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My Traditions Kentucky Pistol Build

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Step #3

Initial dry-fitting, to give me an idea of what needs to be done:

View attachment 223921

The barrel fits pretty nice and snug. The trigger guard doesn't come anywhere close to fitting. It's going to need to bending of the metal or additional inlay of the wood. Should I wait to see how the trigger mates with the lock? Suggestions welcomed.
You don't worry about the trigger guard fit until the stock is finished with shaping/wood removal. Are you going to leave all that wood under the lock? The stock shape has to be done first. The trigger plate needs to fit the stock, and coordinate with with the sear. Do the aforementioned before worring about the trigger guard.
Larry
 
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wiscoaster

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You don't worry about the trigger guard fit until the stock is finished with shaping/wood removal. Are you going to leave all that wood under the lock? The stock shape has to be done first. The trigger plate needs to fit the stock, and coridnate with with the sear. Do the aforementioned before worring about the trigger guard.
Larry
Yes. Thanks for the advice!! :thumb:

My tentative fitting steps are:
1) barrel
2) tang
3) nose piece
4) lock plate
5) trigger plate
5) trigger guard

6) sideplate optional and last, if I decide to attempt it and it turns out OK

Any further thoughts?
 
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wiscoaster

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Step #11:

Barrel channel dry fitting.

Using the rusty barrel (after scraping out the milling detritus from the channel):

ky_build_26.JPG


To identify one major:

ky_build_27.JPG


And a couple minor areas that need attention:

ky_build_28.JPG


But, first I need to GO SHOPPING yet again. I've got a pretty good set of chisels, but my wood working scrapers, gouges, precision files and the like are limited to a couple sets of cheapy items I bought years ago; I think probably at Hobby Lobby, that aren't quite up to the task. So .... more later.
 

wiscoaster

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Step #12:

Tang dry fitting.

I mark the excess material with a pencil:

ky_build_29.JPG


I have a small hand held belt sander from Harbor Freight that I mount upside down in a vise and it makes short work of small jobs like that. Checking the result:

ky_build_30.JPG


Almost perfect, but that's exactly where I want to be now, as there's more shaping to come with attending reduction of excess material. You can't put any back if too much was removed. So, I think we'll call it a day for today.
 

trackpin

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Thanks for the warning. Do you think I could bend it a smidge if I heated it first?
I believe that is cast brass. I have had good results with bending sheet brass by heating to anneal the metal, but I am not sure if the structure of cast brass is the same. I think it has a grainy structure. I broke a trigger guard of cast brass by trying to bend it. Since it was a custom guard I used brass wire with flux, as a filler, the oxy-acetylene torch with a small tip and welded it in the position I wanted then cleaned it up and you cannot tell.
 

wiscoaster

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I believe that is cast brass.
Yes, that's what I see, too.

I think I'm pretty well convinced that trying to fit the trigger guard into the existing inlet by bending it is a bad idea. That being decided, I have to discover which end of the inlet to extend. And I can't do that until I find out if I need to adjust the trigger plate inlet so the trigger mates with the lock. And right now the lock work is all in pieces until its side plate and hammer finish rust browning.
 
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wiscoaster

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Step #13:

Stain testing. On the interior barrel channel of the stock piece.

Two patches: the one on the left is about one-third dark walnut and two-thirds red chestnut. The patch on the right is about one-third dark walnut and two-thirds gunstock. Two applications of stain with short soak, wipe and flash dry, then a light coat of oil.

I'm thinking both do a decent job of bringing out the gain. Maybe a little better on the left. But I'd like a little redder. Though, I think the patch on the right is maybe a little too light and too red. I'm not going for absolute authenticity in this build. Maybe go thirds of all three stains to get in between?

Opinions?

ky_build_31.JPG
 

wiscoaster

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Step #14:

Getting the hammer and side plate blacked.

What!?!? Wait a sec ... didn't he say he was going to rust brown these pieces? He did, and after a couple applications of Plum Brown wasn't at all happy with what was going on, which was not much.

I've seen this before with other guns and the culprit was always the metal, not the process: ie it was either an alloy or it was plated. So, with a bit of Aluminum Black on hand, I did a quickie cold application on the two pieces, praise be!! it worked. So the side plate and the hammer aren't going to match the barrel, but hopefully they'll have a nice "aged" patina-like look. And for sure look better than "out-of-the-box".

After two applications, the second using 160 degrees heat-up before application, and subsequent carding and buffing:

ky_build_32.JPG


Not there, yet, but coming along. And of course, will look nicer when finished and oiled. But first: I need to (again) GO SHOPPING for more Aluminum Black.

For comparison with above, a cropped repeat of the "before":

ky_build_33.png


I don't think this product bonds nearly as well to the metal as iron oxide, in my experience on other guns where I've used it on an alloy frame, and so it's likely to need touch-up after a time. Small disadvantage and trade-off. As per usual with a new gun build (or old gun restoration).
 

wiscoaster

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Progress report:

Rust-browning the barrel.

After carding and cleaning the barrel following the last application of Plum Brown I put it next to the semi-finished ramrod to get an idea of how it might look in the stock ...

ky_build_34.JPG


... and I'm satisfied with how it's coming at this point.

A couple notes about the process: it's interesting to see how the "splotchy" areas diminish with each application. Also, how one might find defects that weren't noticed before:

ky_build_35.JPG


This defect is deeper than I care to try to remediate at this point, so I'll just have to be content will living with it, and it's probably not going to even be noticeable when done, anyway.
 

wiscoaster

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Step #15:

Dry-fitting the nose cap.

The objective here is to remove just enough material only at the interface of the nose cap to the stock forearm to get it "close". The final shaping and fitting of the forearm will be done later.

First, I observed there was a kind of a "ledge" that wasn't matched by an indent on the inside of the nose cap. It caused a bit of rocking and didn't seem to be there for any good purpose. Maybe I'm wrong and I'll be screwed later, but for now I marked it for removal. Removed very carefully and dressed, with small wood files. The wood there is not very thick.

ky_build_36.JPG


Next, I observed that the inside of the nose cap retained some rough surfaces from casting. A Dremel and some filing made short work of those surfaces:

ky_build_37.JPG


The wood to be removed was marked with a pencil. Made sure the screw holes were aligned for proper marking. Also noted that the areas marked were not symmetrical. A little more on one side than the other.

ky_build_38.JPG


Removal done by my hand-held belt sander, same method as used earlier on the tang:

ky_build_39.JPG


Note that the ramrod channel was not fitted. Also the tight fit aft against the forearm. Those to be done later.

So, good enough now for this step to be "completed".
 

wiscoaster

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Step #16:

Black the brass.

The shiny brass supplied with the kit isn't going to fit my "aged/patina" motive, so I ordered some Birchwood Casey Brass Black, which arrived today.

I haven't used this product before, so decided to start cautiously and conservatively. I decided to do the nose piece first, since it's got large, smooth surfaces that can more easily be restored if things go wrong.

Before pic (after polishing and cleaning):

ky_build_40.JPG


After the first application, with quick cold water neutralizing and wiping:

ky_build_41.JPG


Side note: don't card with even #0000 steel wool, which I kind of did by habit without thinking, because even that fine will scratch brass:

ky_build_42.JPG


Polishing with Mother's works great to card brass black.

Another side note: use the absolute minimum liquid, because otherwise it kind of "pools" - due to surface tension, I suppose - producing uneven blacking and a mottled result (which polishes off easily, so don't panic):

ky_build_43.JPG


After three applications, with carding by polishing, there's still minimal color change:

ky_build_44.JPG


So, at this point, I'm going to do one more application, neutralize it, and then stick my neck out and let it sit overnight to cure and/or bond (or whatever it's doing) more deeply before carding/polishing (this is NOT per directions, just my experiment). We'll know tomorrow ....
 

wiscoaster

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Update:

Blacking the brass.

Leaving it overnight made no difference to the results of the process.

So, I'm thinking maybe the process is incorrect; maybe my understanding of the process is incorrect. I've been approaching the brass with the same understanding and processes as I'm using on the steel. Now, I'm thinking that I'm working more with a finish layer that adheres to the metal's surface, not a finish layer that's chemically bonded to the metal's surface. I've been just using large amounts of product by soaking a cotton ball and applying liberally, then polishing off 99% of it, and getting only a little ways toward the effect that I want. Product is already half gone.

Therefore, I'm changing approach based on a revised understanding (??) of what I'm doing. After polishing and cleaning, I soak a very tiny amount of product into a tissue and then dab onto the metal surface by press and release repeatedly until color change occurs, then neutralize, then rub with my very favorite wood finishing tool: a clean brown paper coffee filter. Rub until the finish shines and the color moderates. A bonus is that the finish is left shiny, but with a darker and somewhat mottled appearance, as would a natural patina:

ky_build_45.JPG


Compare with first "before" pic in post above.

Any opinions? Should I just leave the brass shiny or continue with what I'm doing to it?
 
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wiscoaster

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Update:

Lock plate.

I'm still not happy with this thing, but I've exhausted my bag of tricks. I'm more into bending wood to my will than metal. And it's time to call this "good enough" and get on with reassembling the lock works, because other pending steps depend on that.

ky_build_46.JPG



PS: most of the brass, save the hardware bits and bobs, and pending decorated sideplate attempt (or not) is done. Sorry, no pic, forgot. Day is done, race is run.
 

wiscoaster

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Update:

Brass.

OK, I know I said the brass was "done" in previous post. I changed my mind. This will be the third restart and hopefully a charm. I gave up on the B-C brass blackening product, which is almost gone anyway, because it seems to be an "all-or-nothing" finish solution for brass. I just couldn't get to a point I wanted that both looked appropriate to my vision and consistent across all parts.

After the last "done":

ky_build_47.JPG


So having given up on the brass blacking using the B-C product, I went to my favorite amateur gunsmithing resource: YOUTUBE, to find some other way to put a patina on clean, polished brass, and elected to try this method:



And so now I've got this rig "cooking" in the sunshine and on top of a heating pad. I guess the principle is that the brass isn't touching the liquid, but is immersed inside in the "atmosphere" inside the sealed container due to the evaporation of the liquid:

ky_build_48.JPG
 

wiscoaster

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Update:

Lock works.

Reassembled, function-checked, and let's see how it fits in the stock:

ky_build_49.JPG


And before I do any woodwork, let's see how it lines up with the barrel, especially how the hammer lines up with where the nipple will go:

ky_build_50.JPG


Do you guys think that alignment is OK? Lighting is tricky. It looked lined up to the bare eye, but here it looks just the tiniest bit offset. I don't have any idea how much tolerance is allowable with these things.
 

wiscoaster

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Update:

Brass.

Done, now, really, (I think). No, it wasn't the vinegar and salt, though that DID work, the results weren't any better than Birchwood-Casey. At my wit's end, I got a hair (to use a couple of colloquials) and tried Birchwood-Casey Pema Blue cold blue paste and glory be, it worked! Just need to refine technique: heat the item a little first, smoosh on the paste very fast and very evenly and almost immediately rinse off with water, then dry and quick buff. Repeat several times:

ky_build_51.JPG
 

wiscoaster

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Update:

Barrel. Done.

I think the barrel itself was telling me it was about done, as I noticed that not much reddish-brown rust formed after the last application yesterday. So, this morning, after carding it very well, and liking the color, I decided to go ahead and clean and oil it:

ky_build_52.JPG


... and strategically placed in the background what's becoming my favorite gun oil. Made in Serbia and sold in the U.S. by Zastava. Heh heh.

No, the finish isn't perfect, but my motive is that it's not supposed to look out-of-the-box new anyway. And I need to get on with other stuff. So, it'll do.
 

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