January 31, 2013, 03:05 PM
Here's another request for info?

how does one polish hardened springs,and tumblers by hand

Plus how do you polish flat the inside of the lock plate by hand

I know ,machining would be better but old time gunsmiths did everything by hand with files and stones.
I just wish to emulate what they did and truly understand the process.
When I've tried so far, I end up with a bent surface running away at the edges and when trying to polish a hardened v spring it just knocks of the highs and edges but does not polish the surface?
Maybe the spring has to be annealed to soften it first but that creates another problem re-hardening?
Might be a big ask but any help would be a great help :banghead:

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January 31, 2013, 04:05 PM
I think the old-time gunsmiths used soft cloth or felt polishing tools loaded with a powdered abrasive like tripoli or rouge. Dixie Gun Works had an assortment in their catalog, if I recall correctly.

January 31, 2013, 08:12 PM
They polished it before hardening it.

After hardening it.

It had to be polished again to see temper coloring temperatures to draw the temper.
Then it was polished one last time

The final polish was accomplished rather easily by hand from that point after hardening.


4v50 Gary
January 31, 2013, 11:16 PM
What RCmodel says.

File to shape and then polish it with progressively finer grit paper up to 240 or even 320.
Today we can heat it to a bright red (we use an acetylene torch) and then letting it cool. Re-Polish.
Temper by reheating it to a light brown.

On lockplates, we polished by using progressive finer emery paper: 80, 120, 180, 240, 320 grit sandpaper. We backed the paper with a solid object (file).

When we made V springs from flat stock, we polished it before we bent it. After we bent it, re-polished it.

February 3, 2013, 12:07 AM
Hey Bobsen ~
I did a long, gas-bag thread, in this Gunsmithing forum section, titled "Ruger Old Army Action Job". Search "threads started by Doak". There's only 2. Close to 200 attachments; fotos & pdf's.

In it you'll find techniques for polishing. The principles are the same for just about any metal parts. I've made several Siler flintlocks from kits, using the same techniques.

Proper heat treating is no mystery. It does require an uncompromising attitude and attention to detail. And some crucial equipment. Nothing unobtainable.
Pyrometer: just an indicator, don't need a controller.
Furnace - Made from K23 insulating fire brick. A simple homemade stack furnace.
Inconel Retort: "Rolled Alloys" is a source. Make your own retort.
Atmosphere displacement - bottled argon w/regulator works well.
Kao-wool insulating material
Natural gas

Pester me enuff 'n' I'll do a gas-bag thread on heat treating. Or PM me 'n' I'll put a CD together covering "everything" 'n' send it to ya.

Kindest Regards,

Jim K
February 3, 2013, 02:43 PM
While I have used a torch, I recommend buying a furnace for doing spring work. Then know the steel you are using and follow the steel maker's instructions on temperatures for spring making. (There are good general directions, but having accurate info for the specific steel really is best.)

No big secrets, just some careful work. And BTW, FWIW, and all that!

When you make a spring, especially one that is hard to install, test it first. Don't wait until you spend a lot of time doing final fitting and installation, then have it go SNAP!! when you try it in the gun. Compress it with pliers or whatever tool you use; it may still go SNAP!! but at least you haven't wasted a lot of time on installing it.

(The last time I gave this advice I was informed by one poster that all his springs were absolutely perfect and that he had never had one break. OK.)


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