View Full Version : Tom's Contest Submission

09-11-2008, 05:43 PM
When you start getting good enough to show some friends, everyone says the same thing. “I have a gun. I’ll let you engrave on.” So, I decided to say okay. And off I went…The gun is a Springfield Armory 45. I started the project by drawing the design on the front left of the slide freehand and did not make a copy. Then, I inlayed gold in the lettering and polished the gold flat. However, during the inlay process I lost the design that I drew. So, I tried to redraw the design from memory. The design looked good, but it did not look as good as it did the first time. Working under a microscope, I began cutting when about 2/3 way through the design I discovered that every time I had wiped the chips away. They went through the gold and scratched the lettering. The rest of the slide went well. The slide was engraved on both sides. The owner liked it so much; he decided that the rear of the slide behind the grip needed to be engraved also. I photographed the slide and covered the engraved and inlayed areas. Under the microscope at high power, I drew the design on the back of the slide. It was really nice and easy to draw under the microscope; it made my canvas huge. I engraved the design and took it out from under the microscope. Darn! The scale was wrong in comparison to the sides of the slide. I should have NEVER started cutting before checking the back design with the rest of the slide. I took a month off from this project and read through both of Ron Smith’s books. In reading, I knew I needed to start drawing and practicing with smaller stuff. After a while, my scrolls and designs were a lot smoother and flowed much better when I began working on the top of the slide. Now, with the project complete the .45 looks as if it were engraved by 3 different people. During this project, I learned many things that I needed to do with every project that I tackle.

Tom’s Project Rules
1.Draw the design in its entirety from start to finish and make a copy or template of the design.
2.After inlaying gold, especially under the microscope, cover the inlay before cutting the design because it is easy to forget about the inlay and scratch the gold.
3.Always check your design size with the rest of your project before ever cutting.
4.Be careful, as a beginner, of the length of time you take away from a project, it can affect your cutting profoundly because you can quickly advance your skill to the next level.
5.Practice drawing every opportunity you have because it makes a difference in your design flow.
6.Start and finish projects one at a time. I have several projects, mostly knives; I’ve started and then stopped because I have a better idea for a different knife. And when I go back to finish the other knife, I realize that my cutting flow and style has improved then I don’t want to finish it because it will look like 2 different people engraved it.
7.One last rule, practice taking pictures so they don’t stink!:willy_nilly:

09-11-2008, 11:05 PM

Your engraving is excellent and your design flows very well. You've also chosen a great canvas for your work.

Of course engraving is just part of the challenge. What is the finish on this gun? Are you cutting through the existing finish? Details! details! We want details!!


09-12-2008, 04:05 AM
thanks WV I polished the slide to a bright finish. But by the time I was done it was so scratched up I taped off the engraving and blasted it useing an air eraser. I could never understand what everybody ment by hard spots in the metal. the slide was ok to cut but there were hard spots and you knew when you hit one I was going to engrave the frame but it was rock hard. I used aluminum oxide to blast the slide but I noticed the finish would kinda rub off so I used one of those big pink erasers and buffed the slide. worked out perfect. I learned alot on my first gun.the biggest thing is plan everything out. the pictures are bad. the other thing I did not metion is my turn table had a slight bump when you turned it you could bearly feel it but when i fixed it it made all the difference now my scrolls are coming along alot smoother know I am working on a little colt 25 I will post tonight. I think it is much better. plus its my wifes so it better be and a hobo nickel talk to you tonight.

09-12-2008, 07:10 AM
That wouldn't happen to be a grs turntable Tom?? :banghead:

That worked out nicely with the finish. Sometimes you find yourself cornered and your solution turns out better than the original plan.

If you are going to re-blue ... be sure you haven't missed a spot with the pen blaster like parts you may have removed. Blasted parts blue at a slower rate than polished so be sure you have a gunsmith who knows what's in the tank at all times ... the color purple is no fun.