12/29/10

Real Leather


For Christmas I received a bit of leather, of adequate weight for holster-making. I have never made anything out of leather up to this point, so I was very excited. I was not at my home during the actual construction process, so in-progress pictures will have to be taken off my cellphone at a later date. Until then, enjoy the pictures of the completed piece.

Specs:
  • Pancake style, OWB holster. Goes on the small of your back.
  • Molded around an (Airsoft) Sig P226
I learned a lot from this holster. Here's a list.
  • A little dye goes a long way, and a lot of dye goes a little way. I ended up making it darker in some regions than I wanted, and too light in others, especially around the laces. I'm wondering if the waxed thread caused problems with dye absorption, or if I just did not allow the dye to penetrate into the indents. In future tries, I will be sure to dilute the dye in a small container, in an attempt to control the dye for a more even coat.
  • Belt loops suck. I need an oblong punch to make smooth belt loops, or perhaps the proper Dremel attachment to clean them out. That is probably one of the worst parts of this holster.
  • I need some way to estimate how much thread to use when sewing leather. I made an estimate for this holster based on a hunch, and was nearly spot on. However, in larger and more professional projects, I will need to know how to accurately estimate.
  • Add a little more extra space than you think you'll need on patterns. It will make the gun fit better in the pocket for wetforming.
  • Apply more pressure when punching holes, and creating grooves in the leather.
  • Be sure not to attempt to bone around the gun with something with sharp edges. I do not own any sort of boning tools, so I used the back end of a Sharpie marker, as well as a toy billy club. The club was a cheap Marti Gras toy, and has seam lines. The seam lines cut into the wet leather, and left an impression.

Here you can get a better look at the overly-darkened slide area. All in all, the holster works like a champ. There's good retention (Mostly from the trigger guard), despite the smooth lines of the Sig P226. This particular model pictured is a KWA brand airsoft pistol. $16 at your local sporting goods store, rebranded by "Cybergun". Nifty little gun. I wish I had used something with a little more detail on the slide and front end of the frame, however. Perhaps next time I will make a Beretta M9 holster. Due to the slide design, it should have more detail after wet-forming, and be less likely to fall out. After using this holster, I have determined that it will keep the P226 in place very well. It will not even fall out if you hold it upside down and shake, with moderate force. A drawback to this holster is that the P226 is a large enough gun to make it difficult to conceal, but that is a different story entirely.
That's the reverse side of the holster. It's much lighter, and perhaps prettier. It photographs really well. The uneven dye job takes on an almost marbled look.
And finally, a picture of it on my belt. I wore it around for a good half hour without my friend noticing, under a jacket. Concealment, check.

11/22/10

Punk Pant Friday

Faced with $20 to blow and 2 hours to kill, I decided that I needed crazy, crazy orange cargo pants, the likes the Psychos wear in Borderlands. I am a big fan of their crazed aggressive style. If you are unfamiliar with the videogame Borderlands, I would highly encourage you to buy a copy. It's about $20 on Steam, last I checked.
A quick stop at my local Goodwill store turned up a pair of light tan cargo pants, for about $6. They ended up being about 3 inches shorter than marked, unfortunately... I don't know if they were modified, or if they just have a different fit than the pants I'm used to. At any rate, another stop at Walmart resulted in 3 packs of RIT dye, for about $7. I personally prefer the liquid dye because it is resealable, but only the red was available in liquid form. An old camping pot was used for my ghillie suit burlap dye, and has now been designated mine for any sort of misadventures.Water was put in the pot, the pants were dunked in hot water, and then dye and a cup of salt were added. The water was brought to a boil, and stirred. A pinch of yellow, an entire packet of "Sunshine Orange", and a plop of "Scarlett Red". The pants were left to soak for about an hour, stirring every few minutes.
Once removed, the pants were orange - Very orange. You can see the steam coming off them in this picture. The steam cloud was quite impressive, and persisted almost five minutes.
After the pants cooled off a little, and drained most of the excess water I laid them on some rocks outside for a picture. After this picture, they were left to hang in a tree overnight - a highly technical drying process. In the morning they were still moist, and were put back in the tree for 7 or 8 hours. Finally I threw them in the dryer, which worked wonders on them.
Here they are compared to my BDUs. The hot water may have shrunk them a tiny bit, even though they were already quite short. The BDUs have a good inch or two on them. To combat this, I unhemmed the bottom, and restitched it after letting out about two inches of fabric. In the following picture, they're tucked into the top of my boots.
As many people have said, "They're prison pants". I want to completely punk them out like the Psychos, adding dirt, mud, stains, rips, patches, and of course knee pads and a holster over the top. They fit reasonably well, and seem like they will work for the intended purpose.

Also, the title of this post is a reference to an event at my highschool. The "Popular" kids would roll up their jeans on Fridays, and called them "Punk pants". I was highly disappointed it didn't involve Tripp pants.

10/20/10

M14 Goodness

This was a little experiment in HDR photography. The lighting isn't the best, but it will do. That's a CYMA M14 "SOCOM", or really a Springfield M1A. 3x9 power illuminated red and green scope, 7 magazines. It's sitting on top of a green shemagh, and a PASGT helmet with a woodland cover. This was stitched together from 3 pictures of different exposures. Enjoy.

10/19/10

New Ghillie Pictures



I managed to go out to the woods with a DSLR-toting friend and my ghillie suit, and we got some decent pictures. They're mostly from quite close, under 20 feet, with very little vegetation in the net.

That's the back of the suit. There are some pine needles stuffed in there, done quickly so that we could be done before sundown. You can see a bit of the veil poking out from under the hood... That's why it's important to have someone sort of help you set your suit up, in my opinion.
From close up, it blends reasonably well. Imagine this at 50 or 100 feet! I'd be invisible.
I kind of crawled around a little, too. I have my hands tucked up in the hood. The hood is oversized, so when you go prone there is a pocket of air around your face. I use black fingerless gloves for now, and they seem to do the trick reasonably well.
I know it isn't terribly difficult to spot me in this picture, but if you were casually walking along in the woods, it definitely would not stick out.

Up next time, pictures with a cammed up rifle.

7/18/10

Wookie


For the record it's actually a ghillie suit, the second I've created.
This is the most recent picture I have, taken at an airsoft game. Unfortunately, it's a cell phone picture. A standard set of BDUs was taken, and net was hand-sewn to the back of the shirt, top of arms, and back of pants. No padding has been added to the front yet, and I failed to cut a hole for mesh in the back as I had intended to, to aid with air circulation. In Houston heat, any cooling modifications are a good idea. The night before this picture was taken, I used a spray bottle full of rit dye to darken the jute a little. The rest of the pictures were taken a day or two before, and still have the lighter stuff.
A few little pieces of grass and some sticks were added in the way of natural foliage. Because of the net, branches and plants can be weaved into the suit. The more natural stuff, the better. This was just my first actual ghillie excursion, so I failed to add as much as I should have. It's a learning process. Note that the way I cut the hood, it can be flipped back like a hoodie. It's not attached to the jacket, so it can be worn by itself if the need arises. Alternatively, I could use it to conceal a backpack, or rifle.
My hands stick out pretty badly. You'll notice that in the first picture I am wearing black fingerless gloves, to remedy this situation. Green fingerless gloves are the next project on the sewing machine.
Just laying on the ground, waiting for branches. It's been darkened since. I've been advised to go roll in a mud puddle, which I hope to take care of after the next rain.
Not the right shade for the front lawn. I sewed elastic bands to the cuff to work as thumb loops. They work like a charm. I need to do something similar for the legs, as they have a tendency to ride up if I crawl backwards. I could use the ties in the bottom of the BDUs... Hm...

Overall, this suit works for me. It's not as "high speed" as it could be, due to the jute length, but I like it. This is by no means the pinnacle of concealment tech, this is just a novelty project for the occasional airsoft or paintball game.

6/6/10

A New Beginning

With the summer here, and only about eight hours of work per week, I've found myself with more opportunities than ever to put random stuff, as well as projects, up on this blog. My aim is to update this once a week, for at least the next nine weeks.

Current list of projects, which may make an appearance:
  • Chain Maile (Soda can tabs, possibly actual rings later)
  • Great Helm (Sheet metal)
  • Ghillie Suit
  • Assassin's Creed Hidden Blade (Aluminum, Leather)
  • IWB Holster (Leather)
  • Messenger bag (Black Canvas, green nylon)
  • Pepakura Helmets (Halo CQB, Recon, ODST)
  • Painted/Modded Buzz Bee Rapid Fire Rifle
  • 3Ds Max tests
To kick things off, I have begun progress on a new ghillie suit. This will be the second suit I have created as the first one blended rather poorly, and was not constructed in the proper manner. Only three colors of burlap/jute were used; tan, dark brown, and dark bluish-green. This color combination was too highly contrasted, and did not blend well in my area. For the sake of documentation, I will post pictures of it, at some point. It consists of a Flecktarn jacket and hood, but no pants. The new ghillie is planned to be a two part suit, jacket and pants. The hood will be attached to the jacket via paracord loops. Instead of Flecktarn, a pair of old woodland BDUs will be used.

There are no pictures of shredding the burlap, however the dyeing process was photographed. I used Rit Dye, and my kitchen stove. An old camping pot held enough water and burlap, and was considered "expendable" for the purposes of dyeing. The entire process took two days, June 4th and 5th.
Please forgive the timestamp, I had to borrow a camera. The burlap was shredded into jute strands, and occasionally cut into strips. The Jute to Burlap ratio is approximately 5:2. The box pictured above is an example of the five containers the burlap was separated into.
The five containers, after one has been put through the dye.
I had a lovely assistant give me fistfuls of burlap, mostly strands, but some strips were included in each batch.
When the burlap came out, it would look something like this. It was still half wet, a problem which I will address in a moment.
That's how it looked finished. One light green, one dark green, one green/brown hybrid, one light brown, and one dark brown.
To take care of the wetness, I tried laying the tubs in the sun, on the afternoon of June 5th. Unfortunately, it was still wet. So, on the 6th, I spread the wet burlap out on a tablecloth.
In direct sunlight, the colors look better than under the artificial orange glow of my kitchen.
This green, while still a little blue tinted in some parts, is much nicer than my last attempt.
The light browns are completely new. I'm rather excited for putting the garnish on this suit.

To finish this project, I need to find more BDU pants, as well as a fishnet to sew to the BDUs. A trip to a local Army Surplus store and Walmart are tentatively planned for the 7th or 8th. While canvas padding is suggested to keep the front of the suit from wearing, I may postpone installing the padding until after the burlap has been attached.

So, post your comments, your project suggestions, anything you'd like. Go ahead, I want to hear from you, the viewers.

3/2/10

Is that a... Really?

In a search for affordable, family friendly, fun Christmas presents, I discovered Nerf. I purchased 4 Nerf Mavericks as presents, and each recipient was quite pleased...

You see, these were no ordinary Mavericks... They had something special.
This one was specially painted for my girlfriend. The paintjob isn't the only thing special about it, however.
http://www.majhost.com/gallery/Mandalore/Selling/PinkMav/p1010298.jpg
Yes, that's a tampon. I was able to remove the restrictor pegs from the barrels, increasing the power, and allowing it to shoot.... "Improvised" ammunition. Tampons, homemade darts (Stefans), or anything you can cram in the barrel. Unfortunately, tampons are not an ideal ammo source. They lack a weighted tip, and tumble quite a lot. However, this is well made up for in shock value.