S&W replicas and three more Californians

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by CraigC, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The new American .45 with the Schofield .45 and Russian .44. Very interesting differences between these guns. Now I just need the Taylor's Frontier model to round it out. It wasn't a good day for ivory but I did it anyway. Need to use my SLR for "white" grips as it has enough resolution to fix it in PhotoShop.

    020b.jpg

    Ever since I started doing my line work with the swivel knife instead of the stitch groover, I no longer dread doing it. The California Slim Jim was always one of the toughest due to the curves in the throat. Now it's my favorite pattern! The first one here is the first I ever aged. It's hard to take a holster you've just finished and do all the terrible things you have to do to age one. Started it 3yrs ago and never finished it. It was one of a set of three, the other two for SAA's. I finished the other two but not this one. I was disappointed it turned out so dark. Now that I've finished it, I really like it. Has some nice cracks and wrinkles, something you usually want to avoid. :confused:

    002b_1.jpg

    004b_3.jpg

    New work for the Colt percussion guns, same pattern as above but blocked for the Richards-Mason with ejector. Also aged, to a lesser degree. It has a strategically placed scar right through the middle of it.

    006b_3.jpg

    017b_1.jpg

    Lefty for the Cimarron S&W American. I was going to use the Ghormley Jesse James pattern but I realized by the time I was finished altering it, there'd be nothing left. So I drew up a new pattern from scratch. This started out as a pair but I screwed up the right handed one. The American has the longest barrel so one made for it will fit all three guns. Did some aging on this one too.

    012b_2.jpg

    Ended up breaking this big flower stamp over the weekend.

    015b_1.jpg
     
  2. DocRock

    DocRock Member

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    Have you seen the Uberti Charcoal blued Schofield ! Wow! :what:

    c09-1.jpg
     
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  3. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I have and I'd love to have a 5" but something else caught my eye. Details later.....
     
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  4. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    Very nice holster work.:thumbup: Love those pistolas too. :cool:
     
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  5. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Which lines are you doing with the swivel knife? I am assuming all the lines that end up being stamped against but are you also doing your stitch lines with it?

    Great work. I don’t have the patience for the bigger carving and stamping projects yet.
     
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  6. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Thanks for the kind words!

    Correct. I don't do anything for the stitch line unless I hand stitch. Then I would still use the stitch groover. I also started selectively beveling those lines with modeling spoons and a beveler blade for the swivel knife, which works great.
     
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  7. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    You are the one and only person I've ever heard say they used a stitch groover to cut lines with. Modeling spoons are handy tools to enhance your work. I have no idea of your aging method but I have wondered if lacquer thinner would work to give the faded spots in dye and maybe dry the leather enough to add some flex cracks but have never tried it.

    I put off buying a stitching machine and now don't do enough to even consider buying one. For some reason today my stabbing awls seem duller no matter how well I sharpen and polish them and cows are growing much tougher hides than several years ago. I have gone to drilling my stitch holes on a drill press and then running the awl thru the drilled hole. It is much easier to do and hides the drilled hole look. Done right you have no idea it was originally drilled. I even turned a steel burnishing tool so my drill press can do most of that work too.
     
  8. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Chuck Burrows used a stitch groover for all of his work and demonstrated it in his videos. I could rarely get it done right on a Slim Jim and came to dread it. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me sooner to use the swivel knife.

    I use both denatured alcohol and acetone. Neither really changes the color but they dry it out enough that you can get some cracks. Some hides are obviously already drier than others. The hide I used before the current one, which the first holster above was cut from, was terribly dry. Took little effort at all to get cracks.

    I've had good luck with Douglas and Barry King awl blades but even they need to be sharpened occasionally. I just can't hand stitch every holster any more. I'm getting arthritis in my thumbs and poking all those holes takes a lot of the fun out of it. The machine has been a life saver. I also ordered an edge burnishing wheel for my buffer. It'll be interesting to see how that works. I always liked doing it by hand but if I can get a better result with the wheel I'll do that.
     
  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    WOW!!!!! :thumbup:
     
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  10. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    What machine do you have?

    I have a Cowboy 4500 and a Consew 206RB that is primarily for upholstery but gets used on garment leather a lot.

    I also have 2 Juki upholstery machines that are in storage until I can get to them. I think one is a 1541 and the other i can’t remember. Older machine with a huge bobbin.

    I do a lot of work on industrial machines.
     
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  11. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    The aged dark holster (first pic) is outstanding!
     
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  12. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    Awesome work as always @CraigC!
     
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  13. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    Trash. Looks like something you’d find on Etsy. :D
     
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  14. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy CraigC

    Once you get your Taylor's Frontier Model your collection of S&W #3 Top Break replicas will still not be complete. You will need a 44 Double Action to complete the collection, like these:

    pl8SNg6Kj.jpg




    Unfortunately, there have never been any replicas of this model made, so if you want to complete your collection of #3 Top Breaks you will have to buy an original. However, after you buy your Frontier model your collection of replicas of single action #3 Top Break replicas will be complete.

    Anxiously waiting a range report on your new American model.
     
  15. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    Be careful what you wish for. I had an Uberti Cattleman with that same charcoal blue finish years ago. While the color is beautiful, the finish is nowhere near as robust as modern blue.

    The beautiful robin's egg blue was gone off the backstrap of my Cattleman in less than a year, victim of my sweaty palm. The finish was all gone and the underlying steel took on a dark hue from oxidation. Not altogether unattractive, but the pale blue was completely gone.

    Modern blue finishes on firearms are much more robust than the finishes of the late 19th Century.
     
  16. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    The problem with the charcoal blue Uberti markets is that it's not really charcoal blue. It's nitre/heat/fire blue. Real charcoal blue is one of the most durable of the blued finishes. It and rust blue are more durable than modern hot salt bluing. It's just expensive and labor intensive compared to hot salt blue. These two guns have real charcoal blue, as applied by Turnbull. It's more "blue" than hot salt bluing but nowhere near the peacock color of nitre blue. You can see the color difference as the screws and pins are nitre blued.

    IMG_2324b.jpg

    IMG_8892b.jpg
     
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  17. Gordon
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    Gordon Contributing Member

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    If I may ask; What is the trick to keeping the throat of the Slim Jims open at trigger guard and around the top edge ?I like it stiff and rolled outward for reholstering and general SASS use. Very few even high end custom holsters will do that .
     
  18. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    Just flare it out when you wet form it. I do that to all of mine.
     
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  19. tark

    tark Member

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    When I worked for Les we would get an occasional request for a gun to be Charcoal blued.( At a hefty price! )The finish is both beautiful and durable. Better than a hot dip caustic finish. We made an engraved, charcoal blued TR special for Clint Smith that he carried daily. He shot the gun extensively and one day he returned it for some upgrades. The blueing had held up splendidly.

    BTW, I know nothing about leather working but I know superb leather work when I see it. Beautiful work, CraigC
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
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  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I have the Cowboy 4500. Probably had it about four years now.


    I have to admit, the S&W's don't seem anywhere near as nuts as Colts. I've seen a few originals that were awfully tempting.
     
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  21. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Awesome stuff again CraigC! :thumbup:

    Just for my curiosity, what does a replacement leather stamp for the flower pattern cost? That little addition really adds a lot of eye-appeal to those slims.

    Keep us drooling;)

    Stay safe.
     
  22. Monac

    Monac Member

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    CraigC, could I ask which grip shape you prefer, the American style, the Schofield, or the Russian? The Schofield is the best looking to me, but looks can be deceiving.

    I keep hankering after a gun of this kind, but the $1,000 price tag keeps putting me off. I'd probably get it in 38 Special, to keep the recoil and ammo price down.
     
  23. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    My wife has an old Pfaff chain drive machine that's supposed to be good for leather work and sail canvas. It sounds like a PanzerKampfWagen. :eek:
    The leather machines I've seen are mostly long-arm versions of the Singer Model 15. I've restored a bunch of those and they are works of art. Nice machine!
     
  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Sixgun Nut

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    I thought it was all steel and that I'd be able to weld the head back on the shaft but the head is bronze. Have to figure something else out or see about getting a new one. I don't remember how much it cost and don't see it on Will Ghormley's site any more.


    I'm still working on the answer to that question. Still need to shoot the Russian.
     
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  25. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy Again

    Pardon me if I butt in here.

    Of all my S&W #3 Top Breaks, the one I enjoy shooting the least is the Russian.

    The Russians wanted that big pointy hump on the rear of the frame to keep the revolver from rotating in the hand in recoil. It does a very good job of that.

    But the thumb reach to the hammer for all #3 Top Breaks is further (farther?) than with a Colt style revolver.

    So reaching the hammer spur with the Russian requires me to regrip and place the palm of my hand on the pointy part. (S&W calls it a knuckle). Then to fire I have to regrip again to get my hand below the knuckle. If I don't and shoot with my hand pressed against the knuckle, it digs into my hand and it hurts. Even with a mild recoiling round like 44 Russian. I suppose it doesn't matter if one is shooting two handed and cocking the hammer with the off hand thumb, but I always shoot revolvers with one hand.

    po79otSDj.jpg




    Of all five of the #3 Top Break designs my favorite by far is the New Model Number Three. A much better designed grip. I allow it to rotate slightly in my hand with recoil in order to reach the hammer spur, then I can regrip very easily without thinking about it. I suspect when CraigC gets his Taylor's Frontier he will discover the same thing. It is a replica of the New Model Number Three.

    plfqz6z6j.jpg
     
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