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Han Holster Build (pic heavy)
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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:43 am    Post subject: Han Holster Build (pic heavy) Reply with quote

When preparing to put together my Han Holster I saw lots of threads encouraging a DIY approach but very little practical instructions or advice. I’ve seen several people say they wanted to tackle this project but I don’t know if any of them followed through. I’ve made some leather projects before but I kind of had to muddle through this one on my own so I thought I might set down how I made mine in the hope of helping someone else. Maybe someone will be inspired to (re)start their holster project. If I can do it I’m sure you can too. If nothing else maybe someone else can learn from my mistakes. Some basic leather working skills and experience are needed but while this is certainly not a beginner project it wasn’t quite as tough as I thought it would be either. And because I'm a visual learner there will be lots of pictures.

Disclaimer: My way isn't the only way of putting together a holster. I look forward to seeing what other people have done and comparing notes.

Finally please forgive the inevitable errors in grammar and spelling. I’ll try and be coherent. When I fail I’ll try and answer any questions.

Materials Used/Needed

Buckle set from MP
Metal disk from elvistrooper
(All leather materials and tools from Tandy Leather)
2” leather strap
4 oz Vegetable Tanned (“vegi-tan”) leather (about 1-2 sq feet)
8 oz “vegi-tan” leather (about a square yard)
Small quick rivets
Medium quick rivets
Line 20 snaps (medium)
Line 24 snaps (large)
Screw posts (1/4 inch)
Dark Brown dye (I used "Bison Brown")
Leather Weld
Rubber cement
Assorted leather working tools— leather shears, punches, snap setters, chisel, groover, needles and thread, etc

Basic leather working skills such as cutting, punching, setting snaps, setting rivets, finishing edges, sewing, etc will be assumed and those steps mostly skipped over.

Oh yeah, a costume base holster was a big help.


I used a Costume Base holster as my starting point. I don't want to start another anti/pro Costume Base debate but the holster is not that badly made (even if it isn't screen accurate)...the stitching is straight (straighter than I do), the snaps line up well, it has a nice adjustable system for different waist sizes, the holster is a good size to fit different blasters, and it hangs nice on me...but I don't care for the material it's made of. The pleather is pretty cheap and the first time I opened it I got big petroleum odor (which did fade with time). Compare that with the soothing smell when you walk into a leather store...ahhhh...that's high quality dead animal skin.

So first I pulled/cut apart the CB holster. I wanted to mainly salvage the holster and the hangy thing (anyone know the real name? The Y-shaped thing the holster attaches to) as patterns since it fit me so well and the droid caller spring clip since I may have leather skillz but no talent at metal work and wanted to reuse that part. Let's hang on to the rest of that hardware too...could come in handy.



Then I made a “practice” holster for my Rebel Pilot using the CB as a basic pattern as a sort of warm-up for the real thing. Just to kind of get a feel for what I was doing. I used 4 oz leather for this as it’s easier to cut, punch and stitch but for the Han holster I’ll be using a heavier 8 oz leather. I stained it Acorn Brown. You can see I also reused a buckle from the Costume Base holster.


I started with the belt since it looked like the more complicated portion of the project. I used a 2 inch strap/belt because a 2&1/2 inch belt (as I’ve heard some Han belts are) wouldn’t fit through the buckle ends. First I added large snaps to either end so there would be some adjustability in the belt.



When those were securely in I found the mid-point of the belt and cut it in half.


Then I taped the buckle clips to the ends and just kept trying on the belt and cutting off length until I had a good fit. When I was happy with the fit I just attached the buckle clips to the belt with some small rivets.


Now that we have a nice clean belt with a good fit it's time to add all that Solo "flair".
One of things holding me back from starting this project sooner was the thought of sewing the belt tool pocket sides into the belt since I'm not a real pretty or straight stitcher. Then I had a thought...those tool pockets are nothing but belt pouches but on a different scale and without closure flaps (except for the pouch to the immediate left of the buckle) and I make my belt pouches by using Leather Weld to hold the sides together instead of sewing them so my sides turn out more even and "square". I could do the same with this belt!

First I made the patterns. I usually use cereal box cardboard (mmm…chocolate mini wheats).




Using the templates I then cut the pieces out of 4 oz leather, put in a groove along the interior fold lines and dyed them. Then I used a small dab of rubber cement to hold the pieces in place on the belt while I stitched the back to the belt. You could also just use small clamps to hold the piece in place but it gets hard to sew around them in such a small area. Then fold up and glue the sides. Pretty easy.
Turns out I like the look better as well. The belt tool pouches have a little cleaner look around them without the stitching even if they aren’t as accurate.



Don't forget to place the droid caller clip. It will just pop in again with some small rivets.


Next I repeated the process on the other side, trying to keep all the tool pockets evenly spaced. The elvistrooper disk has a screwback so all you have to do is punch a hole in the belt and screw it in.

The gas cylinder is in there pretty good since I wet molded the strap to the cylinder but a small dab of rubber cement should make sure it stays in place and still be removable later should the need arise. If not that little piece of strap will be easy to cut away and replace.
(props from Corellian Exports BTW)


You can see the comparison between my belt and the Costume Base belt.


Okay, the first section is complete. Let’s take a break, have a cup of caf and get back to it.
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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow...all that posted? Okay...continuing...

Okay, the next part of the belt to work on is the Y-piece the holster attaches to. I just used the CB piece as a pattern, adjusted the straps to 2 inches wide instead of the 1&1/2 it was, cut it out, dyed it and added the attachment clips to the ends with screw posts. Really easy except for getting the screw posts in. I should have “skived” the leather which is just shaving it so it isn’t so thick. 8 oz leather when folded back on itself is THICK. Skiving it would have made it thinner and easier to double over.


You can see I also used the CB holster as the basic pattern for my holster except with a more accurate "cut away" section. I also used the CB leg and holster straps as a basic pattern. I traced the patterns into the leather, cut them out and dyed them. Then go ahead and attach the leg strap to the holster once you’ve set the snaps because once you sew it shut you can't get in there to work.



Next, add a sewing groove. This isn’t a required step but it gives you a guide when sewing and keeps your stitches straighter and more flush to the leather.


I’ve never done a holster cap before but I have sewn up belt pouch sides before and the process looked pretty similar. To size the cap (since the CB holster doesn't have one) I took out my Rebel Pilot holster (knew that would come in handy) and just kept putting round objects in the end until I found a good fit. What you see in there is actually the lid/cap for a kitty litter container. I used that as my pattern. I traced the pattern onto 4 oz leather, cut out and dyed it and after grooving the edge, spaced sewing holes around the edge.


Then I just started sewing it onto the end of the holster, pulling the thread tight and the holster just took shape around the end cap. After that it’s just a matter of sewing up the sides following that sewing groove we were smart enough to put in earlier.




You can see I had some overlap with the end cap and while I did a good job lining up the edges on the holster they could use a little evening out too. Now you could use shears to cut away the excess but let me show you a little trick my leather guy (yes I have a leather guy) showed me. Pull out your Dremel (yay power tools!) and with a sanding cylinder sand down the edges so they're even. You really want to wear your dust mask and goggles with this step since you're basically sanding tanned animal skin and the Dremel cuts through that like nothing and will kick out a lot of...um...leather dust? For the same reason go easy with the Dremel, just a few gentle touches to the leather will accomplish a lot.


Much better. Now just re-dye those newly exposed areas.


Now to check the fit of the holster before attaching it to the Y-piece. That’s a Blast-tech blaster and it fits great!


Now all that’s left is to attach the holster to the Y-piece and we’re finished. The CB holster used 2 rivets but since the Blast-tech is so heavy I’m going to err on the side of caution and use 4 (medium) rivets.



Yay! Done! Now let’s put it on and go troop...uh oh…the holster is hanging off the belt around my knee…that makes for an awkward draw. Looks like I hung the holster too low on the Y-piece. Oh well, it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. So pull out the Dremel (yay?) and drill out the rivets. Now move the holster higher up and rivet it in again except this time using only 2 rivets. If the hang is good then put the other 2 rivets in; saves having to drill out all four if another adjustment is needed. At least I started low. If I had started high and had to go down the previous rivet holes would show and I’d have to re-do that entire Y-piece.

Even moving the holster up nearly all the way didn’t help a whole lot. I realized I had to shorten the Y-piece straps so everything would sit higher on my hip. I cut about an inch off each end of the strap and since we’re re-doing the ends I just went ahead and skived the leather. This time there was no problem with the screw posts.



After this last adjustment everything fit great and the blaster is hanging within easy draw reach. Sometimes I even impress myself.


I couldn’t say how much time spent on this project. There’s a lot I would do while watching TV and then there’s planning time and prep work on the patterns and drying time for dye and Leather Weld and such. Plus there were a lot of false starts as I made patterns I didn’t use and tested other dye colors I didn’t like as much.

You can see I made an ANH belt/holster but you could use the same basic process for whatever version you want to build.

I hope this helps anyone planning to put together your own Han belt and holster. Now go get started!
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Nikkos Khann (Conley Nichols)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, this is an AWESOME tutorial! Could you just add a list of tools that you used? I am not wanting to have to buy an entire tool kit.

Thanks! Mr. Green
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial, this will really come in handy when I get around to making my Han Belt later in the year.
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SteveSolo (Steve Elliot)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please keep us advised on how your progress is going when you start.
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Felgercarb (David Hayes)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fantastic tutorial there and a lovely bit of workmanship....very envious!
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see more people out there try and make thier own holsters. Its a true test for a Han costumer. One can but it... yes, but to make it is like earning your wings. Well done! For those of you out there still sporting a CB and wanting to upgrade, its not that hard, and you will be glad you did it.

Bob Kohn
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Commander Cody (Jason R.)
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very impressive Smile This holster looks like a lot of work.

Please keep up posted on this thread.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the kind words everyone. I was a lot of work but the work was worth it.

Anduril--Glad to hear it! Let me know if I can be of any help and take lots of pictures!

Nikkos--Tools used...


Leather shears
Utility Knife
Edge beveler
Edge slicker
Mallet
Leather punch set
Set of snap and rivet setters
Groover
Chisel
Skiver
Poundo board
and other incidentals from around the shop like the Dremel, a straight edge, tape, dust mask, googles, etc

If anyone has any other questions please feel free.
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Nikkos Khann (Conley Nichols)
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the list!

Leather shears
Utility Knife
Edge beveler
Edge slicker
Mallet
Leather punch set
Set of snap and rivet setters
Groover
Chisel
Skiver
Poundo board
and other incidentals from around the shop like the Dremel, a straight edge, tape, dust mask, googles, etc

If anyone has any other questions please feel free.[/quote]
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 3:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How many dye applications ("coats") did you do? What color dye did you use? I would have used Timber Brown, it has a much richer color.

Did you apply any finish, after you dyed it? It's kind of hard to tell.

How come you didn't cut down the Y piece to fit the back of the holster better? It looks a little strange with that leather sticking out of the sides.

All-in-all, a pretty good job.

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jedimika ()
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used 2 coats of dye and I used "Bison Brown" (in the Materials Used/Needed section) . I thought that shade was the closest match to the ANH belt in the Official Pix Han photos I got. Color could be off though. I didn't use a finish (good question) because I was looking for more of a flat weathered look.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Standing ovation!!!!
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Cobalt60
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice work Cool the giant gear in my head shifted one full cog to the left
(you've given me many ideas) cheers!
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can we get a sticky on this please?

TY


Bob
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