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My Traditions Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log

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Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #23

The sights, tenon and rib were installed into the barrel. Pretty straightforward. No problems. Usual dovetail mounting prep. The only slightly tricky part is that the tenon has to go in facing in a certain direction. One time where the instructions were actually referred to. And were helpful.

I did do some filing on the rear sight leaf to get it to fit its base a little better:
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Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #24

The trigger guard has been installed - without breaking it!!

The only guide for proper placement of the trigger guard is the "ledge" on the trigger plate. Knowing that at this point the tang is inlet and positioned properly, I installed the tang and tang bolt, and allowed the tang bolt to position the trigger plate:

Ok, it's not flush with its front inlet, but it's also not flush with the other end either. Just to make sure its position is all right, I temporarily installed the lock, so I could test the triggers' interactions with the lock works. And got side-tracked, because the set trigger wouldn't engage set trigger state.

Looking at the trigger group, I saw that the set trigger spring was resting on top of its restraining lug, thereby reducing the spring force it exerts on the trigger, even with the adjusting screw all the way out:

So I filed the end of the spring down enough to square it off, and taper it a little, so ...

... it is flat against the plate, and square against the lug:

This fixed the set trigger action. End of side-track. So ... back to the trigger guard. After inserting the back end into its inlet, it looks like there's a lot of excess length that needs to be dealt with. Note the little nubbin on the front:

There's a nubbin on the back end, too. So both nubbins were filed off, and since both ends were a little lopsided they were filed to more symmetrical rounded shapes:

The edge of the front loop that curves around to meet the trigger plate ledge also needed squaring off. After that little bit of metal work, and NO additional wood work ... lo and behold!! ... she pops right in:


Triggers work, lock works. I'm happy.
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #25

I polished the bore. I've determined to do this for all my muzzleloaders. Already done for a couple other pistols. Because, frankly, I think they need it, and they benefit from it. I've no empirical data proving that. No before and after group comparisons. So take it with a grain. My margin of error would be significant, anyway. The duelist1954 YouTube channel has a video about bore polishing, but that's a rifle and a smoothbore, so again, take it with another grain.

I like to scour in the rotational direction with a piece of gray Scotchbrite in a patch holder, turned by a drill:


Scotchbrite doesn't work with a jag, because the jag punches right through:

So, I do fore-and-aft scouring by hand with #0000 steel wool and a slightly undersized jag. The patches help contain the steel wool, and also help catch the metal dust:
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #26

I finished contouring the grip for the trigger guard. As per usual procedure, the wood to be removed was marked:

This is a job for hand tools. Maybe starting with a nice half-round file. How about this bad boy:

Not on your life!! Frankly, I've never used that wicked thing and I'm not about to ruin my weekend by starting now. Just a plain old half-round FILE, thank you.

Checking howgozit:

More marking of wood to remove. Later ... yet another howgozit (more than I care to bore you here with):

... at this point the remaining little bit can be sanded with brass in place. It's OK to get it scratched up a bit because I have to do some filing on it yet, anyway.

Final check with triggers in place:

... and I'm calling that "done".

For now. We all know how that goes.
ERIC wrote:
Are you going to define your lock panels? Narrow and thin looks the best, Traditions kits leave a ton of extra wood around the lock.

This is an idea that I would do:
View attachment 271752
Looks similar to what I did the other night on my Kentucky. Set my calipers for .25" and scored around the inlet. Looks better now but the gun isn't put back together yet for me to share.
I did not define the lock plate and it looks just fine to me.
Also think I put that minwax wood stain conditioner on so to help it stain more even.
By the way this is a very accurate pistol. you will like it.
Your build is going fine.View attachment 271905
Rich, your pistol looks really good. I especially like the way the stock looks… color, surface texture, and the way it enhances the grain of a very plain piece of wood. Can you be more specific about what you used for the wood finish, and how you applied it?


Notchy Bob
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #27

I've been burnishing the stock, now that it's pretty much finished getting contoured for the metal parts to be installed:

It's actually kind of fun watching wood turn smooth and shiny. It also serves a useful purpose, as it exposes any areas that may still need additional scraping or sanding. There were a couple.
Notchy Bob - Thanks - Yes they do come with a really plain stock.

Used the Minwax Stain Conditioner first which helps it from getting blotchy and let dry. Then Rust-Oleum - Traditional Cherry was used as first stain coat wiped on even and again let dry 24 hr. check to see if it might need 2nd coat. Then Minwax - Dark Walnut as second coat. Dark Walnut was wiped on ( it looked really dark ) and then wiped down lightly and carefully after 5 min. to get it to lighten up and let the first coat show. let dry 24 hr. Finished with minwax Helsman teak oil, multiple very light coats. It's just a Plain Jane but it shoots like a master piece.
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #28

Well, it turned out I wasn't done with the stock contouring, after all. I had forgotten about the trigger plate, which sits pretty deep in its inlet, and needs to sit that deep for the trigger bars to hit the sear post.

So, the usual markup:

... filing and sanding:

... and a little more sanding. It's fun to work with wood. I can hardly stop.

Expecting a major rework for the front of the trigger guard inlet to result; instead, to my surprise, not much:

... and soon done to my satisfaction. Not perfect, but perfect isn't possible. Close enough is possible, and satisfactory.

I'm also going to give the barrel one more application of Plum Brown today. Not as much fun as working with wood, but maybe I'll also get to staining the stock today?
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #29

Yet more stock contouring. Will it ever come to an end? Yes - all good things come to and end!!

My finishing goal for the side plates was to make them look more or less symmetrical. They were, on the front end, but badly out of symmetry toward the back end. The left side especially was too long and too deep.

I trimmed a little off the back of the right (lock) side:

And took quite a bit off the top, back and bottom of the left side:

Compare to pic in log #27.
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Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #30

Stock stained with mix mentioned earlier plus a measure of Ipswich Pine to lighten it and yellow it some. After first application:

After quickie soak and light wipe:

I'm liking it!! I don't think another coat will be needed. Should be ready for oil tomorrow. I have to stain the ramrod yet, but haven't decided whether to use the same color or not. I don't think it's the same kind of wood.

I'm predicting an early start to Happy Hour today. ;)
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #31

You didn't think I was done for the day? Happy Hour in progress - watching the new Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" film on my Apple TV - great action flic, one of the best, though trying to figure the plot and who the good guys and the bad guys are is a challenge (all part of the fun, I suppose) - and taking a break from the movie to stain my ramrod.

I like a contrasting-color ramrod, so after the usual sanding/whiskering/dewhiskering/burnishing prep, I elect to stain with yellow dye stain:


... and I'll let that dry and see how it looks; maybe add another layer on top.

Meanwhile ... back to the movie ...,
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #32

The stained stock was hung in a location to speed drying:

When buffing with brown paper produced little transfer, I elected to proceed yet tonight.

I'd like a slightly redder finish than what I've got so far, so I could either apply another coat of a redder stain, or I could mix some red Transtint into my boiled linseed oil and use that for the first oil application. That's what I did. I think it sort of combines two steps into one, and gets you one day ahead. Also, if the color is too much, when it's in the oil, it can be cut back by steel-wooling. Harder to do with stain.

Dyed oil was apply with bare fingers, so after that, my hands looked somewhat like I'd been kneading raw liver.

I also applied the same red-tinted oil on the yellow-dyed ramrod.
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Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #33

I checked the finish and both by feel, and by a light rub, it's not yet ready for another coat of oil:

The light rub did reduce the red just a tad, which works for me. Pure BLO can't really be rushed much, and furthermore, adding dye slows it even more.

I'll give it another 12 hours, and the next coats will just be clear BLO.
Trapper Pistol Kit Build Log #34

I haven't decided yet whether or not to patina the brass, so I tested some small pieces with the JAX Brown product, which I bought a bottle of some months ago from Kibler's Longrifles, but haven't used yet:

The instructions are basically clean, dip or brush, rinse, dry, and card. I found when dipped the brass got dark real fast:

I found that carding is best done with (clean) steel wool when the object is completely dry. Rubbing with soft material also helps to even it out. I did two repetitions of the process, and I think my samples turned out pretty good:

I think the JAX product works well, is easy to use, is fast, and carding and reps can be used to get the degree of patina desired.

(now I still have to decide)
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