Some of our volunteers

Some of our volunteers

10 May 2022

March - May 2022 Carol’s Leather gunbelt repair

As event organiser, I don’t often get the chance to do any repairs. In the absence of Carol, our leather expert, at our March event, I agreed to repair this thick leather gunbelt. It comes complete with holster and ammo slots and its owner tells us that he does wear it sometimes. This is our Judy modelling it before the repair.

I took it home but when I carefully read his description of the work to be done, I realised that he didn’t want the lining glued onto the belt as it was now, but he wanted it stitched around the whole very long length of the belt.

Carol jumped at the challenge but didn’t realise what a long job it would be. Ros


I volunteered to take a look at a leather holster belt. Usually, I try to repair items as they were originally. In this case it had not been sewn before but I agreed to do it.

The first thing to do was to inspect it fully. The belt itself was made of vegetable tanned leather and had some tooling patterns. The lining looked like a later addition in chrome tanned leather. This type of leather has a grey core and cannot be tooled. It had been attached most recently with some sort of rubber cement. I pulled it apart and cleaned off as much rubber cement as possible, ready for re- gluing with some water based leather bond. I had to clamp the length of the belt while this dried.

The next step was to mark where the holes would be. Luckily there was already a handy tooled groove along which I would place the stitches. 

A stitch marking wheel.

I chose this spacing as it was the same as the existing stitches around the holster. I tested a small piece of the holster stitching thread and found it was a man-made thread so I matched that in the rest of the stitching, using a 1mm wide braided polyester thread. 

I did not have a diamond chisel (a quicker method as you can do about 6 holes in one go) in this wide spacing so had to pierce each of the 427 stitches by hand with a diamond awl. When stitching, you don’t actually punch out holes as they would stay open, you pierce the leather which then can close up again around the thread and look much neater.

This took a while as you can imagine as the two layers of leather together were 6mm thick. I then clamped the belt in my hand made stitching pony, threaded a needle onto each end of the first length of thread and started saddle stitching. This is a strong stitch which holds even if a stitch on one side breaks.

Each 60cms of stitches took 2m of thread and took about a hour. Once the whole thing was finished, I cut down the lining leather where it overlapped the upper part, sanded the edges to remove any remaining glue and coloured the revealed grey chrome leather with brown dye

The finished article:



Carol, you are amazing!