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Old September 30, 2012, 12:36 PM   #1
Roshi
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How to Age Case Hardening?

I like the aged look of C&B revolvers. I removed the finish from the blued steel on my Pietta 51 Navy.

How do you "age" a case hardened frame?
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Old September 30, 2012, 12:56 PM   #2
Hawg
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The case hardening isn't real, just take it off.
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Old September 30, 2012, 04:38 PM   #3
Roshi
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Comes off easily

It comes off easily with blue & rust remover. Just got to be careful not to take off more than you want.
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Old October 1, 2012, 05:03 AM   #4
pghrich
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i have used regular vineger with great success, rich
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Old October 1, 2012, 08:25 PM   #5
Bill Carson
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I think aging or adding a patina is a good idea. It gives the gun a persona onto itself. As for removing the case hardened finish, I've been leaving it and just applying my patination process over the entire piece. This gives it a very believiable look. Keep in mind, the originals aged and discolored relatively evenly over the case hardened parts as well as the soft iron parts. I can recommend these tips, however: Whatever method you are using to apply your aged finish, apply it in multiple layers. This will give your aged finish depth as seen on originals. I found T.O.W. Cold browning solution worked best for doing aged finishes. If you choose to remove the case hardened finish, think about using 600 grit wet sanding paper. Then go over that with blue sos pads. Also, I have been using 3M scuffy pads in 350 - 1200 grit ranges. These will remove most any finish and leave a satin look. I have just finished building a proper Leech & Rigdon out of a Uberti 51 Navy. It is fully patina and has the look of a Reb veteran thats gone into the west. It is well worth the effort. Hope you post yours when it is done.
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Old October 2, 2012, 06:59 AM   #6
woodlander
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Bill, would you give more details about building your Leech and Rigdon ? What did you use for a base, and what did you change ? Where did you take the spare parts you needed ? Did you have to adjust anything ? Would you mind showing pictures ?
Thanks in advance !
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Old October 2, 2012, 09:43 PM   #7
Bill Carson
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Reb revolver details

Woodlander, Glad to provide more details. I try to use Uberti Navy cal pitols. The steel is the most machineable of all the current repros. Everything needed to build up a L&R is there. All of the work is in reshaping and stamping. Most important is the barrel work. 1st, file out all markings on the flat side of barrel, polish out the file marks with progresively finer sand paper-start with 120, go to 350(use only automotive grade paper throughout the work). This is done on every piece of the work so I won't repeat this step. Next, the barrel is turned on the lathe creating a slightly tapered round barrel. The taper runs from the flats to the muzzle. Once it is the proper contour, it is smoothed out. If some lathe marks show, it's ok, the originals are full of them. The latch will have to be narrowed via a filing to accomodate the narrower round barrel. Also, L&R's use a pin site of aubot 3/32. I sweat solder these on. I also re-contour the lower curves of the barrel frame starting just below the barrel. On the originals, this is a very sweeping, graceful curve. Doing this will also require, re-contouring the beivels as well. I use a small mill file for this work & do sanding to remove file marks. Set asside barrel for now. The cyl. on conferderate revolvers is totally plain. This means removing the sceen from your modern repro. I found the most efficient way to do this is to run a threaded bolt through the arbor hole, place a copper washer on the rachet mech., then run a nut down on the bolt tightly. The remaining shaft is then chuck into a drill press. Once running, use a wide mill file, keeping it totally flat against cyl. and begin to file it as it is spinning. Remove just enough until the cyl. sceen till it disappears. Feather your passes back towards the shoulder as you do this. This will eliminate any obvious parting lines. Again - do sanding. Now the frame- Uberti frames are hardened. To remove any modern markings, I use the belt sander with 120 grit. If the marks can be totally removed with this, that's fine, but you may still need a file. Most of the hardening will be gone in that area. On orignal L&R's, there is no groove on the side of the recoil shield. I use a medium grit cone shape stone on a dremmel tool and grind this away ,carefully feathering it out so it doesent leave just a wider groove. On the repos, there is a cap groove on the face of the recoild shield. This was not on the originals. But, I have not found a good way to fill this in it. Welding is out of the question as it would just melt the upper edges away so i just leave it. As meantioned, I leave the rest of the case hardening on, as it will be blended in the patina. At this point, I reassemble the gun to check for fit and also dial in the action. There have been many comments on how to do this - no point to repeat. Once everything looks correct and functions good, the gun is disassembled so that it is easier to stamp. Original stamp sets are beyond rare. Use whatever stamp sets you have. you will need letters and# they dont have macth .Original L&R's number sequences run from 1 - to about 1200. The top flat of the barrel is marked Leech & Ridgon CSA. Post 63 guns will be found with 4 digit serial nos. and sometimes just CSA. When characters are stamped in, they upset the surrounding metal. You must file down all your stamped work so this upsetting is gone. Sand again. I use automotive fine line pin stripe tape of 1/8" to make a straight edge to guide my stamps. Sometimes, it requires up to 3 layers of tape depending on thickness of the characters on your stamp. The idea is to rest the edge of the characters against the edge of the tape to keep them in line. Spacing depends on your skill. at this point You can reblue the metal parts or patina them - your choice. Dealing with the brass parts & the hand grip, I will save for another post. At this point, I do not have the compt.savy to send images yet.hope to soon though. I would like share some of the work I have done so you can see it.
Currently, there are 2 conferderate pistols on T.O.W which shows this method I've described(yes i know they are 44 cal.). Hope this helps.
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Old October 7, 2012, 06:00 AM   #8
woodlander
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Many thanks, Bill !
The process you describe is way beyond my technical abilities. So the only other solution left to me is to find a good repro, as originals are way beyond my financial abilities...
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:37 AM   #9
Willie Sutton
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Bill,

Thanks for your excellent and informative posting. It's obvious that you have done a lot of work to learn these techniques, and rely on good old fashioned hand work and a lot of time to do what you do. It's refreshing to see.

Any links to where we might see some pictures of your work would be deeply appreciated. I would daresay that it would bring some work to you, if you accept comissions to do custom work for clients. I'd be tempted myself.


Willie

.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:14 PM   #10
Bill Carson
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Woodlander, With practice, this is relatively easy work. On these revolvers, I taught myself by working on basket cases. Remember, accomplishing work like this is 98% desire, 2% skill.
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Old October 7, 2012, 09:21 PM   #11
Bill Carson
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Willie,
This past June, I built an 1805 Virginia Manufactory rifle and a Ridgon & Ansley metalic cartridge conversion. As soon as I link my photos to the computer, I plan on posting pictures.
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