Updated: Nov 14
Detail moulding of veg leather holsters was not called 'boning' and that it's so-called today is error. The PDF explains what that is instead:
This is a pair of detail moulded holsters I made for Skeeter Skelton back in the day while at Bianchi. We didn't use a bone or antler any more than Chic Gaylord did; we used motorcycle hand levers of aluminium!
Buried in that PDF above is Heiser's ancient prescription for hand moulding holsters. This one is earlier and very good, from a 1929 book by Frazier:
One would have to consider this instruction below from Charlie Askins in the '50s to be the product of field expediency by a man who knew how to shoot but not how to make holsters; soaking a new leather holster for six hours is a really bad idea:
Better this idea from a 1960s article; notice the plastic bag which has come about because they were new, and to replace the greasing (and subsequent cleanup) of the pistol that Askins recommended above (to prevent rusting the pistol, which some gunmen actually found advantageous for the SA's screws). Using a bag does not change the fitment of the holster after it was delivered to you, too tight! Its purpose is rust prevention only.
The contrast between 6 hours and 20 seconds is huge! If the latter seems an extreme, too, it's what I have always used as just long enough for the veg leather to wet through but not become waterlogged. The better to take the detail moulding with finesse. Major gunleather factories did it this way.
Read all about the evolution of today's gunleather during the 20th century in the second edition of my book, published 2022 and available at www.holstory.com .