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Old July 18, 2012, 12:18 PM   #1
ArizonaArsenal
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My custom gun "refinish"-polished & jeweled

So I bought a Sphinx AT .380 M that was in pretty bad shape, cosmetically, function wise it was in very good condition, thankfully. Gun was left in a felt lined holster for almost 10 years, uncleaned!!! The entire slide, and all "black" coated finished parts were heavily corroded. After trying to carefully remove and refinish the slide and parts back to original condition, the buildup went through the finish and to the stainless steel in blotches. Leaving stainless steel, silver, areas thru out the coated pieces. I was originally going to have the gun professionally refinished back to all original, but then decided I would try myself to make the gun more personal. Worst case scenario would be to get redone by a company if needed.
Picture of the gun as I received it. Notice the buildup on slide, slide stops, it was very thick



So the journey began to remove the entire black coating, completely sanding down all parts, smooth, and polish. I have many, many hours into the entire process. Hardest part was completely sanding down the slide to remove the texture, to be able to polish to a mirror finish. Since it was heavily textured, the process was quite daunting, in not going too far and leaving gauges or marks. I just progressively went thru different grits of sandpaper, till I reached a smooth mirror like finish. Now with the flats of the slide, at first left it a brushed like finish, like the frame is. It did look pretty good, but eventually came across pictures of jeweled guns, and figured that would really make it look more unique.
Picture of gun polished with brushed like flats on slide


Now jeweling the slide, barrel and extractor was the fun part. I have engine turned/jeweled many large parts, specifically my motorcycle. But doing something this small was quite different. Especially keeping clean and straight lines thruout to make it look even and correct. Final product turned out amazing. I have gotten alot of compliments at the range on how it looks.
Final look. Polished slide, slide stops, hammer,mag release, and takedown. With jeweled flats of slide, extractor, barrel and groves.


Now I am still contemplating jeweling the sides of hammer, and polishing and jeweling the sides of trigger. But most of my buddies like how it looks, but I am still up in the air on what to do. Also safety is still coated black, as the set screw holding it in place is stripped and I can not remove right now. Once I figure that out, I still may just leave black for contrast of safety. Idk.
I also smoothed and polished all internal parts. At least the ones that appeared to need it, i.e. all contacting moving parts. The trigger was ver smooth before, but polishing parts never hurts.
Great gun, extremely smooth action, and is quite fun to shoot. Overall I really like this gun, and was a great little purchase for the wife for carry. With the true DOA trigger, and slide safeties, along with ambi features, it is a great little carry piece.
Thought I would share my gun with pics and the process I did to to transform my once corroded and ugly gun into a true 1 of a kind beauty.
I am also in the process of making my own wood grips out of a couple different kinds of wood. But first will be some purple heart for the wife. Will post pics once finished.
Thanks
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Old July 18, 2012, 01:07 PM   #2
Pahoo
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Very nice !!!

Excellent results and it looks great. Kind of encouraging me to take a second look at one of mine that is also needs a face-lift. Thanks you for your post. .

Be Safe !!!
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Old July 18, 2012, 04:43 PM   #3
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Nice job taking the time to bring a worthwhile gun back from the dead.

Cheers,
C
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Old July 18, 2012, 06:59 PM   #4
dragnut
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Beautiful work. Thanks for the pics
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Old July 19, 2012, 08:52 AM   #5
Hunter Customs
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Not my cup of tea but you sure did a nice job on the gun.

I would have polished out the rough spots then blasted it with 270 glass, giving the gun a satin finish.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
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Old July 19, 2012, 01:37 PM   #6
ArizonaArsenal
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Thanks everyone, appreciate all the positive feedback. Was definitely worth bringing back to life. Was worth doing

HunterCustoms-I hear. Truth be told, I am not a "flashy" gun guy myself. But this gun was in dyer need of a make over, and since it's for my wife, better the way it is, then being pink. Lol, not that there's anything wrong with that.....

Now hopefully I will get the wooden grips made in the next few days. Since I'm starting with purple heart wood, will really make the gun different. But also gonna do some other wood grips as well. I will post pics once done
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Old July 19, 2012, 09:09 PM   #7
egor20
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ArizonaArsenal

Excellent job, I'm sure your wife will enjoy it.
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Old July 21, 2012, 07:43 PM   #8
Roughedge
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Sweet , wouldnt know it was the same gun.
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Old July 23, 2012, 01:46 PM   #9
dcobler
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Wow, day and night differences. Wonderful job. Keep us posted on the grips.
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Old July 24, 2012, 02:03 PM   #10
ArizonaArsenal
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Thanks guys, the wife really likes the final outcome. And like said, night n day difference. She was really kinda hoping I would have engraved the flats with some old school scroll works. But she was pleasantly surprised with the jeweling, and likes it alot. Now if I could only get some lighter springs possibly, would be great. Not sure if it's just my gun,the polishing job or the Sphinx AT.380, but it is alittle hard for her to rack the slide. Not undoable, just alittle more difficult then I would want it for her.

As for the grips, I am still in the works. Being as I am doing then by hand, i.e. reciprocal saw, band saw, dremel and wood working tools. Getting the inside routed out to make the proper recesses and cutouts is alittle difficult. But I will get them done hopefully soon. Much more difficult then I originally assumed tho, but they are coming along. If I only had a CNC machine!! Will post up some pictures of my progress of them soon.
Thanks again everyone.
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Old July 24, 2012, 05:55 PM   #11
Bill from Boomhower,
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Man, you really made that gun look grat. You should be proud. Bet your bike looks good too. What kind of finish was that? You say it was textured? Was it like one of the Duracoat or Cerokote type coatings? Did it come originally like that? Pardon me, but I'm not familiar with your model gun. Thr reason I ask is that I'm considering applying one of these processes to a couple of my guns to combat rust/corosion. They say it is very hard to remove once applied, but shouldn't allow rust/corosion to form underneath. You said it had been cased a long time, and I know that can be very detrimental to guns, but still. And you mentioned stainless, man you just couldn't get a break huh?. Anyway, I wonder what the black coating was. You've got an eye catcher now though. Big plus for you too, is the wife likes. Yep, life is good huh? If momma ain't happy...............
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Old July 24, 2012, 11:01 PM   #12
Caliber
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damn that's awesome, also makes it better for defense by blinding your opponent with bling
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Old July 25, 2012, 11:50 AM   #13
ArizonaArsenal
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Bill from Boomhower: To tell you the truth, I have no clue what type of coating it was. Very hard to find ANY information about these guns. So from the little information I have gathered, it's a "black" coating, hahasorry just don't know. But it was the original coating, but I did have to sand it to get the coating off, as chemicals just wouldn't remove it. But it being holstered, with gun powder buildup, and who knows what else, just started eating at the gun. Luckily it didn't make it into the metal, but it started too!! The texturing I was referring to was on the stainless steel slide. Meaning there were little divots into the metal, and not smooth. I should have taken more progressive pictures. Am usually good about that, but just forgot thruout process. But you are right, chips were stacked against me on removing finish, sanding down, smoothing, and polishing. But now it should make it alittle more corrosive resistant, from what I've been told, being that it's polished makes it harder for stuff to stick and corrode the metal. Or at least I can only hope. That and I take better care of my weapons then previous owner.
You are 100% about, if wife is happy, EVERYONE is happy

Caliber- that's what I told her. If you find that you have run out of rounds, just angle the gun so you can get the suns reflection right in the BG eyes. Haha bling bling
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Old July 25, 2012, 05:10 PM   #14
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Thanks for the before and after photos - like reading a novel from beginning to end. Restoring and improving are a part of gun ownership and pride. Must have put a smile on your face when finished. Great work.
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Old July 25, 2012, 05:29 PM   #15
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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Good work...I like the "jeweling"
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Old July 26, 2012, 01:05 AM   #16
publius
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Very good work!
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Old July 26, 2012, 03:23 PM   #17
ArizonaArsenal
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Still contemplating jeweling the sides of hammer and sides of trigger. What are your guys thoughts?
Right now, hammer is completely polished. Trigger is polished on front where finger goes, but sides are "brushed" like the frame.
Have been told by friends to keep the way it is, but a couple "think" it would look good jeweled.

Thoughts?
Others input (from strangers I don't know, haha) seems to help.
Thanks guys
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Old July 29, 2012, 10:37 AM   #18
ronz
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Looks awesome
I think jeweling the trigger would really look good
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Old July 29, 2012, 10:43 AM   #19
MrCatD8T
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thats one of the best looking old guns i have seen in a long time
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Old August 1, 2012, 06:01 AM   #20
dcobler
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I think it looks great the way it is but if you are wanting to change it up a little more, go for it.
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