Man's custom leather work takes off in East Tennessee

Man's custom leather work takes off in East Tennessee

Posted:
Dennis Badurina's workshop is in the basement of his home. Dennis Badurina's workshop is in the basement of his home.
Dragon Leatherworks makes all sorts of holsters. Dragon Leatherworks makes all sorts of holsters.
This holster has a python inlay. This holster has a python inlay.
Dennis made a lunch box like this for Abby Sciuto on NCIS. Dennis made a lunch box like this for Abby Sciuto on NCIS.

By KRISTIN FARLEY 
6 News Anchor/Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - A personal project has turned into a full time second job for an Anderson County man. In fact, Dennis Badurina's custom leather work is so good it's being used in hit TV shows.

Made in Tennessee met Dennis in his workshop, in the basement of his home.

He explained how his company, Dragon Leatherworks, came to be. "I started making something for myself. A friend saw and said, Can you make me one and it snowballed from there."

Dragon Leatherworks

Dennis says he made his first leather holster in 2009. Shortly after that, he moved from New York state to Oak Ridge.

He says that move to a more gun-friendly state and his creativity helped his business take off and flourish. 

"I wanted to do something a bit more upscale," Dennis said, getting a holster from his workshop wall. "For instance like this, with a python inlay."

Today, Dennis chooses and cuts all his own leather. He carefully sews each seam. He even attaches all his own snaps by hand. The end result is individually handcrafted pieces that look top notch.

Dennis explained that each holster is made for a specific gun. "You wet it down, force it in here and mold the leather around it, and leather when it dries takes the shape."

He showed us dozens of gun casts, and says he'll work with buyers to fit their individual firearms.

His craftsmanship is also getting noticed in another way.

Dragon Leatherworks has made custom pieces for the hit drama NCIS. It started with a holster for the character of Abby Sciuto. Then it turned into a much bigger, more visible prop on the show.

"It was a lunch box," Dennis said as he showed off a replica. "We have one that a customer actually bought. Somebody said, I want a copy of it. So I am selling it and making a custom limited run of 500 of them." 

If you want a lunch box or purse from the show, you can go to the Dragon Leatherworks website.

But if you want something you don't see on his website, just ask. Dennis says he'll work with customers on their requests.

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