Radio holster and strap

I made this about a year ago, but have not gotten around to posting until now. In fire department circles, a significant industry has sprung up making custom radio holsters and shoulder straps. Instead of forking over $200 (or more) to have someone else make me one, I thought I would try my hand at my own. Aside from a slight color mismatch between holster and shoulder strap (I dyed the leather myself) I am pretty pleased with how it came out.

In one of the bitter ironies of DIY, I spent at least three times the amount on leather for prototypes, dye, tools, etc. than I could have purchased one for from someone else. But hey, I had fun and was able to add more detailed customization than I would have had otherwise. I’ve even had several requests from colleagues for their own straps, but my poor fingers were sore for a week after all that hand stitching so I have so far declined all offers. Maybe someday…


Yeah, that’s a unique work of art that can’t be duplicated! Beautiful job on it! :grinning:


I never intended to sell anything, just for my own enjoyment - but that didn’t stop unsolicited orders from paying for the machine twice over.
Very nice leatherwork!


Beautiful. The strap is particularly striking.


I am amazed at how great your stitching and designs look. Have you done leather work before?


Very nice, I can see why your colleagues would love one that you made!


This is wonderful! Also, it’s timely for me…one of my grandsons is a fireman (just turning 21 this next Monday…so still very young) and just asked the other day about the possibility of making a radio holster and strap for him using the Glowforge. I’ll bookmark this and show it to him…he will be in awe and be inspired. My question…were you able to cut the longest section of that strap out with the Glowforge…or is it pieced together somewhere where I can’t see it? I don’t have any context of how long it is. I am also duly inspired to try making something like this. Very fine work!


Thanks. I had made a few small items as practice, but no, this was my first real leather project. The designs were mostly purchased or free - I am no artist. I wish I was, but I just didn’t get that gene.


Congrats to your grandson! I have found it to be a very satisfying and rewarding career, I hope he does as well. Being young is a good thing. This is a young man’s job, as my aching joints and muscles remind me everyday!

Great question about the strap. There have been MANY times over the last two years I wished I had a GF with a passthrough slot, but never more than with this project. The strap is too long for the standard GF bed, so I bought a long belt blank and trimmed the ends and punched the holes using hand tools. I could have also bought a large piece (a side or back) of pre-dyed leather and used a strap cutter. As far as the engraving…I did it in sections and devised this contraption…

to replace the crumb tray. I clamped the section of the strap I was engraving between the aluminum tracks on the top to hold it flat and then tucked the “loose ends” underneath the platform to get them out of the way.

I also made this stitching pony on the 'forge to make the endless stitching a little easier to complete.


This is one of the joys for me, but then I’m a tool junkie :grin:

It’s a beautiful project, congratulations.


Ha! I complain, but I love it too.


That is really beautiful. I love unique things!!


Wow! I can see why you had so many requests from fellow firefighters, that is absolutely gorgeous! And will definitely let others know who the radio belongs to if you lay it down somewhere. Very, very nice.


The Celtic design details are just wonderful.


That’s what I was thinking, just by looking at it…so good idea to buy a belt for that part. You say you have no artistic abilities but if that’s true you sure as heck make up for it with skill, good taste, and innovation, as witnessed by your choice of artwork and that ‘contraption’ for engraving the strap. :grinning:

I also use a stitching pony, although I didn’t make my own. Invaluable tool.

Thanks for your words of support for John (my grandson)…we’re very proud of him. He’s studied hard and will do very well, we believe.


I think you did pretty good. Now you can make and sell them for $200.00 (or more)


This is beautiful. The contraption you made to handle the long strip is amazing on its own. Very cool.


Just beautiful leather work. One can see why everyone now wants one you make!


I love everything about this, but those celtic engravings on the belt are incredible!


Your leather work is amazing.
I also love the method you use to engrave the belt. What a great idea!