Author Topic: Thimbles...  (Read 21710 times)

George F.

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Thimbles...
« on: August 09, 2008, 03:29:20 AM »
I've decided that I'd start making my own thimbles. Not a problem, but definitely a real pain. Forming the shape is relatively not that hard. With that said, it is however a pain trying to decorate them by filing the rings and flats. Any tips on keeping them all the same, or is it just careful layout and execution?  ...Geo.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 10:17:17 PM by rich pierce »

Offline Dave B

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2008, 03:57:36 AM »
This is how I do my timbles from thin brass. The lumpy rod is made to bump out the band of the thimble. I think of it as a mandrel. The punch has a hollowed out portion that matches the curve of the mandrel with the thickness of brass allowance between. You can see how the puch is used to chase the shape around the thimble. Only minor file work is needed to clean it up. I use a flat punch to form the top three flats of the middle section.








The mandrel use here has flats on it that help bump out the brass for filing I use a wider flattening tool for longer rod pipes.





« Last Edit: August 09, 2008, 04:28:31 AM by Dave B »
Dave Blaisdell

George F.

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2008, 04:14:07 AM »
Thanks for re-posting that tutorial, I remember seeing it last year. Those mandrels, are they just mild steel or they case hardened? And how thin is that sheet brass used for those thimbles .032" ? I'm afraid my skills will not allow me to inlet that thin an extension . Also making those mandrels, were they formed with just file work? Thanks for your help Dave...  Geo.

Offline Dave B

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2008, 04:47:34 AM »
George,
The mandrels are made from cold rolled by filing only. They are not hardened at all.
The punch how ever is made from tool steel and hardened like you would for any chisle. The brass is the type you buy at the hobbie store and is .0375 ? or 20 gauge acording to my caliper. The original pipe in the first photo is 21 gauge in thickness. The pipe shows the use of a mandrel for forming the extension portion of the entry pipe. It is hard to see from the top but underneath the corners of the flats a very clear. The secret to inletting the rod pipe is not to do it untill you have shaped down the forend to the final shape with the files then you set in the rod entry pipe. I don't see how you guys that put them in with the wood still square  is beyond me.
Dave Blaisdell

Offline b bogart

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2008, 05:22:38 AM »
This would be a good candidate for the tutorial section??
Bruce

ironwolf

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2008, 02:21:57 PM »
  I gotta' agree Dave.  in a phase of impatience waiting for other parts I let in a set of pipes on my first gun with the stock near full square.  Bad idea that I was advised against.  Lots of extra time involved, and its impossible to see what your doing down in that 'cavity'.
  My second rifle, I fully shaped the forestock first and let in all three pipes in around an hour.  Much better.

  KW

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2008, 04:10:48 PM »
Dave, I don't know how to inlet the pipe without having the forestock shape defined first. With a thin sheet pipe, you can alter the metal easily to fit the curves.

maybe a cast pipe, with thicker skirt, will allow one to fit the pipe while the stock is still square. the thicker metal of the skirt will allow you to file it to the contour of the stock. It just seems contrary to me.

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Offline Rolf

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2008, 09:51:33 PM »
I make my thimbles out of 1mm (0.040") thick brass. This is the jig I use for filing wedding bands.
Basicly its a block of wood with two pegs stuck in. The pegs have the same diameter as the ramrod.

The peg to the left is for filing both ends of regular thimbels + the front end of the rear thimbel. The peg to the right is for filing the back end of the rear thimbel. At the base of this peg,I've dug a hole that the pipe tang fits in.

I use a "safe"side triangel file (one side ground smooth) to file the rings and brass washers to space them. Different bands are made  by using different spacers.


As for the flats, I draw a line along the middel of the the top flat and use it as a guide for filing this flat. Then I do the same for the two vertical side flats. Then I file the two remaining flats so they join with the filed flats.

Best regards

Rolfkt
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 06:47:04 PM by Rolfkt »

Offline Dave B

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2008, 11:48:56 PM »
Rolf,
Thanks for posting your process. I think they must have done some thing similar for the originals I have seen look like they were turned on a lathe but could not have been they were clearly shaped by a means that was perfectly spaced. Here is a original partial set of parts for a pistol that has a entry pipe that was made in two pieces. The tube was made from .018 brass sheet and the tang is soft soldered on to it. the band is forme by hamering or stamping the brass. You can see the shadow on the inside of rod pipe of the bumped out section that forms the wedding band.




Dave Blaisdell

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 04:15:01 PM »
This is a rig I used for filing the thimbles. Similar to what you guys are doing. One feature that I like about this setup is that the rod in the middle can be raised or lowered so you can file just the groove you want.



note that the rod has a step on it, which allows me to set the height of the thimble in the fixture. The fixture is counterbored big enough to receive the rings of the thimble.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2008, 04:19:35 PM by Acer Saccharum »
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Offline Jim Horn

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2008, 01:24:53 AM »
Dave B,
Thanks for posting those pics again.  My theory is that the raised ring is punched or chased from the backside using a round nose chisel and a grooved block, While the sheet metal is still flat. I haven't gotten around to trying this but, I think it'll work.  Hope I haven't confused anybody and that someone can confirm or deny this?
Jim

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2008, 09:05:39 PM »
I like Dave B's method, and will use that on my next gun requiring sheet thimbles. Most of the old guns with original thimbles look to be very thin, all of them less than .032" and most around .025" or less. Of course the thimbles wear, but not evenly. The sides next to the wood are still pretty close to original material thickness.
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Offline Dave B

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2008, 02:48:12 AM »
No problem. I have tried to keep all my posts with photos archived in Photobucket so that they are able to be accessed when the new site has the archives fully up and running. I am always collecting small bits and parts from originals and will contiue to post details when I find something interesting. The idea about the shaping of the rod pipes came from a comment made by someone in regards to the trade gun pipes having been run through a molding press. I have never been happy with the cast pipes they are all just too thick when I compaired them with the originals I had seen.
Dave Blaisdell

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2008, 04:23:25 PM »
I agree with you, Dave, on the cast pipes just not looking right, especially on American guns.

European guns, however, often had cast pipes. Especially the rear entry pipe with fanciful or deep relief modeling. If the gun had a cast rear, then the forward pipes were most likely cast to match.

With simple furniture, sometimes a rear pipe is cast, and the forward ones are sheet.
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Offline davec2

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2008, 08:31:28 PM »
I like the thin look as well.  I made these pipes back in high school 35 years ago from commercial brass tubing.  I cut the tube to length and poured it full of lead.  The flats and rings were hammered into place with very small punches and then the lead was melted out.  The tabs were then silver soldered in place on the back side of the pipe.  The rear pipe was made the same way, but with the skirt silver soldered on as well.  This is much the same as Dave B's method, but, with the lead, you don't need the mandrels.


"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Dave B

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2008, 08:03:19 AM »
Dave2,
Thats a cool Idea with the lead. I know they use pitch in silver smith repose' sp?
work heating up the work to remove the pitch. Thanks for sharing your early work. I hate showing my first gun now at the time I was pleased as punch but now I hide it way in the back of the rest.
Dave Blaisdell

Offline davec2

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2008, 07:19:30 PM »
Dave B,

Rather than lead, I have also used Cerrobend or Cerrosafe alloys that melt at less than 150 degrees F.  With these very low fusing alloys, you can run them in and out of the part your working on at less than boiling water temperatures.  I have used pitch and it is a real mess to work with and clean out. 

Like you, I used to hide my first work in a closet.  I even thought about reworking a lot of things but then decided that would be a mistake.  Now I like to keep things I made in my youth right next to what I do now.  When I look at them I remember how pleased I was that I had learned to do something I had never done before and, comparing the early things to what I do now, they make me feel like I have made some progress over the last half a century.  Who among us would not like to have the very first rifle made by Dickert or Noll or Armstrong even if it was the worst one he ever made ?

Thanks, Dave.

DC
"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned... a man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company."
Dr. Samuel Johnson, 1780

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Thimbles...
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2014, 09:58:25 PM »
From Dave Rase:

After scribing the lines I use a jewelers saw to cut some grooves using the scribed lines as a guide.  These grooves define the edges of the bands.  The saw blade also works as a depth gage.


Using a combination of jewelers files, triangle, square, flat with a safe side, I file the bands.


The rough filed blank


The finished set ready for inletting into a pistol stock.
 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 09:58:57 PM by Acer Saccharum »
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/