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Although you're eager to get that worn finish replaced by a new, durable, cosmetically appealing one, there may be issues that should to be dealt with first.

Your gun may have metal damage, caused by rough handling or rust. It would not be in your best interest to just refinish over these issues. The new finish won't hide anything. Come resale time, those bits of damage will most certainly affect not only the selling price but also the enthusiasm or eagerness of a perspective buyer.

Some guns have travelled the road of time with hardly a mark. They have been rarely, if ever fired, they've been sheltered from the elements. They've been generously oiled and gingerly handled, and were never exposed to combat.

We'd all like to own these guns but unfortunately, reality dictates that only a select few will be found in that pristine state. Look at selling prices for these "vault queens" and you'll know what I mean.

For the majority of us, we have to live with a gun that has had some use, has seen some weathering, probably didn't get as much oiling and pampering as it should have, maybe was in Military service, might have become someone's hunting rifle, or in general, got banged around.

Experience has taught not only me, but past customers as well, that even when the gun looks damage free, the chances of rust pitting, after 70-100 years, are a distinct, almost assured possibility. The problem with rust on a gun is that whenever the gun is neglected for any period of time, whether it sits in a holster or on a shelf, even in a vault, the corrosion process starts working. Slowly. Almost microscopically. You don't even notice it. Then someone comes along, maybe a new owner, or a Curator or Preservationist, and they do the identical same thing. They oil it and rub it.

They didn't even see that corrosion. But they polished it, unwittingly. So now that rust spot or area is "smoothed" back down. But not killed. It's still alive. It's alive and growing and breathing as long as there's oxygen.

More time goes by (remember 70-100 years is a long period) and the same thing happens again. And again.

So, all of a sudden, it's a century later and someone's looking at the gun and notices that the original finish has a little "patina" (such a lovely word), or a slight bit of discolouration. Nothing really. So they think, "this thing is mint, other than the imperfect finish. I'll just send it out for a refinish".

Guess what is causing that "patina"? Those "splotches"?

And no matter how hard they look at that gun, they won't see a single pit. Not one. Not even under a magnifying light.

Because they were constantly "polishing" that rust, keeping it nice and smooth.

Now it comes to me for a refinish.

The first thing I do after disassembly is a glass bead blast.

What that does is "hit" that rust ("there's no rust on my gun") like a million little hammers and causes it to shatter or "grenade", leaving pits and craters in it's wake. (Have you ever hit a car brake drum with a hammer?)

Probably as long as that rust wasn't disturbed, and the oiling and polishing kept being done, that rust (sorry, "patina") would stay looking nice and smooth.

I've been surprised enough over the years to finally wake up to what's happening. So please be advised. If there's ANY different\funny\discoloured looking areas on your gun, it's most likely RUST!

Which brings me to the subject at hand:




How can I fix metal damage?



Depending on the type of damage there's options on how to repair it.

If the damage, whether it's rust or dings or overpolishing from the last reblue isn't too severe, I can actually hand file the damage out. It's a delicate procedure, requiring lots of patience, and many special files and "stones". I have to be careful to not alter any shapes or deface any markings, if at all possible. Sometimes, I have to (for the greater good), but that can be fixed as well. More on that later.

If the damage is too deep or beyond the fileís ability to fix it, I have to add tig weld to the affected area. (Feel free to check out Vulcan Gun Refinishing on YouTube for examples of this). The spot needs to be ďbuilt upĒ with weld to fill in the damage.

Then I start reshaping the spot back to itís original contours, using a variety of tools or equipment. Sometimes that involves milling machines, lathes, surface grinders, or even just the lowly hand file.

By hand filing most everything that I repair, I can be very careful to not deface anything like contours or lettering. Sometimes an area needs some pit removal, for example, but thereís important lettering also present. Thatís when a file can allow for some ďcreativeĒ filing, removing the pits in an area but lightly touching the lettering, leaving it pretty much intact. With a piece of machinery, itís just going to shear EVERYTHING off. Pits, lettering, everything. This type of filing must be done without any obvious low spots or waves in the metal afterwards. Gotta keep everything looking straight.

Another factor in using a hand file instead of machinery is simply the cost. The set-up time for each operation on the lathe or Bridgeport would make the restoration so expensive that nobody would restore these older weapons. Many of the specialty machines used to originally build these guns are obsolete and no longer in service. Many machines were built to do a specific operation. We just canít always do something exactly the way they did it ďback in the dayĒ. I try my best but reality rears it's ugly head and sometimes limits or negates my original intentions so I find an acceptable substitute.

If there is lettering or proof marks, serial numbers, etc. that are damaged, either from usage or the restoration process, I have access to laser engravers that duplicate everything beautifully.


 




Will it truly look new?



I have been involved in restoration most of my life. The one thing that always motivates me is the ability to not only preserve something vintage, but to be able to rebuild it.

The service that I offer is for that person that wants to save a piece of history, but at the same time, doesnít have unlimited funds to do it.

To that end, I do everything in my power to seek out the methods, materials and crasftsmen, so that we, you and I together, can achieve the end result that we both want.

Sometimes, because of issues beyond my control, original tooling and machining marks canít be saved, or duplicated. Sometimes, after some new metal is added, even with annealing and re-heat-treating, a minor colour difference will be slightly noticeable after the final finish is applied.
These are things that although I wish they werenít there, I know that Iíve exhausted all reasonable avenues to avoid them but, thereís that damn reality thing again. Oh my God, itís not PERFECT! But itís very close and most importantly, it looks so much better than before. Itís certainly going to be acceptable, or I wonít send it back to you. My reputation speaks for itself.


One final note:

COMMUNICATION

I will be in constant contact with you via, email, phone, pics and videos. Youíll be right there, keeping up on all the progress and any problems.

There wonít be any surprises.



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