Inletted a new pair of grips made from a block of walnut I had gathering dust this weekend. I still need to shape the outer profile/contours, but they fit the gun like a glove
. I'm still trying to decided how I want to procede as far as aesthetics.
Right now, the plain straight-grain raw walnut makes it look almost like a Cowboy revolver for some reason--gotta fix that.
Option 1: "Preservation"
Get some tung or other oil to greatly darken the walnut. The stuff I have is very light green/brown in color, with very straight (boring) grain running along the grips. The originals used either a walnut or finish that was very dark brown, the grip that came with the gun being a dark chocolate color with no visible grain. I'd also try to approximate the original checkering, which would obscure the boring wood grain (and a glue repair line from a split during carving that's barely noticeable). The rest of the gun would be lightly buffed with some bronze wool or softer, leaving the patina intact but a tad smoother. I could
attempt a "restoration" by removing the patina altogether, returning the gun to the "white" finish it served in.
Option 2: "Enhancement"
Either engrave or inlay some sort of pattern (Fleur 'd Lis?) on the grips and finish them shiny with either lacquer or oil/polish. Depending how it looks on a test piece I may stain them darker and do a light colored inlay. I'll probably try to work brass into the inlay as a highlight. The visible areas of the frame would be polished to bare metal, and the pitting removed as much as possible without damaging markings (hell, despite
damaging markings. Not like it'd have any collector value after this anyway). At that point, I could add engraving/inlay to the frame/cylinder, solder on brass highlights, or even nickle plate the thing. The goal would be to make it look even more "ornate-Victorian" than it does, for the purpose of a psuedo-steampunk BBQ gun (since I have no BBQ gun
In my experience, the ratchet is seldom really bad and if it is, is not worth fixing, as any attempt to do so usually results in total ruination. a bit of welding on the hand or even making a new hand might be the better approach.
I think there is enough metal left on the ratchet that "growing" the hand is all that's needed. For whatever reason, DA times to within 1/16" but SA to within 3/8". The hand moves away
from the ratchet halfway through its travel when the hammer is pulled back, which limits the cylinder turn. If I pull DA quickly, the cylinder "throws by" enough to get the firing pin to dimple some playdough in the right spot--maybe the shop was too quick to sell it as non-firing?