Lock panel 101

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brawny man

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I struggle with the shaping of lock panels. Knowing that in general the panel tops must not be rounded off and that a thinner width is better then thicker where the wood meets the lock. Please let me know what exact tools/techniques do you use to shape the curved transition area leading to the top of the panel. How do you maintain/protect the flat top of the panels?
Thank you for any suggestion you might have.
 
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I decided this pistol kit needed some slimming down and I'm starting with the lock and side panels. What I do is scribe a line with a set of sharp dividers around the lock perimeter at a distance from the lock that looks good. Then I clamp a straight edge to the lock panel and the side panel and scribe another line lengthwise along the top that's parallel and equal on each side to the barrel tang, and then along the bottom with the line being parallel and equal on each side to the trigger inlet.
Then I use a curved gouge that I made out of a 1/2" flat chisel and smoothly gouge out the wood between those sets of lines being very careful not to go beyond them and to achieve a nice smooth even convex cut. The picture is after this step on the lock panel side. I'll now color in the area with a #2 pencil and look at it in strong light for any little spots that aren't smooth and even.
The next step is using a scraper and sand paper and maybe a rasp to smooth and blend the wood between the convex cut and the tang, and between the convex cut and the trigger inlet. Again using a #2 pencil and strong light to find little spots that aren't smooth and even.
Screenshot_20220702-134526_Gallery.jpg
Screenshot_20220702-135550_Gallery.jpg
 

brawny man

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I decided this pistol kit needed some slimming down and I'm starting with the lock and side panels. What I do is scribe a line with a set of sharp dividers around the lock perimeter at a distance from the lock that looks good. Then I clamp a straight edge to the lock panel and the side panel and scribe another line lengthwise along the top that's parallel and equal on each side to the barrel tang, and then along the bottom with the line being parallel and equal on each side to the trigger inlet.
Then I use a curved gouge that I made out of a 1/2" flat chisel and smoothly gouge out the wood between those sets of lines being very careful not to go beyond them and to achieve a nice smooth even convex cut. The picture is after this step on the lock panel side. I'll now color in the area with a #2 pencil and look at it in strong light for any little spots that aren't smooth and even.
The next step is using a scraper and sand paper and maybe a rasp to smooth and blend the wood between the convex cut and the tang, and between the convex cut and the trigger inlet. Again using a #2 pencil and strong light to find little spots that aren't smooth and even.View attachment 147664
Thanks for the tutorial. I especially like how the convex cut flows to the grip portion.
 
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Here you can see the line the edge of the sticker makes and the line scribed parallel to the trigger inlet. All I need to do is carefully cut the convex between those two lines with the gouge chisel.

Screenshot_20220702-164011_Gallery.jpg
 
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Thanks for the tutorial. I especially like how the convex cut flows to the grip portion.
No problem, that's what this forum is for. Teaching and learning. I'm always willing to share what I know, and absorb what I don't.

Yeah I've seen that on other builds and have kinda made it my own signature style. I like it for the same reason.
 
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I keep the gouge razor sharp so I can control it with thumb pressure and not slip. I just sneak up on the lines with just a sliver shaving at a time.

Screenshot_20220702-165000_Gallery.jpg
 
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Here I needed another sticker to make this place perfectly symmetrical. Just gouge out the convex between the lines.

Screenshot_20220702-171044_Gallery.jpg
 

dave_person

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Hi,
A simple search on this forum will find many posts on shaping lock panels. Many new builders make the mistake of cutting in lock and side plate panels much too early in the process of shaping a stock. The panels form naturally as you shape the wrist with rasps, files, and scrapers. There is no need for chisels or rat tailed files except around the very front of the panels until you are ready to do the final shaping. Some like deeply radiused molding, but most originals have shallow or subtle curves. The photos below show the panels shaped with no chisels used except around the front.

O6aVj25.jpg

V1euz8s.jpg

ZBbYG29.jpg

6gvO2AI.jpg

Once you have gotten to this stage in shaping, you are ready to cut the moldings.
JIL1HLD.jpg

You can do what Appalachian shows, which produced nice radiused moldings ideal for certain gun styles or you can go this route common on many Pennsylvania rifles. Draw a border line for the molding and then stab it in with a small flat chisel.
q2mPqDg.jpg

iDvqIX4.jpg

Then relieve the background with a skew chisel.
tGkNADy.jpg

Then smooth the background and shape the molding with round scrapers, round files, and sand paper
wWJUzph.jpg

RBdxmHq.jpg


dave

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Dave does some beautiful work. My only advise to Brawny is to recognize your abilities and don't try to get too fancy. I can't do the kind of work like Dave and others on here can do so I keep it simple. As I've said before, fancy work done poorly looks terrible beside simple work done well.

And by the way, keep the lock panels narrow.
 
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I think Dave and I are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Dave builds spectacular works of art worthy of being housed in a museum. I try to build a working man's gun that looks just a little better than a pile of parts scabbed together. I don't think I could dare carry one of Dave's guns, let alone build one like that, I'd hurt it somehow. Lol.
 
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While I have built many practicle rifles. I would be afraid to touch a rifle made with such fine detail in such a fine fashion. I am by nature just a klutz. I would be afraid that I would drop it.
 

dave_person

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Hi Guys,
Thanks for the words of confidence but regardless of the degree of decoration, to answer the OP's question, the process of roughing out the lock panels is the same whether you decorate the gun or not. The next step, once that is done varies depending on your objectives and uses tools like what Appalachian shows as well as round files and round scrapers. Much depends on the style you are creating and how tightly radiused you want the molding. Here is an example of an Isaac Haines with moldings cut to a tight radius as Haines did.
Ioue9Q7.jpg

RbFBmkx.jpg

Here is an example where that radius is much more subtle and is actually the same as the contour of the stock shaping with a relief cut molding edge dividing it from the rest of the stock.
DzjJYUE.jpg

VuQeWFb.jpg


Here is an example in which the molding is merely a raised bead around the panels.
tWLTocB.jpg

APht5fU.jpg

Much like this original English fowler from the 1760s
w4xPYX5.jpg

And here is an example where there is no cut molding just the general shaping of the wrist and lock area.
I3UeaZJ.jpg


Here are some tools I find very useful. The round scrapers are by Fischer and purchased years ago from Brownells but you can easily make them from a flat steel bar.
l7bkqIs.jpg

BwCEM5h.jpg


You are right about thin flat areas around the lock. That is particularly important along the top edge of the lock because you won't have to file a big ugly notch for the flint cock. By keeping the flat thin by the cock and tapering the panel inward to expose the lock bolster where the flint cock comes to rest prevents having to cut a notch
ivveT3G.jpg

LUTTRuI.jpg

hAtmsk1.jpg


Also keep in mind, the flat does not have to be even all round the lock. It actually looks better if the flat is wider along the bottom of the lock than above. Look at these two examples for comparison. Here is an example that has wide even flats all the way round.
jLPDtfk.jpg

Here they are thin and uneven.
cFFevkr.jpg


Finally, to keep the edges crisp, do all the shaping, scraping and/or sanding, and then when the stock is about ready for stain, swipe the tops on the lock and side plate panels with 220 or 320 grit sandpaper backed by a flat block of wood.

Good luck,

dave
 

brawny man

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Dave
Great examples of different styles, solutions to the lock/wood clearance issues and different tools used.

Thanks again.
 
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