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Old January 5, 2009, 02:03 AM   #1
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setting up shop

okay im wanting to get into hobby gun smithing and i finnally have a place to work i got a 10x20 shed out back with electricity. okay ive done some work on guns like refinishing stocks reblueing and fixing broke guns. but i want to get into glass bedding drilling and taping and maybe being able to build a custom savage (from what i understand you can build one without a lathe) okay i know i need a drill press grinder alot of lighting vices screw drivers sockets sand paper. but what else may i need for HOBBY gunsmithing? i want to be able to pretty much do everything that doesnt require a lathe (Maybe i can afford a lathe and have the skill to work one later on in life) any suggestions will be apreciated
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Old January 5, 2009, 03:13 AM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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Proper screwdrivers, and a means to grind them. 0000 steel wool, oils, WD 40, pin punches, drift punches, proper hammers, a bench block, Dremel or flex shaft and accessories, assortment of metal files, wood rasps, a buffer or two, a belt sander, a propane torch, gun cleaning equipment, various wood finishes, measuring tools, reference materials, a bullet trap, and the list goes on and on. There is no way to list everything.
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Old January 5, 2009, 03:47 AM   #3
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It is real nice to have a well set up shop.High on your list of "Must Haves" is a solid bench and a good vise.Likely you will want a few different vises.If you are going to ever leave a gun in the shop overnight,better have a good gun safe.Not just a Homak locker.Good light is important.
Try to find an old book "The Modern Gunsmith" It is a good read.

Enjoy and learn!

Here is where you may need to do some serious thinking.Whether we like it or not,Federal Firearms law requires you to have a Federal Firearms License to take in gunwork.
If a BATF agent brings in a .22 and says "Can you clean my gun for me" and you accept the job,you are busted.
If you work on a gun and somebody manages to have a negligent discharge that injures someone,your fault or not,you will be defending yourself in court.
Same if somebody grabs the wrong can of powder and loads their 7MM STW with 80 gr of Bullseye.It doesn't matter if you did a recoil pad,the lawyers will try to make it your fault.
It is also pretty easy to get in over your head as you learn.Somebody might bring in an early 1886 Winchester takedown with checkering and an octagon barrel and color case hardening to have you replace a front sight.You might put nice thick cork jaws on the vise to protect the finish.So far,so good,but maybe some grinder grit from when you dressed a wheel was on the cork and you scratch the color case.He notices,and shows you in the book it is a $14,000 rifle! Have you broken a tap? In somebody else's gun?
I do not intend to rain on your parade.I encourage you to believe in your dream,and work on guns!!But,for now,better work on yours!!Build dream rifles,or find broke junkers cheap and fix them.Restore them!
Be real careful about knowing Federal Firearms laws and not getting in trouble.
For example,if three people are having coffee in your shop,and there is a gun involved,my understanding is,you have met the criteria for "Gun Show" and somebody with an FFL has to dio a background check and fill out a yellow sheet. if you sell a gun Good Luck!
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Old January 5, 2009, 04:21 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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If you keep the receiver of someone else's gun overnight, you must have an FFL-otherwise it is not necessary. The serial numbered receiver is the ONLY part this applies to.
Bill DeShivs, Master Cutler
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Old January 5, 2009, 04:24 AM   #5
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im only ganna gunsmith for me my family and close friends.
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Old January 5, 2009, 11:52 AM   #6
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i need a drill press grinder alot of lighting vices screw drivers sockets sand paper.
Yup, looks like ya got'er covered. I got vices, too!
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
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Old January 5, 2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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You might consider a milling machine!

Lathes are nice, but a milling machine is very versatile, allowing one to easily and precisely locate and size holes at all sorts of angles, using processes such as drilling, tapping, boring, reaming counter-sinking and counter-boring. Plus one can turn small, round parts, mill pockets, slots and grooves. The possibilities are nearly endless.... and ever so fun!

I got vices, too!
What's them got to do with gunsmithing?
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Old January 5, 2009, 08:32 PM   #8
James K
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Unless you plan to work for free, or only on your own guns, you can't be a HOBBY gunsmith; the moment you charge, you are in business and must have an FFL, plus comply with all the local zoning, license and permit requirements.

Even as a hobby gunsmith, if you work on anyone else's gun, you will leave yourself open to lawsuits and to possible local trouble, like zoning. Insurance is necessary; just because you don't charge doesn't mean that if a gun you worked on causes an injury you won't be sued, even if your work had nothing to do with the problem.

I always tell folks to either go into business right, in full compliance with the law and all the licenses and paperwork, or forget doing work for others.

Jim K
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Old January 10, 2009, 07:31 AM   #9
Old Guard Dog
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A good source for reasonably priced machine tools is Grizzly. They have good mill/drill combos, and actually have two gunsmithing lathes. (what makes it a gunsmithing lathe is the large spindle to accept barrels and support the free end).

Their machines are all imports, and I find the quality for occasional work acceptable. Wouldn't hold up in a full fledged machine shop, but accurate enough for your needs.

Fun store to visit if you live near one, otherwise get their free catalogue.
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