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Old November 20, 2012, 08:43 AM   #1
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Questions about welding and smithing.

As many of you may already know, I'm looking into trying to get into the gun smithing trade.

To start, I'm looking to go to school for welding. So far I'm looking at some of the most basic methods, and later on MIG and TIG welding.

Should I be considering anything else while I'm doing research on this?

Last edited by Kimio; November 20, 2012 at 09:36 AM.
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Old November 20, 2012, 09:08 AM   #2
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Chances are if you take any welding class, it will cover all types of welding.

Classs for different types (TIG,MIG) will rquire back ground classes.
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Old November 20, 2012, 12:14 PM   #3
G.T. Smith
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welding for gunsmithing.....

If you are only interested in the type of welding process to aid in your interest of gun smithing then I would look at the TIG process. I have been a welder for over 25 years and I believe that if you become familiar with TIG welding, you can weld darn near everything. With TIG you can control the heat affected zone and the amount penetration. There are many filler rods to match about any type of base metal. I TIG welded aluminum, stainless and carbon steel for about the last 15 years before I retired a couple of months ago and I loved every minute of it. Using TIG I have welded 2 beer cans together at the bottom with no burn through. Most of the technique is learning to set your weld source, gas, volts, amperage. Position is also important. I miss it already.
Good luck in the welding school and the gun smithing as well.
God bless,
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Old November 20, 2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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I'd also tell you to get real familiar with silver soldering. That's a very handy skill in gunsmithing.
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Old November 20, 2012, 03:27 PM   #5
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You might also want to learn a little about tempering metal and the proper way to do it. A true gunsmith has to learn many trades.
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Old November 20, 2012, 03:55 PM   #6
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TIG welding allows you to attach parts as well as mend pits with filler metal.
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Old November 21, 2012, 03:19 PM   #7
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An important part of welding/brazing/soldering on guns is to learn how to protect adjacent areas from heat. That is necessary both for cosmetic reasons and to prevent destruction of existing heat treatment.

In the old days, gunsmiths would not care about ruined bluing, counting on doing a reblue job when the job was done. But with the many restrictions on doing bluing, most smiths don't do it any more and the specialty shops that do charge high prices. (And no, the latest and grreatest paint won't make the owner of a high dollar shotgun happy!)

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Old November 21, 2012, 03:35 PM   #8
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Get some time on modern pulsed arc machines.

In TIG welding schools, you might see a bunch of various power sources that aren't well suited for gun work - lift start, scratch-start, etc. Some of these power sources will be preferred for pipe or fab welding, but that's not what you'll be doing on a bench.

You want to seek out a HF start, pulsed machine and then practice - a lot. Practice especially on stainless steel, because if you overheat stainless, you will ruin the metal and there is no way back from the point where stainless starts to "sugar." The chromium comes out of solution and that's it, you're done, the piece is ruined. Practicing on thin stainless (300-series stainless is fine) sheets or small stainless pieces will teach you to control your arc and heat like almost nothing else will. Welding on aluminum is a useful skill in it's own right, but not one you'll use much in gunsmithing. If you can weld stainless well, then you'll find welding carbon or alloy steel pretty straightforward.

As others indicated, learn to solder well. There's low temp solders and high temp silver solders used in gunsmithing. The high temp silver soldering is more akin to brazing than soldering.
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