Author Topic: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.(pictures fixed)  (Read 13284 times)

Offline Rolf

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A lot of us have neither access to a forge, nor the skills to forge a traditional iron trigger guard.
This tutorial shows how I made iron pistol trigger guards with a propane torch, two bending blocks and a welder. You should be able to make rifle trigger guards the same way. I made the trigger guards of mild steel sheet metal 1/8” thick.

Step1. making patterns.
 Draw the guardtrigger on paper. Transfer the trigger bow “hole” to a 1” thick piece of wood and cut out a pattern for the “hole”. Draw patterns for the trigger bow and try them out on the wooden hole. NB! The pattern has to include the foot (front tang?), bow and “ears”. The function of the ears is to keep the blank level and avoid twisting when using the bending block.
For more detail see http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=704.0

Step2. Making the bow bending block and cutting out blanks.
Find a heavy piece of steel for the bow bending block. Trace the trigger hole and foot on the block.
Draw a line that tangents the front of the bow, Install bolts along these lines as shown in the pictures. Glue the blank pattern to 1/8” sheet stock and cut it out. Saw halfway through the blank where the bow meets the rail. Heat this area cherry red and make the first bend as shown.




Step 3. Welding the foot to the bow blank.
Use a welder to fill in the joint between the foot and the rail and file away the excess.


Step4. Bending the trigger bow.
Transfer bolts to the holes for the bow in the bending block. Heat the front of the bow cherry red and start bending.


The bow blank is skinniest at the front of the bow. For this reason the first bend is always too sharp and has to be corrected.


The easiest way to do this is to find a suitable piece of round stock and squeeze the blank in a vice. No heating required.


Now work your way around the bow by heating 1” at a time cherry red and bending, until you have completed the bow. Next cut off the “ears”.



Step 5. Making the tang.


Glue the tang pattern on 1/8” thick steel sheet stock and cut it out. A couple of tips when cutting thick sheet metal:

•   Use a heavy duty jeweler saw blade. I use size 6+. These cut quick. It takes me 15 minutes to saw out a tang blank.

•   Make a saw table out of 1/8” thick steel. Use clamps to hold the blank still. If the blank moves, the blade breaks.

•   Change blades when they get dull, before they break. It’s easy to track the line with a sharp blade. Dull blades wander. On average I used 2 blades two saw out a tang blank.

•   Keep blade perpendicular the sheet stock. If you vary the angel the of blade, you will mess up the bottom contour of the blank.

Use a bending block and bend the blank hot. The square on the rear end of the blank is an “ear”needed to keep the blank level while bending. It is cut off afterwards.


Step.6 attaching the tang to the bow.
File a curve in the front end of the tang that matches the curve of the bow where these two parts are going to be joined. I like to use a round file for this (type used for sharpening chainsaws).


Glue the tang to the bow with epoxy and drill the hole for the rivet.


Burn away the epoxy. File the mating surfaces clean. Cover them with high temperature
 Silver solder paste (flows at 710C = 1310F) and rivet them together. I’ve made a small primitive “forge” out of a brick, a little fireclay and a small piece of sheet steel.


I put some extra silver solder wire in the angel where the tang meets the bow and top with some Degussa flux powder. I aim the torch along the brick. This brings the tang and the rear portion of bow quickly up to solder temperature. It is surprising how effective this simple construction is. If I don’t watch out the guard gets white hot and the solder burns up. Next I file clean the area where I want to solder the front tab and bind up the tab so It doesn’t move when the silver solder flows.


The rest is simple file work. I hold the trigger in the vice by the front tab or the tang while filing.
I had originally plan to use a welder to add metal to the front of the bow and file a thick bolster like those found on forged guards, but I like the way it looks now better. By changing the rear tang, it should be possible to make trigger guard for rifles the same way.


Best regards
Rolf


« Last Edit: September 18, 2017, 07:02:20 PM by Rolf »

Offline Rolf

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2012, 10:12:01 AM »
 :P Sorry, I found an error in the tutorial. I used 3mm thick sheetstock = 1/8", not 1/16" as I wrote. I have corrected the mistake.

Best regards
Rolf

Offline Old Ford2

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2012, 02:02:13 PM »
Hi Rolf,
Thank you for the fine tutorial on the trigger guard.
I will give it a try.
All the best
Fred
Never surrender, always take a few with you.
Let the Lord pick the good from the bad!

dannybb55

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2012, 02:31:59 PM »
A forge would have been cheaper in tools and faster in results. How many hours in making the tooling and then the T G, including filing it to shape?
      Danny

Offline Rolf

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2012, 09:41:54 PM »
A forge would have been cheaper in tools and faster in results. How many hours in making the tooling and then the T G, including filing it to shape?
      Danny

If I had a forge, I would have tried to forge a guard because that is the traditional way of making one. But I don't have a forge, and the whole point is to show how it can be done without a forge.

The tooling made is only two bending blocks. All you need is a drawing of the trigger guard, a box of bolts, tap, drilltap and a drillpress. Took about an hour to make the bending blocks. Riveting and soldering the tang is the same as you would do with a forged guard.The only thing extra you need is access to a welder. Buying forge,coal, anvil and other tools for forging, would be alot more expensive


Yes it is a lot of file work making the guard. But unless you are really skilled at forging, I doubt forging a guard will require much less file work.

Best regards
Rolf
« Last Edit: July 14, 2012, 07:48:57 PM by Rolf »

Offline Curtis

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2012, 07:02:05 AM »
Rolf.
A very well thought out method for overcoming the problem of not having a forge.  Thanks for posting.

Curtis
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Sometimes, late at night when I am alone in the inner sanctum of my workshop and no one else can see, I sand things using only my fingers for backing

Offline Old Ford2

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Re: "Forging" an iron trigger guard without a forge.
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 02:44:56 AM »
Hi Rolf,
Thank you for posting such a fine tutorial.
Most all of us would like to try and make our own triggerguard at least once, as well as butt plate, and trigger.
I do make most of my triggers, thimbles and entry plates.
Also I have made a few side plates and sights.
Our ancestors did with a lot less tools than we have today, so why not.
And glory in the achievement.
All the best!
Old Ford
Never surrender, always take a few with you.
Let the Lord pick the good from the bad!