Project Mode

Jet lag is still a bitch.

Theoretically, at 11pm, I should be feeling tired and ready for bed, but no: I’m still bouncing around and looking for things to do. In the absence of my latest order from the great shopping mall that is the internet (relatives are generous; birthdays are fun), I’ve been filling the time with yet more work on the garden gun.

In my de-bluing exercise, recorded earlier in what may yet become a saga, if I continue to post with this frequency, I missed the trigger guard and various screws / fixings which were holding the stock together. This was, it turns out, fortuitous, as it meant I ended up with accurate measurements for the trigger cutout earlier, but having done that, I attacked them with the blue remover and did my best to scrub them clean.

I include a photo of the “before”:

The trigger guard assembly and various fixings prior to rust removal and de-bluing.

And the “after”:

The trigger guard assembly and various fixings after rust removal and de-bluing.

It’s slightly annoying that the light in the second photo makes it appear as if the rust remover has had hardly any effect at all, but I can assure readers that the metalwork shown is basically light silver with a few nicks and scratches where the metalwork is uneven.

Unfortunately, even that wasn’t enough to satisfy or fill the time, so I got started on the barrel.

Wet sanding of metal is a slow process. Certainly the author of this article, whose instructions I’ve been following to complete the metalwork side of this project was right when he said that it would take many hours to get the barrels (and other metalwork) into the condition they need to be for re-bluing.

I began work with some 150-grit wet & dry paper and, after an hour or so of scrubbing, did start to see an improvement in the condition of the metal where I’d been polishing.

I suspect that some of the pits in the outside of the barrel will be too deep to polish out, but I removed most of the minor blemishes successfully and improved the more serious ones over approximately 12″ of barrel length. Another session with new paper of approximately the same duration should see that completed, leaving the other half of the barrel needing the same 2-3 hours’ attention again.

I infer from experience that most of the work here will be done with the coarser grates of paper. The guide seems to suggest a steady progression through the grades, but if the 150-grit paper won’t clear the surface defects successfully, the finer grades certainly won’t. I already expect to have to  make a choice about what stays and what I try to polish out – I don’t want to reduce the barrel thickness too far(!).

The barrel of The Hedgewalker’s garden gun, during the first session of barrel polishing.

The final observation to make is that the pitting in the muzzle area is so severe that I think I will have to chop off about the last inch of the barrel and refinish it if the effect of the re-bluing is not to be spoilt. It’s hard to see on the picture above, but with the bead misplaced and irremovable, there are now two reasons to chop, drill and tap, which pretty much settles it. I’ll be checking the exact wording of the rules on barrel length in the coming days to see how much I can remove without rendering the gun illegal – I think it’s a 28″ barrel from memory, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.