Saturday, February 23, 2019

You don't see these everyday Part 3

Tom Snyder ( a practicing Long Gun maker out of Hancock Michigan was recently tasked with building a single shot for a client and I received his perfectly glass bedded Farquharson pattern in early October. This Farquharson variant was based on a New Model, Westley Richards 1897 action. Tom had re-barreled this take down action for the classic 450-400 and a second barrel to a 30 caliber Wildcat based off the original 348 Winchester case as the rim diameter and thickness was almost identical to the 450-400 case. Tom then made the rib, sights and figured out how to best handle the take down system that would also include scope mounts. Lots of fiddling to be worked out.

Taking the time to make the pattern for a project you've never attempted can allow you a visual idea of where you want to go stylistically, a road map so to speak. Fitting a rib, the sights and all the requested hardware that the client had envisioned can also allow the client to handle the mock up for fit if he's willing to travel. It's real easy to change the lines on a pattern with splices of wood and or Bondo before you back yourself into a corner with the piece of French walnut. With a pattern you don't have to measure twice and cut once. With a pattern you can cut and then build back all you want.

If you take the time to make a pattern stock it will give you a cosmetic 3 D blue-print before you wonder if you've taken off to much wood as an after thought. Ever been caught in that situation? early on I have

I wonder if I'll ever see other Farquharson stock before I unplug and cover the pantograph for the last time ?

Friday, February 22, 2019

You don't see these everyday: Part 2

Like the Boss O/U fore-end another piece of English history entered the shop not once but twice in 2018. It has been quite some since any Farquharson type stocks have shown up for duplication. I remember machining a pair of Jeffery PD stocks roughly thirty five years ago and another Farquharson Holland & Holland butt and fore-end about the same time.

Recently Paul Hodgins ( requested I machine a butt stock from the original Holland & Holland butt stock as the original was broken and repaired one to many times. Paul served his apprenticeship and was employed at Holland & Holland as a stocker in his younger days. Now a citizen of the United States he continues to practice his skills predominately re-stocking best quality double rifles and shotguns. Now and again he is requested to re-stock a single shot or bolt gun and this 450 Express is such an example.

The bulk of Paul's work is done from the block but again there are times when the use of a precision pantograph can come in handy. So the cracks in the butt stock were epoxied one last time, any voids or pockets in the inletting were glass bedded, the butt lengthened to meet the new owner's requirements and then it was given to me to machine. I left or removed the requested amounts of wood in the inletted areas and on the exterior surface.

Since Paul and I live in the same area I stopped by a couple times to look in on the project. 

I believe the fore-end was re-finished, some screws had to be replicated and replaced, polishing, re-case coloring and re-blacking of some parts was now complete. All that was required now was a steady hand to put it all back together.

Around the end of the year Paul left me a message on the phone to say the 450 was complete and did I want to see if before it was returned to the owner. What would you say ?

James Flynn a praticing artisan in his own right leather covered the Farquharson butt pad per his usual standards which adds an elegant and functional touch indeed.

Old and new world talent at it's finest 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

You don't see these everyday: Part 1

Recently I received a Boss back action lock over and under fore-end to duplicate. Old world English craftsmanship at its best.

I have machined only two others in all these years of offerings stock duplication to the trade. This is where a precision pantograph really can pay off as "pattern" is already made.

This fore-end has seen better days, had been cracked and repaired in couple of places, been refinished and re-checkered at some point more than once. I was concerned about the thickness of the web between the fore-end iron tie down screw escutcheon and the exterior of the stock might be pretty thin at this stage. As the original fore-end already had a number of repaired cracks I elected to drill a hole from the exterior of the fore-end surface to allow me to tap the block out so I could machine the block cavity for the stock-maker tasked with making a new one.

Good thing I did as the web was now approx, .010 thick, so extra wood would be left on the OD of the stock ahead of the fore-end iron. Note the ancient gun oil leeching out of the stock under the warmth of the lamp. Epoxy and oil work well together like water and gasoline.

Fixtures and set up always being important, to quote the late Tom Burgess " so you got a great idea, how are you going to hold it to machine it ?" words to live by. 

1 hour of set up and 4 hours of machine work and we're done. The inletting by request was cut within .003 per side on the ID and plus .050 on the OD.

Is this time saving expenditure worth the tarriff ? does a racoon like cat food !!!!!