I think I’ve mentioned before that in addition to pastoring two churches, my husband also operates a leather business. When Judy spent time with our family during her trip to Arizona last fall, she saw some of Dave’s leather work asked me to do a post about it when I filled in for her this month.
Go ahead, twist my arm. : )
Those of you who grew up watching Saturday morning heroes like Roy Rogers and the Cisco Kid can understand the appeal of connecting with the Old West. When Dave got a chance to try his hand at tooling leather at a summer church camp, it sparked a desire in his young mind to do it as more than just a hobby.
I knew about his interest in leather when we got married, but I didn’t realize what an all-consuming passion it was. It didn’t take long to learn that we’d never be able to walk past a leather shop. No, we had to go inside while Dave greeted the owner and talked leather, more often than not coming away with new ideas and techniques he wanted to try.
While other kids played with Legos, ours were fascinated with the scraps of leather that fell from their dad’s workbench. And there were lots of leather scraps floating around our house. I mean, LOTS. There were days when I felt a bit like the wife in “The Elves and the Shoemaker” . . . except no helpful elves slipped in during the night to do my housework for me.
Twelve years ago, he met Gordon Davis one of the premier holster makers in the country, whose work Dave had admired for years. As it turned out, Gordon had just relocated to Arizona, and opened a new shop only 30 minutes from our home.
The acquaintance they struck up turned into a deep friendship based on mutual respect of each other’s skills. When Gordon retired 5 years ago, Dave bought his business (Davis Leather Company) from him and now operates the shop on his own in what we laughingly refer to as his “spare time.”
His focus is on producing top-of-the-line gun leather in three areas: concealed carry equipment, law enforcement duty gear, and Western gun rigs.
Remember last week’s post about the Cowboy Fast Draw Association? A contestant’s skill is important, but having a top-quality rig can make all the difference, and many of the top shooters in CFDA use rigs they’ve purchased from Dave.
A number of his orders come from people who want to replicate the look of a gunslinger they’ve seen in the movies. No problem. Dave will watch that movie over and over again he gets the look right, pausing it every so often when that gun rig comes into view to check the placement of bullet loops or count the exact number of stitches on a gunbelt.
There’s a certain amount of give and take in all this. I don’t know about you, but there are only so many times I can watch The Magnificent Seven before I feel like my head’s about to explode. But I figure it’s a fair trade-off. He isn’t really big on sitting through repeat showings of Emma or Jane Eyre.
And who would have thought his leather work would mesh so well with my writing? His knowledge of the Old West makes him a perfect brainstorming partner. We spend a lot of time talking about scenes and settings, and I know he’ll never let me slip up when writing about guns and leather gear.
What a perfect combination! You’d almost think God had a hand in all of it, wouldn’t you?