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4575wcf 09-13-2020 08:44 PM

LC Smith Build--Spotting in the Ersatz Barrels
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We finally got to a part of the build that could be carried out at home, so I put my Sunday to good use after the wife and I took in our live streamed service. Spotting in does not change much between mediums in my opinion. The spotting agent changes, the cutting speed of the material changes, and of course the closer the fit required, the more elbow grease you can expect to expend. The basic idea, however; does not change. You coat the engaging surface with a marker of some kind to indicate the high spots, you place the parts together to light up the high spots, and you remove them. You start with a coarse removal method, you graduate to a fine removal method, and you finish with a very fine removal method. Abrasives do not see much use, because they tend to cut on all surfaces and destroy the fit. The possible exception is the lapping compounds for metal to metal fit, but they can overcut at times also. Usually the scraper is the last word, be it for wood or metal.

Here in picture #1 and picture#2--the good old candle used to black the frame and then when mated with the wood the high spots are marked picture #3.

The soft wood pattern barrels cut very quickly, starting with a Shurform round file, and moving to a fine round rat tail. My farrier's rasp was used to touch up the face of the barrels as they began to come into contact. Picture #4

Picture #5--Here are the pattern barrels fitted and drawn up with the screw from underneath. Only a few hours work required.

Next up. . . get out the wooden extension rib and laminate it in.

4575wcf 09-19-2020 05:24 AM

LC Smith Build--Install and Fit the Ersatz Top Rib Extension
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I continued working on the pattern barrels this week; once again I am arrived at a small portion of the build I can do here at home this weekend. Each weekday I managed to get in an hour or so before work in on the pattern barrels.

Here in picture #1 the wooden rib extension has been shaped to a reverse impression of the cutout in the breech end of the barrels and then the extension is glued in with 5 minute epoxy. The threaded shank of the T nut was filled with a bit of Johnson's Turtle car wax prior to gluing. This kept the threads clear of the epoxy and prevented any epoxy from leaking out of the pocket bottom. These precautions are absolutely necessary whenever working with Brownell's Acraglas later in the build, so we incorporate them now also. Mechanical bridging and overflowing must be assiduously avoided when working with Acraglas, or you can build in an unbelievable amount of extra work for yourself. Whenever the product runs onto a surface or into a pocket where you do not want it during gun work, a very permanent adhesion takes place and mechanical removal becomes necessary.

In picture #2, the wooden extension has been milled to .240 width to match exactly the extension cutout in the frame. It is left a bit deeper and longer than finished size and the spotting in of the rib Picture #3, is left for part of the home weekend project.

While we have access to the mill, Picture #4, the wooden barrels are set up and the top surfaces are profiled flat with an end mill to begin approximating the top rib.

Picture #5, we have gone about as far as we can with the mill, the hand shaping of the pattern barrels and fore end are pretty straightforward from here.

4575wcf 09-23-2020 05:19 AM

LC Smith Build--The Pattern Maker is Nearly Done
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One more benefit to these builds is you get to endorse a product or two along the way. The pattern barrels are very nearly complete now. I am filing and sanding out the last few rough areas each morning. During the process it occurred to me that the ribs and the lug area of the barrels could be built up a bit with something, rather than taking the time to get out wooden filler blocks and glue them into these areas. I decided to see what was out there for a wood filler these days, and bought this product by Elmer's at our local hardware store. Picture #1.
While this product finishes way too soft to be of any use for gun stock work, it is very useful in pattern making. It should be limited to fill areas in wood work, since it works well in compression, but you cannot build up a shoulder or an outside edge with it. The plus side is the water content has been vastly reduced from the fillers of old, so shrinkage is very minor, and the bond seems much improved. When I opened the container, I first thought the contents had expired. It is very dry, about like plumbers putty going on. This makes it very easy to work with and very little mess. Picture #2 shows the deep valley between the barrels at the breech end. Picture #4 the screw well coated with candle wax, then the screw installed and the area puttied up Picture #3. Picture #5 shows the bottom rib. It is amazing how close this rib came out. The process was done just as you would glaze a window pane in the old days, by wetting a finger and dragging the surface out to smooth the joint. Almost no finish sanding is required. The down side is the filler, while paintable, is probably not going to stain. I will shoot these "try" barrels with a clear coat spray sealer to get a harder surface that will clean up easily, and call it good.

4575wcf 10-20-2020 05:10 AM

LC Smith Build--Try Barrels Finished and Lacquered
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This is my first post in awhile. Work is busy, the youngsters are all on 10 hour shifts, so the shop is anything but quiet in the AM now. I am still getting my hour in on the project in the mornings but . . . .

Here in Picture #1 through #4 various views of the try barrels as they came out. I took the time to finish them pretty decently because they are essentially a shop fixture, and will be expected to be around awhile. The ID lettering turned out to be something of a challenge, Picture #5. Initially I thought to set the lettering into the wood with metal stamps, ink in the letters, and then finish over them. Probably this would work in a hardwood, but not in these soft dowels. I could come up with nothing legible at all so I made up the aluminum plate pictured, inlet and attached it. Only the brass front bead is remaining to get out, it is in the tiny Unimat lathe here at home 60% completed. I am making it from a large brass cup holder hook, it will go in with a wood thread in place.

Next step will be getting the rotary locking mechanism sprung and working and then cut the notch into the try barrel extension to clear the locking tooth. With the top snap assembly sprung, and working smoothly, the tangs will be in their correct places, and so I can begin fitting the butt stock.

4575wcf 10-21-2020 05:38 AM

LC Smith Build--Make up a Hardware Screw for the Top Lever
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Yesterday mornings project consisted of getting out a "mush" bolt version of the bottom screw that holds the top lever into the lower bearing seat in the trigger plate. This was the first step in assembling the top lever\locking bolt assembly. This screw is a tiny #4-40 that screws into the bottom of the top lever stem that has quite a job to do. I chose a hardware screw that had a little bit of hardness and integrity to begin with since this screw could very easily be necked off in the hole if tightened up much. I doubt if any existing screw will be found in the #4-40 size with a head big enough to fill the clamping counterbore of the bottom plate. I started with a screw of #6-32 size, and chucked it up in our tiny 3 jaw chuck that we chuck up in the larger independent 4 jaw chuck for tiny detailed jobs such as this. Chucking only on the head I hacksawed the screw to length, then turned the threaded length to .110 thousandths diameter. This was followed by a #4-40 rethreading die wrenched on using the flat front of the Jacobs drill chuck in the tailstock to keep things lined up flat.

Picture #1 shows another of the #6-32 screws, and the modified one in the rethreading die

Picture #2 shows the modified screw started in the top lever stem.

Picture #3 shows the screw installed, but the head is not fitted at this point

Picture #4 shows the head fitted up, but needs the slot deepened still, and the screw head filed down to flush.

Picture #5, the top lever is mounted and the screw installed and tightened up. We have free movement of the lever, but no end play per say so our fit will work as is; however the top lever has been bent down at the thumbpiece a slight amount at some point in the past, and does not turn to center over the tang easily. Today we will do a bit of judicious straightening until the top lever swings smoothly and tight to the top tang with a minimum of clearance underneath, as it should.

4575wcf 10-21-2020 08:59 PM

LC Smith Build--Top Lever Adjusted to Clear and Retaining Screw Dressed Out
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This morning I clamped the top lever in the milling machine vise by the two flat sides and bent it upwards at the thumbpiece a bit to get proper clearance underneath. See Picture #1. The lever bent easily--way too easily in fact. I suspect that it has been annealed at some point since it behaves like a piece of soft mild steel would under similar conditions. A file will catch and cut the top lever easily, but not so anywhere on the rest of the frame. I would not trust it to stay put under field handling in its present soft state at any rate. No worries, we will just need to be a bit gentle with it until such time as the color hardening process is carried out, as for now we can do the minor weld repair on the top edge that I previously mentioned, and finish fitting it up. If I had to venture a guess, I would say that someone previously applied some heat, too much heat, in an attempt to free the rusted rotary bolt/coupler assembly. When I had the lever bent and pivoting to suit me, I went ahead and dressed out the temporary hardware screw holding the top lever in place. Picture #2.

Next up. . . get the new made rotary bolt installed and turning with the original coupler and top lever.

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