Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Widows Peak Anyone ?

It is no secret that I am not all that enthused about widow peaked recoil pads but over the years, per the clients wishes I have been requested to install quite a few of them. Red and 1 " thick seem to be the only option when looking for a commercialy peaked pad. When the client wants one in Black or Brown or in 1/2" or 3/4" thickness all bets are off unless you get creative. If the pad is to be covered in leather you can use about any reasonable material to form the peak that is then epoxied to the pad and filed to shape.

Normally the leather used to cover these pads is made from Goat or Pig skin and is pretty malleable. I have twice used remnant Elephant hide that I purchased from a professional boot maker and it is far from malleable. Two was enough thank you.

The enclosed pics are of Pachmayr Decelerator Black pad being fit with a Widows Peak that will be covered in leather by Dave Wilson. Dave for years has had the market cornered on some pig skin leather that when finished is quite unique to say the least. You could call it a Buffalo Hide effect and was precisely the look the client wanted. Knowing this I called Dave as he is a true master at covering pads with leather and as I mentioned he had the goods. My job was to install the peak and grind the pad to the proper OD and shape for Dave to do his thing.

The following process is what I use to install a peak on any pad of any color or thickness regardless if its covered in leather or uncovered.

For the best results you need to make the peak from the same hard black rubber spacer material that the parent pad is made of. In this case I'm using a Pachmayr black spacer made in the same Pachmayr facility. I prefer these pads to any other. If you don't adhere to this and you use a dissimilar material it's going to stick out like rubbish in the lilacs when its all fit and finished if the pad is not covered on completion.                          Go back and re-read that sentence.

More often than not I am accused of pole vaulting over mole hills. "He makes to many fixtures, he's  wasting to much time on jigs"  blah blah blah.  Maybe so but if you want to replicate something or a process for future use it pays to Jig Up. Holding the pad to drill out a larger cavity for leather covered plugs can be as simple as finding the visual center of the pad under a drill press and using an end mill to plunge out the cavity. I did this once, I'll leave it at that.

This holding block is aluminum and has the correct screw hole spacing for different pad sizes. It has been made to allow 2 short steel dowel pins to center the pad properly on the fixture face side up. The pins also allow me to locate the center line of the pad top and bottom based on the screws holes in the pad. This is important so the larger leather covered plugs when finished are visually in the true center of the pad. If you don't think this is important wait until you spend all that time covering one and get one hole off center.

With this block in my milling machine vise I use a wiggler to find the center line of the block off the sharpened dowel pin.

Once I've flattened the back of the recoil pad I slip the pad over the dowel pins. I use a tube cutters made from O-1 for what ever size hole I want to cut out of the pad. Yes, you have to make the cutters, as Larry doesn't sell these just yet.

The cutter and pad must be lubricated, I use Glycerin for this purpose. The cutter is pushed into the pad with the spindle on a low rpm. The cutter is pushed in deep enough to just touch the metal frame inside the pad. Remove the pad from the jig and use some needle nose pliers to remove the cut plug. Then spin the pad 180 degrees on the fixture and cut the other hole.

Once both plug holes are cut the pad is then turned upside down and slipped over 2 aluminum pillars that are have been made to size and to just slip into the plug holes on the fixture. Two 10x32 Allen screws and large washers are then bolted to the underside of the pad, through the pad, through the pillars then tightened on the block. At this stage I take the mounted pad and block out of the mill and with a height Gage and some basic math establish and then scribe a center line on the toe and heel area of the pads black spacer so its visible on the bottom and both top and lower ends of the mounted pad. Accuracy in establishing this center line on the pad is important as the widows peak should run in line with center line on the plug cavities. Trust me on this.

The tube or plug cutters you make up need to be in different sizes, the width of the leather to be used must be taken into account for the plug itself and the plug hole it's going into. If the pads is not to be covered you need a plug cutter to make a rubber plug slightly larger than the plug cavity hole. The plugs also need to be contact cemented in place when completed and some friction is required. So this means you will have to sacrifice another pad to get plugs of a slightly larger diameter. The cost just went up another $40.00

I then put the mounted pad back in the mill, its upside down of course and with the wiggler again I find the scribe center line at the heel position and in my case hit zero on the DRO. Then with a 1/8th inch sharp cutter I cut a cavity that .150 deep into the pad by .800 in length across the crown of the heel. The depth towards the top screw hole can vary but it's usually .200. Note the two extended cuts on either end the .800 long pocket. This to allow our insert we will make to drop in place with few fitting issues.

Next the widows peak has to be made. As stated it needs to be made from the same material as the manufacture uses for the spacer on that style pad. A .799 wide x .450 high block is then made in the mill, it must be squared off and be a slip fit into the .800 pocket cut into the pad. CARE MUST BE TAKEN THAT IT IS A SLIP, SNUGGY FIT

The .799 long block is then cut with a radius ball mill to whatever size widows peak you require. In this case I used a 1/2" ball mill. From the top end of the block I came down .250 and then cut into the spacer block the required amount, in this case the widows peak will also have a 1/16" radius on the center line and end of the peak. I will eventually file to shape the 1/16" radius peak, remember leather is fond of any radius. If this pad was not going to be covered you would walk the ball end mill into the material an equal amount on both sides towards the center line of the .799 block to give you a nice sharp peak.

Now you should also have .200 of base left that will fit nicely into your pocket on the pad and if you did the math correctly the  center of the widows peak will be in line with the center line scribed on the pad. Note the center line on the pads spacer. The bottom of the 1/4 " radius should be flush with underside of the pad spacer material that comes in contact with the back of the stock. The extended 1/8th " cuts should allow the peak block to stop at the correct depth. Life is now good

Then you need to epoxy the peak block into the pads cavity being damn sure you use black pigment in the epoxy and that the peak block is in as close a contact as you can muster with the pad cavity.

Then let it dry for 24 hours. Dress off the run over epoxy carefully with a dowel and 280 grit Wet or Dry paper wrapped around a dowel that is just shy of .500 OD when the paper is taught around the dowel.  Careful now easy does it. The peak and pad are now ready to fit to the stock. If you've done you layout work right and inlet the peak straight into the center line that you should have on your butt stock when the pad is finally fit and then ground the peak and the pad holes and plugs should all in line. The Newly inletted peak and will appear 100% seamless with the parent pad.

Now you know why I hate these things. Expect to bleed heavily when this invoice arrives

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