Another BP Project

Thank you!

Do you have recent pics of it? I'd love to see how it's held up…

EDIT: Hey @StrawHat , I see your post was from yesterday; I misread it. Guess that is a recent pic! (Looks good)

The blackening has worn thin in spots. When I dig it out, I will post better images for you.

Project update!

Somewhere within the chaos of daily life, I've managed to make a little progress on the ol' Bulldog.

After numerous dips, the trigger guard started looking a little weird...
Fie 1858 TG Lookin Rough.jpg

But it cleaned up well enough!
FIE 1858 TG But Cleaned Up Nice.jpg

The frame developed a few rings around the screw holes that showed up after carding. They may have been cause by residual oil in the screw threads, but since I had degreased them very carefully & thoroughly after the go-round with the cylinder & barrel, I wasn't sure. I decided to try boiling, per a suggestion that came after I commented about the similarity with rust bluing.
FIE 1858 Frame Boiling.jpg

It didn't seem to change anything, but then again, it didn't seem to hurt anything, either. And if it had been residual oil, I surely boiled it away! (Or maybe just distributed it more evenly...)
FIE 1858 Frame Boiled Result.jpg

Anyway, back in the soup! I dipped it twice more.

Given the delicacy of the blackening effect on brass, I carded with a soft toothbrush instead of the wire carding brush. Although the process is similar to rust bluing, the result does not seem to be as deep, so I went lightly with the abrasive step.

The result was acceptable, so I went ahead and oiled 'em up after the last carding.
FIE 1858 Frame Oiled .jpg

While they hung there soaking up oil for a few days, I took inventory of the remaining tasks. I realized I'd forgotten something.
FIE 1858 Brass Grip Ferrules.jpg

The grip panel retaining ferrules are also brass. So...
FIE 1858 Grip Ferrules in Solution.jpg

In they went. They came out fine after a couple baths, but the picture didn't. They're oiled & set aside now.

So, the barrel shortening, butt rounding, steel bluing, and brass blackening are "complete" (until I'm posessed by another whim, that is), and the hammer, trigger, & arbor pin are polished and ready for some kind of color treatment. I have the arbor pin quick-release retainer about 70% complete in steel and, since my brass bar stock came in, I have the option to make a brass one if I want. While I like the idea of a blade front sight, I've already blued the barrel and don't want to muck that up by trying to cut my first dovetail into it, so I think I'm just going to fabricate a front sight post out of brass or steel and drill & tap it into the barrel. I may use a fat post, flatten the sides, and round over the top in homage to the original 1858 style front sight. I have to finish stripping & refinishing the walnut grip panels (turns out I didn't have any citrus strip leftover after all). Then of course I'll have to reassemble it and test function before the first range trip.

But other than that, it's basically done! :) Or so I tell myself.

Here's how it looked before Santa made his rounds last night:
FIE 1858 Black & Blue Right Side.jpg

FIE 1858 Black & Blue Left Side.jpg

It's hard to believe that's a brass frame & trigger guard! I doubt the finish will be very durable, but it's very attractive short-term lipstick on a pig Bulldog.

And it's been a heck of a lotta fun so far.

Merry Christmas!
Well, I hit my first "want of a shoe" moment.

After that last progress report, I decided to fit the guts back into the frame and test for function. "Ok," it began "this goes here, and that goes there... Hm. That screw is the trigger pivot, this one is ..." You get the idea. I didn't cheat and look at my photos until I was completely stymied by the hand-to-hammer connection.


Although I have been keeping the wee parts in a magnetic dish, neither the hand screw nor the trigger guard screw were anywhere to be found. I checked the picture trove and (gulp) the last place they appeared was in the Ramekin of Rust: the one where the alcohol degreaser bath I left them in had evaporated and all the screws in it were orange. I'd put 'em all back into Evaporust, then strained it back into the jug. I figured they slipped by me and were in the Evaporust jug.

Strainer said "no."

Crap. I must have missed the tiny little buggers and poured them down the drain with the previous worn-out batch of Evaporust!

Online search ensues... yeah, that was a bust! Kinda doubt that particular 1973 FIE conglomerate o' parts size, configuration and thread pitch are very common! (sigh) Now what?

Off to Harbor Freight. Then, flat on my belly & flailing my new extendable magnet under the bench and...

Whew! What a relief! It was under the baseboard in a gap btw the base & the flooring.
FIE 1858 Hand Screw Found!.jpg

The TG screw is still MIA, but even if I can't find the original, I suspect it is a more common critter than the hand-hammer screw.

Now then, back to the grips!
The trigger guard screw has yet to make an appearance, so I haven't replaced the guts & tried the action yet. I haven't had a lot of time for tinkering lately, so everything's just sorta sitting for now.

I did finally strip & sand the grip panels. Today, while working on matching a replacement shotgun stock to the original forend, I went ahead and toned the grip panels with some alcohol + aniline dye that I'd mixed up for the shotgun set, then stained them with a little Minwax Early American. I think they'll do! Though I want to cut a new set eventually out of some maple or other wood I have around.

FIE Bulldog Grip Panels Toned & Stained.jpg

Zooming in, you can see where I shaped through & exposed the hole for the locator stud on the grip frame while I was fitting the panels to the newly-rounded grip frame. I will fill that after the stain & oil have been applied & dried completely. Then I'll shape the light-toned filler with a damp rag, let it dry, then apply toner, stain, and oil to make it match. That way, the walnut grip panel will be completely sealed, and the filler paste won't get smeared into the pores of the surrounding wood, sealing them, and creating a forever blemish in the finish.
FIE Grip Panel Locator Stud Hole.png
Many Ace Hardware stores have a surprising "gun screw" inventory, if you have not already checked there. Otherwise, VTI Gunparts maybe?

Thanks J-Bar! I will look at several of my local Ace stores. I have checked Numrich, ToW, and Dixie, but had forgotten about VTI.

I do need to get back on this one. I recently finished an unmentionable restoration that had been lingering for longer than I care to admit! I let it distract me from the Bulldog.