Woodsman was masterful copy of Colt .22 auto pistol, has moving parts.
acquired all this education. Sam Colt started with wood; I started with wood. He made a working model; I made a solid model. His was full size; mine was miniature. He made a famous trade name; I'm still enjoying a wonderful hobby.
Starting with the wooden models, I learned about soft wood and hard wood, cutting with the grain and across the grain, about glues and types of wood filler and finishing agents. When wood became inadequate for some parts and plastics were explored, a little research revealed the various properties of compression and injection-molded types which to use and when. Getting into steel required knowledge of metallurgy concerning soft steel, tool steel, cutting speeds, cutting oils, tempering, hardening, oil quenching, center-to-center drilling techniques, abrasives, polishing procedures, finishing, bluing, lubricating, preserving—the list is long but learning has been fun.
Each model is a problem which breaks down into many little problems which, to date, have not proved impossible to solve. They require time, patience, and planning. Even after production has begun, I come across problems which, unforeseen in the planning, force me to put it aside until a solution is found. During this time, I proceed with another part of the project. These problems get fewer and farther between as time goes on, because each model teaches something for use on the next.
I first get a photo of the size I want to make the model. I have compiled quite a collection of photos from gun magazines. When I decide on a model, I measure its overall length and reduce it to % size. Making the templates from this, the angles and curves are correct and the pin and screw holes are spotted for me. This saves a lot of time, and you proceed with the assurance that everything is correct.
Usinc the .45 Automatic receiver as an example, the next step is to use the template to draw its shape on the steel. Next, center-punch and drill the various holes, and then file to the shape of the template outline.
Next, finish both sides of the receiver blank down to its proper thickness. Scribe a center line along the entire width of the blank, and spot a hole at the proper place which will form the round area to accommodate the forward found part of the magazine. Spotting a hole at the top of the blank and at the bottom of the grip, and drilling from both ends toward the center, will insure a straight hole. It's too easy to come out off center when drilling straight through. In the same manner, spot and drill a hole to provide a start for a file of proper size to remove metal to accommodate the main spring housing and grip safety.
Next, the receiver is moved to a vise mounted on a compound table which in turn is mounted on a precision drill press. The top of the receiver is leveled to the machine, and the round bottomed area which will later accommodate the forward bottom section of the slide is milled away, using one of the various cutters available with the several different models of hand grinders on the market. In this same position, change the cutter to a wheel, and mill the grooves for the slide to travel in. Next, using the smallest cutter available, mill a 1/16" slot to accommodate the lug and link on the barrel.
Next, mount the receiver in the vise in such a way that a flatbased cutter will remove metal from and square up the recess for the main spring housing. In the same position, cut the grooves for the shoulders on the main spring housing.
The rest is file work and patience, except for cutting the recess for the trigger after filing has cleared away enough metal to make this area accessible. The shank of the wheel cutler used for cutting the grooves for the slide is ground down to a smaller diameter for about % of its length from the cutting edge. Inserted through the top of the receiver at the magazine opening, it is worked within the frame, removing metal so as to allow the trigger to slide back and forth in its own recess and to clear the magazine when it is inserted. This one example of using an available milling cutter and changing it to fit a specific job indicates a fairly high mortality rate on these tools, and this must be written off as necessary to getting the job done.
Bluing these little guns is conventional, of course; but various methods must be used to achieve the results necessary to each model. Early weapons, such as Colts, came with a bright blue and shiny finish, achieved hv first polishing the metal to a mirror finish and then bluing by the Charcoal method. Present day guns have a blue-black appearance acquired with usual bluing processes; bill the dull black matte finish on the submachine gun was obtained by allowing it to remain in the solution much longer than usual. This process etches the surface of the steel slightly and evenly.
This, then, is the story of my collection as it is today. It will continue to grow, of course, and will look to outside help in its growth. But behind it all, and of inestimable value, are all those wonderful memories which have helped it along its way, and those many contacts with other men of the collecting fraternity, dealer, and collector alike.
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