is that he added a special grip tape to the grip and it rubs on him a bit uncomfortably. Gotta work that kink out.



I’d say everyone should get into leather work though. Good holsters are hard to come by, easy to put together, and easy to turn a bit of side play money off of.

Shotgun Belt

My father has, in the last 2 years, taken up single action cowboy shooting with SASS. Its a cool, fun, and really safe way to go about shooting. Really interesting way to become deadly fast and accurate with some very old and very functional guns.

Well, one of the things that they do for this is to dress as cowboys. Cowboys need leather!

My father asked me to craft for him a special belt to hold his un-fired shells and some spare ammunition. He wanted a belt that buckled on the side and fit him right. So I went to town designing.


I’ve been getting into carving sheridan style for a while now and this was good opportunity to try a longer and completely original pattern.


Here I am using my Leather Wrangler’s swivel knife. Its a great knife for amazing detail! Very comfortable.


All carved and assembled, laying next to its original pattern.


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Lastly, my father showing it off with his (now mismatched pistol belt and utilikilt)

Overall, it was a fun project, it just took a really damn long time to make. Lots of tooling involved.

Shop Knife

It no secret that I like to work on knives. They’re an easy, quick and rewarding project. Well a few years ago I was on a vacation in Gatlinberg. The best thing there; The Smokey Mountain Knife Works. yeah basically the biggest knife market in the world. They have everything from super high end and rare knives to the super dirt cheap china junk.

Well, I love to pick up that china junk. Then strip it and make it nicer.


Here we have a 2 dollar junk drop point knife. So what did I do? Well I turned it into a nice shop knife that I don’t care too much about.


I stripped off the cheap string wrapping and did a full walnut handle. I re-heated the blade so its actually hard and holds an edge. I cut a new bevel so its actually sharp and precise.

Lastly, never should have a sharp knife without a sheath. Sheaths protect the blade and your fingers. I did a small Sheridan carved belt scabbard for this little guy. It just classes up the cheap knife.

Overall, for a one day build with about $3.00 invested in it, I think it came out nice.


If you’re looking for the knife you can also find it on amazon for (at this moment) about $8.00 right here: https://www.amazon.com/Whetstone-Cutlery-Stainless-Steel-Survival/dp/B004MCJ526/ref=pd_sim_200_50?ie=UTF8&dpID=41mDXS4rD0L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&psc=1&refRID=8NGF4DAA7P71ZE4ASDS2